Through the wormhole (links, 8/20/09)

Hmmm… I guess I should get one of these regular link features going around here, which are so popular around the blogosphere. I’ve been lazy, I admit; especially in the last few months, with nothing posted but book reviews. Anyway, I’m going to call it “Through the wormhole,” and I’ll try to do this at least a couple times a month, or more as time permits. Enjoy!

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It seems Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics need a few changes.

In the continuing quest to mine the past for movies to remake, Warner Bros. sets its sights on Outland.

UFO sightings seem to spike after big blockbuster sci-fi films. Well duh! Little green men like a good movie now and then too, don’t you know?

Are fantasy and supernaturalism having too much of an effect on science fiction? When it comes to tv and movies, I think there may be something to the author’s contention.

Sign of the times: ecological catastrophe stories are going mainstream, rather than being the sole province of science fiction:

In short, environmental fiction is moving away from its roots in science fiction and is becoming part of mainstream literature – as is revealed by some of the most recent novels to tackle themes of climate change and the like.

HBO is developing a series based on Robert Silverberg’s The World Inside. Consider me intrigued. I’ll watch it. The fact that I don’t have HBO presents a minor problem, though. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge later.

This guy cautions that we shouldn’t let our imaginations runs so wild that we forget about real world problems:

Fantasists ponder a future of superlongevity, superintelligence, and superabundance—as if wishing will make it happen. Meanwhile, people are dying. [....] Reading a lot of science fiction (which I do, and which I heartily encourage) can lead a person to think that if something has been imagined, then it must be possible. This is one of the risks of enjoying speculative fiction, and it’s made more acute by engaging uncritically in a community of like-minded believers.

It’s a point worth making. I can see how unquestioning acceptance of certain SF premises could, theoretically, influence someone’s beliefs, behaviors, votes, etc. For example, if you believe it’s inevitable that humanity will create off-world colonies within the next century or two, you might not be too worried about overpopulation. Or if you believe that medicine and genetic engineering will cure all major diseases in the near future, you may not put as much effort into a healthy lifestyle. However, I don’t really know anyone who’s so out of touch with reality that they make such decisions based on what they see or read in science fiction. And rather than blinding us with unrealistic expectations, I think SF actually provides more of a beneficial effect, by highlighting different problems and situations that maybe we hadn’t thought about before. Still, the general tone of the article seems to be “let’s keep things in perspective,” and it’s hard to argue with that.

On the Truthiness of Simulation:

Fiction is not true, but it is like truth. It’s truthy.

Of course good fiction (books, movies, games) has a certain realism — or truthiness — to it. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to connect to it at all, and it would be pretty useless.

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2 responses to “Through the wormhole (links, 8/20/09)

  1. Truthiness. I like that.

  2. This is a very good article. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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