Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rustycon 26 -- save the date

Whether you're in or near Seattle or looking for a winter getaway after the holidays, consider going to Rustycon at the Seattle Airport Marriott. It takes place January 9-11 and I'm personally looking forward to it.

Featured author this year is Jay Lake. For easy access to his body of work here's his link. He's warming up his speaking skills next at Orycon, then after Rustycon he's the toastmaster at Radcon in February. With such a roster of conventions lined up, we should all be in for a rousing time hearing Chef Lake cook up the tales.

Round up a group to go...the tickets drop 10 bucks each if you round up a gang of 10. What a clever mathematical mnemonic device, eh?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For future reference

Speculative fiction writers technically don't need references...just keen observations, a knack for understanding social and scientific implications, plus a vivid imagination. However, when comparing ideas to what's emerging as truth in the current world, references can come in handy.

This month's edition of Discover magazine speaks to a lot of hot speculative fiction subjects. Some examples: pills for immortality, artificial meat and future cities.

In comparison to fiction you may have read featuring these topics, the reality isn't likely quite as wild. But these developments are real.

For example, stem cells have cranked out artificial tissues in petri dishes. The basic technology exists now for meat production although there are a number of processes and efficiencies still in development. Once these hurdles are jumped, however, we will definitely have artificial meat -- and soon: one fictional subject will go from speculation to how it actually happened.

Another interesting concept: longevity pills. We're not talking about the kind that makes everyone a centenarian but one that could extend lives for many folks. The key this time are polyphenols -- chemical compounds like those found in red wine. Ahh, yes, the red wine theory rears its head again. This development is actually not earth-shattering, just another scientific development that a writer could use to explain why folks are around longer in a fictional future setting. "Waiter, more wine, I want to live to 120."

Finally, there's an article about future city designs. Some are real developments, others designs. I guess if you really want a glimpse of what's next, look at what they're building lately in Dubai and the sky is the limit...literally.

Thanks to our friends at Discover for stoking the flames of prognostication.