Category Archives: Weird Things

New Liberal Arts

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It’s hard to know what the future will bring: the only thing you can be sure of is that it won’t be the past. This is a truth that seems to have eluded the current government as they busily reshape our nation’s education system in preparation for the 19th century. The Tories have indicated a return to traditional social values, but no one expected them to be as traditional as indentured servitude. At £9,000 a year plus living expenses, today’s generation of bright young things can expect to graduate with more than £30,000 of debt. Those lucky enough to land one of a dwindling number of graduate jobs can look forward to obeying the every whim of their corporate masters … I mean overlords … I mean employers.

Read more at the Guardian books.

What is Rule 34?

Rule 34 is a science fiction novel about cybercrime, maker culture and porn. But most of all, it’s a novel about you.

It’s 9:30am on a painfully dull Thursday morning in the office. The boss has retreated behind her wall of pot plants after hovering over your shoulder like a huge and bothersome horsefly, peering at your computer screen as you attempt to explain the annual sales speadsheet. You flick your mouse cursor over to the Firefox browser you’re running from the same USB dongle that is providing your wireless internet access, all so spotty Gareth in IT services can’t spy on what you’re looking at.

Read more at Guardian books.

Weird Things

I’ve been dying to talk about this for weeks but have had to wait until the right time…which is now! Weird Things is my new column for The Guardian which I will be writing fortnightly. It’s all about the weird ideas in SF and Fantasy novels or any book with a weird idea at its heart. The first column is published today and tackles our fear of Robopocalypse, and the more nuanced ideas in Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software Objects.

Should we fear the Robopocalypse?

The robots are revolting. But will they kill us…or cuddle us?

Daniel H Wilson’s debut work of fiction Robopocalypse comes pre-packaged with two Unique Selling Points. That the author holds a Phd in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, and is hence more than just another oddball Sci-Fi writer with an overactive imagination. And that, having been bought by Steven Spielberg for production ‘even before it was finished’, the novel is already a success, and nothing breeds success like success.

Read more on The Guardian website.