Odasvud pomalo...

Odasvud pomalo...

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Re: to o Andrićevoj priči moglo bi biti veliko otkriće
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2016, 02:50:12 PM »
То је итекако велико откриће! Е кад бисте могли пронаћи где је и кад објављена та прича “Дедин дневник” - -  ако је уопште објављена? потврдити да заиста постоји! Био би то један од угаоних каменова у историји српске научне фантастике. Ово је прилично хитно, ја бих ускоро могао на једној конференцији да поменем ту Андрићеву причу… као Ваше откриће; ако је пронађете.

У том чланку у “Вечерњим новостима” наводно од 26. децембра 2009. само се каже,


PRVI put u jednoj knjizi sabrane su sve pripovetke Ive Andrića, 134 priče koje je priredila Žaneta Đukić-Perišić, a objavio Zavod za udžbenike.

дакле, у једној? којој? библиографски податак? на којим страницама? Да ли је то прича само нађена у заоставштини, или ју је Андрић стварно објавио (где?) 1944. године? али је питање, да ли смемо причу саму да скенирамо па окачимо, јавно, за џ, јер, Андрићево ауторско право још није истекло.

Priča je objavljivana više puta, proverila sam. Čak i prevođena (slovenački, mađarski, bugarski, makedonski). Prvi put u Politici od 19. oktobra 1946. COBISS navodi deset različitih izdanja. Najnovije je u Sveskama Zadužbine Ive Andrića iz 2006, dakle, ne bi se tu moglo govoriti o nekom "otkriću", više o malo skrajnutoj stvari koja nije dospela u fokus naših čitalaca SF-a, a i izgleda mi da je SF element u toj priči vrlo slab.

naravno da je značajno otkriće
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2016, 07:28:54 PM »
Хвала! Јесте откриће, и то значајно, изгледа да су многи настојали да не виде ту причу чак и кад им је била пред очима, и свакако настојали да не помену да има СФ елемент (иначе бисмо већ много раније чули за њу, у фандому), а Андрић је можда и сам остављао у сенци, пострани, ту причу, да не би изгубио углед писца главног тока. Да не падне на њега жиг једног таквог жанра - - СФ. Јер, да се о тој причи нешто много у јавности говорило, можда он никада не би добио Нобелову награду.
А свакако да је од огромног значаја за његов укупни лик као писца, ако је макар и на трен имао вољу да баци поглед ка будућности. Показао свест да будућност долази.
Гле, из овако малог сајта, овог Либеатиног и Мићиног, овако значајан резултат.
Узгред, ја сам срео Иву Андрића, једном, али нисам ништа с њим разговарао.


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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2016, 08:22:59 AM »

Space Art Propelled Scientific Exploration of the Cosmos—But Its Star is Fading Fast


 a serpentine building that snakes through the Connecticut countryside, a strange meeting took place this past July. A group of four scientists from NASA, including an astronaut, a robotics expert, and the agency’s deputy administrator, conferred with some 30 painters, sculptors and poets. Adding an extra layer of mystery to proceedings was the fact that the meeting was hosted by Grace Farms, a faith-based think-tank co-created by an evangelical hedge-fund billionaire.

Tea was served. Thomas Pynchon may or may not have been present.

The aim of this odd confluence was to engage an “artistic response” to NASA’s journey to Mars, the space agency’s ambitious goal of putting a human on the red planet’s surface sometime in the 2030s. To help set the mood, NASA brought some zappy toys to share—a Hololens headset that offered an augmented reality view of Mars, as well as surreal images of winds carving the Martian surface. According to those present, scientists spoke of the necessity of having “an outpost” on Mars to help solve the many riddles of the galaxy. The question they were asking the assembled artists was whether they could help communicate this vision to the public as part of a new program entitled “Arts + Mars”.


Some of the artists were left scratching their heads. Many of them, schooled in the ambiguities and anti-authoritarian verities of contemporary art, saw NASA’s open call for guileless propaganda as being entirely at odds with the art they practice. “The conversation about art was at such a naïve level,” said one attendee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of rousing the space agency's ire. “It just didn’t seem like NASA was that interested in what we had to say.” What’s more the overtly commercial and exploitative language of the Mars boosters—their mentions of partnerships with private industry and “putting tracks on Mars”—did not play well with their youngish, liberal audience.

There is no doubt that NASA needs some help. The moon landing will celebrate its 50th anniversary soon and the number of people inspired by actual memories of that event is dwindling fast. With no “space race” to offer a geo-political impetus to the expedition NASA desperately needs to engage the millennial generation in their Martian quest for the next 15 years.

Yet when the NASA scientists asked the attendant artists to refrain from posting pictures of the meeting on social media, it seemed to sum up both a generational and a temperamental mismatch. (In an email, a NASA spokesperson said that "participating artists are free to discuss their attendance.")

From a NASA perspective, the secrecy was a budgetary imperative. In 2003, the renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson was appointed NASA’s first “artist-in-residence” with the remit of creating art about the agency’s exploration of space. Republican congressmen quickly seized on the move as a sign of wanton profligacy. “Mr. Chairman,” sputtered Representative Chris Chocola of Indiana on the floor of Congress, “nowhere in NASA's mission does it say anything about advancing fine arts or hiring a performance artist.” There has been no artist-in-residence since and the reverberations were no doubt part of the reason why NASA’s workshop at Grace Farms seemed tentative and vague.

In the not-so-distant past, though, space and art intermingled happily. Artists were crucial to NASA’s development, at times outpacing the science of space travel itself. What happened?

When Art and Science Were Friends

In 1542, the German botanist, Leonhart Fuchs, created a book replete with hundreds of extremely detailed drawings of plants. This was unusual. A pervasive prejudice dating back to antiquity had scorned the usefulness of visual images in scholarship. Writing in his introduction, Fuchs railed against such lunacy: “Who in his right mind would condemn pictures which can communicate information much more clearly than the words of even the most eloquent men?”

From the Renaissance onwards, art and science became inextricably bound together. You can see it in Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbooks that he used as laboratories for his thinking, and you can find it 300 years later in John James Audubon’s lushly illustrated catalogue of American birds.

However sometime in the 19th century the introduction of photography and its offspring—cinema, radiography—severed this relationship. Scientists embraced these new technologies for their clarity and dispassionate precision. Artists, meanwhile, felt liberated from having to reproduce the natural world realistically, and began infusing it with their own subjective emotions. Once bosom buddies, art and science slowly drifted apart from each other, without either seeming to mind too much. Science still needed some illustrations, but illustrations now seemed more handmaidens to science than the equal partner they had once been. It’s notable that the greatest of anatomical textbooks, Gray’s Anatomy, published in 1858, is named after its author, Henry Gray, and not its illustrator, Henry Vandyke Carter.

Nevertheless there were still some areas of science that photography could not touch. Chief among them was outer space, which was too far away to be photographed yet too thrilling to be left undocumented.

These subjects required imaginative as well as illustrative skills to help understand them. The space artist was born.

ostatak na http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/space-art-propelled-scientific-exploration-of-the-cosmosbut-its-star-is-fading-fast

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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2016, 09:08:16 AM »
Dakle, najzad je i do toga došlo: KSR ima konkretne zamerke na Muskovu posvemašnju palpičnost, jelte. 


Quote
Elon Musk is a dreamer, and that’s a good thing, because it takes people with big dreams to do crazy things like travel to Mars. However, a famous science fiction author, who has written about the Red Planet extensively, says that the SpaceX CEO’s plans are, themselves, the stuff of outlandish fiction.

Kim Stanley Robinson, a Hugo Award-winning novelist, who wrote about colonizing Mars in his Mars trilogy — Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars — spoke to Bloomberg about Musk’s big plans. He was unimpressed.

“Musk’s plan is sort of the 1920s science-fiction cliché of the boy who builds a rocket to the moon in his backyard, combined with the Wernher von Braun plan, as described in the Disney TV programs of the 1950s. A fun, new story,” he said.

Somebody get Musk some aloe vera.


The 64-year-old thought that Musk’s plans, which could involve manned, one-way missions to Mars within a decade that cost $100,000 to $200,000 per ticket, were “not believable, which makes it a hard exercise to think about further.”

“Mars will never be a single-person or single-company effort,” he continued. “It will be multi-national, and take lots of money and lots of years.”

ostatak ovde: https://www.inverse.com/article/22536-kim-stanley-robinson-elon-musk-mars-plans-sci-fi-cliche

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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2016, 07:35:01 AM »
Author Sheri S. Tepper (b.Sheri Stewart Douglas, 1929) died on October 22. Tepper began publishing fiction in 1980 with King’s Blood Four, the first in her “Books of the True Game” series. Over the years, Tepper acquired a reputation as a feminist author with publication of “The Awakeners” duology, The Gate to Women’s Country, and The Companions, among others. In 2015, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Con.

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2016, 08:09:10 AM »

President Trump Will Lead to Darker, Defiant Science Fiction
                     "People will need it more."




There are undoubtedly some science fiction writers who voted for Donald Trump. But given the genre’s historic purpose and political leanings, it’s safe to say that any science fiction writers who supported the president-elect last week are outliers and perhaps even black sheep. And as the Trump presidency approaches, most science fiction writers are preparing to respond to a changed America — though, should the fears they have about what the next four years might look like come true, they’ll have to readjust their traditional approach to their work.

“I feel like a straightforward science fiction that relies on some idea of the rational future and linear progression and forward motion is no longer possible, or at least no longer interesting,” science fiction author Desirina Boskovich told Inverse. In Boskovich’s 2009 short story “Celedon,” the careless crimes of space colonists come back to haunt future generations on planet, which is exactly the kind of future-thinking allegory which seems even more relevant now than ever.


Though it’s a short story, it’s works like “Celedon” that provide some clue about how authors might respond to the country’s new direction. The challenge facing science fiction writers is how to employ the allegorical power of the genre, without simply descending into escapism.

“I couldn’t help but feeling more serious,” Austin Grossman told Inverse about his immediate reaction to the news of Trump’s victory. “Being more serious doesn’t make things necessarily less funny or less enjoyable, but it changes the stakes. If people aren’t safe, it’s not a game any more, and that awareness is seeping into everything I’m doing now.”

Grossman is the author of three novels, which run the gamut of science fiction and fantasy: Soon I Will Be Invincible, You, and Crooked. From superheroes in a sci-fi setting (Invincible) to a video-game-come to life (You), Grossman’s fiction often trades in subverting genre norms by having fun. And this isn’t the first time he’s had to check his fictional work against distressing events in the real world.

“I ran into something similar way back in 2001,” Grossman said. “When I started writing Soon I Will Be Invincible shortly after 9/11, I was immediately stuck with the question: How is a supervillain different from a terrorist?” He explained that though he initially imagined the novel as being grittily realistic, in reaction to the dour political mood, he went upbeat. “The book became both more personal and more comedic,” he said.

The community of science fiction writing has always been supported not just by its readers and writers, but also by visionary editors. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor Books, is amongst the most prominent. On his person blog, Making Light, Nielsen Hayden collected the reactions of science fiction authors in the days following Trump’s election victory. Monica Hesse, author of virtual reality-focused novel Stray, bemoaned the fact that people did not see Trump’s election coming. “Where have you been?” she wrote. “What do you mean you don’t know this America? Why haven’t you seen it? I’ve seen it. I see it all the time.


Science fiction could be categorized as predictive fiction, but sci-fi stories which deal with the future are more than just glorified crystal balls with plots and characters. Science fiction provides a thinking culture with what the critic John Freeman called “a counter mythology.” This means that the science fiction novels and books in the coming years must — and probably will — run against the ruling politics.


“Science fiction originally came into being in response to a new thing in human history,” Patrick Nielsen Hayden said. “It was the new understanding that not only was the world changing, but also that the rate of change was speeding up. … Science fiction at its best has always been about examining and inhabiting those experiences when the world passes through a one-way door.”

This means that the genre isn’t limited to thought experiments about robots, or dreams of owning a laser gun. Instead, the best science fiction trains our minds differently, allowing us to think outside of current constraints. This, in the years ahead, will be not only invaluable, but will serve as intellectual salvation.

“I don’t want to argue that reading science fiction makes us smarter or morally better,” Nielsen Hayden said. “I personally believe that, but I don’t want to argue it. But I do believe that good storytelling is a positive force in the world. And I really do believe that science fiction and fantasy storytelling makes us, in some fundamental way, a bit more practiced in the ways of a world caught up in wrenching change — and more open to imagining better worlds that might be possible.”

Despite frustrations, clever rising sci-fi star Sam J. Miller shares that sentiment. “What will change, I think, is how people respond to science fiction,” Miller told Inverse. “The future of science fiction in Trump’s America is that people will need it more. As the world grows darker and stranger, we will need dark and strange stories. … To help us hope and imagine better worlds and wondrous technologies, yes, but also to help us grieve, and understand, and grow stronger, and fight back.”

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2016, 08:15:54 AM »

Chinese Science Fiction Is the Future of Science Fiction



Chinese science fiction writers are having more fun with the genre than anyone else, and in fact, might even be producing its best new works. And now, in the years following the success of Liu Cixin’s award-winning novel, The Three-Body Problem, western audiences are starting to take notice.

For an easy introduction to this massive subgenre, see Ken Liu’s new anthology of short fiction, Invisible Planets, which highlights his favorite contemporary translated Chinese science fiction. And for readers who want to dive more deeply, three essays at the end of the book argue over the actual definition of Chinese science-fiction. In his essay “The Worst of All Possible Universes,” Liu Cixin himself believes that The Three-Body Problem actually helped to recontextualize science fiction in China very recently. In 2006, at the time of Three-Body’s publication in China, he wrote, “China’s science fiction market was anxious and depressed. The long marginalization of science fiction as genre led to a small and insular readership.”


Liu suggests that it has something to do with the book’s thick layer of imagination placed atop its realism. Liu implies that an adherence to strict realism is what shackled Chinese science fiction prior to 2006. “Writers struggled to attract readers outside the tribe and felt they had to give up their Campbellian science fiction fundamentalism and raise the genre’s literary qualities of realism.”

Jarringly, this is not unique to China, because what Liu Cixin is talking about is universal to science fiction publishing. If The Three-Body Problem was a big deal in Chinese science fiction in 2006, when Ken Liu’s translation showed up in American in 2014, it was also greeted as a breath of fresh air.

A contemporary science fiction writer is supposed to somehow reach a mainstream audience, demonstrate a convincing grasp of feasible science on the page, and also pay homage to previous sci-fi. If there’s one overwhelming trend from Liu Cixin or any of the other authors in Invisible Planets, it would seem to be that they looked at all those impossible criteria and said, “Fuck it.” And then, they wrote science fiction that could be realistic, but didn’t have to be. Finally, they were having fun with the genre.

Make no mistake, Invisible Planets is 100% Ken Liu’s baby. And though he might be known as the translator of Liu Cixin’s The Three-BodyProblem, the anthology wasn’t exclusively born out of that novel becoming popular in translation. “I had published 40+ translations of short Chinese fiction, and I realized that I had enough material to create a compelling anthology for readers interested in hearing new voices,” Ken Liu told Inverse. “It had nothing to do with The Three-Body Problem other than the fact that one of the stories in the anthology is adapted from a chapter in [that novel.]”

That’s why “whimsy” is the pervasive thread holding all the stories in Invisible Planets together, and “Grave of Fireflies” by Cheng Jingbo is one of its stand-out stories. In it, the author describes a future in which starships are seemingly evacuating the remnants of humanity in a mad dash to find the last remaining stars that might still be burning. Stars are going out left and right all around the universe, and no one knows why. Meanwhile, a kind of portal helps to guide the main character, Rosamund, to safety. “To the south was the Door Into Summer, built from floating asteroids like a road to heaven,” Cheng writes.

Xia Jia’s own story “Night Journey of the Dragon Horse” is another good example: it features a sentient, mechanical creature lumbering through a decayed, vaguely future-dystopian landscape. Xia Jia based the Dragon Horse on “real” dragon horses on planet Earth; it’s a kind of parade float, an attraction that would delight children. Imagining what a living version of a complex parade float might look like wouldn’t occur to most American science fiction writers. Is lack of imagination to blame? More likely, science fiction has been long dominated by western imagery and tropes, meaning everything about the imagination in Chinese science fiction seems fresh.

But how does one define “Chinese Science Fiction”? The essays in Invisible Planets don’t totally agree. In his essay “What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?” Xia Jia writes that the “disparate stories” found in the anthology “speak of something in common, and the tension between Chinese ghost tales and science fiction provides yet another way to express the same idea.” That’s not to say that there was ever a plan to present one unified theme with this anthology. Editor Ken Liu told Inverse that the book hopefully gives “… an overall sense of Chinese science fiction as a diverse category that includes many themes and approaches,” but Liu stopped short of saying that the book claims any “comprehensiveness” in terms of covering all of Chinese science fiction, ever. “It was conceived of as a showcase for some wonderful works of contemporary Chinese science fiction as gathered by an American writer and fan: me.” Ken Lui said. “I’m an American writer, so I write in the tradition of the Western canon … and I can’t claim that I’m too heavily influenced by any single school of thought.”

Regardless of motivation or total comprehensiveness, Invisible Planets is a wake-up call for a serious fan of science fiction. The message here is: ultra-realistic hard science fiction isn’t the global future of the genre, nor is a blend of literary fiction with borrowed “edginess” from the New Wave of the 20th century. Instead, Invisible Planets puts print sci-fi firmly where it should be: on the edge of what still isn’t quite possible in life, but can be glimpsed in art.

Quoting Gilles Deluze, Xia Jia reminds readers that science fiction is always in a state of “becoming.” There, finally, a true definition for science fiction — Chinese or otherwise might have been discovered. Chinese science fiction’s influence on the rest of the world has opened up a whole new frontier of discovery. Invisible Planets is probably just the beginning.

(Invisible Planets is out now from Tor Books.)

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2017, 09:20:31 AM »
Paolo Bacigalupi interview - looking at morality through science fiction



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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2017, 07:52:10 AM »
Angažovani Čarli  :) :


Policy change: future US visits



By Charlie Stross

Looking back at the horror show that has been this week's news—the first week of the Trump administration—two things are clear: firstly, Trump is to be taken at his literal word when he threatens people, and secondly, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Consequently I'm revising my plans for future visits to the United States.

I'll be in New York and Boston for business meetings and Boskone in mid-February (I unwisely booked non-refundable flights and hotel nights before the election), but I am cancelling all subsequent visits for now. In particular, this means that I will no longer be appearing as guest of honor at Fencon XIV in Texas in September.

I'd like to apologize unreservedly to the convention committee; this is not your fault and you did nothing to deserve this. I would like to attend a future Fencon, and if anyone else had been elected President—or if Trump had walked back the hateful insanity once in office—my appearance would be unaffected. But conventions book guests of honor many months, sometimes years, ahead of schedule: so I felt it best to pull out of the committment sooner rather than later, to allow as much time as possible to find and announce a replacement.

As for why I'm cancelling this appearance ... I have two fears.

Firstly, at this point it is clear that things are going to get worse. The Muslim ban is only the start; in view of the Administration's actions on Holocaust Memorial Day and the anti-semitism of his base, I think it highly likely that Jews and Lefists will be in his sights as well. (As a foreign national of Jewish extraction and a member of a left wing political party, that's me in that corner.)

Secondly, I don't want to do anything that might be appear to be an endorsement of any actions the Trump administration might take between now and September. While it's possible that there won't be any more bad things between now and then (in which case I will apologize again to the Fencon committee), I find that hard to believe; equally possibly, there might well be a fresh outrage of even larger dimensions right before my trip, in which case my presence would be seen by onlookers as tacit acceptance or even collaboration.

As for my worst case nightmare scenario? Given the reshuffle on the National Security Council and the prominence of white supremacists and neo-nazis in this Administration I can't help wondering if the ground isn't being laid for a Reichstag Fire by way of something like Operation Northwoods. In which case, for me to continue to plan to travel to the United States in eight months time would be as unwise as it would have been to plan in February 1933 to travel to Germany in September of that year: it might be survivable, but it would nevertheless be hazardous.

I hate closing doors behind me, so I'm not making this a blanket committment to never enter the United State again during this administration. I'll keep the situation under review. Maybe things will improve. Maybe the promising signs of opposition that are emerging will continue to grow and develop into a groundswell, and prevent the bastards from gaining ground. I certainly hope so! I have many friends in the US and I like the country: looking back, I now realize that after the UK it's the nation I've spent the second-longest part of my life in. But what's happening right now is absolutely terrifying, an act of wanton national self-destruction on a scale and significance that puts the UK's own Brexit-related seizure of insanity into the shade.

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #39 on: March 01, 2017, 06:36:53 AM »

SPACEX TO SEND PRIVATELY CREWED DRAGON SPACECRAFT BEYOND THE MOON NEXT YEAR



We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.

Most importantly, we would like to thank NASA, without whom this would not be possible. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for this mission. In addition, this will make use of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was developed with internal SpaceX funding. Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket. At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.

Later this year, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we will launch our Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board. A subsequent mission with crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018. SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew. By also flying privately crewed missions, which NASA has encouraged, long-term costs to the government decline and more flight reliability history is gained, benefiting both government and private missions.

Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth. Lift-off will be from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral – the same launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions. This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.

Designed from the beginning to carry humans, the Dragon spacecraft already has a long flight heritage. These missions will build upon that heritage, extending it to deep space mission operations, an important milestone as we work towards our ultimate goal of transporting humans to Mars.

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2017, 08:22:10 AM »


Sci-fi author John Scalzi on the future of publishing: ‘I aspire to be a cockroach’


Two years ago, author John Scalzi signed a $3.4 million deal with leading science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor Books to publish 13 novels over the course of the decade. The novel that kicks off this new contract, The Collapsing Empire, is just now hitting bookstores. For Scalzi, there’s a lot riding on this book: it’s the start of a 10-year collaboration between him and his publisher, at a time when the publishing and bookselling industries have been undergoing significant changes.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


How does this 10-year deal weigh on your shoulders looking forward? By the time you’re out of it, it’s going to be 2027, the future.

It doesn’t weigh on my shoulders at all. The whole point is that novelists do not have job security, right? You go from book to book, or you’ll sometimes get a two-book contract, or maybe even, “Oh, I’m going to write a trilogy.” But at the end of it, you have to go out into the market and prove yourself again.

In this particular case, literally for a decade, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to sell my next book. I don’t have to worry about whether the publisher is going to make a good-faith effort to actually sell the book, that it’s not going to get shoved down a hole somewhere. Rather than a burden of, “Oh my God, now I have 10 books to write” — or 13 books, because it’s 10 adult and three YA — it’s, “Oh boy, now I can write my books, and I don’t have to worry what happens to them from there.” Until 2027, I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to be able to pay for my daughter’s college, I don’t have to worry about if I fall down a hole, whether I’ll be able to afford my medical insurance, so on and so forth.

It’s about the freedom to say, for the next 10 years, the only thing I have to worry about is writing the books. So for me, it’s great. The night of the election, I woke up the next morning knowing, “The next four years, for better or for worse, are going to be completely different, and there’s probably going to be a lot of turmoil.” And the one thing I thought relating directly to me — I had lots of thoughts not relating to me — was, “Thank God I have that contract.” Because no matter what, I can wait out the next few years.


With concerns about publishers dying off, it’s intriguing that Tor is making this long-term commitment.

I think there’s a number of things going on there. I do think it was signaling. It is Tor and Macmillan saying: “We’re going to stay in business, and we’re going to do a good job of it.” This is part of an overall thing going on with Tor. Tor recently reorganized; brought in Devi Pillai [from rival publisher Hachette]; moved Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who’s my editor, from senior editor to associate publisher; brought in some new editors and some other new folks; and Macmillan basically gave it a huge vote of confidence.

It’s been fun and fashionable to talk about the death of publishing, and certainly publishing has had “exciting times,” I think that’s the euphemism we want to use, over the last decade. But the people who are in it do feel optimistic that not only are they going to be around for the next 10 years, but that they are going to do what they have always done, which is to bring exciting stories and people into the market, to keep people engaged in the genre, and to be a presence.

Right now is an extraordinary time to be an author, because you have the digital renaissance, and audiobooks exploding all over the place. It’s great for authors, but it’s also unsettling. It used to be, you would do X, Y, and Z, and that would lead to your book going out, and then you could repeat that process until it stopped working for you. And now, in addition to conventional publishing, you have micropublishing, you have small presses expanding — like Subterranean Press, which I do a lot of work with — you have the folks who are doing Kindle exclusives, who are actually making a good living. There are lots of options for writers to get their words out there, and develop an audience.

So it’s both exciting and unsettling. Exciting because you can have a career in different ways than you were ever able to have before, unsettling because nobody knows where this is going, or how it’s going to turn out. So Tor saying, “We will be here in 10 years, so will John Scalzi,” is for me, very reassuring, obviously, but also a signal of intent that no matter what happens, they’re still going to be a player. This is just one part of an overall puzzle piece.


How do you anticipate the books you’re writing in the next 10 years changing style and format? Are you planning more straight-up novels or experiments?

I think we’ll experiment some more. We like to think of a past where everything was set in stone, but there have always been eras: the mass-market paperback era, the hardcover era, the digital era. During those times, things worked a certain way, but things changed. I like to say there are dinosaur authors, mammal authors, and cockroach authors.

The dinosaur authors are wedded to a format and distribution system that is waning, so the fortunes of their career will go out with it. So if you’ve always been someone who sold books through supermarket racks, when the supermarket-rack consolidation happened in the ‘70s, that was bad news for you. Same if you’ve always been wedded to bookstores. Borders closes, that’s going to be trouble for you. Mammal authors ride the wave of a new publishing paradigm, like the authors who are pure digital. That’s going to go great for them until it doesn’t.

Then there are the cockroach authors, where it doesn’t matter, they’re going to do just fine, because they’re always going, “Wow, is this what people want? Let’s try this and see how it works, and adapt to it.”


Did you just describe yourself as a cockroach?


I am a cockroach. I aspire to be a cockroach. But in all honesty, what that means is that as a writer, you have to recognize that nothing lasts and things change, that there’s no one time in the history of publishing where everything was one way, and then all of a sudden there was change. It’s always changing. So we will definitely try new things to see if they work. And if they don’t, you don’t do them again, or you wait for the market to come around to them again, whatever. I’m totally open to that.

Nothing ever gets completely replaced, either, you know? The novel isn’t going anywhere. People do like novels, books of 60,000 to 120,000 words or whatever, they like that length, the rhythm of that particular thing. And that’s great. Certainly assume I will be writing those indefinitely, as long as there’s a market for them. At the same time, I wrote an audio novella for Audible, The Dispatcher. And it did really well, so I’m totally open to doing more in that particular format. When we did the short story serialization for The Human Division, that did really well for us, too.

What about The God Engines?


I wanted to write that because I was being pigeonholed as a writer who wrote funny stuff that was light and had snappy dialogue and was sarcastic. The point of God Engines was, I write that stuff because I like it, not because that’s the only thing I can do. I went to Bill Schafer, the publisher of Subterranean, and said, “I want to write something horrible where everybody dies at the end,” and he’s like, “Yes!” And so I did.

You do different things because you’re interested in doing them, and sometimes there’s a market for them, and sometimes there’s not. And you have to have that balance. If you’re a commercial writer, you have to accept the fact that you do want to write stuff that sells, but also as a writer, you have to try to push your own boundaries, or you’re going to trap yourself, and that’s going to screw you when the market changes, when the wind changes. When the wind starts blowing the other direction, you want to be able to put your sails into it, as opposed to being stuck in the same spot.

Serializations seem to be gaining new traction online. What did you learn from serializing The Human Division and The End of All Things online?

We learned that there is an appetite for serialized fiction. We also learned that it’s possible to sell fiction in shorter lengths, that people will go, “Sure, I’ll spend 99 cents on this, or $2.99.” I suspect what we learned was added into the knowledge base that created the Tor.com publishing imprint, which is digital-plus, which frees us from having to have works at a specific length, so it looks good on a bookshelf. We are now able to try different lengths and get different stories out of that.

We thought that The Human Division was risky, so that’s why we decided to do it in the Old Man’s War universe. [I suggested] “the Avatar method” — James Cameron pushes the technology in Avatar, in such an extensive way that if he had also pushed narrative in an equally extensive way, he could have lost everybody. So he made a conventional story, wedded it to technological advances, and got people to go along for the ride. To the same extent, we were fiddling with format, and to compensate for that, to hold people’s hands while we did this weird stuff, we gave them Old Man’s War, which we already knew they liked and were comfortable with. So it was the content hedging the distribution.

That sounds manufactured, rather than driven by inspiration and the storytelling urge. Especially when you factor in the input of so many people at Tor.

Yes. And this has always been the case with my career, and I’ve never made any bones about it. I’m aware of what my role is with Tor. I am their easily accessible, gateway science fiction author. That is my job. That is why I have a ridiculously long contract for a ridiculous amount of money. Not only do I accept that, but for me, it means I get to do a lot of things I want to do in the way I want to do them, and still pull a few things off.

Did you do anything stylistically with The Collapsing Empire to make it stand apart from Old Man’s War?

Well there are three protagonists, and they’re basically equal players in the book. The way third-person omniscient voice works for each of them is different, and relates to their personalities. So Kiva Lagos, the starship owners’ representative, is profane, sarcastic, and kind of punchy. Cardenia, who becomes The Emperox, is more tentative, and Marce is more observing and taking notes. So it’s not only writing separate characters, but writing the way they apprehend the world.

What challenges do you have launching a big space opera after being known for a big space opera?

Well, the one question I get a lot is, “Is this part of The Old Man’s War universe?” No. And people either respond, “Well, that’s okay,” or, “Oh, we want more Old Man’s War.” There’s going to be at least one more Old Man’s War, because it’s in the contract.

You want it to stand apart from what you’ve done before, right? You don’t want it to be Old Man’s War-like, but everybody is purple-skinned. So you do have to pay attention to your world-building. “Is this something I’ve done before? If it is something I’ve done before, how do I justify it?”

Regardless, people will try to make connections. I have fans who are superinvested in tying the universe of The Android’s Dream and into the Old Man’s War universe. I will get these emails that are paragraphs long, like, “Here’s my theory of how this all ties in, the Grand Unified Theory of Scalzi.” And all you can do is appreciate the effort, right? So there will be people who will try to tie this in. And that’s fine, that’s their prerogative as readers and as fans. But certainly when I’m writing it, I want it to have this completely different space. The governance of the thing is different, the faster-than-light Flow is a different thing than a Skip Drive. For me, it has a lot more in common with Dune, right? Particularly because it’s a mercantile empire.

What are your long-term plans with The Collapsing Empire’s world?

We’re definitely locked in for at least one more sequel. There might actually be three books in the series. But the thing about The Collapsing Empire is that they’re fighting an imminent catastrophe. Ultimately, there is going to be something that entirely changes their world. And the good news for that is that it does make this series finite. There’s only so far that it can be dragged out. It’s not going to go out to 20 books. If we get to three, that’s going to be it. We may just end up having two, because that’s what I’m contracted for, and the story may just resolve itself at the end of book two. I think that’s fine. People do love inhabiting these worlds, but there’s something to be said about, “It’s going to be X length, and if you want more in this universe, you’d better be writing fan fiction.” [Laughs]

How have you improved since your first novel?

I worry about fewer things than when I was starting off. I mean, I have an audience now, I have the faith of a publisher, I am assured that what I write is going to get fairly large play within the universe of fantasy and science fiction publishing. I don’t feel like I have to prove myself, or jockey for position. I don’t know that much has changed with the writing. It’s still just, “Sit your ass in a chair, make it up as you go along,” which is the way I’ve always done things. I’m a better writer now than I was when I wrote Old Man’s War, when I wrote Agent to the Stars. It’s obvious to me, at least in terms of the flow of the story, and the construction of the novels themselves. But I don’t know that it’s immediately visible to anybody who is not functionally engaged in writing, editing, and publishing. Part of the job is not to show the seams.

One thing I think has been consistent across 20 years is my voice. The thing that has changed for me is being comfortable with the fact that I have stories I want to tell, so I have the freedom to say them the way I want to. That’s in contradiction to where I was like, “My job is to be a commercial writer and to write stuff that sells.” But the two aren't necessarily in opposition. I’ve always written in that approachable style. But I guess the difference is, when I wrote Old Man’s War, I went into a bookstore to see what was selling, right? And I was like, “Oh, military science fiction, I’ll go write military science fiction.” These days — and this is hugely egotistical — I don’t worry about what other people are doing in the genre. I don’t worry about what the next wave is, what’s coming up, what’s peaked. I just write what I want to write, and I assume the market is going to accommodate me.

What does the future of the Old Man’s War series look like?

I have no idea! It just exists on a contract. I wrote four books into Old Man’s War, and then I walked away for five years. And part of the reason was, I had no idea where to go with it from there. It wasn't that I was done with this universe, it was more, I have no idea what to do in this universe. And I didn’t want to be one of those dudes who’s like, “And now, another Old Man’s War universe,” and just crank them out.

What do you think the state of science fiction is right now?

I think it’s very healthy. For TV, film, and video games, it’s great, because so many things in those genres are dominating in their respective fields. I think it’s better now in publishing than it has been, both in terms of quality and quantity of work. After literally decades of science fiction and fantasy publishing being left behind on the wave TV, film, and video games were riding, publishing is finally beginning to catch up. People have decided it’s okay to be seen in public reading fantasy and science fiction. Things like Game of Thrones and The Expanse are a signal that they are acceptable. Just like Fifty Shades of Grey made erotica respectable again. You could read Fifty Shades of Grey in public, and no one would make fun of you for reading erotica. Game of Thrones made it okay to read fantasy in public. Things like The Expanse made it okay to read science fiction in public.

You’re very outspoken about social issues and politics. What do you see happening to the arts in the current political climate?

Well, I think two things are going to happen. Once again, we’re going to have an attempt to purge arts from the governmental budget, “Because fuck you, that’s why.” I suspect art is already being made now in protest. We’re going to get a lot of protest art. One of the things that just drives me up the fucking wall are the people who are like, “Wow, there’s going to be such great art in the Trump era.” You know what? There would have been great art in the Clinton era, too. This is not the argument for incipient fascism in our country.

But it’s also difficult. I was two months late turning in The Collapsing Empire, because I was watching the whole thing with the elections, and I was so stressed out. I didn’t know what the hell we were doing with ourselves. I should’ve been writing, and I was just watching Twitter and CNN and everything else. It was really hard to concentrate, and I was like, “I can’t wait for this election to be done.” Now I’ve got three books to write this year, and it’s still incredibly hard to concentrate. I went to a movie with my wife last week, and when we got out, something had exploded that would have been a monthlong scandal in any other administration, but in this administration, it was “Here’s today’s outrage.”

You’ve been posting about optimism recently. What are you hopeful for in the future of science fiction and writing in general?

Oh I’m optimistic. I mean, I’m angry at the state of the world. This was entirely avoidable, like, “Don’t stab yourself in the eye!” “What do you mean, like this? You can’t tell me not to stab myself in the eye! This hurts, why am I doing this? Because you told me not to.”

But the effect of this election, the immediate response of people going “Oh, hell no,” has given me reason to be optimistic. We’re going to go through a world of shit, there’s no way around it. Our tunnel has been made, and we’ve got to muck through it. It is an argument about what sort of nation we are.

I think to a smaller extent, a lot of what our nation and the world are going through, we had a very small, localized version of it over the last couple years of science fiction. There were a number of bad actors, who had a point of view and managed it poorly. And then you had the people who were actively malicious, and used that first group of people to plant as many bombs as possible. The result was, science fiction has come out of it with a stronger sense of “No, as a community, we are for as many voices as possible. We are for hearing the voices that are not otherwise heard, imaging the scenarios we might not otherwise imagine.” So we came out of that stronger. It was a fight we didn’t need to have, but we had it anyway.

We have a lot of art that is going to set the agenda for a decade or more. I’m optimistic about science fiction because we have this multiplicity of voices. It’s not just me, or George R.R. Martin, or Brandon Sanderson, or James S.A. Corey. It’s N.K. Jemisin, Alyssa Wong, Charlie Jane Anders, any number of people who in a previous era would have struggled to make their voices heard. And instead of them struggling, they are at or near the top of the field.

We’re a better genre because of it, and we’re better as art because they are on the same level as I am, or Neil Gaiman is, or George Martin is. I feel optimistic that we have affirmed ourself as a genre that says, “We are open to anyone, and anybody can excel in it, and anybody can tell a story.” I am casting this more optimistically than someone who is not me, and in my position, might. But ultimately, I think in the long term, we’re going to see some really good things out of science fiction and fantasy in the next 20 years. And I’m glad I’m here for it.

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Berserker

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2017, 07:57:46 PM »
Libe, da li si beše čitala nešto od Johna Scalzija? Nešto vidim da Nightflier nije posebno impresioniran njegovim Collapsing Empire-om, a i meni nešto bude sumnjivo kad pročitam ugovor po kome treba da isporučiš 13 knjiga za 10 godina, što će reći po jedno bebče na svakih 9 meseci, a da to ima nekakav kvalitet.

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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2017, 07:42:53 AM »
Pročitala sam samo dva njegova naslova, i za oba mogu da kažem kako su utisci vrlo pozitivni. Istina, prvi naslov je spejs opera, The Old Man's War, i totalno jeste standardna po pitanju forme, pa neko sa malko većim očekivanjima možda i ne bi bio toliko oduševljen, ali priznjem da mi se stvarno dopala ta ideja da u svojim matorim danima čovek dobije šansu ne samo da iznova proživi svoj život, nego još i pride u mladom telu, sa svim životnim iskustvom na raspolaganju... pa ko može da na takvoj premisi omane?  :) Ali nisam išla dalje prve knjige, tako da ne garantujem van toga.

Drugi roman je Lock In, i jeste odličan, ima baš sve što od takvog SFa tražim, ima super premisu i super karakterizaciju, intrigantan zaplet i – mehaničke robote. Pa mislim!!  ;D

Tako da, Sclazi je meni veoma zabavan i to u vrlo profi i poštenom maniru, bez vaćarenja i pretencioznosti, vrlo vrlo opuštajući, pa otud i moje iskrene preporuke za Lock In. A što se ovog ugovora tiče, pa, moguće je da Scalzi već ima poveliku zalihu poludovršenog produkta, jer jeste prolifičan, pa otud i silno Torovo poverenje u vremenski ovako zbijen plan... u svakom slučaju, overiću stand alone naslove i verujem da me neće razočarati.



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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2017, 09:10:24 AM »

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Lidija

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Re: Odasvud pomalo...
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2017, 03:22:04 PM »