One of the things that this column – New Worlds Weekly – has tried to do is explore science fiction and understand it better as a genre by digging deeper. And what better way to do it than by picking the brains of its practitioners, in this case, some fantastic SF authors who I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over the course of the last two years of this column. The second season of this column just ended with its 100th piece. Now is probably a good time to look back at these insightful and enjoyable Q&As (in order of appearance).
3-time Hugo Award winner, and the writer of several acclaimed novels, including the Coyote trilogy, Allen Steele speaks about the need for optimistic science fiction, the role of the genre today and what he – as a sci-fi writer – sees his role to be.
Samit Basu is invariably the first name that pops up in discussions about Indian SF/F. In this interview, he shared with us his insights into the contemporary SF scene in India, the difference in community & fandom between India & the west, the possible future(s) for SF in India, and a great list of essential Indian SF reads.
Thalience is an intriguing concept that is all about giving ‘nature a voice of its own’ and one that author & futurist Karl Schroeder introduced in his 2001 novel, Ventus as a ‘successor to science’. In this interview, Karl Schroder tell us more about Thalience, why more people should be talking about it, and why Thalience is a very simple and direct challenge to Kant’s notion of the ‘thing in itself’ as forever hidden and unknowable.
Bruce Sterling – Writer, cyber-guru, technopundit, futurist and one of the chief architects of the cyberpunk genre. In this interview – in his inimitable fashion – Bruce Sterling tells why and how science fiction is a cultural sensibility and not about the breakthroughs in science via a story about an Indian cricket captain eating crickets. He also shares his thoughts and opinions about design fiction, SF in/from India & what it needs to do better, and whether it’s better to be a Shaper or a Mechanist.
In an age where we have seen social networks influence elections, Infomocracy – as a political thriller as well – is a timely read and a great example of extrapolative science fiction that deals squarely with the intersection of democracy and technology in a possible (and plausible) version future. In this Q&A, its author, Malka Older – one of the keenest minds in contemporary SF – shares her insightful thoughts on Cambridge Analytica hacking democracy, the future world of Infomocracy where nation-states exist in name only, and her views on politics, elections & democracy.
Yudhanjaya Wijeratne is one of the most exciting new science fiction writers from South Asia and who has already begun making waves on the world stage with his hard SF stories and his novel, Numbercaste about a future world where a social network runs society with its algorithmically-enforced caste system. A former journalist who introduced the use of big data into Sri Lankan political discourse, in this interview he shares with his thoughts and opinions on big data, surveillance, social credit systems, Numbercaste and his upcoming alternative history series, the Commonwealth trilogy.
Possibly the most prolific contemporary SF writer, Adam Roberts is also a critic and historian of the genre. In this interview –which also happens to be the 100th edition of New Worlds Weekly – Adam Roberts sheds light on SF literature, its broad sweeps & trends, why SFF is not a ghetto inside the city of Literary Fiction but the reverse, and about the similarities between the formally constitutive structures of jokes and science fiction. He also speaks about his immense body of work, sharing with us his list of must-read contemporary sci-fi as also his tips for creative writing.
That’s it for now. And yes, do remember to submit your entries for the New Worlds Weekly special giveaway, where 5 winners will get to choose which SF novel by Adam Roberts they want as their prize. All you have to do is tell us which edition(s) of the 100 New Worlds Weekly pieces you liked, and WHY – on or before 26/7/18. You can submit a maximum of three entries. So tweet us your entry with the hashtag #NWWonFD AND the link to the piece in question to enter the giveaway. If you’re not on Twitter, you can do the same on Facebook. All the best!
Live long and prosper!
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