For example, the Isaac Asimov story "My Son, The Physicist" was commissioned by an electronics company to run in an ad in "Scientific American".
Another Asimov example. "Think", IBM's in-house magazine, commissioned Asimov to write a story based on this quote from J. B. Priestly:
> Between midnight and dawn, when sleep will not come and all the old wounds begin to ache, I often have a nightmare vision of a future world in which there are billions of people, all numbered and registered, with not a gleam of genius anywhere, not an original mind, a rich personality, on the whole packed globe
Asimov write the story "2430 A.D." about a world where Priestly's nightmare had come true. (The title comes from his estimate of when human population at its current growth rate would reach the point where the Earth had so many people that there were no resources left for non-human animals).
The funny thing about this story is that "Think" rejected it, because they wanted a story that refuted the quotation. So Asimov wrote another story, "The Greatest Asset", that refuted Priestly, and sent that to "Think".
"Think" then decided they liked the first story better and ran "2430 A.D."!
I'm pretty sure that there was at least one other similar case with Asimov.
You are not and you do: http://readnovelonline.com/ScienceFiction/Asimov41/27366.htm... .
My favorite story, though, is still epidemiologists studying the Corrupted Blood plague in WoW for real world lessons on bioterrorism.
The craziest part was that the players who intentionally spread the plague would retreat to other regions and log out in an attempt to incubate the disease across victim die-off and mod actions, then return to cities to reinfect people. That's what got epidemiologists hooked, because disease control in the face of enemy action is (fortunately) short on real-world data.
The question of how the plague could be resolved without server-level actions (which are obviously unavailable in the real world) is awfully interesting.
There was also an event in EVE that is cool, though I'm not aware of it being studied in the manny of Corrupted Blood. Someone forgot to pay a recurring security fee, opening a system up for capture. War ensues and $300k worth of in-game spacecraft is destroyed.
It is pretty usual for viral infections to have a range of effects with only a small percent (~15% in the case of measles I believe) of people getting sick enough to report it. I don't know what that number is for ebola but it always seemed to me the initial estimates of its virulance were going to be high. I mean, nobody was going to go reporting flu like symptoms in an african village to the CDC.
The question occurred to me when I heard about the epidemiology of Ebola in pre-Spanish South America. Supposedly (haven't verified) the disease incubated in wild animals, and occasionally crossed over into human populations. What limited an epidemic was that travel was slow and rare enough that the disease would spread and debilitate a single settlement before anyone could transfer it too far. (Obviously late-stage patients don't do a lot of traveling.)
So the question becomes why this hasn't changed with increased access to travel. Quarantine measures and sensible behavior appear to be the answer for inadvertent spread, but what's stopped malicious transfer? Is it just too hard to find and contract before quarantine goes into place? Is it tactically or psychologically unappealing for the groups willing to use other suicide tactics?
I mean, consider that doctor who realized that he'd been infected. He freaked, and fled to South Africa for treatment. He survived, but a nurse who treated him died. What if she had been slow to show symptoms, and had infected family and friends? What if she had a side business as a prostitute?
Anyway, enough of that. Now I'm reminded of Ebola Syndrome aka Yi boh lai beng duk (伊波拉病毒). It's a rather gross Hong Kong horror film. But like the Living Dead films, it's very funny at times.
Details are still scant: https://www.wired.com/2007/03/foiled_by_foia_/
Pasting abstract here
"Software engineering researchers have a tendency to be optimistic about the future. Though useful, optimism bias bolsters unrealistic expectations towards desirable outcomes. We argue that explicitly framing software engineering research through pessimistic futures, or dystopias, will mitigate optimism bias and engender more diverse and thought-provoking research directions. We demonstrate through three pop culture dystopias, Battlestar Galactica, Fallout 3, and Children of Men, how reflecting on dystopian scenarios provides research opportunities as well as implications, such as making research accessible to non-experts, that are relevant to our present."
In your paper, you cite an interesting piece about the optimism bias of people. Skimming through it, it seems to somewhat support my current belief that we need more, not less utopias and optimistic visions. To quote from the ending of the text:
"Overly pessimistic predictions may be demoralizing if these predictions are believed and, if these predictions are fulfilled, the outcomes that are obtained may not be very satisfying. Overly optimistic predictions, however, may confer benefits simply by symbolizing a desired image of success, or more concretely by aiding people’s progress to higher achievements. Given that predictions are often inaccurate at least to some degree, it is possible that people may derive benefits from shifting the range of their predictions to the positive, even if this means introducing an overall higher rate of error into the prediction process. Countering optimistic biases in the name of accuracy may undermine performance without achieving the accuracy that was intended, whereas the maintenance of optimistic predictions may serve to align us, both in thought and in action, more closely with our goals."
Evaluating dystopias can be useful to avoid disastrous failure modes, but I feel we shouldn't dwell too much on them, and instead focus on trying to achieve the optimistic goals the best we can.
 - https://sci-hub.cc/10.1017/CBO9780511808098.021
• Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser".
I've not seen anything indicating anyone has ever even started development on a movie for this.
• Richard and Wendy Pini's "Elfquest".
Warner Brothers announced this in 2008, but canned it because they thought it might compete with another project of theirs, "The Hobbit".
• Larry Niven's Known Space series.
One Known Space short story made it to TV: "The Soft Weapon" was adapted to the Star Trek universe and became the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Slaver Weapon", with Mr. Spock taking the place of Nessus the Puppeteer.
Ringworld has been in planning as a movie or miniseries at least three separate times, but never got past development.
• Anne McCaffrey's Pern series.
This actually got so far as casting and set building, and was within a few days of starting shooting for a pilot for a TV series for Warner Brothers Network, but when the showrunner presented the final pilot script to Warner Brothers for approval, they sent it back with so many changes it no longer resembled Pern (the changes have been described as turning it into something like a cross between Buffy and Xena). The showrunner, Ronald D. Moore, was a fan of the books and quit rather than accept the changes, and the project died.
There have been a couple of announcements since then, but as far as I know none ever went past announcing hiring a screenwriter and maybe an executive producer and then never being heard from again.
I've jotted down your other suggestions for further reading, thanks!
Did have a pretty good run around Ringworld or Integral Trees, which could be good with rewrites, though I think he went on to become such an "I'm so smart" skeptic type he turned into a global warming denialist?
Have you read "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe? It is really really good.
But I dream about making a graphic novel out of New Sun...
Wolfe's work is very literary, for lack of a better word. ;-)
To be fair, in the collection of stories I would have expected never to be adapted, "Story of your life" is high up there, and yet "Arrival" was a deeply thoughtful film that, despite a few strange adjustments, was faithful in many important ways to its source. (OK, it did have one explosion.)
I could see Consider Phlebas or Player of Games as a miniseries though.
I think SotA was the third Banks book I read, after The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory, and I don't recall there being any gulf of appreciation from not having being previously immersed in The Culture.
If you don't care, and encourage initiatives like these, you will never get it.
It's Bank's wink towards that while you might have an enlightened view of universal peace other parts of the universe would quite like you in pieces.
Essentially the Culture's attitude to violence is that it should be used as a last resort, so named because once resorted to it lasts as an example.
I think I'm up for a re-read of the whole series now. Cheers!
A story can cost anywhere from $50 for a 20 page novelette to $2500 for a full novel.
As a terrible writer, some times I provide my own short story, then work with a professional to plan out something bigger. I'm currently working on a 200-250 pager with a guy I found on upwork. This will cost me about $500 for the writing, $500 in bonus, $500 for proofing and editing, then I have a novel with full ownership - he will be on the byline if I ever decide to publish it.
The ideas in the books were pretty amazing, unique, and imaginative; but the story and writing itself was quite sub-par.
edit: I listened (audio books) to the English versions. I thought the translation was excellent. I don't want to spoil anything, but the author has a very dark vision of mankind and kept having his characters ostracized to the extreme which got old pretty quick. I didn't feel like the books were missing anything descriptive from lack of translation.
(It's also quite possible the original is crap, and the translation is doing a very adequate job.)
In a lot of ways I liked it because the entire thinking behind the book was a different cultural thinking.
But the resulting style is definitely a bit awkward in English and sometimes it was a little bit of a slog.
Yeah, that's the vast, vast majority of sci-fi in a nutshell.
Military and intelligence and politics have always manipulated media...
Also, recall "Americans army" was being ostensibly used as a recruiting/psyche-molding tool...
Finally: look at cyberpunk, and the top five writers in that category, as well as anime (ghost in the shell, etc) which have in-formed modern reality with all the millions of tech-workers from around the globe have worked since their childhoods to create aspects of those worlds into current reality...
Is the totalitarian police-surveillance state an emergent feature of such a reality?
All crazy military capability comes from able-minded imaginations saying "wouldn't it be cool if..." without the discernment of the far-reaching implications...
As I understand it, the works discussed in the article aren’t published in the traditional manner, and are for the use of those who commissioned them.
IIRC, "America's Army" was initially created as an internal training tool for the Army. Then the Army decided to have the creator adjust it a bit and publish it as a video game, sort of as a recruiting tool.
As far as adjustments, apparently the video game audience doesn't really like waiting 2 minutes for a smoke grenade to actually produce a huge cloud of smoke.
It can be difficult to tell apart the content talking about the game and the content talking about joining the army, but it is often explicitly about joining the real army.
The book itself can be downloaded at
If I had to guess, this still goes on at the state level, but this article is about making this sort of data (minus the state secrets awareness) available to the corporations able to afford it.
I'd also say that I think this might be an amusing reversal of the old mantra: Ideas have no intrinsic value. This business is pretty much about the expression of ideas. Maybe they have value because they are writing them down and marketing them.
It's a nice complement to this New Yorker article :-)
My memory may be faulty, but I think it's Alan Cooper's "About Face" that basically advised not just describing the interface and how it'll be used, but how Bob the 73 year old luddite who hates all computers is going to interact with it (context in flight movie systems). Creating characters and having them interact with technology that doesn't exist yet is what SF writers DO.
Can we spot a pattern here? PR damage control?
Anyhow, two games we used to play:
Spot the Fed.
Name That Influence.
The first was to see who looked like, and acted like, a federal agent. We'd sometimes do some work to confirm it, but we usually discussed it at the bar.
The second was trickier, and often just conjecture - again, over drinks. Who paid for the research, what did they say, what did they not say, and what does it imply?
We weren't the only ones to play these games. I'm going to guess they're still playing them.
I don't know why, but this is really disturbing.
"Hey Siri, find me a widget"
"I've found three locations with widget in your area. Would you like me t... WHOA! Check out the bytes on that ad!"
- Amiga is behind the novel "Ready Player One" (so they will make a craaaazy comeback)
- Trump paid GRRM for ASOF&I (so the people enjoy the mix of politics and mental illness)
- Hollywood is highly connected with cigarette manufacturers, liquor manufacturers and (of course) the US army.
A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000
Case studies of actual investigations - what worked, what didn't, what the big break was, etc - are not uncommon in law enforcement academies and training.
When you watch stuff like CSI and Law & Order, their criminal investigation stuff is often about as accurate as their high tech and computer science stuff.
Basically it talking about how much his book has shaped what companies even today are chasing got me thinking about the idea of how culture shapes tech shapes culture. I should have considered it sooner since this dates back so much farther.
I, or anyone else, can't be terrified of seeing an animal eaten alive by another?
Anything short of witnessing someone die in a bomb blast isn't 'terrifying'?
What I did not write that you claim I did – "oh well, just like anything else" – seems like something you're pushing in your reply. Are you not claiming that drone warfare is terrifying, just as much as "seeing your mother being bombed to shreds" or of "being in a concentration camp". My comment that "terrifying is ordinary" was because of, e.g. concentration camps, i.e. drone warfare isn't any more terrifying than lots of other terrifying things and that because of those facts, living in a state of constant terror is defeat.
How do you even presume to know what I've personally witnessed?
> For a story about sci-fi, there's a lot of professed lovers of it who would make someone like Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert outright puke. You have no imagination, you have no guts, you have no sense of your own responsibility. You're someone great people write about, not for. Take it personal, but divide it up by dozens of people in this thread, all of whom warrant no more words than these.
Fuck you too.
And by the way, those obligations you speak about were not created by corrupted governments. They were created for sustaining an unviable model that gives pensions to people at their mid fifties and maintains a soviet-era type of economy where the state controls pretty much everything.
Varoufakis didn't have the final say on if Greece left the Euro. It has been quite public that he disagrees with a lot about what unfolded, including the decision to remain given the outcome of negotiations.
The idea that people were clueless about what would happen to Greece if Greece left the Euro is also ridiculous. Plenty of economists, in addition to him, opined on this matter. No one has argued that Greece would be instantly more well-off, but that they would be better off over the long run given their set of problems.
There have been efforts to try to use Varoufakis as a scapegoat for what happened, even though the crisis existed before he came into power, and Greece's situation is too complex for one person to take the blame.
Tsipras received support from the people during the 2015 referendum on the bailout. People overwhelmingly rejected the bailout. Tsipras balked and didn't follow through even though he could argue a public mandate.
The result of such an approach was exiting the EU. To say that Varoufakis didn't called the shots on that is naive. Pretty much everyone understood that if we were to push Germans too much we might end out of the Euro. When Tsipras eventually realized that Junker and the EU had made contingency plans for such an occasion he came to his senses realizing that the bluff has been called. All these are documented in various sources.
The crisis most certainly existed before Varoufakis came into position and no one is blaming him for that. What we blame him for is that he never had a plan and dragged the negotiations for far too long which eventually ended-up with capital controls because we run out of money.
In almost every government, its an executive/cabinet level position which means all his power derives from the President or Prime Minister. He doesn't take independent action, as he has no independent power.
So yes, the guy was a fucking disaster. But you have the luxury to judge him without living the consequences of his actions and for that I can't blame you.
"Capital controls were introduced in Greece in June 2015, when Greece's government came to the end of its bailout extension period without having come to an agreement on a further extension with its creditors and the European Central Bank decided not to further increase the level of its Emergency Liquidity Assistance for Greek banks."
( From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_controls_in_Greece )
The FED is the lender of last resort in the USA bank system (if I don't remember wrong that was the main reason of its creation).
The Bank of Greece was the lender of last resort in the Greece bank system.
The ECB should be the lender of last resort for the europeans in the Euroarea. Last time I checked Greeks were european. It's not its job to be an enforcer for foreign interests.
Why we allow the ECB to be used as a political weapon or how that is legal is beyond me. That means that we have given all that power to people who don't care about, for now, the Greeks.
In fact, Varoufakis is disputing the legality of that movement:
Give me a break, young man, it was a common thing in many places until the 80's.
In any case, there is no free lunch, and the lunch had already been eaten when he was brought on board. In the absence of a miracle I would expect every alternative to be painful. From your experience we can conclude that he did not work a miracle. That's hardly an indictment.
This changed, partly, just in 2016 and it changed due to the agreements enforced by the memorandums we signed with lending parties.
The same applies to numerous professions, like notaries, taxi owners, customs agents, law firms, tour guides etc. That's what I mean by saying that the economy isn't competitive.
Actually most economists that I've read from very different camps agree that the main problem in EU is monetary union without political union. Specifically, European nations used to solve that kind of crisis devaluating currencies, now an impossible measure. So taking Greece completely out of the Union was a sensible proposition... among others. It wasn't the decision that was finally taken, but it doesn't seem so weird at all.
If you take some time to think about it, the problems that you mention in other comments like high pensions demand extremely hard measures to be solved. People won't give up what they consider their well-deserved rights so even if you plan to remove red tapes and throttle the public money tap, it would take a long time with strikes and social unrest everywhere. That kind of problems are never solved with fair measures unfortunately. So whatever you think Varoufakis was wrong about, I'm very sure nobody had a right answer for it, including the current path.
Best of luck, anyway.
The fact that some aspiring-rich techpreneur reduces his complex gambit like you do here is not at all surprising to me.
hn is stopping me from replying downstream so:
And yet you use ad hominem to advance your own perpective, weird!
"I'm greek don't question me on this!"
"How dare you bring up my background?"
Update: I never forbid you for questioning me because I'm Greek. All I said was that as a Greek I know first hand the results of his actions. If you want to argue on that, feel free to do so.
As for my background, you don't know it and that's the thing. You're assuming that I'm rich(-ish) and thus drawing a conclusion as to where my interests stand. That's irrelevant though, and highly inappropriate. Don't judge me for what (you think) I am, but for what I say.
but maybe we have to make our own opportunities, so: how about a startup that provides science fiction writing thought leadership as a service?
dibs on founder