Science-fiction is a genre that imagines the future. It doesn’t necessarily predict the future (after all, where are flying cars?), but it grapples with the technological and societal changes happening today to better understand our world and where it’s heading.
So, what does it mean when so much of our most popular science-fiction – The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, and The Hunger Games – present bleak, depressing futures? Cory Doctorow might just have an answer. He’s a blogger, writer, activist, and author of the new book Walkaway, an optimistic disaster novel.
* Doctorow thinks that science-fiction can give people “ideas for what to do if the future turns out in different ways.” Like how William Gibson’s Neuromancer didn’t just predict the internet, it predicted the intermingling of corporations and the state.
* When you have story after story about how people turn on each other after disaster, Doctorow believes it gives us the largely false impression that people act like jerks in crises. When in fact, people usually rise to the occasion.
* With Walkaway, his “optimistic” disaster novel, Doctorow wanted to present a new narrative about resolving differences between people who are mostly on the same side.
My Podcast is a regular feed in which I read from one of my stories for a few minutes at least once a week, from whatever friend’s house, airport, hotel, conference, treaty negotiation or what-have-you that I’m currently at. You can get the podcast though iTunes. Alternatively:
Last week I sat down with Mike Masnick, the crusading technology journalist who coined the “Streisand Effect” and runs the fantastic site Techdirt, and we had a good, chewy discussion (MP3) about my new novel Walkaway; he’s just posted it to the Techdirt podcast. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
The National Endowment for the Arts podcast recorded a great, wide-ranging interview with me (MP3) about my novel Walkaway and a variety of subjects, from copyright reform to arts funding to the future of the arts and technology.
Here’s Wil Wheaton reading “Communist Party,” the opening chapter of “Walkaway,” my first novel for adults since 2009’s “Makers.” Wil is joined on the independently produced audiobook by Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls), Mirron Willis, Gabrielle de Cuir, Lisa Renee Pitts and Justine Eyre. It was directed by Gabrielle de Cuir for Skyboat Media and mastered by John Taylor Williams for Wryneck Studios. You can buy the 15-hour DRM-free audiobook for $24.95 at my shop, or wherever DRM-free audiobooks are sold.
In the latest episode of Reply All, a fantastic tech podcast, the hosts and producers discuss the situation with DRM, the future of the web, and the W3C — a piece I’ve been working on them with for a year now.