Project Hieroglyph contributors Cory Doctorow and Neal Stephenson and CSI director Ed Finn appeared at Town Hall Seattle on October 26, in an event titled “Reigniting Society’s Ambition with Science Fiction.”

Here’s the video from that event.

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Recently, Neal Stephenson, Ed Finn, Keith Hjelmstad, Kathryn Cramer, Rudy Rucker, & Annalee Newitz went to Google to speak about Project Hieroglyph, a vision to imagine the an optimistic future. These ideas are encapsulated in the new anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, described thusly:

Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.

In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”

In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.

Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.

Here’s a video of that event.

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Tuesday Tune: “Belle Of The Ball” by Ephrata

This video is not particularly science fictiony…but it’s kinda catchy. Oh, and it was filmed in Neal Stephenson’s backyard.

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FREE EXCERPT: “The Mongoliad: Book Three”

Hitting bookstores this week is the third book in the the Mongoliad series, a joint project written Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo. And we have a sneak peek just for you!

Here’s what the book is about:

The final book of the Mongoliad trilogy from Neal Stephenson and company tells the gripping personal stories of medieval freedom fighters to form an epic, imaginative recounting of a moment in history when a world in peril relied solely on the courage of its people.

The shadow of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II hangs over the shattered Holy Roman Church as the cardinals remain deadlocked, unable to choose a new pope. Only the Binders and a mad priest have a hope of uniting the Church against the invading Mongol host. An untested band of young warriors stands against the dissolute Khan, fighting for glory and freedom in the Khan’s sadistic circus of swords, and the brave band of Shield-Brethren who set out to stop the Mongol threat single-handedly race against their nemesis before he can raise the entire empire against them. Veteran knight Feronantus, haunted by his life in exile, leads the dwindling company of Shield-Brethren to their final battle, molding them into a team that will outlast him. No good hero lives forever. Or fights alone.

Read on for the free excerpt…
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From New York Times bestselling, Hugo and Nebula award-winning authors Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear comes The Mongoliad Trilogy, the first installment in the Foreworld Saga, a collaborative epic (with Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, E.D. deBirmingham, Cooper Moo, and Mark Teppo) unlike any other that will enthrall fans of fantasy, martial arts, and historical fiction.
Here’s the book description:

The first novel to be released in The Foreworld Saga, The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.

But the saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.

Full of high adventure, unforgettable characters, and unflinching battle scenes, The Mongoliad ignites a dangerous quest where willpower and blades are tested and the scope of world-building is redefined.

And here’s the trailer:
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