In this talk given by Fractal’12, Paul Di Filippo gives us a short look at “how humanity might come to live in a self-aware cosmos hospitable to the needs of the species, with a discussion of some science fiction stories that portray such a utopia”.
Here’s the book description:
THIS SECOND COLLECTION OF humorous vignettes from Paul Di Filippo—-centering on the various absurdities of the literary life (with an emphasis on the fantastical)—owes its allegiance to such masters of wit as S. J. Perelman, Thorne Smith, J. P. Donleavy, Kurt Vonnegut, P. J. O’Rourke, Hunter Thompson and John Sladek.
Whether Di Filippo is using his flensing knives on Neil Gaiman’s plot for world domination; a reader’s book group that embarks on a crime spree; miners who dig metaphors out of the earth; schlubby writers with supermodel girlfriends; or magazinethemed casinos, you can count on his satirical parables and fables, farces and mini-sagas to exhibit a freshness of vision with the maximum of outrageousness, providing laughter galore.
Inverting the workaday assumptions of writers, readers, editors and publishers alike, Di Filippo finds that the lofty pursuit of literature has not remained immune from the degrading trends of modern civilization, but instead become an exemplar of those very phenomena. Nonetheless, at the heart of each piece lies a shining affirmation that no matter how bizarre the business of putting words on paper becomes, dreamers and their dreams remain central to any life worth living—or worth mocking!
Starship Sofa’s newest event is a Live Video Writers Workshop with Mike Resnick and Paul Di Filippo happening on Sunday, 16 June 2013 from 17:00 to 19:00 (BST).
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Dario Tonani – born in Milan, 1959 – is one of the main authors of Italy’s science fiction scene. He has published various novels and around 80 short stories in anthologies, national newspapers and in the most important Italian magazines of the genre (Urania, Giallo Mondadori, Segretissimo, Millemondi, Robot). His most successful series, consisting of two novels and eleven short stories is set in a Milan of the future where doped cartoons (known as +toons) roam the streets infecting the citizens with a new powerful drug which is transmitted via the retina. His first title Infect@, runner-up at the “Premio Urania” 2005 and published in 2007 by Mondadori, was optioned for a film. The sequel Toxic@ was published in 2011 together with other short stories relating to the saga. In 2012 Tonani completed his steampunk/horror saga set on World-9, the story of a giant sentient ship-truck grappling with a wild and poisonous planet. The four stories that make up the series have all been published under the title Mondo9 (Delos Books): Cardanica, Robredo, Chatarra and Afritania. After achieving great success in Italy, the first of them is being published in the US, where it has earned the praise of undisputed steampunk maestro, Paul Di Filippo. Dario has won numerous awards: Tolkien, 1989; Lovecraft, 1994 and ’99; Italia, 1989, 1992, 2000, 2012. The best of his sci-fi short stories is found in the Infected Files anthology published in 2011 – both on paper and in digital format – by Delos Books. Official website: www.dariotonani.it
Three questions from the father of Steampunk, Paul Di Filippo, on the occasion of the publication of Mondo9. War between flesh and gears, sci-fi books and movies, but – first of all – is Science Fiction really exhausted as many experts say?
Paul Di Filippo: What is you opinion on the recent assertion by Paul Kincaid and Jonathan McCalmont that science fiction is exhausted? That the genre is merely recycling old tropes, and doing nothing new, and refusing to engage with reality, and turning into pure fantasy? How does your own writing attempt to counter this trend, if indeed you acknowledge its existence?
Dario Tonani: Nowadays the future permeates every corner of our lives, it seeps into our every activity, it’s everywhere: given this state of affairs, it’s quite understandable how a literary genre which by its very nature is measured against tomorrow ends up losing its seductive power even before its driving force. Maybe the genre will turn its attention elsewhere, perhaps to fantasy or to so-called paranormal fiction. At a time when the future is presented in images – just think of film, TV, advertising, video games – it seems of little interest that science fiction authors use the medium of words to describe it. And because progress is just so fast, science fiction can become a subject that is entirely credible. Clarke said that ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’, perhaps it’s for this reason we SFauthors have slipped out of our groove – through a total lack of ability to keep pace with the developments of science and technology. I genuinely don’t believe it’s surrender. It looks more like responsible awareness; there’s no point in making risky predictions when you can simply take a path and follow it, in a word ‘fantasise’. And fantasising, entertain. I’ve never wanted to describe something before it became evident to anybody else, I just want to recount my ideas and dreams. I’ve written stories that stand proudly on just one big toe of consistency. I’m not interested in comfortable shoes soled in sound scientific basis. I don’t have to convince anyone, let alone sell a possible or probable future. I’m just a poor Argonaut…
- Jo Walton reviews Zenna Henderson’s Ingathering.
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @SciFi Wire, Paul Di Filippo asks: Could a sci-fi writer win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
- Gareth L Powell discusses The Role of Science Fiction.
- Nancy Kress talks about The New Publishing Model.
- At Tor.com, David Pucik looks at Steampunk Gaming
- Meanwhile, Sci-Fi Fan Letter offers this Steampunk Reading List.
- Just a quick reminder that Free Speculative Fiction Online has been catching up with posting some links to free fiction that’s been around awhile. Check out their new additions.
- Can’t get enough of those genre-fied clasics? Jeff VanderMeer has your next dose.
- Damien G. Walter now has his own domain name.
- @Roberson’s Interminable Ramble: Episode 17 of Gary the Cylon. Hilarious!
- What do you get when you cross Green Lantern with your favorite breakfast cereal? This.
- @SCI FI Wire: Sci-fi’s sexy scientists ranked by hotness/plausibility
- Fandomania has a nice gallery of H.P. Lovecraft Fan Art.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- @SCI FI Wire, Paul Di Filippo asks: Do classic science fiction stories still matter?
- @SFFMedia: Why science fiction authors just can’t win.
- @Cinematical: Why Zombies Make Better Horror Movies Than Vampires.
- @The World in the Satin Bag: Entrenched Opposition: Science Fiction Ain’t There Yet (Part 1).
- @Orbit: A. Lee Martinez on Silly Fantasies.
- Jo Walton on C.J. Cherryh’s Chanur Trilogy: “I don’t know quite how they managed to get under my skin the way they did.”
- Michael Swanwick has re-posted his Periodic Table of Science Fiction.
- VG Cats take on media tie-ins. (Thanks, Tim!)
- New cover art trend: Crouching Heroine, Hidden Midriff. Didn’t that win the Oscar for Best Picture?
- @Topless Robot: The 5 Best (and 5 Worst) David Tennant Doctor Who Episodes.
- @Zombos’ Closet of Horror: 16 Favorite Horror Movies.
- @Mish Sci Fi Musings: Top 10 Favorite Sci Fi Quotes
- A couple of SciFi titles make the list of The 10 of the Most Disturbing Books of All Time.
- Tim Powers confirms earlier rumors: “I can now say that Disney optioned On Stranger Tides and will use elements of the book in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.” On Stranger Tides is about a pirate named Jack who goes in search of the Fountain of Youth
- Interviews & Profiles:
- Forrest J. Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland has been revived as a website. Like the magazine, the new website, Famous Monsters of Filmland “pays tribute to the monsters of old while keeping up with all things current in the world of genre.”
- Paul Di Filippo reviews new volumes by Roger Zelazny. [via Locus Online]
- Articulate stumbles upon the cool illustration of The Librarian who is made out of books, drawn by DeviantArt use amartinsdebarros.
- Listen to Louisville, KY’s 89.3 WFPL radio broadcast of The Subversive Side of Science Fiction, which features Amy Sturgis and James Gunn. [via Geekend]
- EVENT: A reading of Poe: 19 New Tales, with Editor Ellen Datlow, Gregory Frost and John Langan – Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.in the Poe Room of the Enoch Pratt Central Library in Baltimore, MD
- The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf has a fascinating gallery that shows The Evolution of The Martian Chronicles Book Cover (1950-2009).
- Tron Guy will make an appearance in Comedy Central’s Tosh.0.
- SuperPunch points us to some cool photos of Johnny Lightning’s 1950′s Batmobile Diecast model, a post in the Batman collectors’ blog Under the Giant Penny. Cool name. Get the reference?
- Real Science: The Cassini takes really pretty pictures of Saturn. [via Stone Dead Parrot]
- Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast-interviews Kay Kenyon (City Without End).
- Blogging the Muse interviews Patricia Bray.
- The Willamette Writers honored Phyllis Irene Radford with a lifetime achievement award.
- Jayme Lynn Blaschke has the scoop on SFWA’s statement regarding the proposed Google book settlement.
- Authors reviewing books: Paul Di Filippo reviews Karl Schroeder’s The Sunless Countries.
- Jason Heller is Fantasy Magazine‘s new Book Editor.
- Cherie Priest’s thoughts on steampunk.
- Bibliophile Stalker on The Difficulty of Pricing eBooks (Part II).
- io9 lists Top 10 Silliest Alien Prosthetics.
- Star Wars Tidbits: