Toh EnJoe is the award-winning author of a number of short stories, and now a short story collection/not-quite novel Self-Reference ENGINE. This collection, translated from the original Japanese by Terry Gallagher for Haikasoru Press, is a mind-bending collection of post-singularity fiction, surrealism, and humor.
With the able help of Haikasoru’s translation team, we bring you this interview with the author, former mathematical physicist Toh EnJoe!
Karen Burnham: Thanks very much for taking the time for this interview! Your book, Self-Reference ENGINE, is structured differently than a novel and also differently than a typical short story collection. Could you explain what people will find in the book and what your intention was in structuring it in such a unique way?
REVIEW SUMMARY: Frighteningly plausible cyberpunk.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following the events of the first book, Kaden Lane is on the run with bounty hunters in hot pursuit. Sam, having gone rogue, has finally found inner peace in the presence of special children born with Nexus connection. The Post-Human Liberation Front has found a way to weaponize Nexus in a frightening way and the United States government is taking drastic steps to fight such emerging risks.
PROS: Expands on the foundation of the original in a big way; continued character development; lots of character diversity; super-cool tech; moral ambiguity; intense action; lays the groundwork for future entries without coming across as filler.
CONS: A lessened presence of the Buddhism I found so cool and interesting in the first novel.
BOTTOM LINE: A worthy sequel that reads like a mash-up of Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy, Naam’s cyberpunk thriller is even better than the original.
The Mythgard Institute, home to learning courses geared towards genre fans, introduces a new course for the Fall 2013 session: Sherlock, Science and Ratiocination with Dr. Amy H. Sturgis.
Here’s the course description and video explaining what it’s about:
Sceince doesn’t have to be difficult to understand, as this serene video demonstrates.
The video creator, James Sutton, describes his video:
Animation for a hypothetical organisation, particles, that make particle physics theories relevant and interesting for the general public. This is a short explanation of the Higgs boson, which I created as part of my final year studying graphic design.
Diane Turnshek is an astronomer whose short fiction has been published in Analog Magazine and elsewhere. She teaches astronomy and experimental physics lab at Carnegie Mellon University and at the University of Pittsburgh “The Physics of Science Fiction” as well as astronomy. She’s a contributing author of Many Genres/One Craft, a 2011 award-winning book on writing. She has taught college writing classes, helped organize science fiction conferences, founded Alpha, the genre workshop for young writers, and ran the 2007 SFWA Nebula Awards in NYC. Diane has four stellar sons and an out-of-this-world boyfriend.
I am on Mars, at least that’s what it looks like here in the high desert of Utah. Six of us are living in the Mars Desert Research Station, a two-story cylindrical habitat 30 feet across with steep ladder stairs between floors. Our bunks are 4 by 11 feet and we share one bathroom. Why am I here for Christmas instead of home with my four children? For science.
We are pioneers, studying how humans could live on another planet. We’re in full sim. We eat rehydrated/dehydrated food, suffer a 20-minute lag time with communications, travel outside the Hab in spacesuits and ride ATVs in the red desert. We each pay for our travel and a flat fee for food and lodging, but what we get back is invaluable. We have forwarded the progress of science, taking humanity one small step closer to striding onto the surface of Mars.
Ramez Naam is a professional technologist, and was involved in the development of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Outlook. He was the CEO of Apex Nanotechnologies, a company involved in developing nanotechnology research software before returning to Microsoft. He holds a seat on the advisory board of the Institute for Accelerating Change, is a member of the World Future Society, a Senior Associate of the Foresight Institute, and is a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He is the recipient of the 2005 HG Wells Award for Contributions to Transhumanism, awarded by the World Transhumanist Association. Nexus, his first novel, is available in trade paperback the US and Canada on December 18th and in ebook format worldwide on the same day. It will be published in paperback in the UK on January 3rd.
The Science of “NEXUS” by Ramez Naam
Nexus is a work of fiction. But to the best of my abilities, the science described in the science fiction is fully accurate. While the idea of a technology like the Nexus drug that allows people to communicate mind-to-mind may seem far-fetched, precursors of that technology are here today.
I was very pleased to learn that yet another extrasolar planet has been discovered, this time closer to Earth than ever before. It turns out that Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system, has an Earth-like planet. Yay! However, this sort of news never manages to totally counteract the conflicted feelings I have about our prospects for deep space exploration.
Minute Physics offers a series of bite-size educational videos that make you smarterer, like this one on Quantum Mechanics…