The Absolved by Matthew Binder feels like one of those books that could predict the future. It’s 2036. We follow along with the character Henri, who is a wealthy physician, husband, father, and “serial philanderer”. He is also one of the relatively few people to still have a job. Automation and other technological advances have led to unemployment so severe that many people are no longer expected to work and are now known as “The Absolved.” Meanwhile, it’s election season, and a candidate from a radical fringe party called the Luddites is calling for an end to the “Divine Rights of Machines.” After Henri is displaced from his job, two Luddite sympathizers—whom Henri has befriended at his local bar—frame him for an anti-technology terrorist act. The prospect of Henri’s salvation comes at the cost of foregoing his guiding principles in life. This new vision for the world, after all, just might prove better than the technological advancements that, paradoxically, have left humanity out in the cold. Apple Books: US$3.99
Darren Beyer is a former NASA Space Shuttle engineer at Kennedy Space Center who worked on launching and recovering more than a dozen missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope. He also conducted astronaut training and had the honor of working onboard every Space Shuttle orbiter except Challenger. In late 1998, he left NASA to become an entrepreneur, and, lately, an author.
The first result was the Anghazi series of novels, Casimir Bridge, released in 2016 to rave reviews thanks largely to his commitment to putting the science back in science fiction. The second installment, Pathogen Protocol was released in October, 2018. We chatted about Darren’s early life inspirations, his NASA career, an interesting experience with an astronaut, his scientific approach to SciFi writing, and how private industry may well send manned missions to Mars before NASA.
The Surviving Mars game is now available in the Mac App Store. The game challenges players with building a sustainable future on Mars by relying on smart resource management, key colonists, and supplies from sponsors back on Earth. First, players select their space agency, each with its own strengths and goals, and begin determining a location for the ideal colony. Once the flag has been planted, players must get to work on building habitable domes and infrastructure, research new possibilities, and utilize drones to unlock more elaborate ways to shape and expand the settlement. Experience the drama around the lives of colonists, each with individual attributes that can aid in the colony’s progress or throw a wrench in the whole endeavor. There will be a myriad of challenges to face on the red planet, but most important of all is keeping your colonists alive. Not an easy task on a strange new planet, especially with unexplained mysteries sure to pop up. App Store: Surviving Mars – US$29.99
Alec Nevala-Lee is a science fiction novelist, essayist and biographer. He’s known for the scifi novels: The Icon Thief, City of Exiles, and Eternal Empire. He’s written for Analog Science Fiction, and he’s had essays and non-fiction published in the Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Daily Beast and more. We chatted about growing up in California, the influential book that inspired him to become a writer, his early career, life at Harvard, and quitting his job to become a struggling – then successful novelist. Alec also shared a bit about his writing tools and techniques. Finally, we explored his new biography entitled: ASTOUNDING, a critical look at the life, writing and mutual influences of four famous scifi authors: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard during the Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1940s and 50s.
Check out this crazy, this stupidly cool door. It was created by one Warwick Turvey, who is, of course, an Aussie, because [Oz]. And yeah, sure, it has a hole in the door where the handle is, but who cares?!? That’s how cool it is! According to various sources who have mentioned Mr. Turvey’s work, he was inspired by video games. This YouTube incarnation of the video mentions unnamed art as an inspiration, too. All I want to know is how it’s possible that EVERY door doesn’t work this way now that we’ve seen it done!
Steven Brust is a popular science fiction author with 31 novels to his credit. He’s known for the Vlad Taltos series as well as the Khaavren romances. He’s also a musician: drummer, guitarist and banjo player, and he has a solo record out, A Rose For Iconoclastes. Like many writers, as we pondered on the show, he has a cat. We chatted about his early career as a computer programmer and the life-changing event that launched him into writing science fiction. Steven’s career has been filled with a fortunate series of happenstances, “luck,” both in the cover art of his novels and his choice of themes. Inspired by Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light, Steven writes what he’d love to read himself, and that has worked amazingly well. You’ll enjoy our chat about all things science fiction.
The Foundation series joins other science fiction series that we’ll start seeing in 2019.