Then I got to moderate a panel on robotics, AI, and sci-fi at Columbia University’s BRITE conference with a NASA astronaut, a PhD from the New School, a decorated fantasy/sci-fi author, and the director of the PKD Film Festival. Now, I’m moderating another panel at Silicon Valley Comic-Con. My editor and I are heading out to San Jose on the 20th to hit the show floor as press, then we’ll be presenting on Saturday. In short:
If you want to come see the panel, it’s on Saturday April 22nd, 2017, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Room 211ABCD. The title is “Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars,” and we’ve got a kick-ass panel of experts lined up. I’ll be running the discussion and queuing the laser light show.
This was so much fun. The panel was titled “T-1000 to HAL 9000: How Realistic Are Hollywood’s Robots?”, and we got together NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, sci-fi writer Matt Kressel, Professor Peter Asaro, and Dan Abella, the director of the PKD Film Festival. The panel starts at 2:26:00 in the video (it should automatically start there).
First, I’m taking on the temporary title of Interim Managing Editor for Outer Places, the sci-fi/science site where I work! My official title is Staff Editor, but until a new managing editor is found, I’ll be taking on that role and managing OP’s output and marketing. I’ll probably be heading out to SDCC, WonderCon, and NYCC this coming year to help cover events and speak on new panels too, which is amazing!
Second, Clarkesworld Magazine accepted my new pitch for an essay on magic and worldbuilding! For the past several years I’ve been bugged by magic in different books and games, especially The Elder Scrolls, because it’s often treated like a science where mages can ‘experiment’ and harness ‘magical energy.’ The way I see it, treating magic like science will inevitably create a domino effect within the fantasy world that leads it to turn into a world like ours, one where magic is harnessed like any other natural phenomenon. Magic will stop being magic, and Middle-Earth will become just ‘Earth’.
Third, I submitted a presentation proposal to GIFCON, the Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations convention, outlining a lecture I want to give on ARGs and The Rats in The Walls, my April 2015 project. I got an email last week that my proposal is under consideration, and that I should hear back around mid-January. We’ll see!
Two weeks ago, I started writing for Outer Places, a website dedicated to science fiction and science. It’s been tremendously exciting to work with them, and it means I can continue funding my jetskiing, milk-drinking playboy superstar lifestyle here in New York by writing about some of the coolest news and scientific discoveries on the Internet. Why do I do it?
I wanted to share some of the articles I’ve written so far for Outer Places, not because I’m shilling for OP now, but because I’m actually proud of (and excited by) a few of them. Ignore the clickbait-y titles.
Six Sci-Fi Masterpieces That Put Insane Detail Into Things You Didn’t Notice
This one I actually wrote a couple years ago to be a Cracked listicle, before Cracked stopped doing those. It deals with Neon Genesis: Evangelion, Serial Experiments Lain, H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon, and Menton3’s Monocyte, along with Dune and Asimov’s short story Nightfall.
The Artist Behind the Death Star Talks About His Art & Life
This article came from a Reddit AMA today with Colin Cantwell, the man who designed the Millennium Falcon, Death Star, X-Wing, and a bunch of other starships in Star Wars. He also worked with Stanley Kubrick on 2001 and Walter Cronkite during the Apollo 11 moon landings.
A New Experiment Just Teleported a Particle and Pioneered the Quantum Internet
This one came from the University of Calgary, which apparently conducted research that may pave the way for long-distance communication using quantum entanglement. I snuck some references to Mass Effect 2 and Half-Life in there.
LIVESTREAM: Elon Musk Says We Need These Four Things to Colonize Mars
This was absolutely incredible. Today, Elon Musk got on a livestream and laid out plans to create a “self-sustaining city” on Mars, along with the four key concepts that need to be implemented to create an Interplanetary Travel System. What really struck me was that, during the question and answer period, Musk said that his two primary goals with the project were to keep human consciousness alive in the face of a planet-wide catastrophe (practical) and to create something to inspire us when we look toward our future (idealistic).
And for those of you who caught the debate last night, you all know who I’m voting for.