Tag: science fiction

Star Trek tech

“Like something out of Star Trek” has become a catch-phrase for all things high-tech. But as Erik Baard points out in articles recently posted to Wired Online, we live in such a high-tech age that the Star Trek future is beginning to look more like last Thursday. As Baard notes, fans have wondered for decades …

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It’s 2001! Where’s our space odyssey?

Ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey appeared in 1968, 2001 has been one of those years, like 1984, that somehow represented “the future.” Well, guess what? 1984 came and went, and now 2001 has arrived–and with it, a spate of news stories comparing the “predictions” in the film with the reality. I think that’s a …

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ChiCon: The 2000 World Science Fiction Convention

As I mentioned last week, 6,000 people recently gathered in Chicago for the 58th annual World Science Fiction Convention, myself among them. Mention “science fiction convention” to most people and they immediately think of a Star Trek convention. However, science fiction fans have been getting together long before Star Trek penetrated the public consciousness. At …

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Robert J. Sawyer calculates God

The notion that the universe has a designer, that it didn’t occur entirely as the result of blind cosmic forces, is not one that gets a lot of attention from the media. Many people assume that all reputable scientists dismiss the notion out of hand. Many reputable scientists do–but not all. There are actually strong …

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Artificial muscles

It’s not often that a three-year-old makes a significant scientific contribution, but one did recently–inadvertantly. Ron Pelrine, a senior research engineer with Stanford Research Institute International, wanted to keep his toddler out of the refrigerator, so he and his wife purchased a latch which attached to the side of the refrigerator with a special adhesive. …

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Science fiction

My interest in science owes a lot to a form of literature my brothers introduced me to at a very early age, and which quickly became my favorite: science fiction (SF for short). Before science fiction was called that there were two writers who nevertheless get included in the genre: France’s Jules Verne and England’s …

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“Is real science killing science fiction?”

  We live in a science fiction world. Desktop computers, the World Wide Web, genetic engineering, cloning, space stations–they were all the stuff of science fiction not very many years ago. This poses a problem for today’s science fiction writers. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to write “hard” science fiction, based on real, plausible scientific thought …

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Con-Version XVI

  A couple of weeks ago my wife and I had the pleasure of once again attending ConVersion, the annual science fiction convention held in Calgary. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re picturing a bunch of oddballs in Star Trek and Star Wars costumes, sitting in the dark watching videos and yelling out the dialog in time with …

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Black holes

They were talking about black holes recently at the 189th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Toronto. New evidence of their existence was presented, along with evidence of black holes at the centers of three typical galaxies. This may prompt you to ask the question, “So what’s a black hole, and why should I …

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Con-Version XV

I just returned from a conference where the topics discussed ranged from the discovery of feathered dinosaurs to the Mars Sojourner mission to artificial intelligence. Presenters included Dr. Philip Currie of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Bridget Landry of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a micropaleontologist from the University of Saskatchewan, a medical doctor, a linguist and …

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Con-Version XIV

I just attended a convention in Calgary. I listened to and participated in panels on topics as diverse as dinosaurs, communicating the process of science to the general public, Mars, and the social responsibility of novelists. What kind of convention deals with such a wide range of fascinating topics? Only one: a science fiction convention. …

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Frankenstein

It’s a safe bet most of those who dressed as Frankenstein’s monster on Hallowe’en didn’t do so to honor the birth of a new form of literature and a new way of looking at the world–but Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, was both. At first glance, Frankenstein seems like just another Gothic novel, full of dank castles, wandering …

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