Tag: science fiction

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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Virtual reality

My first novel is coming out next month. Entitled Soulworm, it’s a young adult fantasy set mostly in Weyburn–sort of. For plot purposes, I moved the hospital of my fictional Weyburn up onto South Hill. With just a few words, I created an artificial reality, distinguishable from the real thing only by those who have …

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Science fiction prophecies

I wrote last week about attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Winnipeg. You didn’t seriously think I was going to limit myself to just one column, did you? All those science topics I talked about last week were included in the convention because science fiction concerns itself with “the shape of things to come,” …

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ConAdian: The 1994 World Science Fiction Convention

On Friday evening I attended a fascinating lecture by Dr. Jack Cohen, one of the world’s leading reproductive biologists. On Sunday, I attended an equally fascinating lecture by Dr. William Sarjeant, a geologist at the University of Saskatchewan. I wasn’t at a scientific conference or a university lecture series: I was at ConAdian–the 52nd World …

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Big ideas

At this time of year it’s traditional to make resolutions concerning the new year, review the old year or preview the coming year. Well, I don’t normally make resolutions; reviewing the old year is done far better by others; and previewing the coming year would involve precognition–which I don’t believe in. There is, however, one …

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