So I'm a dedicated Culture fanatic and have loved almost everything I've read by Iain M. Banks. (His Iain Banks stuff is pretty good too, but his sci-fi is what I really dig.) I particularly love the holistic, humanist morality that pervades his work and the way that he digs right down into the philosophical implications of various ideas and worldviews while simultaneously serving up lots and lots of sex, action, and sensawunda. However, I've read everything he's written several times over. What should I read next? [more inside]
I am looking for suggestions for spots in San Francisco or East Bay, public transportation accessible, for folks to meet up for a small, professional meet-up group. [more inside]
I once saw a show, which I remember as being from The Outer Limits, where two people discover that reality isn't as they thought. [more inside]
Many monsters in fiction are scary in large part because of their inherent, biological abilities: acid blood, teeth, claws, wings, etc. Inspired by this tumblr thread (via this Omni article), I'm looking for stories in any genre that avoid or (preferably) subvert this trope, making humans out to be inherently frightening, gross or dangerous.
I'm looking for cooking classes in SF. My ideal would be a multi-week, multi-day-a-week type course, but I'd also be open to one off, or maybe a weekend series. The only things I've been able to find online are "make pasta then eat it!" type things which are fine, but ideally I'd like something a bit more serious oriented towards teaching people who to make delicious, repeatable, high-quality food. Anyone have any suggestions?
Are there any relatively comprehensive bibliographic encyclopedias of science fiction pulp short story publications that I haven't found? [more inside]
So, I'm starting tentatively to plunk out the first few pages of what I imagine will become a first draft of a first novel. It's aimed somewhere in the range of a very-near future, with some decidedly speculative features and technologies. No spaceships, no aliens, no dragons, no ray guns. I'd like it to be something like the novels of William Gibson and Gary Shteyngart, though I don't presume to compare the quality of what I'm working on to their works, which I truly admire. Both of those guys have published what are clearly SF novels, outside of genre SF. What are the advantages and disadvantages of attempting that, rather than selling to the SF publishing houses?
Apparently lodging has taken a jump up in San Francisco since I was last there. Also August 2nd seems to already be booking up. I remember staying at Beresford Arms and on Lombard St. for around $100. They are booked or don't exist anymore. I've adjusted up to $150 and I'm still having trouble While I dither things are being booked. Plan B or C is to Airport and Bart in or Oakland and Bart in. I've seen the other SF lodging posts and those seem to be gone too. Please help.
I'm a first time renter in SF and I'm not sure exactly what happens when my lease expires. [more inside]
Wracking my brain trying to think of a short sci-fi story I read recently, I think in an anthology from within the last couple years. The story was about the relationship arc between a man convinced that technocratic solutions could be found to eliminate the messiness of politics and a woman who was more skeptical. Early in the story the female protagonist rescues a relative of the man's from a near-drowning in California when a computer failure causes his smart-surfboard to fail or something like that. The bulk of the story is set in Washington DC where the woman leads a lobbying effort against broad introduction of further ubiquitous computer controlled systems. Whether or not a computer-controlled traffic system is immune from exploitation was a major feature of the plot. What was it called?!
Hello! I noticed a deck being built on my roof (4 stories tall) in San Francisco. I think it is highly possible that they are putting in a hot tub (which I am stoked about) because there are drainage holes in the tiled floor of the deck they built, as well as plumbing. Anybody here experience the process of installing a hot tub on a roof? How do they get a hot tub up there? Are there any resources that talk about installation of hot tubs on existing roofs? I tried flexing my Google fu to no avail and this subject matter intrigues me so.
She did a lot of research on her own & needed an expert to bounce ideas off. She found a sympathetic receptionist who connected her with a scientist who over several calls, said "nope", "nope", "nope", "oh, uhmmm... yeah, that might work". [more inside]
One of us can't eat gluten or nightshades (peppers, tomatoes.) One of us is a vegetarian and doesn't eat seafood, and one will eat meat but not seafood. None of us care about cocktails or wine lists. What are some reasonably-priced (aim for under $40/person, will consider more), no-reservations, sit-down, casual/smart casual restaurants that we all might enjoy? Bonus points for a menu also excluding peanuts/peanut oil, extra super bonus points for Richmond/Sunset area.
I have somehow managed to live in SF for several years without a parking permit, but I am going to need one shortly. Can I get an annual parking permit without changing my car's registration information? [more inside]
I'm going to SF with my partner for our first wedding anniversary - yay! We've been before and have seen some of the sights (list after the break), but are looking for things we might have missed, awesome places we haven't eaten at, great things we haven't seen, etc, so we can make the most of it. Only limiting factor: neither of us drive. [more inside]
Can you name yet another short story for me? This humorous SF story appeared in the National Lampoon decades ago; I found it in a Lampoon anthology where it was very out of place. The story was written as a transcription of a tape made by academics who had gone to a small town in Appalachia to take an oral history. The county was named Tempura County or Teriyaki County, or something else that was obviously a Japanese food. The main figure of the story was a friendly but powerful and unpredictable entity called Cyrus. [more inside]
Where can I get some absentee alien stories? [more inside]
I recently read Berlin Noir, The City and The City and Chasm City, and was looking for recommendations for sci-fi detective fiction, or detective fiction that reads like sci-fi. [more inside]
What are the best resources/avenues/contract agencies to get hooked up with regarding getting a marketing job (digital/online) within the Bay Area (California). [more inside]
Mr. Liet and I have a day and a half in San Francisco. What should we do? [more inside]
What generic thank-you gift (between $10-20) can I give to someone working in SF when the only contact information I have is their iPhone number? [more inside]
I like science fiction books that are placed in the general fiction section - but for me they are hard to find on Amazon or in libraries. Examples of these kinds of books are The Sparrow, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Oryx and Crake, Cloud Atlas and The Dog Stars ... but I need more new stuff - any suggestions?
I'm looking for recommendations of a good plumber in the Bay Area, ideally SF [more inside]
I'd like to donate some money to an organization that helps mentally ill homeless people in San Francisco. Which organization would give me the most "bang for my buck"? [more inside]
Can you point me to some (non-prosthetic) scifi/fantasy makeup looks? [more inside]
Asking for a friend: Name that book ... SF [more inside]
What is a realistic path to becoming a published SF author? [more inside]
You have wanderlust, a little money, and unexpectedly, a free month or two. What do you do? [more inside]
Does anyone know where I can get a good scalp massage in San Francisco? [more inside]
What's this humorous SF mystery? [more inside]
What interesting writing has been done on the overlaps between Gene Wolfes "Book of the new sun and Iain M. Banks Culture novels? [more inside]
What (probably 70s or 80s-era) science fiction novel involved colonizing an alien world which was inherently hostile to the human protagonists but which had a native population of vampire-like creatures who were similar enough to humans to "pass?" (Possibly shapeshifters.) I thought it was C.J. Cherryh's Faded Sun books, but it isn't – although I think I read it around the same time that I read those books in omnibus.
Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five whose death does not merit a "So it goes"?
Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five whose death does not merit a "So it goes"? [more inside]
A few months ago, I booked an incredible deal on a flight to spend 4 days next week in or around San Francisco. Life got busy, and I still haven't made any actual plans for what we're going to do, or where we're going to stay. We've been to SF a few times before, and want to rent a car and explore the area surrounding the city this time around -- particularly to the North. Any budget-friendly suggestions? [more inside]
Just moved to SF. What can I do to meet like-minded people and make friends around here? [more inside]
What's the best SF series broadcasting right now? [more inside]
Speculative fiction about historical gradualism: I'm looking for SF stories which begin in the real historical world (past or present) and then gradually diverge from it, without any single decisive turning point. [more inside]
give me your tired, your poor, your huddled Swamp Things yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Looking for your favorite works of environmentally conscious and ecologically focused science fiction and fantasy. Obscurities preferred! [more inside]
I'm looking for contemporary SF/Sci-fi/Speculative Fiction journals. [more inside]
What's open in SF on Monday (Labor Day)? Places for brunch? Non-super-touristy things to do? [more inside]
What are your suggestions for a casual, inexpensive restaurant close to a Bart station in San Francisco? [more inside]
Where is the best place to view the 2012 Geminids meteor shower (Dec 13/14) in the SF Bay Area..... where there will NOT be any chance of fog?
Where is the best place to view the 2012 Geminids meteor shower (Dec 13/14) in the SF Bay Area..... where there will NOT be any chance of fog? [more inside]
I'm looking for the San Francisco equivalent of Australia's UniLodge - basic student housing without tons of frills. Do they exist? [more inside]
I'm going to Palo Alto/Menlo Park tomorrow. I'm going to have an afternoon to kill by myself -- if I only have one afternoon, what should I do, and where should I eat in the South Bay Area? [more inside]
What Hospital(s) would a tourist who had an accident in San Francisco likely be sent to? [more inside]
Recommendations for singing/vocal coaches in the SF Bay area that work well with a rock/pop/punk energetic vibe? [more inside]
What could slow down the pace of change (religious/scientific/economic/cultural) in a civilization? (Please see specific details inside.) [more inside]
Upscale and downscale food, drink and adventure in SF for 4-Jul Week? [more inside]
Where can I find cheap(ish) last minute-hotel accommodations in or around San Francisco? [more inside]