I'm getting fairly tired of science fiction set in the near or medium future where society and motivations are an extension of modern life. I'd like something set so far in the future that there is nothing that really calls back to earth politics or history or culture, or something which may well be in an alternate universe because earth-like things never even come up. [more inside]
So I started reading the "Legacy of the Aldenata" books of John Ringo, and halfway through book three ("When the devil dances") I lost interest in it. Nonetheless, I would like to know how it all got resolved in the end, but couldn't get good spoilers on the Net. Now, how did the humans defeat those 12 billion Possleens on Earth, did they clash with the Darhel about their sinister plans, are they taking the fight to the Possleens, what happened to Michael O'Neil, any high points, please enlighten me!
I enjoy SF/F short fiction that takes a wide view of a sub-genre or universe, evoking its possibilities without spending much time on any given situation/episode. I can offer some examples, but I would be glad to read more. [more inside]
All of my laptops inevitably, inexorably slow down noticeably, way before they should. I know this happens with all computers. I am reasonably tech-savvy. But my current ThinkPad slowed down in the first three months. I want someone to take my laptop, figure out what's making it slow (software and/or hardware), and fix it all. I just want my computer to not be slow. Does such a person exist in SF? Who are they, where can I find them, and how much do they charge?
Looking for advice on a long drive [more inside]
I teach math to high schoolers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'd like to get them out of the classroom on a field trip to a local math-themed destination. Any suggestions? [more inside]
I recently had the displeasure of encountering Philip K. Dick's "The Pre-Persons" for the first time. What other SF stories or novels by name authors are waiting to affront my political sensibilities? [more inside]
I'm considering attending a six-month web development bootcamp in San Francisco that runs from October to April, and I'm wondering what I can expect to pay for housing. I'm interested in learning both about cheaper arrangements like SROs in Chinatown and housing oriented towards students, as well as about what it might cost to get a room in a "normal" multi-bedroom apartment for that period. [more inside]
I have NEVER had my hair professionally cut or styled. It's way past time, but (like many things in life) the longer I wait, the harder it is. I also have a very long list of special requests. What should I do in order to have hair I love again? [more inside]
A friend asked me this and I'm coming up blank: I remember an old SF story ('50s or earlier) about a person living at a time when everything is run by computers (i.e. now) and he is entered has having died, so the system cancels all his ID, freezes his bank account, won't recognise him as alive, and he ends up living in the cracks (he can't be arrested because he's dead, etc.) Can you remember which story this is?
Where does the elision of universe to 'verse originate? I know it from the television show Firefly (aired late 2002) and recently noticed it used casually in The Chronicles of Riddick (released mid-2004), but it seemed unlikely that the screenwriter would appropriate a bit of slang connected to someone else's failed project from barely a year earlier. It seems to me I have heard it again since, but I cannot recall where. I read very little sf these days; did both these I mention draw it from elsewhere?
Who was it that spoke out against works of fiction with characters and plots similar to 'Slan,' in which the sympathetic protagonist is innately, biologically, invisibly superior or special for some reason, and is persecuted or otherwise struggles because of it? [more inside]
I usually get suggestions from friends on things to watch, but they seem to have run out of things that appeal to me. I like crime drama, horror, SF, and intelligent comedy. Do you have any suggestions? Things that do/don't appeal to me beneath the fold. [more inside]
After a conference next week, my coworker and I have a day to kill in SF. We'll have a rental we're driving up from San Jose. And we need to be at SFO at 10pm. I'm making this MUCH harder than it needs to be. (snowflake details within) [more inside]
RecoFilter: I'm looking for recommendations of books, preferably in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, that have a 'big reveal' somewhere in there that changes the whole perspective of the book or protagonist. Examples would be The Inverted World, The Prestige, or Ender's Game, for example, or the first Star Trek film, or some Lovecraft stories — the whole thing, and all events narrated, appear in a different light after, you know? [more inside]
For an upcoming project I'm putting together what's meant to be a comprehensive timeline of important (even "necessary") works of American science fiction since the late 19th century. [more inside]
I really like reading Atomic Rockets at Project Rho. But I want to take it around with me in an easily digestible form. Can anybody recommend books that have the same sort of content and a similar feel? Not science fiction, but books about the science of science fiction. [more inside]
I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
In the Man Kzin wars books there's a recurring protagonist called Dimity Carmody. Whilst technically human it's emphasised that she's somewhat inhuman psychologically to the point she's almost regarded as an alien. I liked the character and would like to read more fiction with similar characters - what's out there?
Say I'm in the SF downtown area or thereabouts (I'm visiting, my geography is vague), what might be a nice local item to take to a dinner party as a gift (on a modest budget)? it could be dessert, it could be some kind of liquor, it could be some other snacks... thanks for any suggestions!
We need three ice cream trucks to park at three specific locations in the SF mission district for an hour or so this Sunday. Help! [more inside]
This question was helpful, but I need something from a slightly different direction for my husband who is out of Culture books: the humanist angle is great, but really looking for thoughtful left-anarchist SF in particular, "upbeat but not saccharine." [more inside]
I've got three mornings to kill in San Francisco. What should I do? [more inside]
I need to find someone in San Francisco to hook up my washing machine. Suggestions? [more inside]
Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it? [more inside]
Help me remember a story where Florida is nuked by the US government and it's blamed on terrorists to justify authoritarian measures. I thought it was a John Brunner novel.... [more inside]
All I remember is the macguffin is time travel, and the setting is a time period that I think may be similar to the few generations before and after the Roman occupation of Gaul. There may have been a murder mystery thrown in. The book was in English, I suspect by an American author. [more inside]
Please help me find as much short (8,000 words or less) dystopian fiction and literary theory (any length) as possible! Anthologies are fine. It can be on the internet or in book/magazine/any purchasable form. It can be famous; it can be obscure. Anything goes, really! [more inside]
I'm spending New Year's in San Francisco so my partner and I can get married (no gay marriage allowed in Montana, so we're headed to the home state of both our families). We plan to be there with our parents and siblings for the event, but are not sure what to do with ourselves on the day of the 1st. [more inside]
In search of accessible contemporary SF—help! [more inside]
So I told my partner you guys were amazing at locating obscure SF stories. Can you help him find this one? About 1970-72 I read an SF anthology with a story I've lately been trying to find on the Google with no luck. Said story involved a protagonist asked by friends to accompany them on a night out playing a game/sport he'd never heard of called, if I remember right, "torming." He said yes though he was too embarrassed to admit he'd never heard of it. It turned out to involve (avoiding potential spoilers here) tech well beyond the 1970s. Ring any bells? Googling "torming" is less than helpful. I may have misremembered the sport's name. Thanks!
I'm trying to remember a science fiction story about a peaceful future in which there are only women and a time-traveling man shows up wanting adventure ("What, you don't have war? No soldiers?"), and I can't remember the title and can't google it up. Maybe by Joanna Russ? (End-of-story spoiler inside.) [more inside]
I'm looking for the name of this classic SF story about a handful of astronauts stranded in space in radio contact but slowly drifting away from each other and running out of air. [more inside]
I like reading reviews of books, both to learn about new things to read, and to gain insight on things I've already read. Right now, almost all the books I'm reading are science fiction and fantasy. What are the best, most comprehensive sites that review books in these genres? I'm looking for review quality above your standard Amazon reviews—not just rehashing the plot with "I liked it" or "I didn't like it", but thoughtful, high quality analysis.
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]