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Help Wanted at the Climate Policy Sausage Factory

This post is inspired by a real-life issue I'm dealing with, and there are so many possibilities, I figured it would make a great early August chew toy for the group. The basic issue is adaptation to climate change. If...

Paging Agent 007

History: is it about kings, dates, and battles, or the movement of masses and the invisible hand of macroeconomics? There's something to be said for both theories, but I have a new, countervailing theory about the 21st century (so far);...

Crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit

Hi: I'm back. And a regular commenter asked me an interesting question anent the state of current US/UK politics: how much money can you make by crying fire in a crowded theatre? Note that "crowded theatre" and "crying fire" are...

Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks

The Nightmare Stacks has been reissued in paperback in the UK and as a lower cost ebook in the USA, and The Delirium Brief is nearly upon us, so it's about time for me to write my usual crib sheet...

Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?

You know exactly what I mean. It's the subgenre that that bears the same relation to Space Opera that Sword & Sorcery bears to Heroic Fantasy. But it doesn't have a name! And though I'm half a century late to the game, I think we should call it "Star Punk". Here's why.

The sudden eruption of news

Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, has just announced her intention of calling a UK-wide general election to be held on June 8th. (She will have to bypass the 2011 Parliament Act, achieve a 2/3rds majority, or call a vote of...

2117 revisited

Where are we going to be, a century from now? Let's go back and chew on this old bone again--from a different angle. Let me first eliminate from discussion a bunch of possible outcomes I'm not interested in examining. Total...

Some notes on the worst-case scenario

Confession time: I'm an optimist, especially about the ideas of social progress that emerged in Europe at the end of the middle ages and became mainstream in western politics in the early 20th century. I called the outcome of the...

And the Rabid Nazi Raccoons shall inherit the Earth

So here's the final (only slightly late) installment of my predictions for 2017. Have a happy new year!...

Children and War Toys and Violent Video Games and Action Stories

Yes, I had in fact spent the afternoon teaching (my best recollection of) World War Two Infantry tactics to the son of a local clergyman and peace activist.

Just plain icky

So every so often a random news article bites me on the world-building toe. Yesterday's came via Ars Technica in the shape of a very interesting research study on cultural attitudes to traditionalism and national parasite stress (Original source). To...

Evolver

I'd like to give you a happy fun thought experiment to chew on. It's 2016. And it's been a bad year. Let's imagine that it's about to get infinitely worse for everyone, and by December 31st, 2016, the human species...

Cyberpunk 2.0: Political economy, energy, and the future US

Yeah, totally boring academic title, but there's a point to it. Here in this online community, we tend to err on the side of rational analysis, and I'm going to be a stinker and point out how much politics shapes...

Why Should You Care About Virtual Reality? Because It's A Source Of Hope.

h2{font-size: 150%; font-weight: bold;margin-top: 30px;} ul{font-size:medium !important} This is a guest post by filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, and now Virtual Reality developer Hugh Hancock. Virtual Reality's here. Woo. Yay. More tech toys. The UK just voted to leave the EU. Trump's...

Competition Time!

There are only 30 days to go until the UK release of The Nightmare Stacks, and to celebrate, my UK publisher Orbit are giving one lucky and inventive reader the chance to win a Laundry Files pack, including signed...

Upcoming Appearances: Washington DC and Baltimore

Upcoming events Next week I'm going to be in Washington DC and Baltimore. The primary reason I'm going is because it's the 50th Balticon SF convention this Memorial Day weekend and, as a previous guest of honor, they've invited me...

Three Unexpectedly Good Things VR Will Probably Cause

h2{font-size: 150%; font-weight: bold;margin-top: 30px;} ul{font-size:medium !important} This is a guest post by VR developer Hugh Hancock, creator of Vive horror/RPG Left-Hand Path. OK, at this point we can call it. VR is definitely here, it works, and it's not...

Some notes on world building

Last Sunday I gave a brief talk discussing world-building in SF/F at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. I've been quiet since then because of a combination of work and a stomach bug. Meanwhile, here's the outline for my talk. (Yes,...

Introducing new guest blogger: V.E. Schwab

Hi there, I'm Victoria "V.E." Schwab, and Charlie has been gracious enough to let me join the party. I'm the author of numerous books for children (Scholastic), teens (Hyperion, Harper/Greenwillow), and adults (Tor), and my most recent series, A...

A world-building puzzler

I get mail. And sometimes I want to share it with you. Especially when it's email like this one, from Jacques Mattheij: Question for you: One HN thread caused me to wonder about this: What would a technological society look...

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