VentureBeat: Can AI write an episode of Stargate? Google AI took on the challenge. “For the cult classic Stargate science fiction franchise, which spanned three series (SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe), character and plot development was helmed by Stargate co-creator Brad Wright. In 2021, Wright publicly posted a message on Twitter asking if it was possible for AI to write an episode of Stargate that would appear on SciFi insider site The Companion. None other than Laurence Moroney, AI lead at Google, responded by picking up the gauntlet to try and prove what AI could do.– though he wasn’t initially worried that AI would replace him or other writers.”
The Verge: Today I learned that the Death Star is the size of the Olympic Peninsula. “Park My Spaceship is the simple, extremely amusing app I didn’t know I needed. It allows you to superimpose to-scale images of notable spacecraft from sci-fi shows and movies over Google Maps. That’s it. It’s great. You can check to see if Serenity would fit in your backyard or if the Millennium Falcon could land in your neighborhood park.” Not new, but new-to-me.
Lifehacker: 15 Sci-Fi Podcasts to Listen to When You Need a Break From This Reality. “What follows are 15 of the best and most interesting sci-fi podcasts in this reality, representing a wide array of styles and sub-genres: from full-cast productions to stories told by a single narrator, from cyberpunk to adventures with aliens, they’re all the products of talented creators shooting their freaky, whacked-out, forward-looking ideas directly into our brains—via our ears.” Slideshow, but well-annotated.
Boing Boing: Ursula K. Le Guin’s blog archives back online. “After her death, Ursula K. Le Guin’s blog eventually went offline. But it’s now back and now stands as a remarkable memoir, embarked upon by the the illustrious author at 81 years old.”
Smithsonian Magazine: A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G. “In the summer of 1987, movie audiences first met Robocop in the science fiction classic about violence and corrupt corporate power in a future, dystopian Detroit. But the title word is much older than that, going back at least to a 1957 short story by writer Harlan Ellison, in which a tentacled “robocop” pursues a character. The prefix ‘robo-,’ in turn, dates at least to 1945, when Astounding Science Fiction published a story by A.E. van Vogt mentioning ‘roboplanes’ flying through the sky…. This is the kind of rabbit hole a reader can go down in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, a resource decades in the making that is now available to the public in an accessible form. Lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower started the project years ago, when he was an editor at the Oxford English Dictionary.
Tor: Look Up That SF Term in the New Online Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. “The crowd-sourced project comes from Jesse Sheidlower, a former editor-at-large from the Oxford English Dictionary—it originated as an OED initiative, and is now a standalone site. The dictionary is designed to not only put definitions to the genre’s terminology, but to show how those words have been used over time.”
Penn State News: Behrend professor leading effort to create a digitized ‘Frankenstein’. “In 2017, [Elisa] Beshero-Bondar joined colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland in an effort to digitally collate all five versions of ‘Frankenstein’: Shelley’s original draft, written in 1816 for a ghost story challenge at the home of the poet Lord Byron; the manuscript published in 1818; the ‘Thomas copy,’ in which Shelley had hand-written edits in the margins of the 1818 book; the 1823 version, which was published by Shelley’s father and was the first to recognize her as the author; and the 1831 edition, which is the version most familiar to anyone who read ‘Frankenstein’ in high school or college.” The entire manuscript collection is not online yet; it’s about 1/3 complete.
io9: Some of the Scientific Minds Behind the UK’s Coronavirus Response Have Helped Fund a New Sci-Fi Pandemic Comic
io9: Some of the Scientific Minds Behind the UK’s Coronavirus Response Have Helped Fund a New Sci-Fi Pandemic Comic. “io9 can exclusively reveal the first look at Planet DIVOC-91, a 9-part satirical sci-fi webcomic being produced by Dr Bella Starling, Director of Vocal at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Sara Kenney, Creative Director at Wowbagger Productions, in association with the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. Featuring a cavalcade of comics talent across each chapter, Planet DIVOC-91 wants to tell a fictional, sometimes absurd story about an intergalactic pandemic while educated readers about the threats faced closer to home with our current grasp of the novel coronavirus crisis.”
ZDNet: How to binge watch some great classic sci-fi for free. ” Are you SO BORED YOU COULD SCREAM?!? Yeah, you’re not alone. And while I can’t provide you with any new science fiction on TV, or even reassure you that there will EVER be new science fiction on TV, I can take you down memory lane, into the ultra-secret vaults where some classic science fiction series have gone to hide out the pandemic.”
Penn Today: ‘May the force be with you’ and other fan fiction favorites. “As a new Star Wars movie hits the multiplex, Penn researchers are launching a new computer-based tool to better understand fiction written by fans based on that blockbuster series and several other famous film franchises.”
BoingBoing: You can purchase science fiction novels written by artificial intelligence. “Even the covers to this collection of AI-written science fiction novels were created by AI. The reviews are also written by AI. Titles include Bitches of the Points, Auro-Minds and the Hungers, The Table in 10, and Breath Chanter.”
The Daily Dot: Nonprofit fanfiction database Archive of Our Own wins a Hugo. “Archive of Our Own (AO3), the fan-run, nonprofit website that’s home to more than 5 million transformative works like fanfiction, fanart, and podfics, won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards at Worldcon Sunday night.”
Via Reddit, I learned about a new database of Star Trek books. From the About page: “The purpose of this website is to provide a searchable database of Star Trek novels to make it easier for fans of written Star Trek fiction to find books to read. This unofficial database allows you to find books by keyword, author, series, captain, starship, TV show and year. I have attempted to sort all books in chronological order using the various sources listed below, but there were some contradictions and inconsistencies.”