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Fiction by Paolo Bacigalupi

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WINDUP GIRL nominated for the Hugo Award

Posted on Apr 9, 2010 in News, science fiction, The Windup Girl | 3 comments

Just like the headline says, THE WINDUP GIRL has made the final ballot for the Hugo Award, along with a very strong slate of other works. It’s been a wild ride with TWG, and I want to thank everyone who read the book and liked it enough to vote for it. When we launched it at last year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, I didn’t dream it would be a candidate for this sort of attention. So, again, thank you thank you thank you, and congratulations to all the other nominees. It’s an honor to be in such fine...

Neal Stephenson and perseverance

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 in Blog, science fiction, Writing |

WIRED has an excellent article on Neal Stephenson’s latest book, ANATHEM. The book sounds like a good read, but buried in the article was an informative bit of Stephenson’s back story that I wanted to pull out. His early books, a satire about big universities and an eco-thriller, were well received but not huge sellers. In search of big sales and big bucks, he collaborated with an uncle on a couple of political potboilers. “We heard that Tom Clancy had made something like $17 million the previous year and thought if we could snag 1 percent of that, we’d still be OK.” They didn’t come close, and in 1991,...

Economic Meltdown vs. Global Meltdown

Posted on Oct 1, 2008 in Blog, politics, Pump Six and Other Stories, science, science fiction, Writing | 2 comments

Pop Quiz: which of these is more important? A. The banking industry is in free fall and the problem is spreading. B. There’s methane bubbling out of the Arctic. To me, the really interesting thing about this period in history is the amount of uncertainty over what story lines will dominate our lives, moving forward. Both of the topics are obviously important, but only one of them is grabbing massive headlines. In science fiction, it’s convenient to extrapolate based on a small number of factors – say increasing computing power and network effects, or in my case, something like intense drought. As you add more variables, it becomes harder...

Optimistic CO2 Sci-Fi

Posted on Mar 10, 2008 in Blog, consumerism, green technology, politics, science fiction, Writing | 14 comments

Here’s my take on writing optimistic SF— just don’t make it consolatory pap. That’s what advertising, TV and suburban sprawl are supposed to sell. As an example, here’s the latest on the global warming front. (note: the link is changed to point directly to the Washington Post article as the MSNBC version expired) No big news, but here’s the money quote: Steve Gardiner, a philosophy professor at the University of Washington who studies climate change, said the studies highlight that the argument over global warming “is a classic inter-generational debate, where the short-term benefits of emitting carbon accrue mainly to us and where the dangers of them are largely...

Scalzi on SFWA

Posted on Feb 18, 2008 in Blog, science fiction, writing biz | 1 comment

John Scalzi has a wonderful rant about SFWA and Andrew Burt’s candidacy for president posted on his site. I also like what Charlie Finlay adds in the comments, by describing some of the problems SFWA faces beyond certain candidates themselves. I myself let my SFWA membership lapse this year. It seemed like the organization couldn’t really address, nor was it interested in addressing, a lot of what Charlie outlines. The problems with the Nebula awards are particularly odd, because they seem like such simple things to fix… and yet. In any case, during an earlier stage in my life I decided that when something is dysfunctional, it’s better not...

One step closer to Cheshires…

Posted on Dec 13, 2007 in Blog, science, science fiction, Writing |

Tip of the hat to Lou Anders who passed me this link; they’ve made glow-in-the-dark cats in Korea. When I wrote “The Calorie Man” this questionable little trick had been performed on rabbits. It provided the creative spark for Cheshires, and also formed the basis for the grain-sniffing IP enforcement dogs that show up in the beginning of the story. Two sides of the same coin: one animal that had been successfully (and safely) engineered, one that hadn’t. Now that we’ve got glow cats, it just seems like a matter of time before some designer GM critter makes it into the wild, either because it escapes captivity, or because...

The only good thing about George Lucas…

Posted on Mar 25, 2007 in Blog, science fiction, Writing |

… is that by creating “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” he gave Anthony Lane at The New Yorker the opportunity to write a review. I know this is an old piece, I know that Star Wars is a roadside accident fast receding in our rear view mirrors, and yet I’m delighted that I unearthed this essay once again. It opens: Sith. What kind of a word is that? Sith. It sounds to me like the noise that emerges when you block one nostril and blow through the other, but to George Lucas it is a name that trumpets evil. This is a must read for anyone who is...

Futurizing

Posted on Mar 14, 2007 in Blog, science fiction, Writing | 12 comments

I’m reading a book right now. SF. And I’m struck by how much world building the author is engaged in. He’s putting all this labor into describing future technologies, future cultural developments, future living structures… he’s working really hard to create a highly realistic and also highly disposable setting. I’m struck by how little the world he’s building actually seems to matter to the story. The setting, while cohesive and technologically interesting, seems entirely divorced from the plot. He’s created a reasonable extrapolation of what life in 2300 might look like and what technologies might exist — and it is interesting, as an intellectual exercise — but I’m not...