BRIN'S HOT STUFF!

My latest news, my books, my YouTube videos, and other wonderous discoveries. It's an amazing world, and I'm glad to be a part of it.


EXISTENCE GIVEAWAY

Goodreads is giving away ten free copies of Existence. Deadline to enter is May 4.


OTHERNESS IN THE UK

We just released Otherness in the U.K. as an e-book, with a new cover by Patrick Farley.


EXISTENCE

David Brin's EXISTENCE     

David Brin's bold newest novel (due June 2012) explores the ultimate question.

Billions of planets may be ripe for life, even intelligence. So where is everybody? Do civilizations make the same fatal mistakes, over and over? Might we be the first to cross the mine-field, evading every trap to learn the secret of Existence?

Astronaut Gerald Livingstone grabs a crystal lump of floating space debris. Little does he suspect it's an alien artifact, sent across the vast, interstellar gulf, bearing a message.

"Join us!" -- it proclaims. What does the enticing invitation mean? To enroll in a great federation of free races?

Only then, what of rumors that this starry messenger may not be the first? Have other crystals fallen from the sky, across 9,000 years? Some have offered welcome. Others... a warning!

This masterwork of science fiction combines hard-science speculation and fast-paced action with the deeply thoughtful ideas and haunting imagery that David Brin (best-selling author of Earth and The Postman) is known for in more than twenty languages.


BIG PICTURE OPTIMISM

John Kenny interviews and forces David Brin to defend his reputation as a "Big Picture Optimist."


A TRANSACTION FEE MIGHT SAVE CAPITAL MARKETS... & PROTECT US FROM THE TERMINATOR!

What's a Transaction Fee, why do we need it, and what does the Terminator have to do with it? The answer to this riddle -- and to a number of other economic conundrums -- may surprise you!

Only... supposing that this malevolent AI comes from a non-military source? That's pure Hollywood! Military AI systems are built with high priority to systematic reporting, accountability, multiple redundancies, fail-safes and obedience to chain of command. No, there are other complex computer systems that seem far more likely to suddenly become self-aware in powerfully dangerous ways.


MY TEDx TALKS

TED style public talks are short but punchy. Here are two of my 2011 performances -- idea-packed splashes in the deep end of the pool, delivered in 18 minutes or less.

"The World of 2061: Re-inventing Civilization" -- for the TEDx Brussels conference.

and

"Making Gods: Will That Bother Anyone?" a fun romp showing how scripture can be interprested in science-friendly ways, for the great big Singularity Summit in New York City.


TRYLAH MY TWYLAH!

Want to follow me on Twitter but have a problem sorting through all my posts? Try this amazing site that sorts my posts into categories for easier reading.


THE THEOLOGY OF SINGULARITY GOD-MAKERS?

Had loads of fun with this particular speech. At the Singularity Summit 2011 I gave a talk: "So you want to make gods. Now why would that bother anybody?" Gets into Genesis and some highly unusual... and blatant... interpretations of both the Garden of Eden and The Tower of Babel Story. Singularity-tilted theology!


CAN THERE BE 'PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM'?

The New York Times previews the groundbreaking scientific-medical tome PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM, about the many ways that one of humanity's highest traits can sometimes go terribly wrong. (I wrote two of the papers, but don't worry: most of the contributing doctors and researchers are actually qualified.) A fascinating topic.


YES, IT'S TRUE!

And from the sublime to the ridiculous... or at least now for something completely different... David Brin playing the harmonica at the Reno World Science Fiction Convention (thanks to Lawrence Person.)


IT'S BUBBLE-ICIOUS

Here's a story, "Bubbles," I published @ Lightspeed.


UKRAINE IS GETTING UPLIFTED

Alyona Lompar has posted her Ukrainian translation of the first ten chapters of The Uplift War.


CAN WE GET ANY MORE TRANSPARENT?

In "World Cyberwar And the Inevitability of Radical Transparency" I examine how the transparency wars are being waged now -- 10 years after the publication of The Transparent Society.


IT'S TRANSPARENT AND FREE

For a garrulous ramble that will take you from Pericles to Popper to Pluto, mostly focusing on transparency and accountability and re-learning the art of pragmatism, here's a recent (July 2011) podcast interview I gave about the future of freedom. A couple of times I even pause to inhale!


100 YEAR STARSHIP PROGRAM: OUR COMMITMENT TO DEEP TIME

Watch my take on The New Hundred Year Starship program, sponsored by DARPA and NASA Ames, has very little money, but big idea appeal. Many people are tired of the near-term thinking that has prevailed lately. The notion of deep time, our innovation and commitment to our grandchildren must again be on the agenda.


CAN WE TRANSFORM THE WORLD?

"The World Transformed" is an audio interview series by Fast Forward Radio that interviewed me, along with P.J. Manney and Thomas McCabe and other visionaries, discussing the difficulties and prizes that await us in the years and decades ahead.


SHORT STORIES ON KINDLE

Several stories are available on Kindle. Stay tuned for more stories and more reader formats.

The Crystal Spheres: In a universe filled with habitable worlds why have we had no contact with extraterrestrial intelligence? "The Crystal Spheres" offers a fantastic explanation for the Great Silence. Instead of being late-comers -- might humanity have come upon the scene too early? This haunting tale was voted one of the "most beautiful of the eighties." Winner of the 1985 Hugo Award.

The Loom of Thessaly: Who guides our fate? And can we ever hope to wrest control for ourselves? In this novella, "The Loom of Thessaly," I merge classical mythology with impudent modern spirit in a science fiction legend that speculates upon the nature of reality.

Tank Farm Dynamo: Can a sci fi story alter the course of something ponderous, like the space program? Perhaps. "Tank Farm Dynamo" sure tried! What if we found the nerve, the spirit and daring to use every resource -- including those that NASA simply threw away? An unabashedly old-fashioned hard SF story with science and technology as central, problem-solving players... plus a real twist.

Stones of Significance: The Singularity -- when our skill & knowledge & immense computing power transform us into... well... godlike beings. From a writer's perspective, it presents a problem. One can write stories leading up to the Singularity, about problems like rebellious AI. But how do you write a tale set AFTER the singularity has happened? That's the topic of Stones of Significance.

Thor Meets Captain America: Nominated for a Hugo Award in 1987, Thor Meets Captain America offers an alternate history exploring a chilling scenario behind the Holocaust. In this parallel world, the Nazis narrowly avoid defeat in World War II when they are championed by the gods of the Norse Pantheon. At a dramatic turn, Loki joins the Allies and they prepare a last-ditch raid to blow up Valhalla. With an afterword by the author. This novella was later expanded into an award winning graphic novel The Life Eaters, with artwork by Scott Hampton.


CAN WE MAINTAIN PRIVACY TODAY?

H+ Magazine put me through a great big interview on transparency, accountability, surveillance and sousveillance, and our chances to keep a little privacy in the coming age of light.


IT'S TAXING

My blog post on how to improve our current tax system got picked up by Pop Sci as well as io9. I've also posted on this website.


RULES FOR CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Hot on the heels of the end of the late, lamented "birther" conspiracy implosion, I decided to post this video: "Ten Super-Secret Rules of Conspiracy Theories! Part 1" and - following it - "Part 2." Enjoy!


IS UPLIFT 'TOO HARD FOR SCIENCE'?

Scientific American interviews me in their Too Hard For Science? series. "David Brin on - Raising Animals to Human Levels of Intelligence." If we cannot find aliens in the stars, we might create new "alien" intelligences on Earth. But it won't be easy, technically, politically or ethically.


ELECTRONICA

The Uplift Books are finally available on Kindle, as well as Nook, and Sony Reader.


MUSICAL INTERLUDES

Elaine Walker (lovely voice!) wrote and performed two songs based on my novels, Sundiver and Earth. This was 1992... but they still sound amazing. Elaine's songs are linked from here.

I've been honored with musical interpretations of my work by composers Brian Carroll, Richard Stoops and Katherine Gilliam, by the groups Matucana and Treebeard, by Tom Smith and at least two others whose CDs I seem to have missplaced ;-(

Then there are the works by amatueur and semi-pro artists... and tributes and riffs by fan writers. Terrific stuff!


TRANSPARENT SOCIETY HAS BEEN KINDLED

The Transparent Society has just been released as a Kindle edition. A bargain at just $9.99, it was called one of the most important works on freedom and privacy in the last three decades and winner of the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Also new on e-books - Contacting Aliens, and Star Wars on Trial. Alas, quality control problems caused Random House to pull my Uplift novels from Kindle, but they expect to have them available in e-book form soon.


A TALE OF THE NEW-BORN EARTH

First came a supernova, dazzling the universe in brief, spendthrift glory, before ebbing into twisty, multi-spectral clouds of new-forged atoms. Swirling eddies spiraled until one of them ignited -- a newborn star. The virgin sun wore whirling skirts of dust and electricity. Gas and rocks and bits of this and that fell iinto those pleats, gathering in dim lumps... planets.... One tiny worldlet circled at a middle distance....


GIVING IS GOOD

Interzone Online has republished a podcast audiobook version of my Hugo-nominated story "The Giving Plague." It's an excellent reading, clear and dramatic and fun. A novel look at altruism and infectious diseases.


NAME THAT VILLAIN

Who was the bad guy in the movie, E.T. The Extraterrestrial? How about District Nine? Sometimes, the villains are obvious, as in Independence Day or Lord of the Rings -- in other flicks, the real bad guy may not be who you think it is. Science Fiction author David Brin talks about aliens -- and villainy -- in science fiction movies.


CAN IT BE THIS FUNDAMENTAL?

Here's a new video: Which of the sciences is the most fundamental?


JULIAN ASSANGE ISN'T THE ONLY ONE WITH A WIKI

I've said before that there should be a place where my predictions are gathered and rated for accuracy, so I finally created it. Here's my predictions Wiki.


I READ FROM EARTH

I did a reading from my novel Earth: "A Dust Wafts through the Hills and Valleys of Iceland."

A vision of the future fifty years from now, Earth offers a prescient look at the environmental changes affecting our planet. David's novel predicted the onset of global warming, a rise in sea levels, and the emergence of the world wide web. This site charts some of the predictions in Earth: Of 49 predictions listed, 13 are confirmed; 8 are likely.

Earth may have even predicted the Twittering data and opinions: "I am the sum of many parts. I stretch and yawn and test my fingers ... I am the product of so many notions, cascading and multiplying in so many accents and dialects. These are my subvocalizations I suppose -- the twitterings of data and opinions on the Net are my subjective world." (P.641 of hardcover version)


CAN YOU TINKERER?

What if America lost its knack for making things? Manufacturing is the root that all other projects sprout from... even the arts! In my new graphic novel - THE TINKERERS - I combine graphic art with a guided tour of history and tech, exploring how to win back the knack!

I was asked by the Metals Service Center Institute to create a comic book set 20 years from now that discusses the many reasons for US industrial decline... and how it might come back. A low-res preview version is available online. Written with Jason Land, Art by Jan Feindt. It has just been released in print form (order from Amazon.com).

The Tinkerers also has a dedicated Facebook page for discussion and comments. Communicate your "like" for The Tinkerers!


ARE WE DOOMED?

Every generation had legends of a coming downfall. Whether you call it The End Times, Armageddon, Apocalypse, Doomsday, Ragnorak, The Population Bomb or 2012... we've long been fascinated by prophecies of devastation and doom. In my newest YouTube video I explore: What is fiction, and what is possible, and how can modern civilization can start limiting the risk?


BEFORE WE WERE GIANTS

I have a story in Before They Were Giants: First Works from Science Fiction Greats, a collection of the first published stories of 15 award-winning science fiction and fantasy authors, including Piers Anthony, Joe Haldeman, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, China Mieville, Cory Doctorow, Greg Bear, as well as David Brin.


IS IT CULTURE WAR OR CLIMATE WAR?

Nothing demonstrates the silliness of left-right "culture war" more than the illogical fight over human-caused climate change (HCC). People who stale fierce positions, over a scientific matter, based on their pre-existing politics, should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, there are legitimate questions that a genuine HCC-sceptic can ask! So how to tell a true "skeptic" from a kneejerk "denialist"? SKEPTIC Magazine commissioned an article from me -- now posted online! -- dissecting this serious matter, which may affect humanity's destiny.


ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

I ponder the political and psychological gears and wheels that churned in the mind of science fiction master Robert A. Heinlein, in a recent essay for Tor Books, focusing especially on the author's prescriptive utopia BEYOND THIS HORIZON.


MY VIDEO ADVICE FOR WRITERS

Storytelling is the only verified form of magic: the ability to form incantations in the reader's mind, to have them envision imaginary worlds, feel profound emotions. In my latest YouTube video I encapsulate advice for aspiring writers for how they can take the first steps toward becoming a successful author.


MY ADVICE TO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES

Reflecting on my son's graduation from high school, I created this YouTube video to offer inspiration and advice for students going on to college: Broaden your perspectives and take full advantage of the wealth of educational experiences awaiting you during the next four years. The key is curiosity: explore what is happening in those buildings on campus -- you may discover cutting-edge research, pushing at the frontiers of human knowledge.


AMATEUR SCIENCE IN THE MODERN AGE

In this YouTube video I discuss the role of amateurs in science. Amateurs have always played a significant role in scientific discovery, particularly in astronomy and the natural sciences. In the last century, we've seen an increasing trend toward professionalization of all aspects of society; however I have forecast a counter-trend toward an Age of Amateurs. Indeed, the sheer number and complexity of our challenges will demand a wider proliferation of skills than just one-per-person. We may be returning to a greater emphasis on amateurs, even in areas like national defense and self-reliance. The scope of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, will be enhanced by thousands of amateur dishes scanning the skies, sharing their results through the internet. Now I talk about this in a newly posted video that may open your eyes to a fascinating trend.


AMBITIOUS PROBLEM-SOLVING FOR THE FUTURE: Problem-solving the future? It's easy to be pessimistic when considering the problems we face: war, political instability, economic trouble, global warming, vast inequalities of wealth across the globe. To keep things in perspective, we should recall that things were nearly always worse in the past. We must develop innovative problem-solving skills to face the complex world of the future -- and to raise standards of living across the world. For the first time, the entire world community is able to communicate -- across borders and nationalities -- to share strategies and seek solutions. My favorite aphorism: Criticism is the only known antidote to error. Identifying errors is the first step toward seeking solutions. But we must keep in mind the goal -- to improve our civilization. Technology must be part of the solution.


IT'S SO VERY TRANSPARENT

How do we keep privacy and empower citizens when cameras become smaller and proliferate daily? On the tenth anniversary of the release of "The Transparent Society," I discuss issues of transparency and accountability in an age of increasing surveillance. From Part 1: "If we're free and powerful as citizens, privacy is something we'll be able to negotiate among ourselves." The key is reciprocal accountability... when we have the power to watch the watchers. In Part 2, I discuss what the future will hold in the transparency field. For better or worse, the changes in transparency has meant the return of the village of old -- where everyone knows everyone -- but will it be the good village or the bad, oppressive village?


WEAR YOUR BELIEFS, TOTE YOUR MEMES

Uplift fans: Now you can show your visionary belief in the future by wearing the meme! Order T-shirts, caps, mugs etc emblazoned with logos of the Galactic Institutes. Or get a tote-bag with the crest of the the Earthclan Uplift Project (featuring a brash neochimp and neo-dolphin). Or wear the proud emblem of the Terragens Marines! On a more serious note, try promoting "I am A Member of a Civilization" (IAAMOAC) as a counter-meme against Culture War, wearing the provocative theme Got Civilization?


I'VE BEEN KINDLED

Most of my novels are available on Kindle. Below is a handy widget which will help you purchase the Kindle versions of many of my faves.

In addition, I have three essays available for $0.99 each on Kindle: The Dark Side: Star Wars, Mythology and Ingratitude, Lord of the Rings: J.R.R. Tolkien vs. the Modern Age, and The Matrix: Tomorrow May be Different.


A CLIMATE OF CHANGE

Every few years I weigh into a battlefront in culture war: Global Climate Change. Trained as a scientist, and knowing many who research the atmospheres of 8 planets, or who propelled spectacular advances in weather forecasting, I tend toward listening to expert advice on this one - especially since we're only being asked to do things we should be doing anyway. (Ironically, I coined the term "age of amateurs" and pushed citizen power! Still, expert knowledge matters.)

In 2007 I posted an essay dealing with some logic-flaws in the denial-movement. Now I go after those who claim: "I'm not denying science - I'm a skeptic, just asking questions!" In fact, I know some real skeptics. I'm one, myself! But in "Distinguishing Climate 'Deniers' From 'Skeptics'" I distinguish posers from the real thing.


DEFENDING PAX AMERICANA

In the 1/1/24 edition of the Silicon Valley newspaper and online journal Metroactive, I have an editorial describing how the American consumer came to propel the export-driven development of Japan, Korea, Malaysia, China and now India. That process, spanning more than six decades, is almost always portrayed — especially in Asia — as having come about as a result of their cleverness, in catering to the insatiable material appetites of decadent westerners. But there is a far more interesting (and even inspiring) explanation for how the greatest wealth transfer of all time — which has lifted three billion people out of poverty — actually came about. I reveal how George Marshall and the United States chose, in 1946, to do something very different than the behavior of any other "pax" empire, and thereby changed the world.


CALLING ALL ALIENS?

See a well-balanced and cogent article in SEED Magazine about the "METI imbroglio"... or whether we should allow a few fervent believers shout into the cosmos on all our behalf, based upon a narrow range of assumptions. The fairminded essay cites yours truly, among others.


A BRIGHT BEACH READ

Looking for something to help you through the long commute? Or to listen to while basking on the beach? Recorded Books has just issued the full book-on-tape version of BRIGHTNESS REEF read by George K. Wilson. This will soon be followed by INFINITY'S SHORE and HEAVEN'S REACH. See also these great Brin titles from Audible.com!


WILL OUR DESCENDANTS BE HEROES OR TREKKIES?

Will the future live long and prosper? See my New York Daily News article where I tackle the question.


I MAKE GOODREADS

Please drop by the GoodReads web site and see if this endeavor, helping readers connect with authors and books, appeals to you. Of course, it would not hurt to rate your favorite author there! ;-)


A "UNIVERSE" FULL OF BRIN

My latest published story is a little piece of har-har fluff called "Gorilla, My Dreams," which recently appeared on Baen's UNIVERSE Magazine. In a broad and (I confess!) lampoony style of humor, I take turns poking affectionate fun at cyberpunk, at the Greg Benford universe, and others, especially my own Uplift Cosmos, which gets eviscerated for every flaw and self-indulgence!

Finally, want a taste of something much more intense and serious? A stand-alone novella (and part of my sprawling next novel, EXISTENCE) has been posted by the kind folks at UNIVERSE, making "Shoresteading" available on a completely open access basis, beginning to end. (In other words, for free in its entirety.) Have a look at this standalone, tense tale of poverty and alien encounters in a near-future world of rising seas. Go give UNIVERSE a try!


WEB-VOLUTION?

See my Salon Magazine article "Is the Web helping us evolve?" comparing web-optimists to web-pessimists and calling for pragmatic steps toward a more useful Internet experience.


THROUGH STRANGER EYES

Through Stranger Eyes is a new collection of my book reviews, introductions and essays on popular culture, released in the Western Hemisphere by Nimble Press and in the Eastern by Altair Australia. Included: everything from carefully measured views on J.R.R. Tolkien to that infamous, outraged rant about the Star Wars saga! From sober reflections on Jared Diamond's Collapse, and Rebecca Solnit's River of Shadows, to scientific ponderings on Feynman and Gott, along with appraisals of great authors like Brunner, Resnick, Zelazny, Clarke, Verne, and Orwell... all the way to fun riffs on the Matrix and Buffy! More than two dozen reviews and commentaries that are sure to enlighten, entertain, possibly infuriate, and even make you laugh, but above all, offer some perspectives you never imagined before.


FOR AUDIO-PHILES

Like audio-told tales? A bright and fun site for science fiction audio podcasting is Tony Smith's Starship Sofa, where one of my shortest works (precisely 250 words long) has just been posted. To hear just the (very short, but complicated) story, click "Evaluating Horizons". Meanwhile, one of my speeches has been podcast. In this one -- between allergy sniffles -- I talk about "Horizon Analysis" while dealing with a world of accelerating change.


OPENNESS ABOUT OPENNESS

My 1997 book, The Transparent Society, continues to generate controversy! I recently posted a rebuttal (originally published by Wired.com) to commentator Bruce Schneier's assertion that any civilization based upon general, reciprocal openness would be a major departure from our present social contract. Something "different than before."


THE CRYSTAL SPHERE

Check out the StarShipSofa site, where they have some really terrific podcasts of classic science fiction stories. They made an earnest effort to recite "The Crystal Spheres" -- though it's a very hard story to do in audio, filled with combined-words that most readers need to eye scan a few times in order to grasp or put in context. Something most can do unconsciously, but cannot do in audio. That understood, this narrator does a fine job with this Hugo-winning story.


LIFE AFTER LIFE AFTER PEOPLE

Serving as a futurist pundit, I opened and closed the History Channel show "Life After People" -- which became the network's best-watched telecast ever, with 5.4 million viewers. Somewhat better than my earlier show for the HC -- "The ArchiTechs." ("Five geniuses are challenged: Design better safety/rescue systems for skyscrapers... in 48 hours!") Those more interested in a hurried roller-coaster of ideas about "saving the Enlightenment" might visit my speech at the "Beyond Belief: Enlightenment 2.0" conference. For other appearances on Nova and Discovery Channel shows, see Speaking and Podcasts.


A WHOLE NEW TRIBES

For you gamers, a new edition of Tribes comes out next Spring! Designed by Steve Jackson and me, it is a terrific social game for extended parties... and also scientifically interesting as a simulation of the tradeoffs that men and women faced, living in the Neolithic.


HELP DESERVING CAPITALISTS

Forbes Magazine recently interviewed a number of futurists (including me) on the topic of predicting business and societal trends.

"My biggest surprise was to see America swept by a major, societywide case of Alvin Toffler's future shock when that '2' arrived in the millennium column. I didn't see it at first, because, back at the turn of the century, it seemed that folks were taking the milestone in stride. And yet, masked beneath layers of surface bravado, people appear to have developed a jittery alienation toward concepts like 'the future,' or the inevitability of change. One casualty: the assertive, pragmatic approach to negotiation and human-wrought progress that used to be mother's milk to this civilization."


PODCASTS ON A VAST RANGE OF TOPICS

Escape Pod posted a podcast-reading (pretty good) of my short story "The Giving Plague."

To see all my downloads and podcasts, visit my new page!


SINGULARITIES AND NIGHTMARES

One of my biggest, boldest and most popular essays about our future destiny, "Singularities and Nightmares," is now available for free access. It explores a startling range of possibilities for humanity and the Earth, from dangers all the way to opportunities that inspire others to think that we may soon become apprentice gods. Weigh the possibilities for yourself.


VISUALIZING THE 21st CENTURY

In October, Google invited me to fly up and give one of their company-wide Tech Talks on "Visualization as a Problem-Solving Tool in the 21st Century." For this topic, I asked to bring along one of the most ingenious "visualizers," Professor Sheldon Brown, my colleague in the Exorarium Project. The Google talk (hosted by my friend, the appropriately named Larry Brilliant) stretched 90 minutes, but for those who are interested in the evolution of online tools, it should offer a few new perspectives.

We also met with Sims creator Will Wright, whose new game "Spore" will knock you out of this world.


SETI SEARCH INTENSIFIES

Did you think that SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) was benign and scientific, as portrayed in the movie CONTACT? Well that was back in the 20th Century, when the programs, aims and goals were open and scientific. Alas, things have been gradually changing in the cult-ridden 21st Century. See an exposé of how a small and inward-looking community of radio astronomers aim to gamble with all of human posterity, based on a few questionable assumptions... without ever openly discussing their intention with colleagues or the world at-large.

Indeed, the world is taking notice. A recent editorial in NATURE presented a capsule summary of the problem and the very openminded and vigorously fun Seti League (not to be confused with the Seti Institute) has posted a pdf version online. Let there be no confusion. The request that is on the table -- for a wide-open and broad-based discussion of this important issue at some prestigious and eclectic venue like (say) the AAAS -- is one that no reasonable person or group would refuse. Will such an open discussion take place? Allowing all perspectives to be heard and examined? Stay tuned.


THE ARCHITECHS

The History Channel show The Architechs challenged "five geniuses" to solve impossible design problems in 48 hours. Of two pilot episodes (I was in both), the first saw former FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, one of the heroes of 9/11, call upon the team to innovate more than a dozen new fire rescue and evacuation tools for skyscraper disasters. This episode briefly aired last October (2006). Copies can be ordered from the HC web site. In the second pilot, a four-star general asked the designers to sketch a way-cool 21st Century replacement for the Humvee.


IT SHOULD BE BASIC

Once again, I had the weekly cover article on Salon, the greatest online magazine, and it stirred even more controversy than with my infamous Star Wars essay, or my appraisal of technological secrecy/privacy in the future. This time it wasn't intentional!

In "Why Johnny Can't Code" I point out that the simple programming language BASIC used to be on every computer a child touched -- but today there's no easy way for kids to get hooked on programming. They cannot even do the little exercises that are still in many classroom textbooks. What I didn't expect was the flurry of intensely passionate replies!


STAR WARS ON TRIAL

Shipping in June 2006, Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop series) by David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover, with two dozen wonderfully articulate authors "testifying" either for the prosecution or the defense. Is SW fantasy disguised as science fiction? Does the series spread doom-pessimism about democracy? Has it been a let-down since "The Empire Strikes Back"? Does it even make any sense? Pick up a copy and be prepared for a wild, extravagant "trial" -- brash and entertaining and downright fun!


INTELLIGENT DESIGNERS

My full essay on "Other Theories of Intelligent Design" appears in SKEPTIC's online edition.


POPULAR CULTURE

Seems I'm making appearances in a number of surprising pop-cult venues. See a recent spread that features a novel by yours truly, in a popular literary comic strip... the "Unshelved Book Club." I've also been interviewed for several episodes of a podcast "The Future And You."

Of course some of this is in reaction to the wildly popular-culture book King Kong Is Back!: An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape! (Smart Pop series) -- a fun and smart collection of 21 essays examining King Kong from every angle. (Some will surprise you.) But if you think that was something, just keep your eyes open for the next brash offering - Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop series)!


THE WAR ON SCIENCE

Will the first decade of the 21st Century be known as the time when our Scientific Age came to a whimpering end? The one trait shared by anti-modernists of both left and right appears to be disdain for our ability to learn and do bold new things. My review of Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science (published in the San Diego Union-Tribune), explores how partisanship can explain much of this collapse of confidence... and why partisan interpretations don't cover everything.

On a related note, two recommended books that tout assertive problem solving are The Past and Future of America's Economy: Long Waves of Innovation that Power Cycles of Growth by Robert D. Atkinson, and Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near. The first explores measures that would allow us to play our roles better in the world economy. The latter pursues Kurzweil's argument that our scientific competence and technologically-empowered creativity will soon skyrocket, propelling humanity into an entirely new age. I don't entirely agree. But boy, what a ride.


AN OPEN LETTER TO ADDICTION RESEARCHERS

I often meddle in my old professional stomping ground of science (see about science). And yes, I opine about modern politics (see The Political Lamp is Lit! and my Contrary Brin blog). These two areas have meshed in recent years -- a good thing, when disinterested science informs public policy. And bad, when political fanaticism warps or ignores science. All parties in the passionate "culture war" are guilty of trumping evidence to serve dogmatic will. Can we ever return to an era of confident problem-solving? Not so long as indignation remains the worst addiction.

But then, might that be a clue? Could a single scientific breakthrough help get us past a rising mass frenzy of self-righteousness? I've long corresponded with experts, trying to find out. Now, I'll post my suggestion online, hoping to interest more of the right people. "An Open Letter to Researchers In the Fields of Addiction, Brain Chemistry, and Social Psychology" talks about the worst "drug addiction" -- one that crosses all political and social boundaries, warping our ability to negotiate like adults or solve problems for the sake of our children.


ARMAGEDDON TIME!

Other brash new websites? Try Armageddon Buffet. "Eat While You Can"!


HELP FOR NEW AUTHORS

After typing countless answers to requests for advice from would-be writers, I finally put it all together in this essay. Mine it for whatever wisdom you may find. (Also, the new website Science News for Kids has a section devoted to encouraging middle schoolers to read and write science fiction.


SPECIAL SIGNED BOOKPLATES

Signed bookplates are available for Kiln People, The Life Eaters, and GURPS Uplift. See freebies & offers for instructions where to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope.


Where does 'news' go when it is no longer hot, but still potentially interesting to visitors who want to browse through DavidBrin.com? For plenty more about events, music and other recent (but not VERY recent) happenings, click here to see Warm News! (Or just browse some of the other menu categories, where you can read some of my short stories, or learn more about my other activities. Have fun!)




I still do science, but civilization seems more interested in my perspectives on the future. (Who am I to argue with civilization?) Let's face change with agility and hope, and meet the challenges ahead.

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download a free short story

WATCH ME WATCH U:
The Meme Wars
We will watch the watchers!
Citizens are competent
Philanthropy & hope
Transparent Society
Disputation & accountability

CULTURE AND MEDIA:
JRR Tolkien vs. the Future
Infamous Star Wars articles
...and The Matrix
...and The Postman.

POLITICS:
What's Your Ideology Quotient?
The Real Culture War
Neoconservatism, Islam and Ideology
War in the 21st Century
The libertarian dilemma
The liberal dilemma

INTERVIEWS:
Technological Nightmares
Literature & the Future
Video Surveillance
Science of Science Fiction
Writing Science Fiction

THE 21st CENTURY:
SF that teaches
Epocene!
Public Speaking
Future/Tech Consulting

COMMENTS?
Contrary Brin
The "Brin-L" discussion group
I answer some emails

SFWA.org

This Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Net Ring link is maintained by David Brin.

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Proud Son:
View a site devoted to my father's life and achievements.