world of ideas & explorations
I still do scholarly papers on evolution, astronomy and exobiology. But I've expanded my "laboratory" to the real world. Here are ideas and topics to pique, fascinate, or infuriate. What interesting times!
WRITING & science fiction
Is SF truly "the literature of change"? Can it help teach? What are the tricks of the trade and methods of good storytelling? What controversies roil the genre of exploration?
legislating the FUTURE?
West Virginia delegate Ray Canterbury proposed legislation to teach science fiction in the classroom to "stimlate interest in math and science." Would it inspire or frighten young readers?
LOOKING to the FUTURE
A PDF of my April 8, 2013 CReST Bold Ideas Report on the future and transparency, presented to the Potomac Institute, is now available on their website.
Also: A compilation of articles about how technological and other changes are engineering our future.
search for EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE
Where is everybody? We ponder a Great Silence from a cosmos that ought to be filled with voices. Do you have a favorite explanation? Come and see more than a hundred, catalogued or discussed, on one of the crucial questions of our time.
POLITICS for the 21st CENTURY
economy PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
Taxes? Adam Smith? Keynsianism vs Supply Side? Quirky and unusual perspectives.
Fantastic Visions (Existence)
Stephen C. Ormsby (writing)
Lightspeed Magazine (Existence & Fermi Paradox)
The Planetary Society (Existence)
Well Read (EXISTENCE & first contact)
Cover to Cover (EXISTENCE)
WIRED Magazine (inventiveness)
Scott Sigler (EXISTENCE)
Genre Online (EXISTENCE & society)
gameranx (games & predicting the future)
Red Green & Blue (science & politics)
Geek Wire & Red Green & Blue (tech & geek cultures)
North County Times (David's hometown paper)
Futurist (EXISTENCE & possible doomsdays)
Orbit Books (EXISTENCE & Google)
Discover on NPR (video surveillance)
Living Planet (Science Fiction & the Environment)
Discover on NPR (science of Science Fiction)
Discover on NPR (writing Science Fiction)
Ideomancer (becoming a writer)
Science Fiction Weekly (the art of writing)
Artist Interviews (literature & the future)
LiteraturSchock (worth a peek just to see the German covers for several of my novels)
Planetary Society (getting to Mars)
SanDiego.com (The Architects)
WE Online (teaching and writing)
More? See my interviews page!
Articles appearing in collections:
"Anne McCaffrey, Believer in Us" in Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern, ed. Todd McCaffrey; memories and stories about Ann McCaffrey, along with insights into her writing and legacy.
"Tomorrow May Be Different" in Exploring the Matrix: Visions of the Cyber Present, ed. Karen Haber; thought-provoking speculations on the nature of reality -- and virtual reality.
"Buffy vs. the Old-Fashioned 'Hero'" in Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Discuss Their Favorite Television Show, Glenn Yeffeth; essays exploring the show's literary and cultural legacy.
"The Ape in the Mirror" in King Kong Is Back!: An Unauthorized Look at One Humongous Ape, ed. David Brin; exploring the legend of King Kong and its lasting impact on society, culture and media.
our PINTERESTING world
Browse articles about science, tech, transparency, and what kind of future awaits us.
Articles and speculations by David Brin about:
- advice for writers
- enlightenment civilization
- interviews on many topics
- politics for the 21st century
- search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
- transparency, freedom and technology
- looking forward: creating the future
- taxes, the economy and markets
- science fiction
- pop culture: Star Wars to Tolkien to...
- using Science Fiction to teach Science
- teaching Science Fiction
- the Uplift Universe
science & space
Expanding our horizons: As an astrophysicist, Brin has studied our solar system and beyond. Also contains articles published in major journals on topics ranging from addiction theory to human evolution to dispute resolution.
media, film & games
Videos, podcasts, games, speeches and TV appearances... and more podcasts galore!
will we ever ACHIEVE a POSITIVE-SUM SOCIETY?
Just as soviet commissars recited egalitarian nostrums, while relentlessly quashing freedom in the USSR, many of our own right-wing lords mouth "pro-capitalism" lip service, while doing everything they can to cheat and foil competitive markets. We always have to push uphill against a perilous slope of human nature. The Enlightenment is just a couple of centuries old, while feudalism/tribalism had uncountable millennia longer to worm a selfish, predatory "logic" into our brains. We are all descended from insatiable men and women who used countless pretexts for cheating, expropriating the labor of others, and preserving their power.
When it comes to Earth's future, we tend to be offered two simplistic choices, either guilt-ridden pessimism or a pollyanna faith in market forces. Too much planning or too little. Here I reprint my lengthy review of Jared Diamond's book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. No society ever succeeded using the prescriptions we hear touted from today's Left and Right. But history does offer some alternatives.
Check out some excellent, or just plain fun, David Brin social media sites, or these wikis, pages, photos, and artwork posted by devoted (or critical!) fans. (If you know of any others, email me so I can add them.)
BRIN in CYBERWORLD
My single-speaker event at Yuri's Night 2008 on Second Life -- helping the Extropian group commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first manned spaceflight -- was one of the most popular and well-attended events in 2L history. The avatars and world-aspects are getting better all the time and it was great fun, chatting away with so many lively people.
TRANSPARENCY & FREEDOM
The Transparent Society made Brin a prominent voice in the debates over information openness and the value of light in the modern world. Find articles, books, and media about the central issue of our age.
real-world GOOGLE GLASS
Three times in my career I have been asked to talk about this invention: First, as science fiction. Then as a future possibility. Now? See my Variety article about the real-world pros and cons of Google Glass.
Commentaries from Tolkien to Orwell, Buffy to The Matrix, Star Trek to Star Wars!
singularities & NIGHTMARES
In one of my boldest and most popular essays about our future destiny, "Singularities and Nightmares," I explore a startling range of possibilities for humanity and the Earth to avoid dangers and inspire hopeful futures. Weigh the range of possibilities for yourself. This article is available on the Lifeboat Foundation website and here.
I recently participated in a discussion panel about The Singularity at the Los Angeles Science Fiction Convention.
the EYE of the NEEDLE FOUNDATION
Widespread interest has been generated by my concept for EON: the Eye of the Needle Foundation -- an entirely new kind of por-active charitable institution, one that offers the super-wealthy (and us, too) a unique incentive: Invest now in a brighter tomorrow. Over fifteen trillion dollars may transfer between generations during the next decade or two in the United States alone. If even ten percent of this money went toward projects neither governments nor private capital would even imagine, we can create a thriving and prosperous future for our descendants.
can we avoid REPEATING media HISTORY?
New media didn't always liberate, at first. Printing enflamed Europe's 16th Century religious hatreds, and in the 1930s, radio and loudspeakers helped consolidate the power of tyrants. In the era of our new media -- the Internet -- how is truth determined? How will people behave, when confronted by opportunities and capabilities they never imagined?
LIFE in the NEW MILLENNIUM
In late 1999 AOL's Online Magazine iPlanet published a series of articles commissioned specifically to discuss the new Millennium. In Part One, "The Self-Preventing Prophecy," I note how our civilization's success depends at least as much on the mistakes we avoid as successes we plan. In Part Two, "Probing the Near Future," I discuss how, by thoughtful planning and preparation, we can make the scary parts of the near-future less scary, and the good parts better. In Part Three, "Do We Really Want Immortality?," I predict what would happen if, through a mix of compassion, creativity and good luck, we complete the difficult transition and manage to spread a life span of eighty- or ninety-years to everyone across the globe: Will future generations take a full life span as much for granted as modern Americans do? And will we be able to extend it even further? How long can humans live?
to the STARS!
I contributed a short story, "The Heavy Generation," to Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon, ed. Gregory and James Benford, a collection science fiction and fact inspired by the DARPA/NASA One Hundred Year Starship program. (The science fact was just profiled in a recent issue of Forbes.)
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