Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.
No one disputes that seeming order can come out of the application of simple rules. But who wrote the rules?
That natural selection can produce changes within a type is disputed by no one, not even the staunchest creationist. But that it can transform one species into another — that, in fact, has never been observed.
I would love to write more about my hardboiled gumshoe on Mars, Alex Lomax.
By serializing two novels in 'Analog,' the world's No. 1, best-selling science fiction magazine, I've had 200,000 words of fiction and three cover stories in that magazine. Quite an enviable record.
When we have machines that are as intelligent - and then twice as intelligent - as we are, there is no reason why that relationship cannot be synergistic rather than antagonistic.
There were four major 20th-century science fiction writers: Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Ray Bradbury. Of those four, the first three were all published principally in science-fiction magazines. They were preaching to the converted.
All the things that made us basically nasty, rapacious, competitive as a species are not necessarily hard-coded into whatever passes for the DNA of artificial intelligence.
I'm a rationalist. And I can see no evidence for a benevolent and interventionist creator.
You fall into a black hole, and you are irretrievably gone from the universe. That finality has made it irresistible to writers.
Hard science fiction, which is what I write, often is rightly criticized for having either negligible or unbelievable characterization, but the science I've actually studied most post-secondarily is psychology, and characterization is the art of dramatizing psychological principles.
I'm often characterized as an optimistic writer, and certainly my 'Neanderthal Parallax' and 'WWW' trilogies shade toward the utopian. I like to think that's not simple naivete, but rather a reasonable approach.
I started wondering why it is that people line up behind charismatic leaders. It's easy to understand the emergence of a figure who's narcissistic and compelling. But why people follow this person mindlessly - that was the hard question to me.
I frankly couldn't imagine being a series mystery-fiction writer, churning out book after book about the same viewpoint character.
Science fiction has always used metaphors and disguises, talking about alien civilizations or the future.
Science fiction has always been a means for political comment. H.G. Wells' 'The War of the Worlds' wasn't about a Martian invasion - it was a critique of British colonialism, and... 'The Time Machine' is really an indictment of the British class system.
We absolutely do some of the best science in the world in Canada, across a broad spectrum of disciplines: quantum computing in Waterloo, paleontology in Alberta, neuroscience at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health in Vancouver, and many more.
Print science fiction writers often do consulting for government bodies.
Real people are complex, contradictory, and have their own motivations - they can't just be mouthpieces for the writers' point of view.
I've long said that if Canada has a role on the world stage, it's principally as a role model, a demonstration that people of all types can get together and live in peace and harmony, which is something we really do most of the time here.