It’s all over but the workshops. Yet Another World materialized in the San Carlos for one night and three exhilarating days, and then it was over. What’s left is the post-Seminar letdown … and a massive new reading list.
I promised further explanation of this year’s theme. Can’t say I can, other than to reiterate that it isn’t really dystopia — though there was a good bit of that — nor scifi, or speculative fiction as high-end scifi is frequently styled these days. The subtitle was “Literature of the Future” and the guiding texts were 1984 and Brave New World, if that helps. In his introduction in the Seminar’s program, Program Chair James Gleick writes this, referring to the writers gathered for the Seminar: “What they do share — what their work reveals — is a deepening awareness of past and future, which also means an awareness that our world is not the only one possible.”
I won’t even try to come up with a coherent report about what the Seminar covered or explicating further on the theme — keep an eye on the Seminar’s always-expanding Audio Archives for recordings of individual sessions. Here, instead, is an episodic report of stuff I heard that I thought was interesting (and short) enough to jot down in my notebook.
Interesting information new to me
In his opening introduction, Gleick told us about a religion newly officially acknowledged as such in Sweden: Kopimism, or copyism, it is a religion dedicated to file sharing. Ctrl-C and Ctlr-V are sacred symbols. “That is not speculative fiction,” Gleick said. “That is Wikipedia. And it wasn’t there yesterday.”
Sharks save swimmers, according to Jonathan Lethem. How? Because after a shark attack, the number of drowning deaths decreases for a few years.
Year of the Flood, according to Margaret Atwood, is not a sequel or prequel to Oryx & Crake but a simultaneal.
Colson Whitehead’s first piece of professional writing, for the Village Voice, was a think piece about the series finales of Who’s The Boss and Growing Pains.
After finishing a novel, Cory Doctorow buys a steampunk bondage mask from some specialty shop in Bulgaria. According to William Gibson.
After Chronic City was published, Wikipedia had to lock down the Marlon Brando page because fans of the book were trying to revive him in keeping with the book’s plot.