Wednesday, January 09, 2008


io9 is a new science fiction blog from the Gawker Media empire (the good folks who provide those of us too ADD to read traditional magazines with sites such as Gizmodo, Jalopnik, and of course Gawker.)

"io9 is addicted to science fiction because it's the storytelling branch of prophesy. We'll be writing obsessively about scifi in every format: books, movies, TV, Web, comics, games, art, music, and fashion.

The problem is that science fiction doesn't always seek out the strange new worlds it purports to be cruising for. That's why we're plagued by franchises like Star Trek and Superman that return, again and again, to the historical times in which they were born. Superman is still basically an old-fashioned, small-town white boy in an age more suited to postcolonial urban hero-mutants; and Star Trek is a prisoner of the Cold War, rehashing old conflicts and stereotypes.

io9 is from an uncharted region in futurist culture. Our idea of science fiction includes things like Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica TV series, the architecture of Frank Gehry, and the writing of Michael Chabon. These creators don't cater to fanboys with trivia obsessions, and neither does io9.

It's not that we don't love a bit of the retro futurism you see in old Trek. Some of our favorite images and ideas about tomorrow come from decades, or even millennia, ago. But when it comes to contemporary ideas, we're looking for ways to leave the old Earth ways behind and get out of the Gernsback continuum. Futurist culture should be speculative, not derivative."


I was first tipped off to io9 last week, when BLDGBLOG's Geoff Manaugh started writing for them. One of the things I love about Geoff's writing is how he'll start reporting on something in the world - like an elevator testing tower for example - and go off on a fantastic "what if?" tangent - like what a great set said tower would make for a Batman movie. Even if just fragments of ideas, he paints vivid pictures of possibilities that stir the imagination. If he can do that with architecture, imagine where he'll go on topics such as cloning and experimental psychology. Actually, just read...

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