The online bubble is making us dumber and meaner. It has become a sociopathic space curated by giant corporations, corruptive of clear thought and the capacity for human empathy. I can’t quite remember when it happened. How we became so polarized, so contemptuous and ignorant of each other. The point when Facebook changed from a   Read More …

Categories: Politics

Predictions, that’s all. I’m a science fiction writer – prognostication is part of the deal. But to paraphrase Ursula Le Guin: good science fiction is description, taking the DNA strands of the future that exist already in the present. Or as Goethe said: “Coming events cast their shadows before.” The world, over the course of   Read More …

Categories: Poker

The US culture industry wants the Chinese market. The only way is through the Chinese government, which restricts the number of foreign films allowed in the country each year – thirty-four only. To get one of those precious slots, Hollywood has learned to kowtow. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Hollywood trying to nuance is content   Read More …

Categories: Politics

There is a meme that circulates every few months. A picture, black and white, the 1950s perhaps, everyone on a train with their head buried in a newspaper. It comes with a subtitle along the lines of: ‘All this technology is making us anti-social’. Oh the irony. Check mate, old bean. *like*. On to next   Read More …

Categories: Politics

Red Harvest, Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars: Remaking the Remake The American Western was revitalised by an Italian director inspired by a Japanese filmmaker with a love of hardboiled fiction. This is the strange international pedigree of the ground-breaking A Fistful of Dollars. Sergio Leoni, a man who neither spoke English or who had visited   Read More …

Equity The Americans have done it again. The conservative wing has rigged the Hugo Awards, turning it into a list of ideological screeds, petty revenge stories, and comedic gay erotica. The progressive wing will no doubt punch back, like they did last year, and vote in ‘No Award’ for the particularly egregious categories. They’ll cheer.   Read More …

Categories: Fiction, Politics

When an individual earns a billion dollars, they are legally killed by society and their wealth redistributed*. This killing is televised: a SWAT team with go-pros enters the palatial residence, or chandeliered bunker, or mahogany-clad private jet, and puts a bullet to the offending billionaire. In 1982 a terrible film called Logan’s Run was released.   Read More …

Categories: Politics

We live in a world as hyper-capitalist as any point in history, with inequality approaching the extremes of Dickensian England circa 1850. Yet, consumers increasingly expect music, films and books to come free. This is the problem faced by writers: that there is a habit, or even a culture, of refusing to pay for art   Read More …

Categories: Fiction, Politics

“It’s fun for the children,” they tell me. “Harmless,” they say. “It gets the kids outside – don’t be such a killjoy,” they implore. So if my opposition to Halloween makes me the Scrooge of that festival, then so be it. You may call me a killjoy, but you won’t convince me to allow my   Read More …

Categories: Politics

When we develop Artificial Intelligence, our philosophical DNA will be embedded in our creation. This is one of the fascinating arguments of the movie Ex Machina: that the values of the creator are imprinted on the new being (an excellent movie, by the way, and well worth watching for science-fiction fans or simply those who   Read More …

Categories: Politics

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