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Tag: science fiction

Kindle pre-highlighters suit Microsoft science fiction

Thursday, 10 December, 2015 0 Comments

Here’s what Andrei Codrescu said when he found that passages in a book he’d downloaded onto his Kindle arrived pre-highlighted: “It is surely a mistake, I think. This is a new book. I don’t know about you, but I always hated underlined passages in used books… And then I discovered that the horror doesn’t stop with the unwelcomed presence of another reader who’s defaced my new book. But it deepens with something called view popular highlights, which will tell you how many morons have underlined before so that not only you do not own the new book you paid for, the entire experience of reading is shattered by the presence of a mob that agitates inside your text like strangers in a train station…”

These “pre-highlighters” are a love-hate (mostly hate) thing and the Amazon Kindle Forum thread on the subject is filled with all kinds of erudite comments: “But if you turn off Annotations Backup you won’t get any synching between multiple devices, and if you archive a book, and then bring it back to your Kindle all your notes, highlights, bookmarks, and last place read will all be gone,” Fool for Books says.

Anyway, all of this was brought on by reading the Kindle Edition of “Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft.” The opening story in the collection is “Hello, Hello” by Seanan McGuire and in it she explores the world of machine learning. The pre-highlighters that prompt the New Oxford American Dictionary are uncannily appropriate in this context. Just like the “precogs” of Minority Report with their abilities to see into the future, digital format sci-fi about computers that communicate is an ideal place for predictive popups. The Singularity is getting nearer by the day.

Kindle reading


Waiting for Blade Runner

Monday, 6 April, 2015 0 Comments

First, the bad news: The Blade Runner sequel won’t start filming until summer… that’s next year. Now, the good news: Harrison Ford will be reprising his role as Rick Deckard, and Ridley Scott, who directed the science fiction classic, will return as Executive Producer. Released in 1982, Blade Runner was critically-acclaimed for its cinematography, special effects, scoring and dystopian vision. The dialogue sizzled, too. Here’s Deckard interrogating Rachael, a NEXUS-6 model replicant, played by Sean Young:

Deckard: “You’re reading a magazine. You come across a full-page nude photo of a girl.”
Rachael: “Is this testing whether I’m a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?”
Deckard: “Just answer the questions, please. You show it to your husband. He likes it so much he hangs it on your bedroom wall.”
Rachael: “I wouldn’t let him.”
Deckard: “Why not?”
Rachael: “I should be enough for him.”
Deckard: “One more question. You’re watching a stage play. A banquet is in progress. The guests are enjoying an appetizer of raw oysters. The entree consists of boiled dog.”

While we bide our time until the sequel is released, here’s Blade Runner Reality, an Instagram site crafted by Ryan Allen that’s “Dedicated to finding reality that looks like #BladeRunner.” The images come with appropriate dialogue: “That gibberish he talked was city-speak, guttertalk, a mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you.”

Blade Runner