Showing posts from November, 2006

Announcing the Carl Sagan memorial blog-a-thon

Next month, December 20, 2006 will mark the tenth anniversary Carl Sagan's passing. In his honor, I am organizing a special memorial "blog-a-thon" among Sagan's fans throughout the blogosphere. If you're a Sagan fan with a blog, you can participate by posting something related to him on or near that date. Read or reread a Sagan book and review it; discuss cool things that you've done that's been influenced by him; pontificate on one of the many topics he treated (SETI, astronomy, critical thinking, the history of science, human intelligence....), or post about something completely surprising. Contact me by email or by leaving a comment, and then when the date approaches, I will create a meta-post that links to all the stuff people are doing, providing a network of the participating bloggers. A list of Sagan stuff online that may be a source of ideas. Carl's son Nick Sagan on the blog-a-thon . Publicity for the blog-a-thon includes Cornell Univer

r. i. p. science fiction's searching mind, Jack Williamson

Two weeks ago, one of the great classic writers of science fiction passed away: Jack Williamson. His famously long career spanned from the Gernsbackian beginnings of the modern genre in 1928 to a final novel, The Stonehenge Gate , published in 2005, and was already a nonagenarian when I started reading him in the late 1990s. I've enjoyed a great deal of his science fiction, which is always marked by a sense of adventure and imagination. The early The Green Girl sends its heroes beneath the sea in a Verne-inspired "omnimobile". The Legion of Space and its sequel The Cometeers were some of the most entertaining of the early "space operas". The dystopian "With Folded Hands" and the subsequent The Humanoids contain a famous treatment of robots which was influential on both the field and actual AI researchers like Marvin Minsky. Hal Clement thought that The Legion of Time was "the best time travel story ever written"; not only was its tre