Friday, October 23, 2015

Smoking in a No Smoking Zone

Not that long ago, the idea of outdoor "no smoking" zones seemed silly. But when many cities (including New York) banned indoor smoking, smokers began clustering at building entrances, generating tobacco clouds and butt piles. In other words, the indoor bans only moved the problem of second-hand smoke outside. The solution outside many buildings has been to post no smoking signs, like the one above. And while it seems to have forced many smokers to find another perch, or least get a little more exercise before enjoying a puff, the signs clearly don't always work.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Tangible Impact on Justice Reform

I've just completed a video to promote a fundraiser for the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Even if you can't make the event, you might enjoy the video. The Justice Center is a fascinating project that's contributing positively to the community and making a tangible impact on efforts to reform the justice system.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jane Lindskold Creates a Consciousness with a Planet-Sized Body in Artemis Invaded

At a time when science fiction is more likely to portray ecosystems collapsing rather than flourishing, Jane Lindskold's Artemis series is an anomaly. Its eponymous planet is not an ecological disaster but rather full of so many wonders that it was once a vacation paradise for a now vanished society.

Of course, like any good science fiction (or fiction, in general, for that matter) Lindskold's Artemis is full of surprises. But Lindskold, who I interviewed on New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy, takes care not to bludgeon readers with messages about the dangers of science run amok or human interference in nature.

"I thought it was completely possible to tell a story without lecturing people," she says in her New Books interview. "I wanted to put together an exotic and interesting world and let people go adventuring on it with me and if along the way they figured out that ecosystems don't work if they're exploited, great but I'm not going to write lectures."

Artemis is a genuine character in the story, one with an evolving consciousness that communicates regularly with one of the main characters. Lindskold has been frustrated that some reviewers have mistaken Artemis for an artificial intelligence when, in fact, she's a highly complex network made out of various forms of fungi. As Lindskold puts it, "Artemis is a living organism that happens to have a planet-sized body."

Artemis Invaded, published in June, is the second book set on Artemis. The first, Artemis Awakening, came out in 2014. Whether there will be a third remains to be seen, but Lindskold is full of ideas if she gets a green light from the publisher.

"I think a lot about the people on Artemis and what they are doing and would be doing, and I would find it very easy to pick up again. And one thing I've promised myself I would do is if there was a delay between the publication of Book Two and Book Three is that I would write some short stories so that the readership would have something in between."

Follow host Rob Wolf on his blog or on Twitter @RobWolfBooks