Where I get my ideas

Like any SF author, I’m often being asked this question. Unlike Harlan Ellison and some others, I’m not inclined to get snitty about it. Why should I? It’s a serious question. I’ve spoken at length about how the research that kicked off the Autumn Rain trilogy was triggered by reading some of the U.S. military’s thoughts on the impending weaponization of space.  But if you ever want to fish for off-the-wall ideas, or just blow your mind before breakfast, there are three sites that can always be relied on to deliver the goods:

1.  Stardrive.org The brainchild of maverick physicist Jack Sarfatti, this is dedicated to a discussion of the technologies which would be needed to allow mankind to expand on an interstellar basis.  Cited in the late Robert Anton Wilson’s brilliant Cosmic Trigger, Sarfatti studied under Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe, and recently authored a groundbreaking paper with NASA scientist Creon Levit that may cast dark energy in a new light. And he’s easily the most entertaining conversationalist in all of North Beach.

2.  Clifford Pickover’s Reality Carnival:  Where Cliff finds time to write the scores of books he’s written is beyond me; his daily list of news items would make a book in itself.  And when he’s not sifting for online weirdness (or keeping an eye on the good folks at Wikipedia with his blog Wikidumper), he’s pushing the frontiers of mathematics:  he’s mapped out key features of the Mandelbrot set, and has credited with dozens of patents as well.  (I’m credited with the same number of patents as my cats are, a fact I find somewhat more grating than they do.)

3.  Edge.org Legendary literary agent John Brockman embodies the intersection of edgy science and big publishing money.  And his Edge Foundation is the place to go to see the world’s scientists on display in a slightly more informal setting than one usually spots them in.  Kinda like the Ted Lectures, only you don’t need to sit there and watch the videos.  Which doesn’t mean it can’t be dramatic:  check out this shoot-out at high noon between Lee Smolin and Leonard Susskind on the anthropic principle.

Meanwhile, four days till MACHINERY OF LIGHT!!!!

2 Responses to “Where I get my ideas”

  1. AlexJCavanaugh Says:

    Thanks for pointing out those sites!

  2. Richard E. Nixon Says:

    As usual, you’ve pretty much figured out what is going on now and extrapolated it into a future vision that’s way too likely.

    It would be a wonderful thing (Though as unlikely as Muslims embracing dogs as wonderful animals.) if politicians were so thoughtful.