Tag Archives: event

Open for submissions…

I’m really pleased to be able to announce that I’ll be curating another series of near-future fictions for Virtual Futures and this time I’ll be co-curating with Jule Owen, Allen Ashley, Britte Schulte and Vaughan Stanger.

It’s going to be good…

So, authors and poets, we need your best imaginings of the future of infection and infestation, of personhood, of war and of brains.

Successful stories and poems will form a series of live reading events in London between February and May 2018 with an opportunity to be included in an anthology of Virtual Futures Near-Future Fictions.

I’ve been asked about the fees to enter and payment if chosen; it’s a no fee, no payment London based event and we do ask that you attend in person (naturally, there’s no charge for you plus one).

If you’re unfamiliar with the Virtual Futures events, take a look at some of the video footage here https://m.youtube.com/user/virtualfutures

We are open for submissions until 21 December 2017 on the following themes:

The (dis)ease of the i-Mortal: Born of earth or brought back from far away, biological or viral invasions or diseases can affect humans on any scale; from protecting or plaguing an individual to becoming an epidemic that affects us all. Take on a topic that Literature has meditated on from its inception; from Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, to Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, to Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, to Camus’s The Plague, to King’s The Stand.
Show us the good, the bad, but not the bland; we are relying on you to predict the future of infection and infestation in any of its various forms. What is the nature of the diseases, contagions or contaminations have in store?
Curated by Allen Ashley and Stephen Oram

E-Me’s: The digital world is a personality playground that offers us an unprecedented ability to curate and create a public persona — but what does this ability mean for the future of personhood?
As the digital world expands around us and the Internet of Things combines the physical and virtual do we have a moral obligation to represent ourselves with truth and integrity in the digital realm, or should we view it as an opportunity to explore new and radical ontologies?
Curated by Britte Schulte and Stephen Oram

Tomorrow’s Battles: War has, so far, been inevitable throughout human history – but what will the future of conflict or cooperation look like? Will the discoveries of the future lead us to a world without violent disagreement, or just result in us killing one another in more creative ways? Paint us your future of what kind of conflict – or lack of – will emerge from the caldron of tomorrow’s technologies: what utopia or dystopia will we be exposed to?
Curated by Jule Owen and Stephen Oram

Post-Brain: As technology gets smarter and smarter, the human brain is forced to reflect on itself in the mirror of the future and question what value it will have in a world in which wet tech, cerebral hacking and commodified consciousness could reign. A world not of enhancement or augmentation, but replacement. We implore you to enquire what the future of our most precious organ will be, while you still have one.
Curated by Vaughan Stanger and Stephen Oram

The deadline for submissions is 21 December 2017 and successful authors and poets will be notified in January 2018.

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Science in Public 2017

This summer I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Science in Public 2017 conference as a panel member on Science and Science Fiction – the role of fiction in imagining the future, understanding public attitudes to technology, and engaging with scientific researchers.

I find it interesting to be at conferences that are for a specific set of people whose discipline is new to me; there’s so much that’s familiar about all conferences and yet there’s so much that’s new and different about each one.

The theme of this conference was: how do science and technology affect what it means to be human?

“Science and technology are essential ingredients of our humanity. The emergence of fruitful and diverse scholarly perspectives on the history, practice, communication, governance and impacts of scientific knowledge reflects this fact. Continue reading

Collaboration Works

As part of the 2017 Fitzrovia Festival, the people live here festival, neural scientists, social scientists, science writers and science fiction authors all came together to take an audience on their different journeys of collaboration.

Georgina Ferry and Kathrin Jacobsen introduced Neural Architects, the behind-the-scenes account of a unique collaboration between a leading architectural practice, Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd, and a community of scientists seeking to understand how we think, feel, understand and remember. The outcome of this collaboration was the evening’s host building, the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre.

I read from my new collection, Eating Robots and Other Stories, including The Thrown Away Things – a tale of interconnected and dangerously discarded ‘things’ – and the title story Eating Robots about an errant old lady and her errant robot.

Christine Aicardi (Senior Research Fellow, King’s College London) has been a key person in my collaborations with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and the Human Brain Project. She read her own short fiction, Tablet Stroker, and made many insightful observations about The Thrown Away Things and suggestions on what to look out for as we head off into the future. You can read her thoughts in the back of the collection.

Swimming with the Algorithms was a piece I wrote especially for the evening. The idea came out of a series of conversations with Danbee Kim (Researcher at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre and Scientist-in-Residence at the Brighton Sea Life Centre). The piece was iterated over a series of exhanges between me and Danbee touching on both the believability of the science and the behaviour of the protaganist. On the night I read the story and Danbee gave her thoughts on it and what it was like to collaborate on its creation.

There were questions throughout from the audience ranging from: ‘Do Asimov’s three robot laws help or hinder in the writing of fiction about robots?’; ‘What is the most scary thing about present day technology?’; and ‘What’s the best thing about collaborating?’

The conversations continued for at least an hour and a half after the formal part of the evening; the discussions I was involved in were fascinating, whether about the art of writing or the meaning of intelligence.

A big thank you to the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for being such good hosts.


photo – left to right: Christine Aicardi, Danbee Kim, Kathrin Jacobsen, Georgina Ferry and Stephen Oram