Lit Links: August 7th 2008: Sci-Fi Special Edition

This week I’ve been working extra hours on the first floor in Amsterdam, covering for colleagues on holiday. Especially for all the lovely customers I’ve helped this week, here’s a special collection of sci-fi lit links.

Thirteen great opening sentences from science fiction. According to anyway. I bet you could come up with better ones.

Science fiction words. More science fiction words.

balliardian.jpgBallardian” is an adjective “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in  JG Ballard’s novels & stories, esp. dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes & the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”Wikipedia The brilliant Boing Boing points out a flickr pool of Balliardian photos.

Why does so little science fiction rise to the standards of literary fiction? Good question. As someone who hasn’t read sci-fi (except for the more literary speculative fiction of Atwood and Orwell) this was a really interesting read.

steve-schofield.jpgNot strictly sci-fi, but fascinating, the photographer Steve Schofield has an online gallery of his portraits of people in costume. Not cosplay, as such: most of them are characters from popular sci-fi films, but there’s a a good helping of pioneers and injuns too.

Also from, prompted by the news that Buzz Aldrin thinks that sci-fi killed space travel: Does sci-fi help or hinder real science?Actually, I’m only posting that link because I really like this rebuttal, which argues that science-fiction and science-fantasy are two entirely different things.

The Long Now Foundation aims to provide a counterpoint to what it views as today’s “faster/cheaper” mindset and to promote “slower/better” thinking.  Neal Stephenson’s new novel Anathem was inspired by the Clock of the Long Now, or was it the other way round?

Neal Stephenson (again – he’s on the promo trail, obviously) lectures on the (un)importance of genres in literature.  If you have about 40 minutes to spare, that is.