Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, has been called a "literature of ideas." "Science fiction" is difficult to define as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term to cover what we would today call'hard' science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to known facts was the substrate on which the story was to be built, if the story was to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."Isaac Asimov said: "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology." According to Robert A. Heinlein, "A handy short definition of all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world and present, on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and that the reason for there not being a "full satisfactory definition" is that "there are no delineated limits to science fiction."
Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it." Mark C. Glassy described the definition of science fiction as U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart did with the definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." Science fiction had its beginnings in a time when the line between myth and fact was arguably more blurred than the present day. Written in the 2nd century CE by the satirist Lucian, A True Story contains many themes and tropes that are characteristic of contemporary science fiction, including travel to other worlds, extraterrestrial lifeforms, interplanetary warfare, artificial life; some consider it the first science-fiction novel. Some of the stories from The Arabian Nights, along with the 10th-century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter and Ibn al-Nafis's 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus contain elements of science fiction. Products of the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Johannes Kepler's Somnium, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, Cyrano de Bergerac's Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and The States and Empires of the Sun, Margaret Cavendish's "The Blazing World", Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Ludvig Holberg's Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum and Voltaire's Micromégas are regarded as some of the first true science-fantasy works.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan considered Somnium the first science-fiction story. Following the 18th-century development of the novel as a literary form, Mary Shelley's books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped define the form of the science-fiction novel. Brian Aldiss has argued. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several stories considered science fiction, including "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" which featured a trip to the Moon. Jules Verne was noted for his attention to detail and scientific accuracy Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which predicted the contemporary nuclear submarine. In 1887, the novel El anacronópete by Spanish author Enrique Gaspar y Rimbau introduced the first time machine. Many critics consider H. G. Wells one of science fiction's most important authors, or "the Shakespeare of science fiction." His notable science-fiction works include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds. His science fiction imagined alien invasion, biological engineering and time travel.
In his non-fiction futurologist works he predicted the advent of airplanes, military tanks, nuclear weapons, satellite television, space travel, something resembling the World Wide Web. In 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long planetary romance series of Barsoom novels, set on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback published the first American science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in which he wrote: By'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision... Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading—they are always instructive, they supply knowledge... in a palatable form... New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow... Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written...
Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well. In 1928, E. E. "Doc" Smith's first published work, The Skylark of Space, written in collaboration with Lee Hawkins Garby, appeared in Amazing Stories. It is called the first great space opera; the same year, Philip Francis Nowlan's original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419 appeared in Amazing Stories. This was followed by the first serious science-fiction comic. In 1937, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction, an event, sometimes conside
The Business (novel)
The Business is a novel by the Scottish writer Iain Banks, published in 1999. Kate Telman is a ` level 3' executive in a vast business empire. During her sabbatical year, she comes to suspect that some of her colleagues are stealing from the organisation, investigates; the book starts with a 4:37 a.m. phone call from Mike Daniels to Kathryn Telman. He has been drugged, about half of his teeth randomly and expertly extracted, just before an important meeting in Japan; the Business is a powerful multinational commercial organisation and long-lived. It predates the Roman Catholic Church, descends from a consortium of merchants in the Roman Empire which it owned for sixty-six days, it is now considering taking over a country in order to gain a seat at the United Nations. The story follows the heroine, Kate Telman, 38 and lusts after Stephen Buzetski, married. Starting from poverty, she has risen through the Business under the tutelage of her mentor, who adopted her at an early age, her'uncle Freddy', the man who invented the portable milk container.
She is investigating a possible case of someone stealing from the company, starting with strange happenings at a silicon chip manufacturing plant. Although she discovers evidence of wrongdoing at a high level in the Business, she continues to believe in what they are doing as an organisation, she travels the world, at one point being summoned by a weapon-collecting higher-up in Nebraska to talk his nephew out of writing an incendiary anti-Islamic screenplay. A scene of the book takes place on a ship on its way to be broken up at a shipyard in Sonmiani Bay, she has several telephone conversations with her therapy-damaged friend Luce in California, who provides a cynical, foul-mouthed counterpoint to Kate's goodheartedness. She is given a DVD of Stephen's wife having extramarital sex in an attempt to influence her, she becomes involved in the acquisition of the small Himalayan country of Thulahn. Small and underdeveloped and vulnerable, the football pitch doubles as the airport, "the royal palace is heated by yak dung" and the "national sport is emigration".
It resembles an exaggerated version of Bhutan. Under the Business's plan, Thulahn would be utterly changed, if not destroyed, its people thrust into the modern world. Kate is given the job of negotiating with Thulahn's Crown Prince Suvinder Dzung, who when he last met her had fallen in love with her; the Business has been described as a science fiction book set in the present day. Part of Kate's job is to keep up to date with current technological developments, Banks mentions lots of contemporary gadgets. Cars in particular, technology in general, are celebrated and described in detail here. References to DVD technology and flying on Concorde combine to date this book to a narrow period. At one point, Telman tortures a Ferrari 355's engine to force a villain to confess, he rents an Audi A3. Kate's gradual falling in love with the place she is tasked to change beyond recognition is reminiscent of the 1983 film Local Hero; the Business, Iain Banks, London: Little, Brown, 1999, ISBN 0-316-64844-2 Doing the Business, Guardian interview Another review
Espedair Street is a novel by Scottish writer Iain Banks, published in 1987. The book tells the story of the rise to fame of Dan Weir, a bass guitar player in a rock and roll band called Frozen Gold, of his struggles to be happy now that he is rich and famous. Two days ago I decided to kill myself. I would walk and hitch and sail away from this dark city to the bright spaces of the wet west coast, there throw myself into the tall, glittering seas beyond Iona to let the gulls and seals and tides have their way with my remains, in my dying moments look forward to an encounter with Staffa’s six-sided columns and Fingal’s cave. Last night I decided to stay alive. Everything that follows is... just to explain. Weird starts out in the Ferguslie Park area of Paisley in a underprivileged Catholic family, he is impressed by a group named Frozen Gold when he sees them live, in the Union of Paisley College of Technology, auditions with them. Christine Brice likes his songs, he joins the band, he ends up writing all their material and playing bass guitar, as the band rises in the drug- and booze-fuelled rock and roll of the 1970s, assisted by A&R man Rick Tumber of ARC Records.
In the Three Chimneys tour, singer Davey Balfour takes Dan along on an attempt to break an unofficial speed record for flying around three power station chimneys in Kent in his private aeroplane. He reminisces about this from 1980s Glasgow, where he lives as a recluse in a Victorian folly since the tragic events which led to the demise of the band, he is posing as his own caretaker, his friends McCann and Wee Tommy know him as Jimmy Hay. After a memorable fight in a nightclub called'Monty's', his real identity is revealed, he has grown uncomfortable with fame and wealth, visits his first girlfriend, Jean Webb, now living in Arisaig. The band is loosely modelled on Pink Floyd or Fleetwood Mac although Banks has said that the character of Weird was in part inspired by Fish, the ex-Marillion singer and lyricist. Sex and rock and roll are present on every page, sometimes all three at once. There is a tone of rock journalism in the parts of the book about Frozen Gold. Coincidentally, onetime aspiring rock musician Sandy Robertson, who became a well known rock journalist at Sounds magazine, lived in Espedair Street in the early 70s before the book was written.
As Banks' first novel to eschew'special effects', not being Gothic horror like The Wasp Factory, a literary mystery, or science fiction, most critics regard it as one of his most accessible works. Espedair Street is a real street in Charleston, where some of the significant events in the book take place. Espedair Street, Iain Banks, London: Macmillan, 1987, ISBN 0-333-44916-9 A four-part BBC radio adaptation of the novel was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 1998. Textualities review
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
Presentations – Presentations from both guest speakers and OCLC research from conferences and other events. The presentations are organized into five categories: Conference presentations, Dewey presentations, Distinguished Seminar Series, Guest presentations, Research staff
The State of the Art
The State of the Art is a short story collection by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first published in 1991; the collection includes some stories published under his other byline, Iain Banks as well as the title novella and others set in Banks' Culture fictional universe. Road of Skulls A Gift from the Culture Odd Attachment Descendant Cleaning Up Piece The State of the ArtAt 100 pages long, the title novella makes up the bulk of the book; the novella chronicles a Culture mission to Earth in the late 1970s, serves as a prequel of sorts to Use of Weapons by featuring two of that novel's characters, Diziet Sma and the drone Skaffen-Amtiskaw. Here, Sma argues for contact with Earth; the ship Arbitrary has ideas, a sense of humour, of its own.'Also while I'd been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC's World Service, asking for'Mr David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.' It didn't get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.'ScratchOR: The Present and Future of Species HS Considered as The Contents of a Contemporary Popular Record.
Report Abstract/Extract Version 4.2 Begins. "A Gift from the Culture" - published in Interzone #20, Summer 1987 with illustrations by SMS. "Odd Attachment" - published in the anthology Arrows of Eros, Alex Stewart 1989, New English Library, ISBN 0-450-50249-X. "Descendant" - published in the anthology Tales from the Forbidden Planet, Roz Kaveney 1987, Titan Books, ISBN 1-85286-004-9. "Cleaning Up" - published in a limited edition of 500 by Birmingham Science Fiction Group as the Souvenir Book for Novacon 17 when Banks was Guest of Honour. "Piece" - published in The Observer Magazine on 13 August 1989 with illustrations by Peter Knock. The State Of The Art - An original edition appeared in 1989 as a separate book; the cover art was by Arnie Fenner, a limited edition of 400 books in a slipcase appeared, signed by both artist and author. "Scratch" - published in The Fiction Magazine vol. 6, No. 6, Jul/Aug 1987. The collection was published in the US in 2004 by Night Shade Books, in hardback and limited editions.
The limited edition contains work by Banks not found in the UK version. A Trade Paperback edition was printed in Canada in 2007 by Night Shade Books, It contains the additional text'A Few Notes on the Culture' The non-SF stories in the collection are the only ones he has published under his Iain M. Banks name, only used for his science fiction. "Piece" was adapted by Craig Warner for BBC Radio 5 and broadcast on 6 June 1991. It was directed by John York; the cast included: Munro - Bill Paterson Jack - Harry Jones Eve/Voice - Susan Sheridan"The State of the Art" was adapted by Paul Cornell for the Afternoon Play slot on BBC Radio 4 and broadcast on 5 March 2009. The adaptation was directed by Nadia Molinari and the main cast was: The Ship - Antony Sher Diziet Sma - Nina Sosanya Dervley Linter - Paterson Joseph Li - Graeme Hawley Tel - Brigit Forsyth Sodel - Conrad NelsonIn late 2009 it was announced that the story "A Gift From the Culture" was in the early stages of being adapted for the cinema by Dominic Murphy, the director of White Lightnin'.
Danny Yee's review Reviews The State of the Art, Iain M. Banks, London: Orbit, 1991, ISBN 0-356-19669-0
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot, "one of the twentieth century's major poets" was an essayist, publisher and literary and social critic. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States, to a prominent Boston Brahmin family, he moved to England in 1914 at the age of 25, settling and marrying there, he became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement, it was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land, "The Hollow Men", "Ash Wednesday", Four Quartets. He was known for his seven plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry". The Eliots were a Boston Brahmin family with roots in New England. Thomas Eliot's paternal grandfather, William Greenleaf Eliot, had moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to establish a Unitarian Christian church there.
His father, Henry Ware Eliot, was a successful businessman and treasurer of the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company in St Louis. His mother, Charlotte Champe Stearns, wrote poetry and was a social worker, a new profession in the early 20th century. Eliot was the last of six surviving children. Eliot was born at a property owned by his grandfather, William Greenleaf Eliot, his four sisters were between 19 years older. Known to family and friends as Tom, he was the namesake of Thomas Stearns. Eliot's childhood infatuation with literature can be ascribed to several factors. First, he had to overcome physical limitations as a child. Struggling from a congenital double inguinal hernia, he could not participate in many physical activities and thus was prevented from socializing with his peers; as he was isolated, his love for literature developed. Once he learned to read, the young boy became obsessed with books and was absorbed in tales depicting savages, the Wild West, or Mark Twain's thrill-seeking Tom Sawyer.
In his memoir of Eliot, his friend Robert Sencourt comments that the young Eliot "would curl up in the window-seat behind an enormous book, setting the drug of dreams against the pain of living." Secondly, Eliot credited his hometown with fuelling his literary vision: "It is self-evident that St. Louis affected me more than any other environment has done. I feel that there is something in having passed one's childhood beside the big river, incommunicable to those people who have not. I consider myself fortunate to have been born here, rather than in Boston, or New York, or London."From 1898 to 1905, Eliot attended Smith Academy, where his studies included Latin, Ancient Greek and German. He began to write poetry when he was fourteen under the influence of Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a translation of the poetry of Omar Khayyam, he said the results were gloomy and despairing and he destroyed them. His first published poem, "A Fable For Feasters", was written as a school exercise and was published in the Smith Academy Record in February 1905.
Published there in April 1905 was his oldest surviving poem in manuscript, an untitled lyric revised and reprinted as "Song" in The Harvard Advocate, Harvard University's student magazine. He published three short stories in 1905, "Birds of Prey", "A Tale of a Whale" and "The Man Who Was King"; the last mentioned story reflects his exploration of the Igorot Village while visiting the 1904 World's Fair of St. Louis; such a link with primitive people antedates his anthropological studies at Harvard. Eliot lived in St. Louis, Missouri for the first sixteen years of his life at the house on Locust St. where he was born. After going away to school in 1905, he only returned to St. Louis for visits. Despite moving away from the city, Eliot wrote to a friend that the "Missouri and the Mississippi have made a deeper impression on me than any other part of the world."Following graduation, Eliot attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts for a preparatory year, where he met Scofield Thayer who published The Waste Land.
He studied philosophy at Harvard College from 1906 to 1909, earning his bachelor's degree after three years, instead of the usual four. While a student, Eliot was graduated with a pass degree, he recovered and persisted, attaining a B. A. in an elective program best described as comparative literature in three years, an M. A. in English literature in the fourth. Frank Kermode writes that the most important moment of Eliot's undergraduate career was in 1908 when he discovered Arthur Symons's The Symbolist Movement in Literature; this introduced him to Jules Laforgue, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine. Without Verlaine, Eliot wrote, he might never have heard of Tristan Corbière and his book Les amours jaunes, a work that affected the course of Eliot's life; the Harvard Advocate published some of his poems and he became lifelong friends with Conrad Aiken, the American writer and critic. After working as a philosophy assistant at Harvard from 1909 to 1910, Eliot moved to Paris where, from 1910 to 1911, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne.
He read poetry with Henri Alban-Fournier. From 1911 to 1914, he was back at Harvard studying Indian Sanskrit. Eliot was awarded a scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, in 1914, he first visited Marb
Excession is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, it is the fifth in the Culture series, a series of ten science fiction novels which feature a utopian fictional interstellar society called the Culture. It concerns the response of the Culture and other interstellar societies to an unprecedented alien artifact, the Excession of the title; the book is about the response of the Culture's Minds to the Excession itself and the way in which another society, the Affront, whose systematic brutality horrifies the Culture, tries to use the Excession to increase its power. As in Banks' other Culture novels the main themes are the moral dilemmas that confront a hyperpower and how biological characters find ways to give their lives meaning in a post-scarcity society, presided over by benign super-intelligent machines; the book features a large collection of Culture ship names, some of which give subtle clues about the roles these ships' Minds play in the story. In terms of style, the book is notable for the way in which many important conversations between Minds resemble email messages complete with headers.
The Excession of the title is a perfect black-body sphere that appears mysteriously on the edge of Culture space, appearing to be older than the Universe itself and that resists the attempts of the Culture and technologically equivalent societies to probe it. The Interesting Times Gang, an informal group of Minds loosely connected with Special Circumstances, try to manage the Culture's response to the Excession; the Affront, a expanding race which practises systematic sadism towards subject species and its own females and junior males try to exploit the Excession by infiltrating a store of mothballed Culture warships and using them to claim control of the mysterious object. The Sleeper Service, an Eccentric GSV is instructed to head to the location of the Excession by the ITG; as a condition the Sleeper Service demands that Genar-Hofoen, a human member of Contact, attend it to seek a resolution with his ex-lover who lives in solitude on the GSV. They had had an intense love-affair and, after a series of sex changes, had each become impregnated by the other until Genar-Hofoen was unfaithful and Dajeil attacked Genar-Hofoen, killing the unborn child.
Dajeil suspended her pregnancy and withdrew from society for 40 years and the Sleeper Service hopes to effect a reconciliation between them. As the stolen Affront fleet approaches the Excession, the Sleeper Service deploys a fleet of 80,000 remote controlled warships, neutralizing the threat, it transpires that the Affront have been manipulated into their grab for power by members of the ITG who thought it was morally imperative to curb the Affront's cruelty by any means, intend to use the Affront's theft of Culture warships as an excuse for war. The Excession releases a wave of destructive energy towards the Sleeper Service. In desperation, the Sleeper Service transmits a complete copy of its personality, its "Mindstate", into the Excession, which has the effect of halting the attack; the Excession vanishes as mysteriously as it appeared and the brief war with the Affront is halted. During these events, after speaking with Genar-Hofoen, Dajeil decides to complete her pregnancy and remain on the Sleeper Service, which sets course for a satellite galaxy.
Genar-Hofoen returns to the Affront, having been rewarded by being physically transformed into a member of the Affront species. The book's epilogue reveals that the Excession is a sentient entity, acting as a bridge for a procession of beings that travel between universes, it assesses whether the species and societies it encounters are suitable to be enlightened about some unknown further existence beyond the universe. It takes the name given to it by the Culture – The Excession – as its own; this novel is about how the Culture deals with an Outside Context Problem, the kind of problem "most civilizations would encounter just once, which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop." This is a problem, "outside the context" as it is not considered until it occurs, the capacity to conceive of or consider the OCP in the first place may not be possible or limited. An example of OCP is an event in which a civilization does not consider the possibility that a much more technologically advanced society can exist, encounters one.
The term is coined by Banks for the purpose of this novel, described as follows: The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island.