Crystal Express is a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories by American author Bruce Sterling. It was released in 1989 by Arkham House, it was published in an edition of 4,231 copies and was the author's first book published by Arkham House. Many of the stories appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the first five stories are set in Sterling's Shaper/Mechanist universe. Crystal Express contains the following stories: "Swarm" "Spider Rose" "Cicada Queen" "Sunken Gardens" "Twenty Evocations" "Green Days in Brunei" "Spook" "The Beautiful and the Sublime" "Telliamed" "The Little Magic Shop" "Flowers of Edo" "Dinner in Audoghast" Chalker, Jack L.. The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 57. Joshi, S. T.. Sixty Years of Arkham House: A History and Bibliography. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. P. 159. ISBN 0-87054-176-5. Nielsen, Leon. Arkham House Books: A Collector's Guide.
Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 135. ISBN 0-7864-1785-4
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
Schismatrix is a science fiction novel by Bruce Sterling published in 1985. The story was Sterling's only novel-length treatment of the Shaper/Mechanist universe. Five short stories preceded the novel and are published together with it in a 1996 edition entitled Schismatrix Plus. Schismatrix was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1985, the British Science Fiction Award in 1986; the main character, Abelard Lindsay, is born in the ancient lunar colony Mare Serenitatis Circumlunar Corporate Republic, into a family of aristocratic Mechanists, but after being sent to the Shaper’s Ring Council, he receives specialized and experimental diplomatic training and gives his loyalty to the Shapers' cause. He, his best friend and fellow Shaper protege Philip Constantine and the beautiful and passionate Preservationist Vera Kelland lead an insurgency against the rulers of the republic, who use Mechanist technology to prolong their lives; the three of them influence the younger generation towards the Shapers' cause in their pursuit of Preservationism, a movement devoted to the preservation of Earth-bound human culture.
Kelland and Lindsay agree to kill themselves as a political statement, but Lindsay reneges on his suicide pact after Kelland is dead. Constantine instead kills a Mechanist, creating a scandal. Constantine is allowed to remain in the Republic because his knowledge is needed to keep the Republic's environment from self-destructing but Lindsay is exiled to the Mare Tranquilitatis Circumlunar People's Zaibatsu; this lunar colony, which collapsed due to an environmental crisis, has become a refuge for "sundogs", criminals and wanderers. There he meets a woman modified by the Shapers to be an ideal prostitute. A servant of the Geisha Bank, a powerful money center, she in fact rules the bank through the remotely operated body of her now brain-dead predecessor. In his months on the Zaibatsu, Lindsay uses his diplomatic talents to organize a complex fraud involving a fictitious theatrical event and befriends an old Mechanist, Fyodor Ryumin; however the fraud takes on a life of its own, the new-formed Kabuki Intrasolar becomes a legitimate artistic and business venture.
Lindsay cannot remain to enjoy the profits, though: Constantine has in the meantime overthrown the Corporate Republic's government. Constantine has abandoned Preservationism to become a Shaper militant, sends an assassin to present a stark choice: become Constantine's pawn or be killed by the assassin. Lindsay manages to escape with a group of Mechanist pirates, in the process aiding Kitsune to take power of the Geisha Bank openly. Lindsay joins a ship called the Red Consensus, which doubles as the nation-state of the Fortuna Miners' Democracy, after the failure of the independent asteroid mining Mechanist cartel; the FMD, financed by more wealthy Mechanists cartels, annexes the asteroid Esairs XII, home to the Mavrides family, a small shaper clan. Lindsay meets a fellow diplomat. Nora informs Abelard that the subjects of the diplomatic training are in disgrace due to the high incidence of treason and defection from their ranks; the two of them work to promote peaceful coexistence between the Shaper militants and the Mechanist pirates, but after several months of conflict, espionage and sabotages, open fighting breaks out.
Mavrides and Lindsay, now lovers murder their companions to save one another. Before the asteroid's life-support systems shut down after the battle, the alien Investors arrive. Peace comes to the Schismatrix after the aliens arrive; the alien Investors are obsessed with trade and wealth, at first encourage humanity to focus on business instead of war. Trade flourishes and the Shapers and Mechanists put their differences aside. Lindsay and Mavrides become powerful Shaper leaders, thanks to their early contact with the Investors; the Investor Peace does not last forever and tensions between Shapers and Mechanists start to rise when the Investors play the factions against one another. Philip Constantine rises to power and takes control of the Ring Council, ousting Mavride's and Lindsay's pro-détente faction. Lindsay runs away from what he sees as a hopeless battle, but Nora decides to stay in the Rings, where they had built their lives and family, to fight Constantine and his militant government.
Lindsay escapes to the Mechanist cartels in the asteroid belt, where Kitsune has again secretly taken power. There Lindsay works ceaselessly for decades to bring about the détente he believes will reunite him with Mavrides. Using a recording of an Investor's ship queen involved in some taboo activities to blackmail the alien, Lindsay contributes to the creation of Czarina-Kluster, neither Shaper nor Mechanist, which becomes one of the richest and most powerful states in the solar system. Lindsay's partner, plans to use the colony to promote his post-humanist ideology, while Lindsay himself seeks to bring Nora to the new colony. However, Constantine forces her to kill herself. Consumed with hatred, Lindsay for the first time confronts his former friend directly, arranging a duel with him using an ancient alien artifact called the Arena. While Lindsay wins, the Arena leaves Constantine catatonic. Years after the duel, now renamed the Neotenic Cultural Republic. Constantine's militant Shaperism has been replaced by a Preservationist government, dedicated to remaining a cultural preserve where normal, unmodified human life is preserved.
As part of the treatment that restored Lindsay's mind, his original Shaper diplomatic training has been removed. Having returned to a Preservationist world, now restored to a hum
Terraforming or terraformation of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the environment of Earth to make it habitable by Earth-like life. The concept of terraforming developed from actual science; the term was coined by Jack Williamson in a science-fiction short story published during 1942 in Astounding Science Fiction, but the concept may pre-date this work. If the environment of a planet could be altered deliberately, the feasibility of creating an unconstrained planetary environment that mimics Earth on another planet has yet to be verified. Mars is considered to be the most candidate for terraforming. Much study has been done concerning the possibility of heating the planet and altering its atmosphere, NASA has hosted debates on the subject. Several potential methods of altering the climate of Mars may fall within humanity's technological capabilities, but at present the economic resources required to do so are far beyond that which any government or society is willing to allocate to it.
The long timescales and practicality of terraforming are the subject of debate. Other unanswered questions relate to the ethics, economics and methodology of altering the environment of an extraterrestrial world; the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan proposed the planetary engineering of Venus in an article published in the journal Science in 1961. Sagan imagined seeding the atmosphere of Venus with algae, which would convert water and carbon dioxide into organic compounds; as this process removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect would be reduced until surface temperatures dropped to "comfortable" levels. The resulting carbon, Sagan supposed, would be incinerated by the high surface temperatures of Venus, thus be sequestered in the form of "graphite or some involatile form of carbon" on the planet's surface; however discoveries about the conditions on Venus made this particular approach impossible. One problem is that the clouds of Venus are composed of a concentrated sulfuric acid solution.
If atmospheric algae could thrive in the hostile environment of Venus's upper atmosphere, an more insurmountable problem is that its atmosphere is far too thick—the high atmospheric pressure would result in an "atmosphere of nearly pure molecular oxygen" and cause the planet's surface to be thickly covered in fine graphite powder. This volatile combination could not be sustained through time. Any carbon, fixed in organic form would be liberated as carbon dioxide again through combustion, "short-circuiting" the terraforming process. Sagan visualized making Mars habitable for human life in "Planetary Engineering on Mars", an article published in the journal Icarus. Three years NASA addressed the issue of planetary engineering in a study, but used the term "planetary ecosynthesis" instead; the study concluded that it was possible for Mars to support life and be made into a habitable planet. The first conference session on terraforming referred to as "Planetary Modeling", was organized that same year.
In March 1979, NASA engineer and author James Oberg organized the First Terraforming Colloquium, a special session at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. Oberg popularized the terraforming concepts discussed at the colloquium to the general public in his book New Earths. Not until 1982 was the word terraforming used in the title of a published journal article. Planetologist Christopher McKay wrote "Terraforming Mars", a paper for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society; the paper discussed the prospects of a self-regulating Martian biosphere, McKay's use of the word has since become the preferred term. In 1984, James Lovelock and Michael Allaby published The Greening of Mars. Lovelock's book was one of the first to describe a novel method of warming Mars, where chlorofluorocarbons are added to the atmosphere. Motivated by Lovelock's book, biophysicist Robert Haynes worked behind the scenes to promote terraforming, contributed the neologism Ecopoiesis, forming the word from the Greek οἶκος, oikos, "house", ποίησις, poiesis, "production".
Ecopoiesis refers to the origin of an ecosystem. In the context of space exploration, Haynes describes ecopoiesis as the "fabrication of a sustainable ecosystem on a lifeless, sterile planet". Fogg defines ecopoiesis as a type of planetary engineering and is one of the first stages of terraformation; this primary stage of ecosystem creation is restricted to the initial seeding of microbial life. As conditions approach that of Earth, plant life could be brought in, this will accelerate the production of oxygen, theoretically making the planet able to support animal life. Beginning in 1985, Martyn J. Fogg started publishing several articles on terraforming, he served as editor for a full issue on terraforming for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society in 1992. In his book Terraforming: Engineering Planetary Environments, Fogg proposed the following definitions for different aspects related to terraforming: Planetary engineering: the application of technology for the purpose of influencing the global properties of a planet.
Geoengineering: planetary engineering applied to Earth. It includes only those macroengineering concepts that deal with the alteration of some global parameter, such as the greenhouse effect, atmospheric composition, insolation or impact flux. Terraforming: a process of planetary engineering directed at enhancing the capacity of an extraterrestrial planetary environment to support li
Michael Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction author known for his novels and work on the Mirrorshades anthology. This work helped to define the cyberpunk genre. Sterling is one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement in science fiction, along with William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner, Pat Cadigan. In addition, he is one of the subgenre's chief ideological promulgators; this has earned him the nickname "Chairman Bruce". He was one of the first organizers of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, is a frequent attendee at the Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop, he won Hugo Awards for his novelettes Taklamakan. His first novel, Involution Ocean, published in 1977, features the world Nullaqua where all the atmosphere is contained in a single, miles-deep crater; the story concerns a ship sailing on the ocean of dust at the bottom, which hunts creatures called dustwhales that live beneath the surface. It is a science-fictional pastiche of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. From the late 1970s onwards, Sterling wrote a series of stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe: the solar system is colonised, with two major warring factions.
The Mechanists use a great deal of computer-based mechanical technologies. The situation is complicated by the eventual contact with alien civilizations; the Shaper/Mechanist stories can be found in the collection Crystal Express and the collection Schismatrix Plus, which contains the original novel Schismatrix and all of the stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe. Alastair Reynolds identified Schismatrix and the other Shaper/Mechanist stories as one of the greatest influences on his own work. In the 1980s, Sterling edited the science fiction critical fanzine Cheap Truth under the alias of Vincent Omniaveritas, he wrote. He contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, he contributed, along with Lewis Shiner, to the short story "Mozart in Mirrorshades". From April 2009 through May 2009, he was an editor at Cool Tools. Since October 2003 Sterling has blogged at "Beyond the Beyond", hosted by Wired, his most recent novel is Love, a Paranormal Romance.
He has been the instigator of three projects which can be found on the Web - The Dead Media Project - A collection of "research notes" on dead media technologies, from Incan quipus, through Victorian phenakistoscopes, to the departed video game and home computers of the 1980s. The Project's homepage, including Sterling's original Dead Media Manifesto can be found at http://www.deadmedia.org The Viridian Design Movement - his attempt to create a "green" design movement focused on high-tech and ecologically sound design. The Viridian Design home page, including Sterling's Viridian Manifesto and all of his Viridian Notes, is managed by Jon Lebkowsky at http://www.viridiandesign.org. The Viridian Movement helped to spawn the popular "bright green" environmental weblog Worldchanging. WorldChanging contributors include many of the original members of the Viridian "curia". Embrace the Decay - a web-only art piece commissioned by the LA Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003. Incorporating contributions solicited through The Viridian Design'movement', Embrace the Decay was the most visited piece/page at LA MOCA's Digital Gallery, included contributions from Jared Tarbell of levitated.net and co-author of several books on advanced Flash programming, Monty Zukowski, creator of the winning'decay algorithm' sponsored by Bruce.
Sterling has a habit of coining neologisms to describe things that he believes will be common in the future items which exist in limited numbers. In the December 2005 issue of Wired magazine, Sterling coined the term buckyjunk. Buckyjunk refers to difficult-to-recycle consumer waste made of carbon nanotubes. In his 2005 book Shaping Things he coined the term design fiction which refers to a type of speculative design which focuses on world building. In July 1989, in SF Eye #5, he was the first to use the word "slipstream" to refer to a type of speculative fiction between traditional science fiction and fantasy and mainstream literature. In December 1999 he coined the term "Wexelblat disaster", for a disaster caused when a natural disaster triggers a secondary, more damaging, failure of human technology. In his book Zeitgeist, he introduced the term major consensus narrative as an explanatory synonym for truth. In August 2004 he suggested a type of technological device that, through pervasive RFID and GPS tracking, can track its history of use and interact with the world.
In the speech where he offered "spime", he noted that the term "blobject", with which he is sometimes credited, was passed on to him by industrial designer Karim Rashid. The term may have been coined by Steven Skov Holt, he discussed and expanded on Sophia Al Maria's neologism "Gulf Futurism" in his column for Wired Magazine "Beyond The Beyond" In childhood, Sterling spent several years in India and has a fondness for Bollywood films. In 2003 he was appointed Professor at the European Graduate School where he is teaching summer intensive courses on media and design. In 2005, he became "visionary in residence" at Art Center College of Design in California, he lived in Belgrade with Serbian author and film-maker Jasmi