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VOL. III I S S. III
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IN THIS ISSUE
8 // Incubated: Featured artist Steve Avery 21 // A break-up letter to George Lucas by Jessica Farkas 24 // 10 women you should know in science and technology 26 // Uncanny valley: Photographs by Thea Whitaker 34 // Smart cities: What would a perfect city of the future look like? by Ashley Hennefer 38 // Remembering Ray Bradbury: Two tributes by Natalie Parker-Lawrence and Hanna Lustig 42 // Into the rush: Photographs and a new project by Michael and Stephanie Gines 50 // -PUNK: A breakdown of science fictionâ€™s hottest subcultures 56 // Chapter 1 of The Dream Star by Susan Botich 59 // What I think about when I think about science fiction by Amanda Robinson
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TWO YOUNg heroines embark on a quest for beauty and truth...
I like science fiction best when it has potential for becoming reality--like dystopian novels about oppressing women, or nuclear warfare caused by man. I like these best because they give my innate rebelliousness some context and a purpose.
I have something to fight for, something worthwhile.
but this issue is about more than just art. science fiction has major implications for our future as a species. it explores the consequences of what we value, what we fear and what we desire. it has no boundaries, except for that of the imagination.
I’ve always had dreams of being on the battlefield. I love weaponry--guns, knives, bows. Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman, but I’m obsessed with the act of penetrating--I want to cause it, not be victim to it. I believe destruction is beautiful. Great art should leave some scars.
Science fiction is meant for girls like me, the ones who wield books and words like weapons.
It allows my imagination to break away from the conventions of society that hold me back, that continue to hold women back. it allows me to believe in a future in which i will really be free. It allows for compilations like this issue of Wildflower Magazine to be possible, with such a multitude of opinions, creativity and insight.
After all... a magazine is just another word for bullets.
Here’s to the future--
Ashley hennefer, editor 6 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
Science was never really my forte. Growing up, the only thing I even liked about science class was that once a year we got to take a week off for Sex Education. Well, that and the one time in fourth grade when my childhood arch nemesis’ project blew to smithereens right in front of the science fair judges.
Everything about science either confused or annoyed me. My teachers all had weird haircuts and grew really tired of me asking questions like “Is there going to be a memorial for all the dead frogs once we’re done slicing them open just to pin little flags on their innards?” and “On what planet does it make sense that the abbreviation of Gold should be ‘A u’?” and “So essentially what you’re saying is that you cannot, in fact, be certain that unicorns and hobbits don’t reside on the other side of those black hole thingies?” (I’m also pretty sure they knew it was me who wrote “What’s the average size of a penis because my girlfriend says mine’s too small” during the anonymous question card portion of Sex Ed.)
Nonetheless, despite my disinterest in--and lack of any aptitude for--science, I have always had a deep love of science fiction. Science fiction never looked at me funny when I asked “but WHY?” Because that’s what science fiction is all about. It’s about taking those mind-numbing, unanswered questions, throwing them into a beaker and lighting them on fire with the biggest most badass Bunsen burner of all time--the human imagination. Science fiction creates worlds and characters to tell stories that explain the what ifs. It’s all my favorite things to ever “exist,” like Star Wars and comic books and robots and zombies, and seriously, have you ever read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card?
They say some of the most profound scientific advancements were made based on science fiction. Just look at how similar our world has become to the futuristic worlds conjured up by authors and filmmakers decades ago. The technology they imagined has become reality. The cures they predicted have been developed. Because it is a combination of both scientific fact and prophetic vision, science fiction is almost like a window into the future. Science fiction dreams up answers to the things we can’t explain. Then it’s just a matter of real-world scientists figuring out the formulas and solving the equations in order to bring it all to life.
It seems like if there is one thing all Wildflowers have in common, it’s an appreciation for science fiction. As such, it should come as no surprise that we have received enough submissions in the last couple months to publish an entire science fiction issue of the magazine. So without further ado, please kick back, relax, let your imaginations roam free and enjoy the issue.
jessica farkas, assistant editor Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 7
INCUBATED 8 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
For artist Steve Avery, everything by about art is a process. Interview Ashley Hennefer Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 9
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Levithian 12 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
What is your educational background? I never did manage to go to art school—so I have no formal background. In a lot of ways I wish I had gone to art school—and you never know right?—but it just never happened for one reason or another. Everything I have learned I picked up on my own over time. There is a wealth of info just laying around. On the internet, in books (I have been known to just hang out in the “art” section of bookstores) so I have for sure soaked up a lot of that. Just viewing life is probably the greatest teacher, studying lighting and shadows, how hair “works,” how a woman sits and reads a book. Really with art I don’t think you ever stop learning anyway. Every time I go anywhere I’ll catch myself looking and soaking things in, just sort of wondering how I would build that, paint that. Painting, physical not digital, is the newest thing I picked up about three years ago and I learn just about every time I paint something new. It’s a lot of trial and error with a few successes in between. I decided to do four new paintings for my last show and they really pushed me in so many ways I never expected. I think I learned more struggling through those four than I probably have in the last three years, so I’m having a lot of fun with that. I was interested in digital drawing, so I found a copy of Photoshop and just struggled with it. When I would hit a block, I would go in search of a decent tutorial and then keep going. I wanted to web design so I did the same process all over again. I have probably learned the most from other artists sketchbooks. That’s where I really began to see how they did it, the process of “building” imagery, which has always been huge for me. Most of the things I want to create don’t really exist. I can’t just do a quick “image search” to find a reference, so I needed to learn how to build it all. Most of my images are created more from memory than anything really, or at least a version of that. So having the basis of perspective, form, lighting and all that means I can usually build what I want to build visually. Lately I have also had the chance to work with other artists and that has been a great learning experience too.
When did you first start drawing? My earliest memory of drawing was in second grade. I remember drawing these silly cars with huge back tires and pipes and such. I had fun with that, so I just kept on doing it. I guess I traded in the cars for women as I got older for my favorite subject. The first time I really remember thinking I was an “artist”—or at least maybe I had a bit of a gift for it— was in fourth grade. We were doing this class project, making the ocean out of construction paper, and kids kept asking me to draw different animals. Whales, sharks, fish. So there I was, drawing away and handing them over, when I looked and noticed most of the “ocean” we had made was filled with my creatures. It’s a little silly, but for me it was an interesting window—I didn’t really fit in easily as a kid so seeing that was powerful enough for me to still remember and to keep fueling my art as time went by. The downside to that is something I have spent the last few years trying to break from. I learned at that time that I would be seen as “special” for my art— which was great—but it was dependent on the audience in question. If I was just doing my art so people would like it and in turn like me, then why was I really doing it and who was I doing it for? Painting, as opposed to illustration, has really pushed me back to that question over and over. The things I have done in the last few years with painting have all been personal; they have just been for me. I have had to learn to “let go” and just do what I want to do. Of course I still want people to like them, but first I have to love them. Wow, sorry, I know this seems like a lot for just a “guy who draws” but art to me isn’t just something I do… it goes a whole lot deeper then that. As odd as it might sound, when you see a painting of mine you are really in a lot of ways seeing me, or at least how I feel about things. And that me is in the process of accepting himself, allowing for the imperfect and realizing that most of the beauty in the world and in my art is found in that imperfection. I used to worry all the time about my proportion being right, or lighting being just so—I don’t anymore. Not because I don’t care, but because what comes out is Continued on page 16.
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The World Ends
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Aeon Flux in progress
Continued from page 13.
what comes out. I have had to learn to let go of all of the fear of being judged so I can just create. I’m still working on it but I am better anyway. For me when I paint something, I don’t usually sit back and think “Yeah, I painted that” or “Well, that part looks wrong and lame.” It really feels like I am just the first person who got to see it. As a rule, I push paint around on a canvas and forms appear. I tend to over-think everything in life but with my art I really don’t. It’s taken me awhile to learn to just enjoy that.
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Where do you find inspiration for your pieces? For me, I am mostly directly inspired by people I am lucky enough to have in my life, events themselves. Sometimes it’s just passing by a building or looking at something at the right time and it just happens—something comes to you. It’s always more like a dream, like I have the impression of it and the emotion of it but I don’t usually have any specifics. As I paint whatever that inspiration was, a lot of the time it sort of forms up on its own—sometimes too much actually. But the original inspiration usually isn’t so much a specific picture at all,
it’s just something I want to try to capture because it captured me. It’s hard to explain. It’s almost like when you wake up and you try to keep holding your dream in your head so you can remember it to tell someone else, or just seeing two seconds of a movie and trying to tell the story from just that one snapshot. Almost all of my art has a story to tell in it’s own way and I just do my best to represent that story. I know this sounds kind of silly but that’s how it is for me. It can be torture because sometimes I just can’t seem to tell that story. There is actually one big story I have sat on for years now, really its
more like a whole world, this whole built place. It’s there, it’s always there, but for whatever the reason I’m just not ready to tell it. It’s funny to me because I have had so many people come to me over the years with something they really wish they could draw, just for fun or a tattoo or whatever and they are always so specific about it. They know every last detail of it. I’ve often thought it was odd that I can draw but for me it’s the opposite, if I try to catch the form as a whole or any details I actually start to lose it all together. Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 17
Aeon Flux compete
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I once saw a video of Salvador Dali painting and he was talking about the “speed” of inspiration. He said when he was inspired he couldn’t and didn’t stop to think. He just had to get that out as quickly as he could and then later he could go back and fill in any needed detail. I feel exactly the same way. Who are some of your influences? When I was 14 I saw Todd McFarlane’s Spider Man in a store and thought “okay, this is where I want my art to go, to be able to tell stories with it.” So I grabbed it, took it home and—sorry, comic lovers of the world—I tore it all apart and hung the pages on my wall so I could see them all and really soak it in. Prior to that all of my art had been more of the cartoon variety. I especially love concept art. It’s just so free and it always has such a cool story hinted at but gives you so little. The new TRON film almost did me in. So much good design happening there. Ashley Wood has been cool for me to see that you can combine concept and comic art and fine art. A lot of the time it’s not so much the art itself as it is the artist, their story or the way the approached art that influences me. Lately, I have been so lucky to work with other artists for shows or whatever and I have been influenced by them for sure.
Do you experiment in other mediums of art? At this point I really don’t. All of my art is graphic in nature. I would love to learn to sew and make clothing though. Fashion is a huge part of what I create, so I would love to be able to actually make some of the dresses and outfits I put on my girls. Animation, film, comics. There is a lot I would like to do but my focus for now is gallery art, doing shows and finding more of myself in my paintings. What are your upcoming projects? I just finished up the Anipop show last month in [Reno, Nev.], which was a group show. We all had a lot of fun putting that on. I have had my mind on what I want to do for my next solo show…. I’m not sure yet, but I think it might be a little darker than I usually am and I might also be doing some watercolor and ink works along side the acrylic canvas stuff. I don’t have a venue in mind at this point, but one of my goals for this year is to get into a gallery space. Short of that, my next show will be serving as a portfolio to try to get into some gallery spaces. Another artist and I are kicking around an idea we have for an all new group show we would like to do. I would love to go into detail on that one but I can’t just yet. That show when it will most likely happen sometime next year, and I think it’s going to be something really fun that I’ve never seen done before. Do you have a website? www.anipopbeta.com. You can also find me at www.facebook.com/thegreystudio. •
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a breakup letter to george lucas by Jessica farkas
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Dear George, We have been together for roughly 27 and a half years now. Do you know that’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had with a man? That’s saying something. We have had mostly good times–mostly great times, really. And like every other relationship, we have had a few bad times too.
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Remember in 1997, for example, when you decided to release that altered version of A New Hope? The one you filled with lies suggesting Greedo shot first? I mean, sure things got rocky for a minute there, but I continued to love and admire you nonetheless. I even had your back when the rest of the world turned on you for creating Jar Jar Binks. But this time you’ve gone too far, George. Way too far. I recently skipped ten meals in order to purchase Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray. Upon purchasing said collection, I rushed home, eager to begin a marathon movie night with my all-time favorite space adventure. As I popped the $100 discs into my Blu-ray player one by one, I had only a single expectation: higher quality versions of my old Star Wars VHS tapes. Imagine my surprise, then, to have been presented with ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FUCKING MOVIES. Let’s begin with all the little, unnecessary changes you made to our classics. The ones that serve absolutely no purpose other than to annoy me and mess with some of the only childhood memories I have left. Let’s talk about those, George. Were you simply trying to spite me with these little, unnecessary changes? Because I know what Luke says to R2 when that swamp creature spits him out in The Empire Strikes Back, and it’s not “You were lucky to get out of there.” It’s, “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” I know this, George, because every time I watched Empire during my pubescent years (and we both know there were a lot of times), I would rewind and replay that part over and over, giggling to myself at the unintentional sexual insinuation. It was childish and inappropriate, but it was kind of my thing. And now it’s gone. And let’s talk about how you decided to pierce my eardrums and scare the absolute daylights out of me with this ten-times-amplified Krayt Dragon call in A
Let’s begin with all the little, unnecessary changes you made to our classics.
Jessica shows off her dedication to Star Wars over the years, including its influence on her wardrobe and choice of tattoos.
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New Hope. What was that about, George? After watching this movie roughly 4,000 times, I’ve become very aware of what to expect next. And you know what I wasn’t expecting during Obi Wan’s Krayt Dragon call scene? I wasn’t expecting to fall off my couch and start bleeding from my ear holes. That was really careless of you, and I could have been seriously hurt. I’m not even going to get into how you replaced the puppet Yoda with a CGI one in Phantom Menace, because quite frankly, Yoda is like the Michael Jackson of aliens and I can never quite keep up with his appearance or what he is supposed to look like. So you get a free pass on that one. But I know it pissed a lot people off, George. So that’s just something to think about, okay? But how about all the changes you made to my favorite episode, Return of the Jedi? Like that big ass door to Jabba’s palace, for example. Why’d you go and make the door so big, George? That door was never that big. And while we’re talking about Jabba’s palace, why don’t you tell me where that little bastard Dug came from? The one you CGI-ed to walk down the stairs from out of nowhere? We all know he wasn’t there, George. Dugs didn’t even exist until The Phantom Menace. I know this because I remember seeing Phantom Menace for the first time and thinking, “Man, I really don’t like these little bastard Dugs” when one of them tries to sabotage Anakin’s pod racer. Sure, chronologically it would make sense that the Dug could have been there in ROTJ. But he wasn’t. So why are you trying to play me for a fool? What’s worse is that you went and messed with my Ewoks, George. Of all things to mess with, my Ewoks? Really? You know how much those little buggers mean to me. It’s become common knowledge that Ewoks don’t blink. We all know this because it totally freaked us out as little kids. But that doesn’t mean we wanted you to go back and change it. The facts are the facts, George, and the fact that Ewoks don’t blink is just something we had to grow up learning to be okay with. It was something
we had to learn how to look past. So that’s exactly what we did. Snakes and fish don’t blink either, George. So why are you asking us to pretend like our childhoods never happened and this whole time Ewoks could blink? You can’t tell, but I’m shaking my head really feverishly right now. Lastly–and you really messed me up with this one–why don’t you go ahead and explain to me just why on Earth you found it necessary to change the most significant part of all six movies combined? Did you not learn your lesson the first time, George? The time you turned America’s most infamous super villain into the laughing stock of sci fi by having him squeal “Nooooooo!” like a whiney little piglet at the end of Revenge of the Sith? It appears you did not, because you altered the ending of ROTJ to make him do the same shit. You do realize this scene was a masterpiece as it was, right? You do understand that we’re not idiots and we didn’t need Darth Vader to squeal “Noooo!” in order to appreciate his internal conflict? We did just watch six movies that centered around that exact principle. So I guess I only have one question for you, George, and that is what did I do to deserve all this? What could I have done differently? I ask because even though I am breaking up with you, I don’t want all the other fans to suffer. They’ve been through enough. So tell me what I can do to make you stop messing with a good thing? What can I say to convince you to just leave it all alone? I’ll do anything.
Sincerely, Jessica Farkas PS: Han shot first, and you fucking know it.
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10 WOMEN YOU SHOULD KNOW IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY We know this issue is about science fiction, but you can’t have science fiction without, you know, science. It’s part of Wildflower’s mission to honor women from all walks of life. While most of the time, we prefer to acknowledge our readers and contributors for who they are and not just because they are women, it’s a fact that there is still a large gender imbalance in science and technology. Here are some of our favorite female scientists and technologists, listed in alphabetical order, involved in some world-changing projects and research that will ultimately shape our future. We hope the research efforts of these ten women inspire you to embark on your own scientific endeavors. ANA
Physicist Ana Maria Rey runs the Rey Theory Group and has a Ph.D in Physics from the University of Maryland. With the Rey Theory Group, Rey researches atoms and molecules in optical lattices, which essentially harkens ideas of quantum physics as established by Richard Fenyman. She was selected as one of the American Physical Society’s Women Physicists of the Month this June.
Danielle Fong has developed a reputation for being brilliant and a little rebellious. At just 24, she’s already been recognized by major publications like Forbes and Wired for her work founding LightSail Energy. With a degree in physics and computer science from Dalhousie University, Fong begun a Ph.D program in physics at Princeton, but took a leave of absence to focus on LightSail’s renewable energy grid research.
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Darya Pino’s food and nutrition website SummerTomato.com is not your average foodie website—Pino has a Ph.D in neuroscience and applies rigorous scientific standards to all of the advice she provides her readers. Pino received her Ph.D from University of California, San Francisco and writes for a variety of science and food publications, including The Huffington Post, SF Weekly and Edible San Francisco.
Debra Fischer is a professor of Astronomy at Yale University whose research revolves around the study of exoplanets. She’s been dubbed the “Planet Hunter” based on her passion for discovering new planets. She was featured in the PBS film Seeing in the Dark, created by Timothy Ferris. Fischer is also an investigator at the N2K Consortium, an international effort to find extrasolar planets.
Video game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal has been in the game studies circuit for a while, but her book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World has brought her to the forefront of innovative technology research. She’s a researcher at Institute for the Future, and the founder of Gameful, a project for game developers. Oh, and she has a Ph.D from U.C. Berkeley.
Also known as Dr. Kiki, Kirsten Sanford holds a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology from University of California, Davis. She’s been the host of several popular podcasts, include Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour, This Week in Science, Food Science and PopSiren, among others. In 2005, she received the American Association for the Advancement of Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship.
Kristala Prather is a faculty member at MIT and has a Ph.D from U.C. Berkeley. Prather heads a research group which, according to its website, “is centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules.” This involves research in metabolic, biochemical, and bioprocess engineering, as well as synthetic biology. She’s won several major awards and a grant to pursue biofuels research.
Limor Fried famously graced the cover of Wired with an iconic Rosie-the-Riveter pose, but that’s not why we love her. She also holds a Master’s degree in Engineering from MIT. Fried is active in the open source maker culture, and founded eletronics company Adafruit Industries in 2005, which helps to provide electronic learning resources for people of all skill levels. Sometimes she even sports pink hair.
Manuela Veloso is involved in all things robotic. She’s a professor in the school of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and she also leads a research group called CORAL, about robots that “cooperate, observe, reason, act, and learn.” Veloso has long been a part of Robot Soccer—also known as RoboCup—and has also been developing CoBots, to which her website refers to as “effective indoor mobile service robots.”
Just this year, Mina Bissell was honored with the American Association for Cancer Research Distinguished Lectureship for her work in breast cancer research. Born in Tehran, Iran, Bissell went on to complete a Ph.D in bacteriology at Harvard University. She currently researches at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Known for taking a somewhat “radical” approach to her research, Bissell also helped to establish 3D cancer research.
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Thea Whitaker creates two faces based 26 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
d on oneâ€”and the results are unsettling. Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 27
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“The uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche - ‘the opposite of what is familiar’) is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar.” - Wikipedia
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â€œThe person on the right is made of a reflection of the right side of the face; same for the left.â€? - Thea Whitaker
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smart 34 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
What would a perfect city of the future by look Ashley like? Hennefer Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 35
It doesn’t have to be this way. While there is a certain The future, as we’ve imagined it for romance to the grungy city setting, it’s not a very good decades, is here—we walk around option for the seven billion people on the earth. City planners, engineers and architects have a prime opportunity to with tiny, interactive screens in create sustainable, thriving communities. In a perfect world, what would a futuristic city entail? our pockets, we have fancy electric cars breaking world records, It would be constructed using sturdy, and we’re using video games to help renewable and recyclable materials cure diseases, among other amaz- In the popular young adult dystopian series Uglies by Scott Westerfield, the characters live in towns in which all of the ing feats. The technology we’ve buildings are supported by magnets, essentially creating buildings suspended through “hover” technology, as the been able to implement into our main character discusses. While that kind of infrastructure day to day lives is astonishing—so isn’t feasible for how we plan and build city structures, we can take a leaf out of that story and experiment with why are we still living in wasteful, materials and designs that ensure safe dwellings and workspaces. For instance, there is a trend of using shipping outdated communities? containers to build houses or stores. People are renovatAccording to experts, as the earth’s population rises, people are navigating toward urban living. This means that throughout the next few decades, most people on the planet will live in an city environment. That leaves a few options: • Cities will become polluted, crowded metropolises covered in lights and advertisements; • Cities will be sustainable, innovative meccas for technology and healthy living; • Or a bit of both, in which the upper class would enjoy the good stuff while the lower class would suffer from a lack of resources, as evidenced by the current state of affairs around the world. 36 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
ing old churches and schools, turning crumbling buildings into high-tech communal housing. Establishing comfortable, disaster-safe living and workspaces is a priority.
It would have a strong agricultural community Farming is hip again, thanks to the organic and local food movements, but there is much to be said for the benefits of having flourishing agriculture in the heart of every city. Urban farming is already on the rise, taking over cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, and grassroots campaigns are encouraging residents to turn
their lawns and flower gardens into edible gardens to feed themselves and their neighbors. Not only does having great local food boost a city’s economy, but it also helps to promote healthy eating and a connection to nature, even while surrounded by technology.
It would be open source
The open source movement is on a roll, especially as a response to the economic recession which forced people to look for free access to information and learning. While “open source” once referred to software, it now signifies a resource that is not just free, but also adaptable, for the public. Schools are already hopping on this, most notably It would be powered by MIT’s Open Courseware—free, online courses planned renewable energy and taught by MIT professors—and the Khan Academy, a This is a must, and it’s not just because I’m a self-prodatabase of videos and lessons on all subjects. Other refessed greenie, but any city that expects to be around sources like Skillshare encourage hobbyists and experts to for the long haul must find alternative ways to power teach informal classes in their community. A community that itself. There are so many renewable resources, and, when can teach itself and inspire a love of learning in all people partnered with an efficient smart grid, a city can have is ultimately a more educated community. plenty of technology and transportation without having to further fuck up the environment with fossil fuels.
It would have ample public transportation and would encourage biking and walking I’ll be the first to say how much I love my car, and I love automobiles in general. My car is my home on wheels. But after being raised in the Bay Area and having traveled to Europe several times, there are few things I love more than hopping on a metro and walking a few blocks to get where I need to go. Now that high-speed rails are a possibility in California, the rest of the country can get on board. With trains on designated paths instead of freeways, this would give cyclists and pedestrians ample room to get from place to place without risking the wrath of drivers.
It would have a thriving science, art, and technology culture If this issue has proven anything, it’s that science and art are not two extremes on a spectrum. Creativity and analytical thinking must go hand in hand—that’s where innovation happens. Almost everything we strive to do is a mix of both artistry and science, especially those whose careers are in the intersection of these fields, like graphic designers, librarians, social media experts, educators and architects. Which means that cities must have funding and support for research centers, coworking spaces, and libraries. Above all, a perfect future city puts health and personal welfare before profit. That seems like a lot to ask, but some countries are heading in that direction, establishing flourishing communities with sustainable resources. What will the future hold for the rest of us? Maybe I’ll just go back to playing Sim City for a while. • Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 37
REMEMBERING Ray Bradbury
August 22, 1920â€“June 5, 2012
Two writers commemorate the beloved science fiction author
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A memorial to Ray Br a dbu ry T h e w r i ter who bro ught L i t e r a ry mer i t to su m mer, ro b ots, a n d the sta rs by Natalie Parker-Lawrence “Ray Bradbury wrote like Monet painted. He strung words into melodies worthy of Bach. He envisioned the future better than Nostradamus ever did. Ray Bradbury was a writer who wrote from the heart, stories drenched in compassion. Stories that were often melancholy and celebratory all at once. He had the ability to give voice to the human soul.” -from Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (2012) by Sam Weller I can make magic as well as Hermione. Of course I use books instead of wands. Students come to me in their last year of high school. Some believe they are too grown, too gangsta, too cool, too busy, too advanced, too arrogant, too condescending, too satisfied to learn new things. That is an unfortunate stance to take in any classroom; I like to knock down the formidable stances of teenagers. Ray Bradbury knocked himself down: he never went to school to become a writer. He went to the library, and the books he read, the movies he saw in the dark, the references he heard in church, he tucked in his works: Dickens, Shakespeare, the writers of the Bible, Lon Chaney, myths of the Greeks, the Civil War, gospel hymns. His lit-
erary jobs began with hawking newspapers on the corner from 1938 to 1942, selling his first science fiction story in 1941. He was a poet, a playwright, and a screenwriter. He loved baseball and counting his blessings. He loved his family. He honored his friends. He was a grandpa. One of the books I wield to make students rethink their distant position in the universe is Dandelion Wine, one of Bradbury’s best novels, but one that is often forgotten because many English teachers A) hate science fiction (they are dullards who skulk about like Gollum although THEY will never understand that allusion), B) teach Fahrenheit 451, a masterpiece all on its own, and/ or C) teach The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury’s trilogy of collections of short stories of planetary exploration, D) don’t realize that science fiction is not about science; it is about human conflict in the present, packaged in settings too myriad to be believed. I bet that George Lucas, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, Steven Spielberg, Gene Roddenberry, Orson Scott Card, and Alfred Hitchcock read Bradbury under their bedspreads and quilts by a flashlight. Even as adults. If they didn’t, I don’t want to know. I do know when Bradbury wrote the following in his introduction to Dandelion Wine, I underlined it as one of the great secrets of life: “... isn’t that what life is all about, the ability to go around back and come up inside other people’s heads to look out at the damned fool miracle and say: oh, so that’s how you see it? Well, now, I must remember that.” After we looked down at the pages of his books, he invited us to look up to question what might exist behind the stars, behind a sky of planes dropping bombs, behind the façade of happiness not tempered with struggle, behind the surprising fears of adults, behind aging, behind death. Bradbury invited us to experience discoveries, revelations, intuitions, illuminations, rites and ceremonies. He invited us to worry about the way that God runs the world, but also to savor, to relish, being alive. Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 39
dea r r ay br a db u ry Dear Ray Bradbury, I am in transition. Not the temporary, insignificant kind. And not a new kind either, not specific to me alone. But the kind that ushers in nostalgia for melting popsicles and the dense smell of a freshly mowed lawn, a yearning for nights of sitting outside my grandmother's lake house, asking questions of ancient Egypt and the way boats glide ethereally across the water. It's the longing of an adult, a title I am still not comfortable wearing, like a shirt that bags in all the wrong places or a hat that sits crookedly atop my head. It's the sadness the aging share; the fear the dying face. It's the anxiety Douglas Spaulding and I can mutually understand, the sort chronicled in Dandelion Wine. In the corner of my room sits a purple box, the lid off-kilter from the bulk of it contents, which nearly overflows onto the carpeted floor beneath. This box is my dandelion wine. Inside, movie ticket stubs and photographs 40 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
mix with hand-written notes and sheet music, old birthday cards and sand from a beach I once visited laying near the bottom. Keychains and friendship bracelets jumble together, making a web of my past, the physical objects that tether my memories to something solid. I rummage through these relics, reveling in the girl I use to be. My treasure trove rivals that of Mrs. Bentley’s, bonding us in retrospective pain. We have both attempted to live in the past. This year, I will turn eighteen. I will expend what remains of my childhood. I will gather my things and evacuate a house riddled with marks of my past. I will cry with my parents and I will live somewhere else, beyond the reach of reassuring embraces and furtive reminders to “Be safe,” outside the realm of whispered awakenings in the morning and tender apologies after fighting over a broken plate. Too far away to see my brother grow up or tell him goodnight. These are the intangible things I will leave behind when I
"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spent the rest of the day putting the pieces together." ~ Ray Bradbury
go to college. These are the things that will change forever, transform while I am elsewhere. Like Colonel Freeleigh, I will be forced to "time travel" in order to experience them again, view them through the foggy lens of time and attempt to convey to remote listeners the nuances of my past, the magic of my youth. I must settle for looking back and waiting for the day I no longer can. But with the realization of age comes a dual epiphany, the same that comforts Helen Loomis, Great Grandma Spaulding, and Douglas alike: what comes in between birth and death is what is truly significant. We cannot defeat death. But we can win, in our own way. We can live in spite of inevitable entropy, make the most of the small space in time we are allowed. We can relinquish our grip on the past, allow it to exist as an entity of its own. We can strive for meaning. We can safeguard ourselves from regret by dying not on the floor, desperately listening to sound of busy Mexican streets, but contentedly, with stories to tell and people to tell them to. We
can fall asleep, comforted by a peaceful sense of fulfillment, lulled into the unknown by a welcoming darkness. And so I exit this phase of my life with the same, paralyzing uncertainty as before. But my dread is tempered by a strange sense of forbearance, like knowing the dandelions will return next summer, a constant cycle of renewal. Though I may abandon the structure housing them, my memories will sit, stoppered, on a shelf, waiting to be enjoyed in seasons to come. Aging, it seems, is less an act of dereliction than an act of preservation. Only with this is in mind am I able to move forward into...well, whatever is next. Sincerely, Hanna Lustig
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INTO TH E
R US H u s ba n d a n d wife m edia tea m Mich a el a n d Ste p h a nie Gin es b rin g rea l life ga min g to co nventio ns a n d th em e pa rks
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H Ph otos fro m A M2 b y Mich a e l a n d Ste p h a nie Gin es
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Video game culture has infiltrated mainstream culture, and as a result, has started to become a part of our day-to-day lives. As gaming scholar Jane McGonigal (also on our list of women in science and tech, page 39) argues in her book Reality is Broken, gaming can provide us with legitimate skills that allow us to turn mundane living into exciting, goal-oriented playtime. Projects like geocaching, which uses GPS technology to venture on a real-world, crowdsourced scavenger hunt, require strategy. The Go Game, a San Francisco-based public gaming organization, uses technology to hold real life team-building exercises for communities around the world, much like cooperative gameplay. 44 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
Now add to that Theme Park Rush, a project started by Michael and Stephanie Gines, owners of BlinkIt Photography, as well as Fluff Mckenzie, the man behind the programming and gameplay, and Denise Cavazos. Theme Park Rush allows attendees to participate in a game to enhance their theme park or convention-going experience. Michael and Stephanie, whose photographs in this issue were taken at anime convention AM2 where a version of Theme Park Rush called Convention Rush was played, describe the game as “a live board game experience in the style of monopoly. It’s a game where you are the pieces and the location is the board.”
Here’s how it works: • Participants will form teams (between 1-10 people). • Each team starts with 2000 Rush Bucks (RB) and is given an assigned location. • Teams will be quizzed with trivia questions and fun facts. The first team to text the correct response back to the game master will earn their team a perk. • When a team reaches a certain event location, they will have the option to “purchase” that location. Teams can upgrade locations to collect more RB when others land on their locations. • Teams will have to communicate with the game master or location to determine the
amount of rolls to the next place (like rolling a die to move ahead on a game board). • After every five moves, teams receive 500 RB. • The team with the most RB at the end of the day wins. Theme Park Rush will soon be played at Disneyland. The project is in its early stages, but to learn more about the rules of the game, visit www.themeparkrush.com.
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Model: Leslie Giselle Lopez 46 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
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Model: Hazel-Grey Kenny Clothing designed by Sixh. / h.Naoto. Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 49
-PU A BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF SCIEN
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UNK CE FICTION’S HOTTEST SUBCULTURES
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STEAMPUNK [Steampunk] revels in the reality of technology, its very beingness opposed to the over-analytical abstractness of cybernetics. Steam technology is the difference between the nerd and the mad scientist. Steampunk machines are real, breathing, coughing, struggling and rumbling parts of the world. - Steampunk Manifesto The steampunk genre has essentially been around for more than a century, given that the Industrial Revolution opened up writers’ eyes to the possibilities for the future. However, the genre turned into a subculture in the 1980s as a response to the burgeoning technology movement. While the name of the genre was intended to poke fun at ‘cyberpunk,’ the steampunk label has been widely embraced by those with an interest in turning classic fashion and technology on its head using, you guessed it, steam. There are several popular hybrids of steampunk. Victorian steampunk is the most common, in which cosplayers will create outfits based on Victorian style infused with classic steam-powered features. Other hybrids include Western steampunk, bridging the Wild West with gears and laser guns, and horror steampunk, which often includes fantastical elements or creatures like vampires or beasts. While not as popular, post-apocalyptic steampunk also has a place in the genre, taking a steam-powered approach to rebuilding the world after a catastrophe. Ready to blow off some steam? Here’s where to start: Authors: K. W. Jeter H. P. Lovecraft Books: The League of Extraordinary Gentleman by Alan Moore The Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare Films: Steamboy Hugo Van Helsing Sherlock Holmes Similar subgenres: Gothic, lovecraftian, horrorpunk
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CYBERPUNK We are the ELECTRONIC MINDS, a group of free-minded rebels. Cyberpunks. We live in Cyberspace, we are everywhere, we know no boundaries. - A Cyberpunk Manifesto While there are many steampunks who enjoy the art of hacking and modding, cyberpunks are the real hackers, given that this subgenre is all about testing the limitations—and consequences—of technology. Cyberpunk gained some traction in the 80s and 90s with films like Blade Runner and The Matrix, addressing challenging questions about humanity’s obsession with tech. Some cyberpunks immerse themselves entirely in the subculture, working as computer programmers, living in urban environments (often inspired by the aesthetics of China and Japan), and implanting themselves with RFID chips. Much of cyberpunk art takes place in the here and now, but it can also be set in the future. Cyberpunks tend to be torn on which settings they like best—some enjoy the grungy, dark urban settings, like back alleys and neon-lit cafés. Others prefer a sleek, ultra-clean and high-tech aesthetic, à la Aeon Flux. And some don’t care as long as a hackable computer is nearby. Ready to become a console cowboy? Here are some quintessential cyberpunk picks: Authors: William Gibson Philip K. Dick Neal Stephenson Books: Transmetropolitan series by Warren Ellis Neuromancer by William Gibson Films: The Matrix Blade Runner Ghost in the Shell Aeon Flux Similar subgenres: Cybergoth, cyberfeminism, dystopian
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DIESELPUNK Our reliance on the digital world cannot be trusted to carry our dreams into the future. Our own progress has raced ahead of our need for permanence, and only those that truly realize this will be remembered by tomorrowâ€™s generation. - The Tenets of Dieselpunk Culture Dieselpunk is very much a hybrid of cyberpunk and steampunk, and is in itself somewhat difficult to explain. Like steampunk, which focuses on steam, dieselpunk is focused entirely on diesel-fueled technology. Much of it takes place between the 1920s-1950s, and addresses themes of the Red Scare, the space race, nuclear power, suburban living, and the anticipation of a third world war. It often ignores the Great Depression, instead focusing on technology and politics developed in the 1920s. Transportation and architecture are a large part of this genre, and airplanes, airships, trains and automobiles make an appearance in nearly all dieselpunk works. Another aspect of dieselpunk arose in the 1980s, and is set in a post-apocalyptic setting. Popular works like Mad Max and Fallout encompass this dieselpunk scenario. Rev up your engines and check out these dieselpunk works: Authors: George Orwell H. G. Wells Books: Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin Films: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Mad Max Metropolis Iron Sky Similar subgenres: Teslapunk, atompunk
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BIOPUNK We the biopunks are dedicated to putting the tools of scientific investigation into the hands of anyone who wants them. We are building an infrastructure of methodology, of communication, of automation, and of publicly available knowledge. - The Biopunk Manifesto Biopunk is a small genre with its fingers in pretty much all other -punk genres. It deals primarily with genetics and modifying the human body or the ecosystems of the earth. Some popular storylines, like widespread disease or zombies, can be considered biopunk in the sense that they deal with humanâ€™s biological weaknesses. But for many biopunks, it more refers to hacking nature. Much like cyberpunk, biopunks are active in do-ityourself culture, forming independent laboratories and hackerspaces dedicated to biology research outside of the academic realm. Sometimes biopunk can branch out into cosmic territory, addressing the ideas of aliens or unearthly environments. Safety goggles in place? Biopunk 101: Authors: Octavia E. Butler Warren Ellis Books: Uglies series by Scott Westerfield The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo Films: Splice Gattaca Similar subgenres: Nanopunk, genetic warfare
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the dream star 56 // Wildflower Magazine // Sci-Fi Issue 2012
by Susan Botich Chapter 1 The Dream In Dream, I stand outside the holy city of the Ancient Ones, the Center of the World. All around me Tribefolk scramble in panic. Mothers scream for their children. Men scurry to muster their weapons. Sheep and goats bleat, desperate to escape their pens.
The clamor beats through the wind that swirls the plainâ€™s dust into a blinding grit. It twists into my ears, sharp and cold. Whipping from behind, it billows my sleepinggown out in front of me. Then, turning course, slaps it tight against my breasts and abdomen. I peer through the dust. A huge silver disk, larger than the ancient Center itself, hangs in the air just above the city walls. If it falls, it will crush the city. I gulp down my fear. I am in Dream. And I know this Dream-vision cannot harm me. And Tribefolk are not my people. But still, my every instinct screams for me to force myself to wake up. I will not give in to it. I am a Dreamer, a seer, trained to never give in to fear. I force myself to breathe, to concentrate with all my strength on the chaos around me. From out of the swirling dust, a group of strange figures appear. Their long, gray robes twist in the wind against tall, skeletal bodies. One saunters close enough for me to glimpse his face from under his hood. Terror seizes me. These beings are not Tamarian! Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 57
I count two dozen. But more keep walking from out of the dust storm. They disperse into the ragged knots of Tribemen who stand with spear and ax in hand to fight. My attention is riveted by the one whose face is exposed to me. He turns, revealing his eyes. As if two small wells of black ink, they show no emotion, not even the smallest trace of compassion or empathy. He walks up to a fist of Tribemen set to strike him down and waves his hand as one would at a swarm of flies. All together, the Tribemen stagger, stupefied. They drop their weapons in unison and stand dumb, stiff and lifeless as straw dolls. There are so many of the bony ones. They act quickly and seem to understand one another without speaking. One of them turns to his kin. The other nods and begins to gather up the Tribemen as a shepherd gathers sheep. All around me the intruders motion with their hands for the Tribemen to move toward the ground beneath the whirring disk. As if under a fever spell, all the Tribemen mutely obey. The herded cluster is soon a mass of Tamarian flesh. The whirring breath of the disk grows, sweeping out in all directions. It blows a hot exhale across the plains. Then, from out of its belly, a light falls across those beneath. The dazed captives shimmer in its glow for an instant then disappear. Horrified, my Dream-body tenses. I want to run. But to where? A Dreamer cannot run from Dream. We are to watch, listen, and pay attention. No matter how wondrous the Dream. Or how frightening. Women, children and elder men left behind scatter in every direction. A little boy turns round and round in circles with wild eyes, wailing. Though I have only just come into womanhood, the maternal desire to hold him, comfort him, and protect him as if he were my own child fills me. But, of course, I cannot. I am as a ghost. Invisible.
A Tribe girl races by and snatches him up then sprints away. Everyone is screaming, shouting. I cannot make out the guttural inflections of the Tribefolk but their meaning is obvious: Run for your lives! Crazed, they flee toward the hills that lead into the wooded mountains where, long ago, my people, Village folk, chose to build our homes. There, nestled in the bosom of the Angelina Mountains, we have remained, ever since. The Tribefolk have always stayed in the plains and we Villagers in our mountains. This is how we have maintained peace between our two cultures. But are we now being invaded by others? How can that be? Panic pricks at the back of my neck like needles. Is this Dream-vision a premonition of a possible future or is it happening right now while I sleep? I turn my Dream-body to the east, close my eyes and beseech the wisdom of my ancestors. Why have I been given this Dream, Ancient Ones? What does it mean? What am I to do? Falling to my knees, I turn my face to the gray blur of sky and wait for the answer. â€˘
They act quickly and seem to understand one another without speaking.
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Read the rest of The Dream Star: Ebook versions are available for the Kindle at Amazon.com, for the Nook at BN.com, and in print at CreateSpace.com.
WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I THINK ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION b y A manda Robinson
When it comes to the genre of science fiction, my brain just kind of shuts itself off. While most people my age have seen Star Wars about a bazillion times, I on the other hand, have not watched any of the episodes (or whatever the hell they’re called) even once. For real though, I have Wikipedied that shit and there are two full-blown pages consisting only of character names, some of which I won’t even begin to try and pronounce. I just found out that there is a Luke Skywalker and a Luuke Skywalker. How do you people keep up with all of that? It’s like prepping myself for a chance on Jeopardy. I can spot out Queen Amidala, but that’s only because I kind of have a lady crush on Natalie Portman (don’t act like you don’t). And it’s not just Star Wars. It’s every science fiction movie, piece of literature, video game, fucking Magic: The Gathering card game in existence on the Earth. I’m not even going to try and understand it when my seven-year-old nephew starts talking about Siths and shit. Even though he is awful cute when he does. To me, science fiction is my dad watching TRON every Christmas since I was a little girl. I’m not talking about TRON: Legacy with that guy from Troy and when Olivia Wilde gets all Charlize Theron circa Aeon Flux. This is old-school TRON, when Jeff Bridges actually looked like that creepy digitalized version of his younger self. My pops parks himself right in front of the television, always laying on his side with his right arm supporting his head, and he watches the shit out of that movie until he, ultimately, begins to cat nap it out, leaving my brother and I to nothing but the same scene playing over and over again. Seriously, how many times are they going to play that real-life game of Pong? I always lose count at about forty-eight. I wish I had some awesome story about how a certain scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey completely changed my fucking life, but sadly enough, I do not. The truth is, I’ll probably never watch any of those movies or read that literature because it wouldn’t keep my attention for long enough. But I can still appreciate it and try to understand it because when I think about science fiction I think about my dad, and that guy is one of the main characters in the most epic lightsaber battle of my life. • Sci-Fi Issue 2012 // Wildflower Magazine // 59
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