Robots as female fetishes and voodoo dolls

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Eva_Ex_Machina01In a Den of Geek article, filmmaker Alex Garland discussed his latest film, Ex Machina.  He had some interesting things to say about the story and the robotic main character, Ava, that caught my attention:

It’s partly an argument about the objectification of women in a particular way. In this sense, it’s a literal objectification.

Ava’s not actually a woman. She’s a machine that does not have a gender. So the question is, why is she presented as a girl in her early 20s? It’s because we fetishise girls in their early 20s. In a particular kind of way. Sometimes you read about that being shunted onto the media: advertising does it, film does it. It’s bullshit. It’s passing the buck. We all do it. Men do it and women do it. Right?

The reasons we do that are complicated, and I could make guesses as to why it is. But what seems to be beyond debate is that it does actually happen.

Women (in many countries, like the US) intentionally dress, use makeup and style their hair to fetishize themselves, even in socially- and politically-non-sexual situations (like office environments)—even as they demand to be seen as something more than fetish objects—and men, claiming to indeed see women as more than fetish objects, don’t actively discourage women from fetishizing themselves.  And science fiction goes the extra mile:  Objectifying women by robotizing them, as shown in Ex Machina, is as old as the first movies, and has become a rather tired trope of the genre that we cannot get away from, even today. Continue reading

Mercedes is making Sarcology come true

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Daimler F015 concept self-driving carGerman automaker Daimler on Monday showed its vision of the driverless car at the International CES on January 5, 2015 in Las Vegas. The F015 prototype vehicle is designed to do all the driving, while four passengers can face in any direction, including towards each other, and do whatever they’d like with their time.

This concept is pretty much spot-on to the vision of the self-driving cars I described in my novel Sarcology.  So, if you’ve read the book (snort), and are curious about the kind of driving experience I envisioned, just use your mind to insert this very car into the passages, and you have it.

Daimler F015 concept car interior

One crucial difference: In Sarcology, the back seat was a sumptuous sofa, allowing for more comfortable and… energetic… activities.  (Cue Ruby Rhod clip)

You’re welcome.

Steven Lyle Jordan

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By Grabthar’s Hammer!!  Are you still visiting this site?  I thought I’d let everyone know I’ve moved on to a new site!  How did this oversight happen?  How could you have missed it?  How did things go so horribly wrong?!?

Probably my fault.

This site has been moved to StevenLyleJordan.blog. Please visit me there and catch up on what you’ve missed!

Laws for drones

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Jeff DuchameCollege of the North Atlantic made news recently when journalism instructor Jeff Ducharme developed a drone journalism code of conduct that his students will have to follow when using the unmanned aerial vehicle for news gathering.

This is a significant step towards standardizing drone use in public and private spaces, a very contentious issue for our future. Continue reading

Self-driving cars: Where does the real resistance come from?

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Google self-driving car prototypeGoogle’s recent announcement that they would be unveiling a self-driving vehicle prototype soon spawned a lot of the reactions you’d expect from such an announcement, mostly split between “cold, dead hands”-type comments to outrageous hazard-challenges that would give Mario Andretti pause.

I’d hate to chalk it all up to just plain technophobia; however, we have seen this kind of denial about new technologies before—for instance, when the Horseless Carriage was first introduced—and the song seems to be the same, note for note, but with the addition of synthesizer quaver and a bit of traffic sound sampling to remind us that it’s 2014.

But we’ve seen automated cars in movies like Minority Report.  I’ve written about them in my novels Sarcology and Chasing the Light.  And although they’re not depicted as death machines in popular media, they are still thought of that way by the public.  Why?

Continue reading

Invasive technologies define the future of Sarcology

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sarcology cover 2014Invasive technologies, by definition, tend to have the most initial resistance to their introduction to society.  It can be hard to imagine a future world in which new and sometimes disturbing, often painfully-disruptive technologies come to be accepted, even common, parts of our lives.

Sarcology, recently updated and re-released, depicts a future world full of these invasive technologies, making it easy for the reader to question the likelihood and desirability of this future reality.

But given time, and often contrary to public perception, we have seen that even the most invasive of tech can overcome initial resistance and become accepted, even ubiquitous, in society. Continue reading

New Sarcology cover is out

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sarcology cover 2014Sarcology has been re-released with its new 2014 cover. It reflects the original cover, redesigned to my new 2014 design standard.  The original cover was a Gold Star winner in
The Book Designer.com cover design competition, 2013.

Now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tattoo future

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stars tattooI was recently informed that a whopping 40% of the American population under age 40 wear tattoos.  This is, to me, an impressive figure, considering tattoos have always been essentially permanent and unchanging… and in a society that is dedicated to variety and choice, you’d almost think tattoos would be the antithesis of that.  Of course, medical science has discovered ways to remove tattoos (though not well), so maybe all those under-40s are just assuming they’ll be able to ditch the tattoo whenever they feel like it.

I recognized the fact that tattoos are becoming more mainstream—and, someday, possibly be even more prevalent—in Sarcology, wherein Perry Collins, one of the main characters, has a bald head covered in tattoos of religious symbols.  It is part of his everyday activities to reach up and touch a tattoo that represents one of the religious guidelines he is thinking about at that moment.  Continue reading

Americans applaud better security

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Police are applauded after Tsarnaev is capturedLast week’s nightmare in Boston makes for an interesting argument about the state of security in the United States at the moment, and the value in improving that security for all American citizens.  Though it’s hard to say the bombing at the Boston Marathon wouldn’t have happened if security had been tighter, it is easy to say it would have been significantly more difficult to have happened… that the perpetrators would have been likely captured or killed sooner… and that the American public is behind law enforcement when it comes to protecting our skins.  Continue reading

I’m interviewed by BookChums

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Steven Lyle JordanI was recently interviewed by BookChums, one of India’s book-centric websites.  We talk about Sarcology and about my writing process… how I make a novel. Want to know how I work? Check it out.

I hope someone enjoys reading about how I put a book together; I know, when I read it, it sounds pretty simple.  I’ve never been one to make lofty statements about my “muse,” or having to attain some zen-like state in order to wrest carefully-crafted prose onto paper, etc.  My writing style is pretty much a clockwork machine that always works the same way… but it does work.

And readers don’t often have to pull out a dictionary to figure out what I’m talking about… but they enjoy the stories I concoct, the characters I create, and the worlds I build. My interview is featured in BookChums’ “toast to sci-fi fiction” newsletter, and my name appears on the same page as that of Valmiki, Shakespeare, Ovid, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, J.G. Ballard, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov… good company when you can get it.