Daily Archives: August 22, 2014

LonCon3 #6: Generation Starship – Would you sign up?

Panellists: Ro Nagey, Pat Cadigan, Gregory Benford, Tlanti Griffiths

An Earth-like planet is found orbiting a distant star. It has water. And we can tell that something is living on the planet but we can’t determine what kind. To get there will take hundreds of years in a generation ship. There’s no suspended animation: only your (distant) descendants will see and, hopefully, colonise the planet.

Your ship is a partially hollowed-out asteroid 2 miles wide and 10 miles long. The initial crew is 1000 people. When you land, the target is having 10,000 colonists when you get in orbit around the planet. You job will include both building more living space inside the asteroid and teaching the descendants and passing on cultural values. The trip will take between 500 and 800 years. The asteroid would carry many times the equivalent of the Library of Congress. It would also contain a complete film library of movies, documentaries and tv shows. Obviously, it would also contain all the seeds needed grow plants and trees. Bacteria, viruses and the like would also be on board.

You would be able to go with your family if all the adults agreed and everyone (including the children) passed the tests. Would you volunteer to be a colonist? Why or why not?

*75% of this panel possessed science degrees, including a physicist. Continue reading LonCon3 #6: Generation Starship – Would you sign up?

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LonCon3 #5: Reimagining Families – where’s the diversity?

Panellists: Jed Hartman, David D Levine, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Laura Lam, Cherry Potts (moderator)

In a 2013 column for Tor.com, Alex Dally MacFarlane called for a greater diversity in the way SF and fantasy represent families, pointing out that in the real world, “People of all sexualities and genders join together in twos, threes, or more. Family-strong friendships, auntie networks, global families… The ways we live together are endless.” Which stories centre non-normative family structures? What are the challenges of doing this in an SF context, and what are the advantages? How does representing a wider range of family types change the stories that are told?

Continue reading LonCon3 #5: Reimagining Families – where’s the diversity?