It's hard to believe Cumulus came out a year ago

Y'all are the folks whose enthusiasm got it reviewed in Businessweek, Ars Technica, Popular Science, io9, GeekDad, etc., sent it to #1 in its Amazon categories, and helped the story raise more than $10k for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Chapter 510.

That's pretty darn unusual for a self published novel with no fancy publicist or marketing team. Your word-of-mouth recommendations and grassroots reviews are what put wind in its sails. Sometimes the small things make a big difference.

Thanks a million.

Kim Stanley Robinson interview

I interviewed Kim Stanley Robinson about his prescient, moving new novel, New York 2140. You can read the interview and excerpt right here.

Stan is one of my favorite authors and his books have influenced me since I first discovered his Three Californias trilogy as a teenager. In this interview, we talk about his sources of inspiration, creative process, how he imagines possible futures, the importance of science fiction, and what climate change and sea level rise mean for us and the planet.

This is the second edition of the Incoming Transmission series that explores the social implications of technology through books that illuminate the present by examining the future.

If you enjoy the interview, you'll probably get a kick out of my reading recommendations.

Speaking at GamesBeat Summit

Next week I'll be speaking at GamesBeat Summit in Berkeley. They even wrote up a nice story about it here. This is what we'll cover:

The pace of innovation is accelerating. Technological revolutions that once took millennia to play out now take decades, years, months. At the same time, science fiction has rocketed from nerdy niche to mainstream blockbuster, capturing a popular imagination faced with the hard truth that change is the only constant. Science fiction stories inspire technologists, entrepreneurs, and scientists to build a future shaped by narrative. Are we living in science fiction? Is science fiction actually the most "realistic" tool we have to make sense of the modern world? Venture capital investor Tim Chang and author Eliot Peper discuss how science fiction and real world tech influence each other, and what that means for the rest of us.

Tim is a good friend as well as an investor at Mayfield Fund. He spends his time betting on entrepreneurs and helping them build the future. Every few months, we get together and gab about what's coming and his unique perspective has had a big influence on my writing. I'll also be on a separate panel with science fiction author Austin Grossman and Thwacke cofounder Sebastian Alvarado. There are some other stellar folks coming, including Gary Whitta (first writer on Rogue One), John Underkoffler (science adviser on Minority Report and CEO at Oblong Industries), Tim Sweeney (CEO at Epic Games), and many, many other highly accomplished folks.

More details here. If you're around, it should be a good time. The event organizers tell me that if you use the code "Deantak" you'll get 35% off.

How to make an author's day

Want to make your favorite author's day? Review their work wherever you buy or discover books. You'd be amazed at the impact.

Amazon's algorithms favor books based on quality, quantity, and velocity of reviews. Goodreads points readers to new works based on ratings. Blog and social media posts weave our favorite narratives into the larger cultural conversation.

At the end of the day, we all rely on each other to recommend the stories we love. That's how we discover our next obsession!

Speaking at the Conference on World Affairs

I'm excited to visit CU Boulder next week (April 10-14, 2017) to speak at the Conference on World Affairs. CWA is an annual week-long event covering an astounding variety of political, business, and scientific fields.

I'll be on a number of panels that revolve around trying to make sense of the future (very in line with my books and editorial work at Scout): Art Without Borders (9-10:20AM on 4/10), SciFi Influencing Society (2-3:15PM on 4/11), Bioengineering: Designer Babies and More (9-10:20AM on 4/12), Singularity: When the Real World Becomes Westworld (12:30-1:45PM on 4/13), and "Hacktivism" and Cyber Security (11-12:20PM on 4/14). Basically, Black Mirror in a conference format. 😱

It will be particularly cool to talk with the students, given that the protagonists of my first three novels are Boulder-loving CU dropouts who take their tech startup from garage to IPO and get caught up in an international conspiracy along the way. If you're in Boulder next week, let me know. I'd love to see you at one of the panels or grab a coffee/beer.

You'll notice the breadth of panel topics. Nobody could possibly be an expert in all of these things, least of all me, but I love learning about them. If you've read a particularly good article/essay/book on any of them, let me know. I'd love to channel your best ideas!

Huge thanks to Bob Baskerville for inviting me to participate and to Brad Feld for making the trip possible.

Joining Scout

I’m excited to share that I'm joining Scout as an editor and special adviser. Scout is a fantastic new publication that combines original speculative fiction and in-depth technology journalism to explore the social implications of innovation. I backed them on Kickstarter way back when and quickly befriended the founders, Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath. It’s been amazing to watch them grow and publish groundbreaking stories that have changed the way I see the world.

In addition to advising them on strategy, I’ll be contributing original fiction to Scout and launching a series called Incoming Transmission that explores the big ideas living inside important books that illuminate the present by examining the future.

As readers of this humble blog, you already have an inside view of exactly what we're hoping to achieve. In fact, the very first Incoming Transmission is an exclusive interview with Malka Older, author of the amazing debut political science fiction thriller Infomocracy which I recommended in my reading recommendations newsletter a few months back. If you check out Incoming Transmission, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, and by the way, becoming a Scout member is still invite-only. If it piques your fancy, let me know and I’ll hook you up.

Using storytelling to fight oppression

I'm giving a talk at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today about using storytelling to fight oppression. Like an ACLU for the digital world, EFF defends our civil rights online. Their work is more important now than ever.

In December, I donated more than $10k of proceeds from Cumulus to EFF and Chapter 510 to help head off some of the darkest aspects of the future the book portrays. As readers and champions of Cumulus, you are the people who made this possible and gave a science fiction adventure some real social impact. Thank you and kudos.

If you're wondering how you can make a difference, donating to EFF is a great start.