research * the future * culture

What I’m working on lately

In case you missed it, my recent Dystopia Week contribution talks about my training as a futurist and my contributions to the 2020 Media Futures project.

Here’s another thing I’m working on:

Smell the glove

Prototype glove with steampunk jewelry, OCAD Body Editing lab, 5 May 2011

Now, I didn’t make this glove. But for my work on the PLAYPR project, I get to write stories about it. I attended a fantastic meeting today with the people who designed and manufactured this glove. They’re planning the next phase of user testing, and I got to talk to them about my ideas for the final uses of the glove. Our goal is to design a game that involves the glove. Beyond that, I can’t tell you very much. This is a bit ironic, because part of my job is investigating similar projects.

To be more specific, next week I’m headed west to Vancouver for GRAND 2011, a conference sponsored by the National Centres for Excellence. I’ll be the Hunter S. Thompson type asking other teams what they’re developing, and reporting back to my superiors at OCAD. Some of my classmates from the Strategic Foresight & Innovation program are going, too. They’re affiliated with other projects, but we’re all interested in technologies-in-progress. I just happen to be the one who gets to write fiction about them.

And that’s really why I love my job(s) as a scenario developer: I get to write stories about the ways people might use technology. That’s who I am already as a science fiction writer, and it’s also who I am as a consumer. I am forever inventing narratives about how I will use the device I desire. But it’s pretty awesome when you can sit in a meeting with some really excited, passionate people who’ve put in long hours on something, and then hear them ask you how it might work. There are a lot of reasons that I count myself lucky, and this is one of them.

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

  • Books

    Madeline Ashby's books on Goodreads
    vN vN (The Machine Dynasty, #1)
    reviews: 342
    ratings: 2160 (avg rating 3.43)

    Company Town Company Town
    reviews: 232
    ratings: 1217 (avg rating 3.68)

    iD iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2)
    reviews: 73
    ratings: 439 (avg rating 3.66)

    Social Services Social Services
    reviews: 3
    ratings: 10 (avg rating 3.50)

    A Clock Stopped A Clock Stopped
    reviews: 2
    ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.20)

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  • Madeline 's bookshelf: read

    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

    More of Madeline 's books »
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