research * the future * culture

I have successfully defended my second master’s thesis.

A long time ago, my medieval studies professor said to me: “So, what are you interested in? What subject do you see yourself spending the rest of your life learning more about?”

“…I’m not sure,” I told her. I want to be a novelist, I wanted to say.

“I ask because you’re going to have to start thinking about your grad work.” She shuffled my paper on her desk. It was covered in check-marks for what she called “sparkling” prose. “Someday you’ll be a Ph.D. candidate, somewhere.”

“I will?”

“Oh yeah. It’s what happens, with intellects like yours. You just have to decide on something.”

In the end, I couldn’t decide. I wrote two departmental honours theses, one on prostitution under the Nazis, another on incest in SF. I wrote one master’s thesis on Japanese animation and cyborg theory and fan cultures. Now I’ve successfully defended another on the future of border security. And I’m writing two novels about the dynastic struggles between self-replicating humanoids. Next week, I’ll be in Detroit to open my first design festival, featuring my fiction.

Study one thing for the rest of my life? I don’t think I can. To quote Dickens, mankind is my business. And that field is just too damn diverse.

Next post »
  • 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)

  • Profiles

  • Twitter

  • 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 »
    Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists
  • Tags

  • Categories

  • Calendar

    June 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    
  • Archives