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My Favorite Things: “Kids on the Slope” and Watanabe’s canon

My Favorite Things: “Kids on the Slope” and Watanabe’s canon

Kids on the Slope is slice-of-life anime, and it’s also a rare case of director Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop; Samurai Champloo) adapting an existing work: a manga called Sakamichi no Apollon by Yuki Kodama. Wikipedia summarizes the plot like this: The beginning of summer, 1966. Because of his father’s job situation, freshman high school student Kaoru Nishimi moves by himself from Yokosuka to Kyushu to live with relatives. Until then, Kaoru was an honor roll student who tended to keep…

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“Are you concerned with where science fiction is going?”

“Are you concerned with where science fiction is going?”

I was in the car with a friend on the way to a foresight gig with the advisory council for a major philanthropy broker, and as we waited at a red light he said: “I’ve been meaning to ask you a challenge question for a while.” “Shoot,” I said. “Are you concerned with where science fiction is going?”

More on that whole New Aesthetic thing…

More on that whole New Aesthetic thing…

Rahel Aima has a new essay on the New Aesthetic, and I really enjoyed it. Not least because it quotes me. As my mom said: “Remember when you quoted other people in your own essays?” Well yes, of course I do. Mostly because I still do it. But it’s a nice feeling nontheless. It means that my rants occasionally make sense to other people. Aima’s whole essay is great, but here’s my favourite part: Advances in longevity technologies have cemented…

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I still think you should watch Madoka.

I still think you should watch Madoka.

A while back, I wrote a bit about why you should watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica. At the time, I had only watched four episodes. Now I’ve seen all twelve, and I still agree with that. Here’s why. Puella Magi Madoka Magica, currently streaming for free on Crunchyroll, is quite frankly one of the best anime I’ve seen in the past three years. (I’m also pretty much in love with Another and Kids on the Slope. But they are the…

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Bordertown, Surveillance, and the Evil Eye

Bordertown, Surveillance, and the Evil Eye

Last summer, I participated in the Bordertown design studio, a ten-week seminar on the subject of cities divided by borders. Everyone involved developed a deliverable, which we exhibited at the Detroit Design Festival. At the time, I was too blown away by the city of Detroit and its inhabitants to talk about my own work. (Also, I was editing my debut novel and finishing work on my thesis, writing some pieces for BoingBoing and trying to find another job.) I…

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About those DARPA robots…

About those DARPA robots…

DARPA has decided it would like a humanoid robot sometime in the near future, and is willing to pay you to build it. Here are the reasons I’m excited about this news: I’m writing a series of novels about humanoid robots. (Scroll down for some most excellent blurbage.) DARPA has agreed to allow unpaid teams to enter the Grand Challenge competition. This means that hackers/makers/NewAesthetes/kitbashers can get in on the fun. You there, in your garage! This means you! Hie…

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The New Aesthetics of the male gaze

The New Aesthetics of the male gaze

Since Bruce Sterling’s excellent post at Beyond the Beyond covering “The New Aesthetic” panel at SxSW ’12, a lot of other entries have sprung up talking about it. I thought I’d round some up: An Essay on the New Aesthetic, by Bruce Sterling The New Aesthetic and I, by Damien G. Walter New Aesthetics — New Politics, POSZU The New Aesthetic and Future Fatigue, by Klint Finley The New Aesthetic Tumblr, with a report from SxSW on the panel Personally,…

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What fiction can do: or, a word on Mike Daisey from someone who’s met him

What fiction can do: or, a word on Mike Daisey from someone who’s met him

I met Mike Daisey after his performance of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, during the spring of 2011. At the time, Steve Jobs was still alive, and the theatre served free apple-tinis to patrons who came in cosplaying him. Black turtlenecks were in abundance. One of my oldest friends wore one, and shared his drink with me. (It was surprisingly strong.) This same friend then shook hands with Daisey and thanked him…

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Girls, Women, and Choice: Why you should watch Madoka

Girls, Women, and Choice: Why you should watch Madoka

I’ll admit it: I’m late to the party, on this one. Since January 2011, the anime-watching public (online and off) has been enamoured of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and I’ve been scoffing at it. They said it was deep. I scoffed. They said it was meta. I scoffed. They said to give it some time. I scoffed. And then I caught myself rooting for the zombies on The Walking Dead, and started craving good anime as an antidote to my…

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And now a word from Ursula K. LeGuin re: abortion

And now a word from Ursula K. LeGuin re: abortion

“What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal?–because that is what every doctor who…

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