reV: or, the Apocalypse as told by the Devil herself

reV: or, the Apocalypse as told by the Devil herself

Oh, hello. Were you curious about what your psychotic grandmother the distributed AI was doing? Well, wonder no longer! Portia is happily causing havoc in America’s airports, using widely-available, mostly-insecure data from wearable technologies, purchasing records, and surveillance networks. You can read more of Portia’s exploits later, especially if you pre-order. In this scene, Portia is trying to create a news story that she can use as marketing material for her anonymous pro-robot SuperPAC. Which is tough, when you don’t…

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The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

The Privilege of the Future (SweCon 2015 GoH Speech)

A note: I wrote these remarks after having watched the reception to my interview in The Atlantic about the need for women in futurism. A relevant snippet: Ashby says that any time she speaks in front of a crowd, and offers a grim view of the future, someone (almost always a man) invariably asks why she can’t be more positive. “Why is this so depressing, why is this so dystopian,” they ask. “Because when you talk about the future you…

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Licence Expired: the TOC and the TL;DR

Licence Expired: the TOC and the TL;DR

The Table of Contents for my anthology with David Nickle, Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond is now available. (You can pre-order it here.) I’m extremely proud of all the stories we included. It’s my first anthology, and there are stories by Charles Stross, Robert Wiersema, Kelly Robson, EL Chen, Jacqueline Baker, and others. These writers bit into the Bond mythos with sharp teeth, and they drew blood. Public domain — such as Ian Fleming’s Bond books and stories are,…

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Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

Want to write convincing futures? Work retail.

A while ago, I tweeted something based on this piece in VICE UK, called “Things You Only Know When You’ve Worked in Retail.” I don’t really care for the clickbaity title, but the content of the piece isn’t wrong. Here’s what I said: People ask me how I do gritty, lived-in SF and futures work and I basically always answer: “I used to work retail.” https://t.co/P2ugdAlf8m — Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) July 3, 2015 That got retweeted around, and I heard…

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No one cares about your jetpack: on optimism in futurism

No one cares about your jetpack: on optimism in futurism

This review of Disney’s Tomorrowland (and others like it that I have read) got me thinking about something I was asked at the Design In Action summit last week in Edinburgh. I was there participating in the “Once Upon a Future” event, where I read a story called “The Dreams in the Bitch House.” It’s about a tech sorority at a small New England university. And programmable matter. After I did my keynote and read my story, I did a…

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Deleted scenes from Avengers: Age of Ultron

Deleted scenes from Avengers: Age of Ultron

As I’m sure you know by now, the theatrical cut of Avengers: Age of Ultron is missing about 25 minutes of footage, and Joss Whedon’s director’s cut will have an alternate ending. Here, exclusively*, are some of those missing scenes in screenplay format.

How can the platforms fight harassment?

How can the platforms fight harassment?

One thing that becomes eminently clear in this piece about the online stalking, harassment, and threatening of Zoe Quinn is that the police (and the justice system at large) know absolutely fuck-all about online harassment. Which makes sense. The Internet is the thing they use to send reports. It’s not a place where they live. It’s not a thing they police. (Policing the Internet is for the poor damned souls who work Special Victims. And maybe the Fraud Squad people….

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The Jeeps Look Up: on driverless vs. drones

The Jeeps Look Up: on driverless vs. drones

I don’t drive. I hate driving. In high school, my driving instructor waited until I was trying to make a left turn in an intersection to start screaming “You’re trying to kill us!” Then I pulled over to the side of the road and said: “You will never speak to me that way ever again,” and quit the class. (What I should have done, instead of quitting, was gotten really great at driving, and then used those skills to scare…

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Upcoming appearances

Upcoming appearances

It’s gonna be a busy spring (and summer). Here are the appearances I have booked thus far: Ad Astra, April 11, Toronto, where I will be participating in panels about AI, privacy, and Hannibal. Ada’s Technical Books, 5 May, Seattle, where Glenn Fleischmann and I will be talking about…stuff. Probably robots. And earthquakes. And how much I miss Bauhaus Books & Coffee. Also I’ll be speaking to students at my alma mater, and attending my 10-year reunion. Because I am…

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LICENCE EXPIRED: open for submissions!

LICENCE EXPIRED: open for submissions!

That’s right, agents. We’re open for business. David Nickle and Madeline Ashby are co-editing Licence Expired: the Unauthorized James Bond for ChiZine Publications, seeking stories based on the character of James Bond as described in Ian Fleming’s fourteen published works. The anthology will be published by ChiZine Publications in Canada only, as Fleming’s work has entered the public domain only in Canada and a few other countries. Because of those legal restrictions, stories must only reference elements from Fleming’s stories,…

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