Arc 1.2: Post human conditions goes on sale today. Visit http://arcfinity.org for your copy, formatted for tablets, e-readers, phones and computer screens, and in a collectible print edition.
Arc’s unique mix of fact, opinion and fiction explores the possibilities for a species that can’t seem to stop tinkering with itself. P D Smith explores the city as pleasure palace, convinced that while there are many serious and sober reasons why humanity has become a predominantly urban species, it’s the silly reasons that matter. Holly Gramazio and Kyle Munkittrick each explore the friction points between civics and play, while science fiction writer Gord Sellar wonders why the South Koreans - arguably the most forward-looking nation on earth - show no interest whatsoever in futurology. Do they know something the rest of us don’t
Taking a longer view, Anne Galloway & Sumit Paul-Choudhury wonder whether we’ll ever be able to talk to the animals; Regina Peldszus suggests ways of surviving the tedium of deep space; and Sonja Vesterholt & Simon Ings trace Prometheus’s horrific aliens back to the utopian designs of long-forgotten Soviet filmmaker Pavel Klushantsev.
Our stories this issue look for what, if anything, is a lasting characteristic of our strange species. Paul McAuley’s The Man is apparently less than human, but embodies qualities his human companions seem to have forgotten. Our Arc/Tomorrow Project competition winner, T.D. Edge, creates a polysentient world defined entirely by relationships: here humanity is as humanity does. Jeff VanderMeer stretches human limits far beyond the ordinary and goes in search of what’s left of a once ordinary woman’s identity. And Nick Harkaway’s mordant comedy Attenuation skewers our love of novelty and transformation.
The issue opens with a foreword by Frederik Pohl, the last man standing from science fiction’s Golden Age. He writes:
“My life in the future began in the real-world time of probably 1931. I was about eleven years old, and some visitors to our house left a magazine behind as they departed. It wasn’t like any magazine I had ever seen before, neither the *Better Homes and Gardens* my mother read nor my father’s Western pulps. Its cover displayed a beast like a giant gorilla, except that its fur was coloured bright green. What it was doing was tearing apart all the structures in some city that looked much like the one we lived in… When I have time on my hands (which isn’t often) I’m likely to be caught re-reading the predictions in some of those very stories of the 1930s that first turned me into a fan.
“After all, SF writers have been pouring out stories for well over a century now. The good predictions we can labour to encourage; the bad ones, to prevent.”
This is as good a definition as we’ve heard of what Arc is for. Buy Arc 1.2 and see how we’re getting on.