Interviewed by File 770 about Better Worlds


Mike Glyer at File 770 recently interviewed me about the online anthology that I’ve been working on, Better Worlds. Mike asked some good questions about the balance between science and technology, the larger impact of the project, and some advice for aspiring writers.

MG: What’s your advice for aspiring science fiction authors?

ANDREW LIPTAK: There’s a lot of advice out there that’s good — read a lot, write a lot, and read what you’ve written out loud, and so forth.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how incredibly valuable it is to break out of your shell / community / circle of writers / group to discover new ideas and viewpoints. I recently moderated a panel on the implications of artificial intelligence at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and I came out of that three-day experience with a notepad full of ideas for potential stories, based on what I’d seen and heard.

In other, related Better Worlds news, we’ve released a couple of other stories since I first updated about the project back in January. We’ve got ‘Online Reunion’ by Leigh Alexander, ‘A Model Dog’ by John Scalzi, ‘Monsters Come Howling in Their Season’ by Cadwell Turnbull, ‘St. Juju‘ by Rivers Solomon, ‘The Burn’ by Peter Tieryas, ‘A Sun Will Always Sing’ by Karin Lowachee, and ‘Skin City’ by Kelly Robson. We’ve got three more stories coming up — ‘Move The World’ by Carla Speed McNeil (coming Friday), ‘Overlay’ by Elizabeth Bonesteel (coming Monday), and ‘Machine of Loving Grace’ by Katherine Cross (coming Wednesday).

The project has been a bear, and it’s great to finally see the stories up online. Of the entire group, I think my favorite stories are the ones by ‘Monsters Come Howling in Their Season’, ‘A Sun Will Always Sing’, and ‘A Theory of Flight’, but that’s not to say that I don’t really like everything else on this table of contents. The art is superb — all credit there goes to William Joel, our Art Director for the project, and I’ve really enjoyed the videos — especially ‘A Theory of Flight’ and ‘A Sun Will Always Sing.’ The video for ‘Overlay’ is also quite good — you’ll see that next week.

I’m also a big fan of the audio adaptations, which feature full casts and sound effects, which really puts them a leg up and above other fiction podcasts that I’ve heard. I’m biased, of course, but the general feedback that I’ve seen in online comments on the videos and on Twitter / Facebook have been almost uniformly positive.

Better Worlds: A Theory of Flight: Now Live!


Our science fiction anthology Better Worlds is now live, starting with the first story, Justina Ireland’s “A Theory of Flight”!

This is a really outstanding short story about open-sourced rockets, racial justice, and revolution. Give it a read (and watch the fantastic short film that accompanies it!” Then go and read the Q&A with Ireland.

Better Worlds: Coming next week!


Back in December, i mentioned that The Verge was launching a science fiction anthology, Better Worlds, which is chock-full of optimistic science fiction stories. The first stories are launching next week! The first drops on Monday and is “A Theory of Flight” by Justina Ireland, which will come with a really amazing animated video. The second is “Online Reunion” by Leigh Alexander, which comes out on Wednesday. This one will come with an audio adaptation. Both will come with accompanying Q&As.

You can find more details here.

Better Worlds @ The Verge

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I can finally talk about this. The Verge is launching a fiction package that we’re calling Better Worlds. It’s something that we’ve been working on most of the fall, so it’s nice to see it out in the world… soon.

Then I jumped over from io9 to The Verge, I mentioned early on that fiction was something that I wanted to tackle. It was a back-burner priority until our new Culture editor, Laura Hudson came onboard, and was immediately interested in tackling. We settled on the idea that we really wanted to see stories that weren’t dark and dystopian, but which were a bit more inspirational and optimistic. The project also grew (you can see the entire team who worked on it over on the announcement page): there’ll be ten stories in all, five with animated adaptations, and five with audio adaptations. The stories will begin to spool out in January and will run through February.

I’m also particularly excited of the roster that we have lined up:

  • A Theory of Flight by Justina Ireland

  • Move the World by Carla Speed McNeil

  • A Model Dog by John Scalzi

  • Online Reunion by Leigh Alexander

  • St. Juju by Rivers solomon

  • Monsters in Their Season by Cadwell Turnbull

  • Overlay by Elizabeth Bonesteel

  • Skin City by Kelly Robson

  • A Sun will Alway Sing by Karin Lowachee

  • The Burn by Peter Tieryas

These are all some fantastic authors, and the stories that they’ve submitted are amazing, not to mention the art and animation that accompanies them.

You can read Laura’s introductory letter here, which outlines the project as a whole, and when each of the stories will drop.

Also, here’s a trailer.