I've been thinking and researching topics of policy, law, social contract, and governance...in space. How do we negotiate living together in alien environments? We all want space to happen (let's not talk about the silliness with swanky space trips this week), but there's a ton we have to figure out.
Thought experiment: Suppose the science comes together so that humans can live on a different rock, and we're making do on the moon or Mars, inside domes and tunnels while we're figuring out how to create and retain breathable atmosphere. Suppose fresh food was still a luxury item, but the last supply drop from Earth last week brought just a single crate of strawberries.
Do the families buy them? Are there ration cards? A blind lottery? If I get some, will you barter for it, or just knife me for it? Who can I go to for justice in case you do threaten me? Is there a police force? If I was an American citizen on Earth, does that matter on moon/Mars? If you're Canadian and you threatened me an American, is this an "international incident?"
I'll leave it there. The picks this week orbit my musings above.
Cixin Lui's Three Body Problem as a Podcast
Cixin Liu's Three-Body Problem is not a new release; it's been around for quite a while. Now it's podcast. Liu's trilogy was originally written for the Chinese market and he's one of the most recognized Chinese SF authors. Thanks to Ken Liu's translation, the rest of get to partake in the epic. The trilogy starts with humans sending out a signal into space which is captured by an alien civilization on the brink of destruction. The alien group decides to invade Earth while humans break into factions on whether to prepare for war, or to embrace the changes that invasion would bring. The sequels carry the story across future decades.
Crime in the SF future
The Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories, edited by Joe M. McDermott, is a great anthology of short stories, all concerning opportunities created as a result of disruptive technologies; opportunities that aren't always legal or ethical. I came across this late last year and immediately enjoyed several of the stories in here, particularly A Handful of Empty by Holly Schofield.
Deep dive into trees and climate change
I didn't expect serious nuances around how planting trees may or may not help climate change efforts. This deep dive from Science News is dense but sets up a pretty good foundation.