2019: A Look at the Near Future With Robots
2019 should be another good year for robots and robot science fiction. DARPA has launched a new robotics competition, the Subterranean Challenge, and with ground and aerial robots working underground, it should be worth a few documentaries. And who knows what the robots at Boston Dynamics will flip over this year!
2019 offers up two interesting robot movies: I am Mother will be out at Sundance in January, where a robot Rose Byrne raises a little girl until Hilary Swank comes along. Unfortunately for the little girl, the robot mother sounds like it is something out of Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit (link to review here). Robert Rodriguez’ Alita: Battle Angel and its star studded cast of cyborgs has finally been scheduled for release on Feb 14, 2019. Of course, there is more of the usual franchise offerings this year as well: Terminator Reboot is scheduled for Nov. 1, and the last in the current Star Wars Trilogy (will BB8 be rolling on yet more sand?) should be out on Dec. 20,
Software engineers beware: A full-length MurderBot Diaries book could be out in 2019 (check out the new short short story in WIRED). The cover of The Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan looks like it could have robots run the electronic waste recycling center; if so, that should lead to some teachable moments. William Gibson’s Agency might have a take on hardware agents or may be restricted solely to software agents, but Gibson is always interesting.
In terms of science fiction awards, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Annual Nebula Conference is May 16-19 in Los Angeles Anyone can attend, but the program is aimed more for writers. Nebula Award nominations are open through Feb. 15 and the final ballot for the Nebulas will be posted sometime in April. The Hugo Awards will be made at the Dublin WorldCon in Ireland in Aug 15-19, 2019, There’s still time to register and be eligible to vote- see https://dublin2019.com/. You don’t have to attend to be able to vote. Nominations for the Hugos has closed and the ballot will be announced in the near future. If you sign up for a supporting membership in WorldCon for 40 Euros, you can vote. The Hugo awards will be made on Aug 15.