io9 Meetup Last Friday

Last Friday I went along to the io9 meetup at Borderland Cafe and Bookstore on Valencia. I’ve been to one of these before, and I knew it was lots of fun, so I made sure to go this time. is the SciFi/Science blog from the Gawker empire, and a regular read of mine. The cafe is pretty cool, and I’ve been there before to see readings and signings by William Gibson and Charles Stross.

After a bit of a mixup on the Muni (due to poor signage!) causing me to walk several blocks in the warm evening, I made it to the cafe in desperate need of an iced green tea and a snickerdoodle cookie – very nice. Then I was in a state to start saying hello. I got chatting to some people who were discussing the upcoming combat robot tournament, and we talked about the old Robot Wars TV show in the UK, and how there was basically an arms race which accelerated from week to week. This led into a discussion based on the recent article in the New York Review of Books about military robots, and when human control gives over to full autonomy. Who pulled the trigger? The pilot? What if there is no pilot? The software engineer? This of course led into a review of the movie Stealth with Jamie Foxx – a strange comedown after his Oscar win with Ray. We agreed the plane film was shite.

I also got talking to io9’s editor-in-chief Annalee Newitz, looking good as a resident of The Village, and also to Charlie Anders, the site’s managing editor. I somehow managed to get talking about the California High-Speed Train Project that I’m working on (can’t imagine how that happened), and we got onto the subject of trains and mass transit in scifi and fantasy. Maybe we’ll see a post up there soon about it. I was able to come up with various obvious and obscure appearances of trains in the genres, so we’ll see.

After the cafe, a bunch of us trooped up the road to Frjtz, which I can’t pronounce and which serves Belgian beer, fries’n’mayo and various other Gallic delicacies. I enjoyed a brew and some fries with curry ketchup (reminded me of my time in Germany) and chatted with various people before heading home. Fun night.