At the moment, I would have to say, New Scientist.  They recently (well, less than a year ago) started a digital magazine called Arc.  It’s produced quarterly and contains a mixture of popular science articles and short stories.

It’s focused on the end of the world.

Issue 1 was “The Future Always Wins”.  Issue 2 was “Post-Human Conditions”.  Issue 3, out now, is “Afterparty Overdrive”.  The world is ending, not in war or disaster, but in party mode.  Smash and grab is an online/real world role-playing game, celebrities are cloned for fun and profit (up to and including Jesus), and more.

The best bit?

For a limited time, they’re giving issue 3 away free.  Go here to grab your copy!  It doesn’t say anywhere how long the limited time is, so I would go now if I were you.

Since they’ve been so generous, I got myself a copy.  It’s going to take a while to read through it all.  So far I’ve read the two stories I mentioned above.

The celebrity-cloning story, Changing Faces, was mediocre.  The imagery of an army of Arnies, or seven Mother Teresa’s with machine guns, was fun, but I felt the story lacked something.  I did like the use of Kim Dotcom as the first human to be bittorrented, though.

Limited Edition, the story about smash and grab, caught my attention because it was set in the city I live in.  I recognised a lot of the places mentioned, and could visualise it really well.  The style was not my favourite (lots of text speak and colloquialisms), but once I got used to it I realised that it was used very well to give a feel for the culture these people live in.  It also had a better plot than Changing Faces.

The popular science articles included read more like the editorial pieces that New Scientist run – heavy on the speculation and light on the actual science – so they are accessible to people who don’t know a lot of higher science.

All in all, a good read, with something for most people in it.

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