Bearing a suitably technical-sounding moniker, Arc 1.1 is the inaugural issue of New Scientist magazine’s bimonthly spin-off focussed on investigating the intersection of science and technology with culture and society at large. With the slightly ominous-sounding subtitle ‘The Future Always Wins’, the magazine is a collection of essays and think pieces interspersed with several pieces of short fiction, all loosely themed around the future, futurism and futurology.
The articles range from slightly creepy, sci-fi writer China Mieville’s visit to a marine biology lab, to slightly gloomy, Paul Graham Raven on the Dark Mountain Festival and the collapse of Western civilisation, to utterly surreal, Simon Ings on the extraordinary hidden lives of shipping containers.
Elsewhere New Scientist editor Sumit Paul-Choudury makes an admirable stab at convincing readers that low budget 2004 Sundance winner Primer is the greatest time travel movie ever made, Simon Pummell investigates the possibilities for museum displays opened up by augmented reality and Adam Roberts attempts to explain the very essence of science fiction.
The fiction side of things is similarly eclectic with newer, emerging talents such as Finland’s Hannu Rajaniemi featured alongside veterans such as Margaret Atwood and M John Harrison.
In keeping with its generally forward-thinking outlook the magazine is available as a multiplatform release for iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Android accompanied by a collectable print edition for those readers who still prefer the smell of printers’ ink and the texture of paper between their fingers. Design-wise the magazine has a slick, clean sci-fi look and is liberally hyperlinked allowing readers of the electronic versions to delve further into the issues under discussion.
Arc 1.1 is available for download now. Visit www.newscientist.com/arc for more information.