PJ Manney is an award-winning science fiction writer interested in transhumanism, empathy, story-telling, and the future of humanity. Her latest book (ID)entity is a can’t-put-it-down action-packed mind-uploading/downloading world-crashing the-Empire-Strikes-Back of a masterpiece. The book depicts vividly the dangers of monetizing and weaponizing narrative, which is what companies such as Cambridge Analytica do. And so I thought it would be appropriate to bring Manney back on my podcast to discuss (ID)entity as well as the role of science fiction with respect to contemporary events.
During our 90 min conversation with PJ Manney we cover a variety of interesting topics such as science fiction, futurism, and homo narrative; her Phoenix Horizon trilogy in general and book II – (ID)entity, in particular; DRM and why Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free; Cambridge Analytica and the weaponization of narrative; blockchain, history, and cliodynamics; choice and free will; transhumanism and politics.
My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with PJ Manney is:
We are fish swimming in the water and we don’t know it is water. And the job of science fiction is to show you the water.
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PJ Manney is the author of the bestselling and Philip K. Dick Award-nominated science fiction novel, (R)Evolution, in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy, as well as book two, (ID)entity, and upcoming book three, (CON)Science.
A former chairperson of Humanity Plus, she helped rebrand the organization, launch H+ Magazine, and organize the first multi-org conference on futurist topics, Convergence ’08.
Manney authored “Why I Believe in Participating in the H+ Future” and “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,” an early work on the neuropsychology of empathy and media.
She has presented her ideas to groups like National Geographic, Producers and Directors Guilds of America, NASA-JPL, Huffington Post, The H+ Summit, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is a frequent guest on podcasts and web shows including StarTalk, The World Transformed, Singularity.FM, and Amazing Mind, and has had articles published in BoingBoing, Live Science, and Tor.com.
Manney is also the first person to create and transfer a digital autograph for a novel verified by the blockchain.
Manney graduated from Wesleyan University double majoring in Film and American Studies. She has worked for over 25 years in the communications field: motion picture PR at Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures; story development for independent film production companies; and writing as Patricia Manney for the critically acclaimed hit TV shows Hercules – The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. She also co-founded Uncharted Entertainment, writing and/or creating many pilot scripts for television networks, including CBS, Fox, UPN, Discovery, ABC Family, and Comedy Central.
Manney lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, California.