This is the second interview of my series on story and my guest is PJ Manney. PJ is the author of the Phoenix Horizon Trilogy and has already been a guest on Singularity.FM twice before. [See our 1st and 2nd interviews.] She is a friend, and I am a big fan of her books. Today we are going to touch on the last book of her trilogy – (CON)Science and will discuss what PJ calls the New Mythos, and what I refer to as ReWriting the Human Story.
During our 2-hour conversation with PJ Manney, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as the genesis and purpose of The New Mythos; Aristotle’s story structure and hero’s journey; Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the Noosphere as a metaphor of the new mythos; the definition of story and why story is to us like water is to fish; Future Shock, complexity and Jonah Sach’s “myth gaps”; the poison and cure of story and science; ethics, our frame of reference and the powers of 10; the human story and the dangers thereof; Yucky Gets Yummy: How Speculative Fiction Creates Society; (CON)Science and PJ’s upcoming 14 stories on the Axial Age.
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Who is PJ Manney?
PJ Manney is the author of the bestselling and Philip K. Dick Award-nominated science fiction technothriller, (R)EVOLUTION (2015), published by 47North in the Phoenix Horizon trilogy with, (ID)ENTITY (2017), and (CON)SCIENCE, (2021). Set as alternate, future American histories, the novels chart the influence of world-changing technologies on power and nations.
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. She authored “Yucky Gets Yummy: How Speculative Fiction Creates Society“ and “Empathy in the Time of Technology: How Storytelling is the Key to Empathy,” foundational works on the neuropsychology of empathy and media.
Manney has presented her ideas to National Geographic, the Producers Guild of America, Directors Guild of America, NASA-JPL, M.I.T., Huffington Post, The H+ Summit, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, is a frequent guest on podcasts/web shows including StarTalk, The World Transformed, Singularity.FM, and Amazing Mind, and has published in BoingBoing, Live Science, and Tor.com. She is also the first person to create and transfer a digital autograph for a novel verified by the blockchain. Manney consults for varied organizations about the future of humanity and technology, including artificial intelligence, robotics, cyborgs, nanotechnology, biotechnology, brain-computer interfaces, space, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies.
Manney graduated from Wesleyan University double majoring in Film and American Studies. She worked for over 25 years in film/TV: 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 in Southern California and is a dual citizen of the US and New Zealand. She is a member of the WGA, SFWA, ITW, and PEN America.