io9's slogan is "We Come From the Future." It's a reference to science fiction stories where people come from Earth's future to warn us about dark things to come, or possibly to harvest our bodies for some techno-authoritarian regime. Rarely do visitors from the future arrive with good tidings. But at io9, our writing and ideas come from an alternate tomorrow where the Earth has not gone dark in the robot wars or the carbon emissions apocalypse or the food web collapse. In the future we imagine, humanity has survived, and so has our planet. What the hell gives us the right to be so damn optimistic?
Stories Will Lead Us
io9 is science fiction. We cover everything from the cheesiest of television series to the most profound literary novels, as long as they are speculative and offer us a way to re-imagine the world as we know it. These stories offer all of us a chance to think about where we hope humanity will go, as well as where we are terrified it will end up. By sharing these stories and talking about them in comments with you, we are participating in a much larger cultural discussion about what's next for us as a species.
We're also having fun, and fucking around, and escaping from our dreary everyday lives. But there doesn't need to be a contradiction between escapism and intelligent debates about the future. The very act of rejecting reality, of picking up a book or racing to the movie theater for comfort, is a way of passing judgment on the world. And that judgment involves choosing alternative worlds, rather than choosing psychological oblivion or death. When we escape into stories we are actively engaging our imaginations and, however unconsciously, trying to come up with a narrative that will lead us somewhere better.
You Can't Stop the Tinkerers
io9 is science nonfiction. We write about real-life science, technology, and social mutations, but always with an eye toward how these phenomena will change our lives in years and centuries to come. Our science journalism is biased toward the rational and factual — we try not to confuse hopes with evidence, and we gird ourselves with skepticism. Though science gives us a lot of hope, it's also clear that science could lead humanity down a very dark path full of unimaginably powerful weaponry and social controls. That's why we don't write about science for its own sake. We're interested in how science can be applied, and where it's taking us as a civilization.
We're also interested in applying the rules of scientific discovery to the social world, and turning culture into a giant experiment. We've got to keep changing, and testing out new hypothesis about how societies work, if we want to progress. That's why our greatest science hero is the tinkerer, the person who is never afraid to break warrantees, conduct unorthodox experiments, question conventional wisdom, and invent strange new things in his or her garage. We hope that io9 can inspire you to try some experiments of your own.
Switch on the Brain Implants
io9 an idea of the future that's jammed deep inside your mind, and refuses to shut off. It's your reminder that there is a version of reality where the tinkerers win, and we escape into a weird future where our cities are in a symbiotic relationship with our ecosystems and there is space vessel leaving every hour from San Francisco, Earth to reach Neo San Francisco on Titan. io9 is also a brain implant to talks to other brain implants, a system of thoughts that we can share about how to reach this awesome alternate timeline where our progeny are friendly cyborgs and fierce space whales and all kinds of other crazy creatures who study Star Trek in their "Earth history" class. io9 is an argument, a community, a rational method of experimentation, and an imaginary future.
Best of all, io9 is a transmission. It's yours; it's ours; it belongs to the past five years and the next five million. Set your brain implants to receive our messages from tomorrow. Because we've come from the future to tell you that things are going to be awesome.
Happy fifth birthday, io9!