This week in the books section, I write about the sad state of mainstream science fiction, and why Cory Doctorow is one of the few sci-fi writers who is actually doing his job:

What do we do now? For the last hundred years, we've looked to our science-fiction authors for the answer. What do we do now, H. G. Wells? (We should envision scientific exploration as an adventure, of course, while we make sure to treasure our humanity as the sacred thing that it is.) What do we do now, Kurt Vonnegut? (We should remember our past but still recognize that we are ridiculous, tiny specks on an insignificant ball of mud, and, despite that, we should be kind to one another.) What do we do now, William Gibson? (We should break free from the constraints of laziness and struggle to find our identity, even if that identity doesn't fit in the strict marketing demographic we've been assigned.)
Here's the thing: Even if you don't realize it while you're reading it, all good science fiction is political. And that means that one of the only great science-fiction writers in the world today—one of the only writers who bothers to ask, "What do we do now?"—is Cory Doctorow.

Tomorrow, I'll be interviewing Doctorow at the Sunset Tavern, and you'll have a chance to ask him questions, too. One of my favorite local bands, Pillow Army, will be playing before and after the Q&A. It's the first of what will hopefully be a quarterly series of readings and music at the Sunset called Verse Chapter Verse. Tickets are just $5 (but there's an opportunity to win free tickets over here.)

If you want to read Doctorow's latest book, For the Win, he has it available via free download in multiple e-book formats over here. I hope to see you tomorrow night; it should be a great time.