Tag Archives: book

‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ – new book by Sue Thomas

I announced a while ago that I was working on a new book, and now it’s ready. The title has evolved to ‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age‘. This is the first time I’ve written and created a Kindle book from scratch, and it has been a very enjoyable experience. I plan to do more!

I hope you like this short excerpt from the new book, including a few practical tips you might like to try. You’re also warmly invited to join the conversation in the Digital Wellbeing Facebook Group

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Are you always staring at your phone and never at the sky?

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. (Steve Jobs)

Do you worry that you never seem to notice the weather any more Are you concerned that you do not hear the birds in the trees? That you seldom feel the grass under your feet or the wind in your hair? That the most vivid colours in your life come from a screen?

When was the last time you sat on a beach and let the sand run between your toes? Followed footpaths across rich green meadows, inhaled the heavy scent of hawthorn hedges around their perimeter? Got lost in a wood at dusk and felt just a little bit scared?

Do you check the weather in an app, or by the way it feels on your skin?

Are you always staring at your phone and never at the sky?

If so, you’re not alone. Continue reading ‘Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ – new book by Sue Thomas

‘Her’, ‘Android’ and ‘Correspondence’ – two movies and a book

herLast Saturday I went to see ‘Her’. It turned out to be the most moving experience I’ve had in a long time. The reviews had been good but I didn’t expect to feel such an intense wave of  recognition. In fact, I’ve not felt so emotionally connected to a science fiction movie character since Don Keith Opper’s performance in Aaron Lipstadt’s 1982 film  Android. Opper’s rendition of Max, the machine who wants to be human, was deeply empathic, and James Brown’s song ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ takes on a whole new meaning when it’s played by an android as he struggles to understand human love and sexuality. (if the excerpt doesn’t start at that place, fast-forward to 34 minutes in)

32 years later, Joaquin Phoenix’s human is willing to fall in love with Scarlett Johansson’s piece of software, Samantha, but the consequences turn out to be pretty unexpected. See the film for yourself, I won’t spoil the ending by sharing it here.  Throughout, I couldn’t help thinking of Max, and how he would have been much better off with Samantha than with the human lover he dreamed of.

CorrespondenceBut I also thought of something else – my first novel ‘Correspondence’, published in 1992. Many of the themes are similar to ‘Her’. In the film, the main protagonist is a professional letter writer; in my novel, she is a ‘compositor’ who creates personalised interactive scenarios drawn from her own high levels of empathy. In ‘Her’. he falls in love with software; in ‘Correspondence’, she’s a human-turned-machine whose lover becomes a computer virus and infects her operating system so that they can be together forever.

‘Her’ is still churning round in my mind. And even more so in my heart. The film is so close to me, to who I am, to the world I understand, that I won’t forget it for a very long time.

Postscript: This Wired article by Kyle Vanhemert provides a sensitive and insightful analysis of the ways in which ‘Her’ portrays our possible near-future wired lives. Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report.

Interview about Technobiophilia for the Bloomsbury blog

bloomsburyBloomsbury interviewed me for their blog in the run-up to the UK publication of Technobiophilia next week. Here’s the result. Hope it’s of interest.

Tomorrow and Friday there will be two longer posts about the making of the chapter plates in the book by my sister, Carolyn Black.