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Author Cory Doctorow to Speak at UC San Diego on Scarcity, Abundance and the Finite Planet

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Science-fiction novelist and activist Cory Doctorow [photo courtesy Jonathan Worth, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0]


  • Doug Ramsey

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  • Doug Ramsey

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Bestselling novelist, essayist, activist, short-story writer and blogger Cory Doctorow will be back on the University of California San Diego campus on Friday, February 9 for a lecture on "Scarcity, Abundance and the Finite Planet: Nothing Exceeds Like Excess."  His 5pm talk and a public reception are organized by the Qualcomm Institute's gallery@calit2. In 2017, Doctorow was a Writer in Residence in the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop, now hosted by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination (also located in Atkinson Hall) on the UC San Diego campus.

The event in Atkinson Hall is open to the public and the UC San Diego community, and admission is free. RSVPs are requested to

Doctorow will discuss the economics, material science, psychology and politics of scarcity and abundance as described in his novels WALKAWAY, MAKERS and DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM. Together, they represent what he calls "a 15-year literature of technology, fabrication and fairness."

Among the questions he'll pose: How can everyone in the world live like an American when we need six planets' worth of materials to realize that dream? Doctorow also asks, "Can fully automated luxury communism get us there, or will our futures be miserable austerity-ecology hairshirts where we all make do with less?"

Best known for his New York Times bestselling science-fiction novels, including LITTLE BROTHER and its sequel, HOMELAND, Doctorow's fiction has been translated into dozens of languages and his publishers have included Tor Books, Head of Zeus (UK), Titan Books (UK) and HarperCollins (UK). He has won the Locus, Prometheus, Copper Cylinder, White Pine and Sunburst Awards, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and British Science Fiction Awards.

Among his recent books, Doctorow published his novel WALKAWAY in 2017. Other popular novels have included RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and the aforementioned MAKERS. In 2014, he created a graphic novel (with Jen Wang) for young adults titled IN REAL LIFE, as well as a business book about creativity on the Internet, INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE. 

As a journalist, Doctorow contributes to many magazines, websites and newspapers. He is co-editor of the popular technology website Boing Boing (, and he works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties.

Among the other hats he wears, Doctorow is a research affiliate of the MIT Media Lab, a visiting professor of computer science at Open University, and a co-founder of the UK Open Rights Group. He also co-founded the open-source, peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, and serves on boards at the Participatory Culture Foundation, Clarion Foundation, Open Technology Fund and the Metabrainz Foundation.

In 2007, the Toronto-born writer served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he now lives.

The February 9 lecture will take place in the Calit2 Auditorium in the Qualcomm Institute's Atkinson Hall headquarters. The talk will begin at 5:00 p.m., and it will be moderated by Visual Arts professor Jordan Crandall, who chairs the gallery@calit2's 2017-2018 faculty committee. Following Doctorow’s talk and Q&A session, attendees are invited to stay for a public reception.

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