Entry updated 3 October 2022. Tagged: Author.
(1969- ) US journalist and author, most of whose work has been nonfiction, beginning with White Trash: Race and Class in America (1997) with Matt Wray; some of their titles, like Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (2013), engage in Futures Studies exercises. Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture (2006) is a relatively early attempt to make sense of Zombies and other iconic figures, which (they argue) are obsessively returned to in American Cinema and sf as a reifying displacement into compensatory Monsters of the profound anxieties generated by our fragmented immurement in the world-machine of late capitalism. In 2008 they funded and edited the Online Magazine io9.com, editing it until its amalgamation with Gizmodo, both journals published by Gawker. Since the end of 2015 they have been involved with Ars Technica, another firm specializing in online publications. She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff (anth 2006) with their partner Charlie Jane Anders is a sharply edited Original Anthology whose subject matter is explained by its subtitle.
Newitz is of sf interest for a range of stories beginning with "The Gravity Fetishist" (Fall-Winter 2010 Flurb), and for their first novel, Autonomous (2017), set in a distant Near Future twenty-second century Earth whose recovery from unspecified Disasters (seemingly associated with Climate Change and anthropocene rapacity) has generated a world dominated by profoundly invasive corporations whose control over the relics of Homo sapiens is gained primarily through Drugs. The main protagonist, a creator and marketer of cheap pirated drugs (the equivalent of nongenerics in the early twenty-first century), becomes increasingly involved with a collaborator so drugged she initially mistakes him for a Robot, while simultaneously attempting to deal with the implications of a new enhancement medication whose effect on users is to transfigure them into robotic workaholics (a Satirical take on the increasingly indentured labour force of the early twenty-first century is sharply evident). Her antagonist, accompanied by an increasingly autonomous Robot who seems to move from male to female during the course of the action (see Cyborgs; Feminism; Sex), falls in love with this servant. The ironies and thematic intermarriages that enrich the text seem not to be harmed by its action plot, in this fortunately resembling the later novels of William Gibson, whose satirical impact is not so much diffuse as evenly distributed.
Newitz's and Charlie Jane Anders's Our Opinions Are Correct received a 2019 Hugo as best fancast; Newitz's "When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis" (December 2018 Slate) won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award in 2019; and The Future of Another Timeline (2019) received a Sidewise Award for Alternate History. [JC]
born Santa Monica, California: 6 May 1969
- Autonomous (New York: Tor, 2017) [hb/Will Staehle]
- The Future of Another Timeline (New York: Tor, 2019) [hb/Will Staehle]
- Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2006) [nonfiction: hb/]
- Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (New York: Doubleday, 2013) [nonfiction: hb/]
works as editor
- She's Such a Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff (Emeryville, California: Avalon Publishing Group/Seal Press, 2006) with Charlie Jane Anders [nonfiction: anth: pb/Kate Basart and John Upton]
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