Posts Tagged: science fiction
Edison floods the world with light; biologists discover germs and defy Death; botanists grow tropical plants in Parisian glass-houses and affront Nature with hot-house orchids; the phonograph and the cinema fold Time and Space for the masses. And for some reason bicycles become rather popular.
Sixty years ago, in 1955, Ray Bradbury published The October Country. The book has become a classic of American gothic horror, but it didn’t start out that way.
Many of the stories were originally featured in Bradbury’s first-ever book, Dark Carnival, which had a very limited release and went out of print soon after....more
Creepy robots were often at the heart of Philip K. Dick stories. The future is now: a company is building a realistic looking robot to haunt your dreams and it looks strikingly similar to the science fiction author. Electric Literature reports on the project from Hanson Robotics:
On their website, Hanson Robotics highlights their desire to “realize the dream of friendly machines who truly live and love, and co-invent the future of life.” Philip K.
The stories we tell ourselves can help us understand, and maybe even adapt, to this new world. But the dour dystopias and escapist fantasies of our current science fiction diet just won’t do. We need something new: a form of science fiction that tackles the radical changes of our pressing and strange reality.
The Hugo Award is one of the highest honors bestowed upon science fiction, a genre which is (finally) broadening to include a diversity of authors and views. That’s not a good thing, according to many white male writers and fans, who have banded together as the “Sad Puppies” to fight against what they see as affirmative action for women and writers of color who are dominating the nominations for the Hugos....more
Take that, Mom and Dad. Turns out studying literature can be practical. The Atlantic looks at the evolution of climate fiction, a new genre that’s getting readers interested in environmental issues and inspiring students to study STEM subjects:
In this respect, cli-fi is a truly modern literary phenomenon: born as a meme and raised into a distinct genre by the power of social media.
We can toss around “sci-fi,” “fantasy,” “magical realism,” “surrealism,” and a dozen other genres in our struggle to categorize literature, but the term “weird fiction” is an interesting category that attempts to encapsulate a unifying element. Over at Lit Hub, Tobias Caroll makes the case for “weird fiction” and covers several examples of its wide breadth....more
For Electric Literature, Ryan Britt interviews Cuban sci-fi novelist Yoss. Their discussion covers the influence of heavy metal on Yoss’s fiction, as well as how science fiction can work as “code” for contemporary social issues:
In Cuba, on the other hand, it is normal that if one deals directly with the most critical points of the “real world,” the official response will be, in fact, intolerant: If one does not draw an optimistic panorama, one will be accused of being a defeatist, of siding with the enemy, etc.
The idea for the novel Dune evolved from a magazine article Frank Herbert began researching about the government’s efforts to stabilize shifting sand dunes on Oregon’s coast in 1959. At the Guardian, Hari Kunzru looks at how the science fiction novel changed the world:
Though Dune won the Nebula and Hugo awards, the two most prestigious science fiction prizes, it was not an overnight commercial success.
Fiction written under an authoritarian or totalitarian government often dares readers to view the work as a critique of that society.
In a review of two science fiction works by Cuban authors, Electric Literature takes a look at the surprising connection between oppressive political ideologies and fantastical worlds in fiction....more
She felt that this approach illuminated a fundamental truth about language: The very act of using language, she once told an interviewer, involves a ‘castration. The moment we utter a sentence, we’re leaving out a lot.’
A “nanopress” has begun reissuing the work of novelist, poet, and essayist Christine Brooke-Rose, who died in 2012....more
Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of....more
What has happened is simple: an angry mob has exploited a loophole in how nominations occur in order to crash a party that they seemingly detest anyway. The gaming of the Hugo Awards Ballot wasn’t executed for frivolous reasons: it was organized by racist, homophobic people who want science fiction to be going backwards instead of looking toward the future.
Two years ago, it seemed the publishing industry couldn’t get enough of the XXL novel. But now, the trend may be shifting towards something smaller: the novella. Over at io9, Charlie Jane Andrews speaks with science fiction publisher Tor.com about their list of upcoming novellas:
For our readers, time is the precious commodity they invest in every book they decide to purchase and read.
Suzette Haden Elgin, the pioneering writer at the intersection of science fiction, linguistics, and activism, is remembered at io9 after her passing last week. Elgin leaves behind a body of work that is both fantastical and practical, escapist and activist; though she is perhaps best known for her nonfiction book The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense, her accomplishments also include creating a whole constructed language for her novel Native Tongue and founding The Science Fiction Poetry Association....more
Over at The Toast, Mallory Ortberg gives us a compendium of signs that you’re stuck in a soft sci-fi novel. Among the more notable signifiers:
You live in a world where robots masturbate, for some reason.
The ship’s doctor has a drinking problem.
We’re only a few centuries and a small apocalyptic event away from isolated communities of huddled believers worshipping the gospels of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and Le Guin….Let’s not think about L Ron Hubbard.
In the Guardian, Damien Walter argues that science fiction is the religion of the future....more