Invisibility has a long literary history, from science fiction, like in H.G. Wells’s Invisible Man, to fantasy, like in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Often, the difference is between methodology and motive. Wells focused on scientific accuracy to illustrate “the messy outcome of this collision between science and myth.” Tolkien employs invisibility as metaphor; the magic behind it is unimportant....more
Posts Tagged: science fiction
In the Weekly Standard, Algis Valiunas debates the literary legacy of Jules Verne.
“William Butcher, the foremost English Verne scholar, boasts that his man is “the world’s most translated writer, the best-seller of all time, the only popular writer to have increased in popularity over more than a century.” Yet in the next breath the enthusiast bleats that too few know that Verne, in fact, reigns supreme in worldwide popularity and that all too few serious persons realize how serious Verne really is.
The digital era has brought on a new golden age of science fiction. Electronic books, self-driving cars, and video phones may not seem too fictional these days, but technology like the Internet has empowered all sorts of new distribution methods connecting sci-fi writing with the fans who support it. New science fiction magazines launch with crowd funding campaigns, while tools like podcasts make fandom even easier— and ultimately, it’s all about the fans:
Sci-fi and fantasy’s online success is down to the strength of its community.
Science fiction creates its whimsical magic by imagining new worlds, or sometimes even new universes, for readers to lose themselves in. But what if the best inspiration we can get for writing about the future comes from our past?
A lot of works, especially those of Orwell, aren’t just painting the portrait of a skewed society, they are showing how that society might spring from our own.
Science fiction has a hefty brilliance to contribute to the literary world, but people often scoff at it as light, genre fiction. The Atlantic explores why science fiction is just as, if not more, relevant than non-genre fiction.
Science fiction, I’ve always felt, is part of that fantastical tradition.
Perhaps American sci-fi is made to tell immigrant stories. And maybe there’s a reason why, during a 24-hour travel back to Taipei, I felt welcomed home by the collective voice of B-more.
Kevin Tang’s review of Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea for BuzzFeed Books brings to bear his experience growing up in late-’80s Taiwan, where, despite austere living conditions and endless work hours, “we were content, and didn’t know how to protest.”
Tang seems like the perfect person to illuminate Lee’s novel about a grossly unequal futuristic America’s division between the individual and the collective....more
Brian Gresko reviews Ben Tanzer’s ORPHANS today in The Rumpus Book Reviews....more
“How would you like to own Heinlein’s ‘second-best bed’?” asks this eBay listing, which is apparently legitimate.
The bed was designed and built by the sci-fi writer himself, who built all kinds of nifty conveniences into it, including “a drawer, a pull out writing surface, and shelf space, as well as”—buyer beware—”a compartment suitable for a box of tissues, and a trash compartment with a removable container.”
Local pickup in Long Beach!...more
They describe it as “an anthology of radical science and speculative fiction written by organizers and activists,” and they only need around $8000 for it....more
At the BBC, writer Sarah Hall explores “the popular motif in science fiction of an all-women society surviving without men.” In the two-part program, Hall talks with authors, professors, and science fiction historians, looking at how science fiction “has been used to examine relationships between the sexes,” and how the genre “has examined the different ways of continuing the human race.”
Over the summer, NPR solicited listener nominations and votes to compile a giant list of the Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books. Then SF signal took it a step further by creating an intricate flowchart based on that list. And then, they transformed that chart into a handy interactive guide....more
“But if we are going to manufacture our reality, couldn’t we make it a bit better? The thing we seem to like manufacturing the best are enemies, and here we are all guilty. Al-Qaida manufactured a vision of the west dominated by Satan, and the west has manufactured a simplistic vision of the Islamic world to direct its anger at in response.”
Applauding science fiction’s ability to remind us of the constructed nature of reality, this Guardian article references Lavie Tidhar’s new novel, Osama, as a key example of the genre’s political possibilities....more
The Guardian researches why the female presence seems to be diminishing in science fiction writing. Though there isn’t necessarily a shortage of female authors (or women publishers), there is a serious lack of female presence in the Guardian’s list of favorite science fiction writing books, chosen by readers....more
Ray Bradbury conjures up for me images of sun-drenched Nebraska meadows, autumn landscapes beset upon by Buick-sized ravens and dusty towns overrun by sinister carnivals. He reminds me of the childhood I never quite had except in my head.
He’s the writer I remember enjoying the earliest and now he’s ninety-years old and still working....more
“Fantasy is not avoidable. The very act of writing fiction is a sin, a lie. One of Disch’s most haunting stories, ‘Getting Into Death,’ is about a writer (one who uses two pseudonyms, at least one of which Disch used himself) who orchestrates her death by fabricating warmth and sentiment toward everyone she has ever known, creating a surfeit of charmingly mawkish moments....more
Today is the birthday of one of my very favorite living writers, Samuel R. Delany.
(I spoke once here before about how I share with Junot Diaz an abiding love for Delany’s work.)
All it took for him to become my favorite was to read his legendary, mind-boggling and notorious sci-fi apocalyptic epic Dhalgren a few years back when I was living in an old Edwardian in the Sunset District of San Francisco and working for lawyers in the Lake Merritt District of Oakland....more
“Felicino: I thought writers were the least reliable guys when it comes to define what they’re writing. And most of them don’t really care.
Gio: Well, as a reader and a writer, I care. Let’s see what they say out there....more
“Science fiction writers don’t predict the future (except accidentally), but if they’re very good, they may manage to predict the present.
Mary Shelley wasn’t worried about reanimated corpses stalking Europe, but by casting a technological innovation in the starring role of Frankenstein, she was able to tap into present-day fears about technology overpowering its masters and the hubris of the inventor....more
Nnedi Okorafor has an essay over at The Nebula Awards site about Africa’s relationship with science fiction, as well as a discussion on Penguin’s decision to make science fiction ineligible for The Penguin Prize for African Writing.
“As (director Tchidi) Chikere said, African audiences don’t feel that science fiction is really concerned with what’s real, what’s present…....more
“In 1973 Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow was awarded the Nebula, the highest honor available in the field once known as “science fiction” — a term now mostly forgotten.
“Sorry, just dreaming… [T]hough Gravity’s Rainbow really was nominated for the 1973 Nebula, it was passed over for Arthur C....more
This week, the book blogs are scaring the ever-loving Jesus out of me.
Sure, there have been a few fun, interesting updates and interviews, but most of what they’ve been saying makes me want to build a series of tunnels in and around my house so that I can start planning the first push of the resistance....more