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Artist Interview: Aud Koch, by Tory Hoke (10/17/16)
I often say that art is simply a language: it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have anything to say with it.
Escape and The Island of Lost Girls by Manjula Padmanabhan: A Round-Table Discussion, by Hena Mehta, Samira Nadkarni, and Shashi Mike (10/10/16)
...keep pillows, pets and your favourite comfort beverage handy. You'll need them all.
Terraforming and Geoengineering in Science Fiction, by Chris Pak (9/26/16)
Terraforming narratives incorporate reflections on sustainability and, further, lead us to reflect on the meaning of nature, culture and the environment in ways that prompt us to begin the first steps to reconceptualising our relationship to a nature that has interlocking global and local implications and effects.
This Is a Real Place, Even Though It's Invented: An Interview with Garth Nix, by Aishwarya Subramanian (9/26/16)
Introducing Ferin in Goldenhand was definitely in response to the conversation that has been ongoing in YA literature circles: we do need more diversity. How to do it can be tricky, of course, because there are issues of cultural appropriation as well to be avoided.
Artist Interview: K. C. Garza, by Tory Hoke (9/12/16)
Freelance is what I've always wanted to do though, so when I got laid off from my full-time, I sort of resolved to making it work.
"That Obsessive Recursiveness": An Interview with Leo Mandel, by Leo Mandel and Seth Dickinson (8/29/16)
That attraction/repulsion thing with vulnerability again, I can mark out an author who came from fandom a mile away. Weight in small gestures, terror, gentleness.
Tomorrow Through the Past: Jo Walton and Ada Palmer in Conversation, by Ada Palmer and Jo Walton (8/29/16)
It's interesting to me that people instantly try to categorize this future into "utopia" or "dystopia" because we don't really have a category for "pretty good future with some flaws."
Boucher, Backbone and Blake – the legacy of Blakes 7, by Erin Horáková (8/22/16)
Almost no other show, genre or otherwise, is as well-written as Blakes 7...I want people who enjoy, talk about and make art to know where the good shit is and where the bar should be set.
Artist Interview: Melissa Pagluica, by Tory Hoke (8/15/16)
Even as a kid I was always trying to create worlds and stories with my art.
Artist Interview: A.L. Kaplan, by Heather McDougal (7/25/16)
What if aliens invaded and we had to learn how to accommodate them?  What would change politically, socially, culturally, linguistically?
Our Queer Roundtable, by Anna Anthropy, Rose Fox, AJ Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward (7/25/16)
The fluidity, inclusiveness, and fundamental instability of queerness are the attributes that draw me to it.
Artist Interview: Slimm Fabert, by Tory Hoke (7/18/16)
I’m tired of seeing blue space babes and ridiculous, spiky armor in highly rendered but­ stylistically ­uninteresting illustrations.
How to Write Like A Queer: A Letter To Myself, by Fabio Fernandes (7/11/16)
At some point in your life earlier than that, however, you will be brave enough to look in the mirror and say to yourself: this is what I am, this is who I am. You will cry, you will laugh, you will feel like leaving the party early. You will try at least once. Don’t. Your story doesn’t end here.
Artist Interview: O Horvath, by Tory Hoke (7/11/16)
I want to challenge how women's bodies are thought of and represented—in comics especially.
Artist Interview: Alex Araiza, by Tory Hoke (7/4/16)
Usually [comics are] a way for me to say things I’m too embarrassed to say out loud or outright tell someone about.
Future Cities: PD Smith & Darran Anderson in Conversation, by PD Smith & Darran Anderson (6/27/16)
Can cities slip from being living, breathing places to being what we might call living-dead, however exquisite the corpse is? Alongside climatic changes or catastrophes, do you think there's a danger of cities being perfected out of existence? 
SF is the Genre of the City: An Interview with Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, by Eli Lee and Gautam Bhatia (6/27/16)
SF is a genre of turbulent times and that turbulence is often reflected in apocalyptic and postapocalyptic imagery whose first symptom is the slum.
Manchester: A Tale of Two Dystopias, by Anne Charnock and Matt Hill (6/27/16)
"Manchester is historically a centre of innovation. We had the industrial revolution, the first railway stations, the first programmable computer, the atom was split here, and more recently we've isolated graphene. So it made sense that future innovations in genetic engineering would happen here as well."
'Being Forced Into the World': A Roundtable on the Works of Nalo Hopkinson, by Kevin Jared Hosein, Brent Ryan Bellamy, and Portia Subran (5/30/16)
Her work pushes through like an epic journey of encounters and self-transition.
The 2015 SF Count, by E.G. Cosh and Niall Harrison (5/9/16)
Welcome to the sixth Strange Horizons "SF count" of representation in SF reviewing.
Can I Hug You? A Conversation about Writing, Representation, and Kale, by Mishell Baker and Sunil Patel (4/25/16)
Mishell, your debut novel Borderline has gotten incredible reviews and has already gone into a second printing. So my first question for you is: how long is too long for a hug?
Energy in SF: A Conversation, by Ian McDonald and Stephanie Saulter (3/28/16)
"Getting to the stars is all well and good, but what we really need is to get to work."
Improbability Drives: The Energy of SF, by Graeme Macdonald (2/15/16)
"This article intends to test and advance claims for SF's potential as the genre best placed to advance our understanding not only about the present and future energy crises we face, but also the manner in which we (fail to) envisage and conceive energy as a matter for culture as much as it is cultural matter."
Artist Interview: Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein, by Tory Hoke (2/15/16)
There are so many artists, especially people of color and in the queer community, that are bringing such amazing vibrancy, innovation, and life to independent comics right now.
Flying Cars, Dino-Power, and Energy in SF, by Brent Ryan Bellamy (1/25/16)
The reliance at a planetary level on high-density energy calibrates our conception of past, present, and future.
Artist Interview: Patricio Betteo, by Tory Hoke (1/18/16)
Deep inside, I am trying to replicate the same effect that other artists had in me when I was young.
Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation, by Polenth Blake and Bogi Takács (12/21/15)
"There's a strong stereotype that being asexual means a person is incapable of emotion and unable to have any sort of meaningful relationship with others. I'd say they're presented like robots, except that science fiction robots often have more emotion and can discover themselves without sex." 
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Ancient, Ancient, by Maureen Kincaid Speller, Keguro Macharia, Ethan Robinson, and Maria Velazquez (12/21/15)
"I think part of this text being embodied is that it luxuriates in its language. At the same time, one of the consistent themes that I see is sinking into the flesh/affective/feeling is both pleasurable and has unforeseen consequences."
Artist Interview: Jonathan Apilado, by Heather McDougal (12/14/15)
...what got me into animation were Miyazaki’s films, especially Spirited Away. There was an exciting sense of wonder to the film, and it took viewers through beautiful, immersive sets.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: The Girl in the Road, by Gautam Bhatia, Vajra Chandrasekera, Chinelo Onwualu, and Aishwarya Subramanian (11/30/15)
"Or even more simply, we could say that Meena and Mariama are not vehicles for exploring the story; they are the story. It's the quest (the journeys, the Trail, the parents, the lovers, the obstacles) that is the vehicle for exploring Meena and Mariama."
The Uses and Limitations of the Folklorist's Toolkit for Fiction, by Rose Lemberg (11/30/15)
I will then give specific advice to editors who wish to use the AT/ATU system, and other tools developed by folklorists, in submission calls.
Out of This World Sex Writing, by Cecilia Tan (10/26/15)
One thing that is attractive about science fiction for the non-conforming is that within our stories, we can create a new normal.
Naked Prose, by Jon Courtenay Grimwood (10/26/15)
Being nominated for the Bad Sex Award did, however, make me question why I instinctively included sex when writing fiction.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights, by Benjamin Gabriel, Kathryn Hemmann, and K. Kamo (10/26/15)
"If 'Christ Versus Mecha-Buddha. In Space!' doesn’t grab you, then I really don't know what else I can say.
Artist Interview: Rachel Kahn, by Tory Hoke (10/19/15)
[A]s fun as outer space is, I'm most interested in the conflict and collaboration of society and nature, and the fuzzy line between animal and person, especially in folklore. So fantasy worlds are my jam, for sure. 
Subjective Reality: An Interview with Johanna Sinisalo, by Niall Harrison (10/12/15)
"People like to think there is a very sharp line between animal and human being, and I disagree. I think there are lots of little steps between the two, and between each other, and we really shouldn't think that we are somehow separate from nature."
A Writing Life, by Johanna Sinisalo (10/12/15)
And so, dear audience, a kick-ass feminist sci-fi writer was born.
Writing Better Trans Characters, by Cheryl Morgan (9/28/15)
Authors, for the most part, have the best of intentions, so how can they avoid such missteps?
The Strange Horizons Film Club: Jupiter Ascending, by Benjamin Gabriel, Erin Horáková, Ethan Robinson, and Aishwarya Subramanian (9/28/15)
They aren't . . . teleological bees.
Stories, Culture, and Conversation: An Interview with Roshani Chokshi and Yukimi Ogawa, by Catherine Krahe (9/28/15)
"So often, we see the same threads in tales across the world (the rash boon, the neglected daughter, the evil wearing a sweet smile, etc. . . .)
An Interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, by Vanessa Rose Phin (9/21/15)
He’s a little over four thousand years old, proto-Etruscan, born to a warlord in what is now Transylvania. He’s been rattling around in my head since about 1971, and I’ve learned to go where he goes.
Artist Interview: Maggie Ivy, by Tory Hoke (9/14/15)
I’m a very goofy person, but a fan of horror, so it’s hard for one or the other not to slip into something I’m working on.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: The Starry Rift by James Tiptree, Jr., by Lila Garrott, Matt Hilliard, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (8/24/15)
"these stories in The Starry Rift aren't explicitly ideological; they're not arguing for or against anything apart from demonstrating that the basic axioms of their worldbuilding work in the universe so built"
Defying Gravity: The Science Fiction of Zero-G, by Ian McDonald, Jody Lynn Nye, Corey Ostman, Karen Traviss, and Vanessa Rose Phin (8/24/15)
For those who are tied down by their bodies, it might represent a freedom that they have lost or never known.
Artist Interview: Geneva Benton, by Tory Hoke (8/10/15)
I'm sure once that "goal" is reached I still won't be happy with the emotion or expression, so it's like a never-ending rabbit hole. It's like never being truly satisfied, and that's what I love about art as a whole.
Farewell, Fantastic Pluto, by Paul McAuley (7/27/15)
Less than sixty years after Sputnik the first era of solar system exploration is over.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss, by Octavia Cade, Kev McVeigh, Martin Petto, and Electra Pritchett (7/27/15)
"Earth is frightful, the new planet is scary. It's space that's the haven, the place of we-don't-have-to-make-decisions-yet."
Artist Interview: Sishir Bommakanti, by Tory Hoke (7/20/15)
I was always told to work with opposites: light shapes on dark shapes, warm on cool, chaos over order, and vice versa.
Victory Lap: An Interview with Jennifer Marie Brissett, by Sofia Samatar (6/29/15)
Jennifer Marie Brissett is a writer, artist, former bookstore owner, and former web developer. Her debut novel Elysium (Aqueduct Press, 2014) received the Philip K. Dick Award Special Citation and was a Tiptree Honor Book, Locus Recommended Read, and Locus Award Finalist.
Space: A Playground for Postcapitalist Posthumans, by Karen Burnham (6/22/15)
Instead of featuring space as a thing we will conquer, recent SF looks to space (not inner space or virtual space but outer space, the place that starts 100km above the surface of the Earth or other planets) as a setting we must adapt to and changes what it means to be human in the process.
The Strange Horizons Book Club Part 1: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, by Karen Burnham, Vajra Chandrasekera, Martin McGrath, Ethan Robinson, and Vandana Singh (6/22/15)
"To call any work of art "timeless" begs the question at best. Nevertheless, though, I want to say that the core of Rendezvous with Rama, the wonder and mystery and joy I feel when I read it, remains untouched by time, and whether it actually will or not it feels to me as though it always will."
The Strange Horizons Book Club Part 2: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, by Karen Burnham, Vajra Chandrasekera, Martin McGrath, Ethan Robinson, and Vandana Singh (6/22/15)
"This is also how I'm explaining the otherwise discordant simp interlude to myself. It's an uplift red herring! As in, maybe it's meant to get us into the uplift state of mind, to set up an implied/potential Ramans:humans::humans:superchimps relationship."
Artist Interview: Vlada Monakhova, by Tory Hoke (6/8/15)
I find a lot of appeal in the eerie, the creepy, the unsettling. . . . I remember being told that you grow out of that kind of phase like you grow out of a pair of shoes, but mine just turned to hooves and booked it straight for the woods.
Following the Story: An Interview with Laurence Suhner, by Alastair Reynolds (5/25/15)
"For me drawing, writing and composing music are one single thing. Or various aspects of the same thing. I like to live in a wide imaginary world."
Artist Interview: Milan Jaram, by Tory Hoke (5/18/15)
If I made something awesome and nobody saw it, there is some kind of sadness to that. Like a chef who made his best meal but nobody was around to taste it.
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away: On Classical Reception and Science Fiction, by Liz Gloyn (4/27/15)
Every reception is influenced by the receptions that have come before it.
Representing Marginalized Voices in Historical Fiction and Fantasy, by Joyce Chng, David Anthony Durham, Kari Sperring, and Vanessa Rose Phin (4/27/15)
Writing always feels like a balancing act, negotiated between the assumed centerwhose voices and privileges and needs have been so drummed into me that they operate almost at an unconscious leveland the margins, the silent majority whose stories are deemed not to matter. 
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Hild by Nicola Griffith, by Dan Hartland, Erin Horakova, Victoria Hoyle, and Maureen Kincaid Speller (4/27/15)
"I was equally beguiled by the fact that the novel is structured like a life is structured as opposed to a novel: around the seasonal shifts of the year, the rituals of daily experience, the cultural and personal rites of passage from childhood to adulthood."
The Strange Horizons Book Club: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, by Maureen Kincaid Speller, Molly Katz, Dan Hartland, and Aishwarya Subramanian (4/27/15)
"The characteristics of epic fantasy—the orcs and dwarves, the axes and magic, but also the narrative structures and reading protocols its dominance of commercial fantasy fiction have encouraged—have permeated our culture so thoroughly that it is hard to see the word "ogre", read about a swordfight, or follow a questing band of medieval-ish protagonists without certain assumptions being cued for us."
The 2014 SF Count, by Niall Harrison (3/30/15)
Welcome to the fifth year of Strange Horizons' "SF count" of representation in reviewing.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Red Shift by Alan Garner, by Maureen Kincaid Speller, Ethan Robinson, and Aishwarya Subramanian (3/23/15)
"Maureen's point that this is Garner's first attempt to write about sex directly intrigues me because it seems so true to me, and yet—as Maureen immediately points out—the novel's way of being direct is to be so indirect as to make sex (among other things) almost invisible."
Nimoy and Spock: Reflections and Farewells, by Mary Anne Mohanraj, Keguro Macharia, Octavia Cade, Iona Sharma, Tim Phipps, Fabio Fernandes, and Erin Horáková (3/2/15)
Staff, contributors and friends of Strange Horizons offer their thoughts.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Academic Exercises by K. J. Parker, by Lila Garrott, Foz Meadows, and T. S. Miller (3/2/15)
A discussion of Parker's first short story collection. What did you think of it?
Gladiatorial Combat in The Hunger Games, by Juliette Harrisson (2/23/15)
Gladiatorial combat is a particular form of forced combat and invites parallels between the characters and the environment depicted and ancient Rome.
An interview with Julia Rios and Alisa Krasnostein, by Niall Harrison (1/26/15)
"The project grew and changed as we worked on it because in the end what we really cared about was putting together a collection of really good stories."
Fractal History: An Interview with Jo Walton, by Liz Bourke (1/26/15)
"Sometimes he's so insightful and brilliant, and sometimes he's barking mad, so that you can go from "Yes yes yes!" to "Oh Plato, no!" so fast you get whiplash. I find that tension very productive."
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Fire in the Unnameable Country, by Nandini Ramachandran, Ethan Robinson, Aishwarya Subramanian (12/22/14)
Islam’s debut novel tells of Hedayat, the "glossolalist" narrator born on a flying carpet in the skies above an obscure land whose leader has manufactured the ability to hear every unspoken utterance of the nation. He records the contents of his citizens’ minds onto tape reels for archival storage.
Estrangement and Cognition, by Darko Suvin (11/24/14)
In this chapter, I will argue for an understanding of SF as the literature of cognitive estrangement. This definition seems to possess the unique advantage of rendering justice to a literary tradition which is coherent through the ages and within itself, yet distinct from nonfictional utopianism, from naturalistic literature, and from other non-naturalistic fiction. It thus makes it possible to lay the basis for a coherent poetics of SF.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Tigerman, by Niall Harrison, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and Aishwarya Subramanian (11/24/14)
This month we are discussing Nick Harkaway's third novel, Tigerman.
A Few Questions About the Culture: An Interview with Iain Banks, by Jude Roberts (11/3/14)
These interviews were conducted by email between April and June in 2010 as part of my PhD on the Culture, drawing on the extraordinary way Banks's writing investigates and interrogates language, the body, the relationship between the self and society and the relationship between the self and the other, to consider what it is to be a person.
Enchanting Places: Readers and Pilgrimage in the Novels of Diana Wynne Jones, by Catherine Butler (10/27/14)
Readers have always been fascinated by the relationship between writers and the places that are important to them.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Ombria in Shadow, by David Hebblethwaite, Erin Horáková, Chris Kammerud, and Audrey Taylor (10/27/14)
Welcome to the first instalment of the Strange Horizons book club! On the fourth Monday of each month, we'll be posting a round-table discussion about a speculative work (or work of interest to readers of SF), and we invite you join us for further conversation in the comments. This month we're discussing Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip.
'To Keep Out Bad Things': Exploring the Wall in A Song of Ice and Fire, by Stephe Harrop (8/25/14)
The Wall, like the men and women who inhabit and contest its surrounding landscapes, is sketched with a sharp authorial eye for the dramatic contrasts, contradictions, and paradoxes of a frontier.
The State of British SF and Fantasy: A Symposium, by Juliet E. McKenna, Kari Sperring, Nina Allan, Dan Hartland, Martin Lewis, and Maureen Kincaid Speller (7/28/14)
The Worldcon returns to the UK this year. It seems an apt moment, therefore, to ask: what has changed in the years since 2005, and what is happening in British SF today?
Looking Forward, Looking Back: An Interview with David Kopaska-Merkel, by Romie Stott (7/28/14)
The current president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and longtime editor of Dreams & Nightmares weighs in on the current state of speculative poetry and whether we'll still be writing poems in 500 years.
Endings are Never Completely Endings: An Interview with Frances Hardinge, by Tom Pollock (6/23/14)
"People are easily the most bizarre, fantastical, perverse, wonderful, unpredictable, and insanely funny thing I have ever encountered."
Breaking Rules and Broken Rulers: The Novels of Frances Hardinge, by Frances Hardinge, Farah Mendlesohn, Virginia Preston, and Niall Harrison (6/23/14)
"I want these inconvenient people hanging around so that people have to decide what to do with them and make moral choices about them, rather than have something convenient fall on their heads. I'm not giving them, either side, an easy out—they have to clean up their mess."
Things You Can Do With Humans: an interview with Benjanun Sriduangkaew, by Niall Harrison (5/26/14)
"The far future grants that possibility and hope, and space opera allows for upheavals on scale larger than life—both prospects console me, and contribute to what I think of as narrative trajectories pointed toward optimism."
The Diverse Editors List: a post-production essay, by Bogi Takács (4/28/14)
In late 2013, I assembled a list of editors in the field of English-language speculative literature who belonged to underrepresented groups—all kinds of groups: ethnic, racial, sexual and gender minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities and chronic illness, and so on.
The 2013 SF Count, by Niall Harrison (4/28/14)
Welcome to the fourth year of Strange Horizons' "SF count" of representation in reviewing.
Reviewing the Other: Like Dancing about Architecture, by Nisi Shawl (3/24/14)
"As the diversity of the pool of genre tales being told widens and deepens, more of us want help accessing it. Where do we find the good stuff? How do we know it's any good? This essay intends to address ways in which reviews, and thus reviewers and reviews editors, can help, rather than hinder, based on my experiences on many sides of this question."
Escaping Ethnocentricity?, by Samuel R. Delany (3/24/14)
"But if you have a certain leaning toward a certain kind of curiosity, what starts off as a rhetorical question will, when you repeat it enough, shift genres to become a literal one: 'How could, Girard—such an amazingly good writer and such an astonishingly good thinker—say such things?'"
Inclusive Reviewing: A Discussion, by Samuel R. Delany, L. Timmel Duchamp, Fabio Fernandes, Andrea Hairston, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Sofia Samatar, and Aishwarya Subramanian (3/24/14)
"To listen, to see—that's work. Research is important, but it can't take the place of the deep involvement in the work that I think of when we say 'compassion.'"
Defining Speculative Poetry: A Conversation and Three Manifestos, by Adrienne J. Odasso, Romie Stott, and Sonya Taaffe (2/24/14)
For this special issue of Strange Horizons, our three poetry editors set out to describe their visions for speculative poetry. This is where they ended up.
"By A Wall That Faced The South": Crossing The Border in Classically-Influenced Fantasy, by Liz Gloyn (1/27/14)
Given the richness of fantasy writing, why begin with borders? Because they symbolise one of fantasy's central tropes, the idea of a crossing.
Different Frontiers: Taking Over English, by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (11/25/13)
"English is a global language because of colonialism. How is it ironic to address postcolonial issues in English–a language of oppression and resistance, of loss and survival–a postcolonial language?"
The Convergence Between Poetry and the Fantastic: A Conversation, by Lavie Tidhar and Shimon Adaf (10/28/13)
"It seemed to me that in poetry I would be able to bring together the yearning for the out-of-the-ordinary, and my personal baggage—small town, Jewish lore and Hebrew language. For me the affinity between speculative writing and poetry is a fact of writing."
The Man from the Yellow Star, by Elana Gomel (10/28/13)
The full history of Soviet Jews' love affair with science fiction is waiting to be written. Here I am only going to use some of its highlights to elucidate the conundrum of being "unlike" in the country of the "like" and to trace the gradual Jewish disillusionment with the Soviet utopia, which culminated in one of the most fantastic events of modern times: the exodus of Jews from the planet USSR.
Splitting the Difference: A Discussion about Indian Speculative Fiction, part 1, by Anil Menon and Vandana Singh (9/30/13)
As part of this week's issue, we asked a panel of writers, critics, academics and editors to answer some questions about Indian SF.
Splitting the Difference: A Discussion about Indian Speculative Fiction, part 2, by Anil Menon and Vandana Singh (9/30/13)
In the second half of this week's round-table, the panel discuss their visions for Indian speculative fiction, their recommendations and influences.
Writing Speaking Dreaming: Conversations Around Tatakai, by Shweta Narayan and Strange Horizons (9/30/13)
"My Tamil is a colonial language, just as Hindi is, just as English is. Where I am in the power balance depends on which power balance we're talking about."
Throwing Voices and Observing Transformations: An Interview with Helen Oyeyemi, by Niall Harrison (9/30/13)
"I'm a narrative junkie with a great respect and affection for the established structure of stories, but a need (either compulsive, or worse, postmodern) to dismantle that structure, just to see what happens."
Recentering Science Fiction and the Fantastic: What would a non-Anglocentric understanding of science fiction and fantasy look like?, by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay (9/23/13)
A non-Anglocentric understanding of science fiction and fantasy must open up the genre towards the dialectic of local and universal, rather than be aligned towards the one or the other.
Set Truth on Stun: Reimagining an Anti-Oppressive SF/F, by Daniel José Older (9/23/13)
I asked a group of writers, editors and publishers to imagine in both practical and fantastical ways what the SF and fantasy community would look like if it was actively anti-oppressive.
Recent Brazilian Science Fiction and Fantasy Written by Women, by M. Elizabeth Ginway (9/23/13)
As we shall see, these writers are well versed in the conventions of global science fiction, and while they embrace aspects of American popular culture, they generally mold its conventions to reflect Brazilian reality.
Hadaly, The First Android: Restituting the Female Body in Villiers' Tomorrow's Eve, by Tara Isabella Burton (8/26/13)
If men are, in the world of Villiers' Edison, scientific beings, whose rationality and ability to create frees them from the strictures of the natural world, women are only ever subject to its control.
On Defining SF, or Not: Genre Theory, SF, and History, by John Rieder (8/26/13)
The collective and accretive social process by which SF has been constructed does not have the kind of coherent form or causality that allows one to talk about origins at all.
Stories Larger than Themselves: a conversation, by David J. Schwartz and William Alexander (7/22/13)
"And yet sometimes I worry that fantasy—that stories in general—can also have a numbing effect. I have a tendency to cringe when people talk about fantasy as escapism; the fantasy I most enjoy is too unsettling and too questioning for that label, I think."
Evaporating Genres, by Gary K. Wolfe (7/22/13)
The writers who contribute to the evaporation of genre, who destabilize it by undermining our expectations and appropriating materials at will, with fiction shaped by individual vision rather than traditions or formulas, are the same writers who continually revitalize genre.
Ways of Knowing: An interview with Sofia Samatar, by Nic Clarke (6/24/13)
"What if we would start thinking of epic fantasy as a genre of contact, but not conquest? The genre is sort of built around conflict, and that's why we don't see it being done very often. Conflict is such a part of the genre that you have to address it before shifting to contact."
Science Fiction Without the Future, by Judith Berman (6/24/13)
Without a vital link to the ever-changing Zeitgeist, SF will become a closed system where recycling subject matter and theme is all that's possible.
Noticing Language: An Interview with Rose Lemberg, by Julia Rios (4/22/13)
"What is my canonical narrative, what are the issues important to me, who are the people I am writing about? How do their different identity concerns intersect?"
The 2012 SF Count, by Niall Harrison (4/22/13)
We surveyed reviews coverage in 14 SF magazines and journals published in the US and the UK: Analog; Asimov's; Cascadia Subduction Zone; F&SF; Foundation; Interzone; Locus; The New York Review of Science Fiction; The SF Site; Science Fiction Studies; SFX; Strange Horizons;; and Vector.
Not Just Vast Armies Clashing on Dark Plains at Night: An Interview with Ken Liu, by Luc Reid (3/25/13)
Many of my stories deal with the invisible bounds imposed on us by the legacy of history: colonialism, war, mass killings, power imbalances between different parts of the world and between different populations sharing the same space.
Irony, Man: An Interview with Adam Roberts, by Christos Callow Jr. (3/25/13)
"I think that a writer, or any artist, needs to find ways of messing up their own finished product, dirtying it a bit, making it a bit less clean. There's a necessary uncleanness in art. And there's something of that in puns"
"Write Your Heart Out": An Interview with Nalo Hopkinson, by Sofia Samatar (2/25/13)
Take your fear and your preconceptions of what editors will and won't publish. Squish them down into a tiny troll kitten, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Reading the Game, by Kyla Ward (1/28/13)
What was frightening becomes amusing, even nostalgic, as general familiarity grows. What emerged on the edges of society migrates towards the center, as students graduate and having been a "nerd" or "dork" begins to pay off.
Grooming Wagner's Neckbeard, by Thomas M. Ingram (12/31/12)
The Ring of the Nibelung is a cycle of four music dramas written and composed by Richard Wagner. They break with the German operatic tradition by eschewing the populist influence of Italian opera—instead of clearly defined sections with hummable tunes, they proceed without interruption except for act breaks. All told, the whole thing can be more than fourteen hours long (depending on tempo), spread out over four consecutive nights. Right there is an obvious commonality with epic fantasy: Wagner is constitutionally incapable of concision.
Cooking the Books: The Roundtable , by Fran Wilde (11/26/12)
"It�s tough to be able to think of good food in science fiction. I seem to be mostly impressed with the bad food."
Better Dead than Red: Politics and Genre, by Daniel M. Kimmel (10/23/12)
Science fiction movies rarely focus on how we select our leaders or the processes we employ, but when they do touch on politics and government, they can help us understand the power of the individual citizen to make a difference.
A Dragon in the Time Machine: The Gross Anatomy of Horror, by Nicholas Seeley (10/22/12)
Since the savanna, we have been afraid. The question is not what we fear, or even why.... The question is what our fears tell us about ourselves.
Rage Against the Machine: How Colossus: The Forbin Project May Predict the Real Life Future of Artificial Intelligence, by Cynthia C. Scott (9/24/12)
Based on the novel by British author Dennis Feltham, Colossus: The Forbin Project is a cautionary tale about what happens when people build bigger, better mousetraps (well, somebody's got to be the mouse).
Steven Spielberg's Early Television Genre Works , by Raz Greenberg (8/27/12)
An examination of Spielberg's early television works can go a long way in explaining how his filmmaking career remains successful and relevant to this very day. He signed his first contract with Universal's television department in 1969, and while his "New Hollywood" peers were busy experimenting with new forms of storytelling and exploring the dark sides of American life on the screen, Spielberg learned how to work with run-of-the-mill scripts, producers and executives.
Twilight of the Batman: 25 Years of "The Dark Knight Returns", by Matthew Jackson (7/23/12)
A quarter century after its release, The Dark Knight Returns remains a psychologically and thematically complex tale honed into a bullet of visceral energy, and at its heart is Frank Miller�s demand that the reader confront an aging, obsessive and violent Batman, and walk with him into darkness.
Going Beyond the Other Side of the Eye: An Interview with Bryan Thao Worra, by Yuk Ki Lau (6/25/12)
If Asian Americans can�t talk about our history in even that briefest of art forms, poetry, how can we expect others to? How would I face my grandchildren in the future to tell them we couldn�t spare even a few words in a bit of verse about our journey, what we thought and what we dreamed?
The Swedish Invasion: An Interview with Karin Tidbeck, by Dustin Monk (5/28/12)
We spend a lot of time in twilight, which is a liminal condition, a no-man's land. The light has an eerie and melancholy quality. I suppose this has carried over into my writing as well, both in the sense of the eerie and melancholy, but also the sensation of having stepped sideways into another world where the sun has stopped in its course.
Airships - Not just flying billboards, by Ann Wilkes (4/23/12)
Airships are soaring from the pages of steampunk novels and the imaginations of young engineers and entrepreneurs into our skies. Welcome to the airship renaissance.
A Boy and His Ghosts, by Jeremy L. C. Jones (3/26/12)
My grandfather wrote, "It is a great privilege to live in a town which the dead have not deserted. Walk the streets of Cooperstown with me on a moonlit night, and I'll show you a village where the enchantment of death is a warm and friendly quality."
Writing Climate Change: A Round Table Discussion, by Niall Harrison (2/27/12)
Julie Bertagna, Tobias Buckell, Maggie Gee, Glenda Larke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vandana Singh and Joan Slonczewski discuss why and how they write about climate change in their speculative fiction.
Bridge Over Troubled Waters: The City of Haifa in Lavie Tidhar's Stories, by Ehud Maimon (1/23/12)
When looked upon together from some distance, a clear picture of Haifa as it is seen in Lavie Tidhar's vision emerges. This vision produces a unique outcome, a speculative city which is at the same time universal and local.
Watching the Watches: An Interview with Sergei Lukyanenko, by Nicholas Seeley (11/28/11)
Nicholas Seeley asks Sergei Lukyanenko about writing, movies, video games, and the value of an international approach to writing fantasy.
Even the Old Ones Get the Blues: An Interview with John Hornor Jacobs, by Molly Tanzer (10/31/11)
But seriously, in my descriptions of Arkansas, I try to convey some of the decay, the innate corruptness of the human experience in the South. Even here, in Little Rock in 2011, the social stratification that existed in the 1950s still exists.
Cosmic Horror in John Carpenter's "Apocalypse Trilogy", by Orrin Grey (10/24/11)
Perhaps because it's the first film in the "Apocalypse Trilogy," the themes that tie the three movies together are the most subtle in The Thing. The story concerns an alien creature found frozen in Antarctic ice that can absorb, digest, and then imitate perfectly any creature that it comes into contact with. What follows from its discovery is a classic meditation on paranoia, punctuated by some of the best practical special effects ever put on film.
Vegan Apocalypse: The Deep Ecological Fiction of David Agranoff, by Nicholas Pell (9/26/11)
I love the powerful feeling a well-told story gives me, so I have always wanted to have that power. To tell a story that can shock, disturb, amuse, or move someone is the ultimate goal of my writing.
Pat Cadigan: A Retrospective, by Tanya Brown (8/29/11)
A cursory web-search will tell you that Pat Cadigan is the Queen of Cyberpunk, but who wants to be queen of a moribund genre? BBC TV's Future Fantastic designated her, more promisingly, "the queen of modern science fiction;" Wired, though, may have come closest to the truth with the plaudit "sci-fi maverick."
Ecology and the Post-Apocalypse, by Banks Miller (8/22/11)
By taking the time to think through their worlds scientifically, authors might not just find striking images and new apocalyptic possibilities, but will be able to engage their readers� interest more thoroughly in speculation that presses beyond the pages of fiction.
A Time to Die, by Michael Keyton (7/25/11)
Trollope's characters may be cardboard and his future risible, but the moral issues he raises and explores are both prescient and subtle. If science fiction is the last bastion of serious philosophical writing, Trollope, in this respect, was more prescient than most other writers.
More Real Than Real: Philip K. Dick's Visionary Posthumanism, by Alex Lyras (6/27/11)
The more we debate the potential merits of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, a topic inundating the zeitgeist with weekly leaps in smart technology, the more relevant the 1982 film Blade Runner becomes. Add our addiction to social networking, first-person role-playing games, and every other facet of life involving a "simulated" self, and the film appears to be nothing short of prescient.
Running Away to Bordertown: An Interview with Holly Black, Ellen Kushner, and Terri Windling, by Karen Meisner (6/13/11)
We're all sharing the same streets, the same landmarks, and in some cases even the same characters . . . but we see them in different ways. And, to me, that makes for fascinating fiction.
A Medley of Authors (Re)Visit One Magical City: Welcome to Bordertown, by Karen Meisner (6/13/11)
I can remember reading Bordertown stories and looking up from the page to find certain familiar streets suddenly holding the possibility of leading me into new and strange places...
Perfectly Herself: A discussion of the work of Carol Emshwiller, by Ursula K. Le Guin, Helen Merrick, Pat Murphy, and Gary K. Wolfe (5/30/11)
After a career of many phases, she's found a comfortable way to synthesize all of them, making her all over again the proverbial writer to watch. I don't know if there's another 90 year old author anywhere about whom that could be said.
"Fascinated by the Grotesque and Macabre": An Interview with Jonathan L. Howard, by Molly Tanzer (4/25/11)
If you're uninvested, it will show. In my case, I've been fascinated by the grotesque and the macabre ever since I can remember. I don't really know why that should be—I didn't live in a house that featured much in the way of inspirational materials for such interests—but I cleaved to everything that bore the faintest tang of the uncanny.
An Interview with Nisi Shawl, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (4/4/11)
Science can preserve heritage as well as discover and explore it. A proper scientific approach can relieve us from prejudices that block us from understanding our cultural heritage.
Voices from a Shared World, by S. J. Chambers (3/28/11)
"Shared worlds is about creative problem-solving, about every decision having consequences and leading to more decisions, about every solution affecting every aspect of the world. Everything goes into the stew of an imaginary world. Students pull on what they've learned in school, draw on their unique talents and interests. It's all blended together. And they get to do all that under the guidance of Wofford professors and some of the finest speculative fiction writers in the world. Can you imagine? Being fifteen-years-old and studying writing with Holly Black! That would've blown my mind as a teenager."
Comic-Con 2010, by Mark Newheiser (2/28/11)
The question currently under debate is whether artistic depictions of something that would be horribly offensive in real life should be legal? Both the legality and social value of the material is a topic of debate, as to whether the material provides an outlet for something that shouldn't exist in real life or whether it encourages it. One of the volunteers I chat with talks about how she's uncomfortable with a lot of material herself, but she believes people have a right to express anything they want to in art, she thinks it's a slippery slope to censor artistic depictions of anything.
Mythpunk Roundtable, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (1/31/11)
"I think that, as someone who read and writes predominantly in English, my entrance to myths of many different cultures has been informed by a great deal of systemic ignorance and prejudice, such that before I can punk the myth, I need to be aware of what peoples' myths ABOUT myths are, and possibly punk on two fronts."
Mythpunk: An Interview with Catherynne M. Valente, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (1/24/11)
"I felt that there was a commonality in some of the up-and-coming writers of whom I was a part, that a Thing was Going On, and mythpunk seemed concise and fairly clear on the face of it what it meant."
Terra Incognita: A Brief History of Mexican Science Fiction, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (11/22/10)
Mexican science fiction scholar Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz, for his part, maintains that Mexican science fiction "has a desire to give voice and a national flavor to our characters and situations they live. There is a nervous tic that imposes our black humor onto the future. . . a desire to destroy the country and send the political classes to hell. . . there are too many apocalypses in our science fiction and few utopias."
Betting on the LHC: The Large Hadron Collider and the Future of Physics, by Lori Ann White (11/1/10)
Great days, bad days, go-home-and-kick-your-dog days, Nobel Prize-winning days—it's a safe bet that the LHC will deliver all these days and more, but how the moods of particle physicists translate into scientific discoveries is another question. And not just particle physicists, but high energy physicists, condensed matter physicists, theoretical physicists, cosmologists, astrophysicists—physicists from almost every field are waiting to see what the LHC will find.
Searching for Bigfoot in Alabama, by Pamela Manasco (10/25/10)
The South has a reputation—not undeserved—of being a deeply religious area, but it also revels in folklore, supernatural or otherwise. There's a reason why Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris set their separate vampire stories in the South: supernatural tales, like kudzu, thrive here.
2010: The Year We Lower Our Expectations, by Gary Westfahl (10/18/10)
It remains unclear when humans might again walk on the Moon. However, it will manifestly require more than a decade to move from the drawing board to a countdown, even though we once did it more quickly. Thus, 2010: Odyssey Two may represent the first anticipation of the counterintuitive principle that a repeated space mission might involve more preparation time than the original mission.
Out of Your Head: The Lure of Trepanation, by Tim Hardwick (10/4/10)
It's no secret the daily grind has us spiritually starved. Health experts report that white-collar suicide rates have reached an all-time high. And while statistics suggest that a tendency to religiosity has a protective effect, faith is hard to manufacture. For a generation reared on personal growth and psychic development, however, alternatives abound. Some go in for crystal healing; others take up yoga classes. Not a few have recourse to drugs. Betty Lyons drilled a hole in her head.
Zombies are Just Undead Gentlemen: An Interview with The Widow's Bane, by Molly Tanzer (9/27/10)
"A zombie is just an undead gentleman with a chip on his shoulder. But to think that we're illiterate, or can't walk faster than one mile an hour . . . it's ridiculous. We're quite articulate. We mind our manners. And we prefer fois gras to brains."
Tenth Anniversary Highlights: The Fantasy of Talking Back: Susanna Clarke's Historical Present in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, originally published 27 October 2008, by Elizabeth Hoiem (9/13/10)
At the center of Susanna Clarke's historical novel are three characters, each a victim of Strange and Norrell's project to promote magic as rational and "English," and each corresponding to a social group historically marginalized in order to solidify Englishness as a cohesive category of identity[.]
Tenth Anniversary Highlights: Elven Lays and Power Chords: Chaos, Revelry, and Community in Tolkien-Themed Heavy Metal, originally published 12 January 2009, by Stephanie Green (9/13/10)
With the added dimension of female vocals, Battlelore has an opportunity—unlike most other Tolkien metal bands—to explore Tolkien's representation of females. As a man often noted for his portrayal of virginal and "pure" maidens who have no place in the war of men (Skeparnides 2002), Tolkien has found a friend in heavy metal.
Ten Years of Speculative Non-Fiction, by Articles Editors (9/6/10)
With this in mind, we announce that SH Articles will now be accepting submissions for creative and experimental non-fiction that engages the themes, genres, and concerns of speculative fiction. We are looking for intelligent, experimental pieces with critical content enhanced by personal experiences or reactions from the writer. Much like "new journalism" in the 60s and 70s, we want pieces that actively engage speculative fiction from the perspective of an insider and participant.
The Condition of a Monster: A Personal Taxonomy of Supernatural Fiction, by Orrin Grey (9/6/10)
To put it another way, the thing that makes a vampire interesting in a supernatural story is not that it will suck your blood, but that it is a vampire at all. That it is a teratism, a thing outside of commonly accepted possibility. The better such a creature is understood, the more bound in rules it is, the more pedestrian and commonplace it becomes and, therefore, the less supernatural.
Written in Maps, by Cécile Cristofari (8/23/10)
Ever since J. R. R. Tolkien put his imprint on the fantasy genre, maps have become a staple in helping speculative fiction authors share their imagined world with the audience. Yet even as they provide this crutch to the reader, the location of maps outside the narrative raises questions about their literary significance. How does the map contribute to the creation of the invented geography? Are thematic dimensions of the narrative present on the map? And what sort of perspective does a map's author represent?
An Interview with Jonathan Maberry, by John Ottinger III (8/16/10)
Zombies aren't charming, and they don't have personalities. They're walking corpses with no higher functions. They certainly aren't romantic. What they represent in zombie fiction is a constant and universal threat that is implacable and unbearable. That kind of threat puts all of the characters under pressure, and from a storytelling point of view, characters under pressure are the only interesting ones to write about.
The X-Files: Faith and Paranoia in America, by Cynthia C. Scott (8/9/10)
The show's real strengths weren't in the conspiracy itself, but in Mulder and Scully's relationship and the way they bonded through the fog of obfuscation, lies, and cover ups. "The truth is out there" became the series' hopeful message: that the truth found in faith and love can never be concealed as long as the faithful are genuine in their ideals.
Lost Weekend in Brighton: A Report on World Horror Convention 2010, by Anya Martin (6/28/10)
By convention's end, a consensus definitely had emerged that this WHC 2010 was one of the best World Horror Cons to date thanks to the abundance of authors, artists, and publishing professionals; a strong and varied programming slate geared to both professionals and readers; and a committed, hardworking staff led by Con Chair Amanda Foubister and Assistant Chair/Programming/Publications Stephen Jones, grand maestro of numerous award-winning horror anthologies and a fixture on the fantasy and horror convention scene since the 1980s.
Aboriginal Lovecraft, by C�cile Cristofari (6/21/10)
At the end of his life, Lovecraft apparently abandoned the mysterious, marvelous, and occasionally frightening country of dreams in order to depict a world invaded by terrifying aliens, for whom mankind is nothing. Does that mean that he turned away from the world of dreams for good?
The Power of Imagination: An Interview with Keith Brooke, by Mike Revell (5/24/10)
You have to push yourself every time you sit down to write; you should make everything you produce better than the last thing; you need to be your own toughest critic and you need to learn from the things you're still not getting right. And you have to be stubborn as hell.
The People Could Fly: An Interview with Nnedi Okorafor, by Ibi Aanu Zoboi (5/17/10)
I think all children need to have time and space to dream. Yes, even American ones. Just because a story isn’t written specifically for you, does not mean you can’t relate to it. If that were the case, growing up, I’d have had nothing to read.
Interview: Perfumer Gary Lodato, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (5/3/10)
It's about finding a connection. Connecting. Connecting to the product. Connecting to the theme. To the emotions. To the creativity. It's not just about mixing perfumes. It's about the process. The life breathed into the final product. I want my customers to feel it. To connect to it.
Interview: Perfumer Vajra Wright, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (4/26/10)
e connect as people through myth and image—it's powerful and universal stuff. And it lends itself perfectly to fragrance. No other sense can invoke involuntary memories like the olfactory system, and I postulate that the right fragrance for the right person can, in fact, connect them to the Collective Unconscious—the universal image bank we all share as part of being human.
Herding Zombies: A Roundtable Discussion, by S.J. Chambers (4/12/10)
My other theory is that zombies are funny because they have a far more limited sex appeal. Werewolves, vampires, ghosts, fallen angels, demons, succubi: on the surface, all these monsters are more universally dangerous/sexy and thus more able to be conceptualized as a lover by a large segment of the population. It really takes a certain type of person to look at a zombie and see anything other than a rotting, brain-eating, mindless creature.
Interplanet Mamet: The Future of Live Theater in Space, by Ramon Arjona (4/5/10)
From the actor Pikes in Bradbury's classic story "Usher II" to the actor in John Alfred Taylor's recent story "Bare, Forked Animal," the high tech realm of virtual reality and space travel coexists with the relatively low tech realm of live theater. Movies, TV, and the internet have all had a role in displacing the entertainment technology that has come before them, but none have been able to wholly eradicate the live theater.
Interview: Marge Simon, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (3/29/10)
I'm a happy camper when I'm doing both: writing and art every day, along with a dose of reading and adventures into what else is being done by other artists/writers and poets. Like breathing.
Superman as Science Fiction, by Daniel Peretti (3/15/10)
Saying that all Superman stories qualify as science fiction wouldn't be entirely accurate, despite the presence of science fiction motifs and conventions. Many of them are traditional adventure stories, or perhaps more appropriately classified as sci-fi, since many of them choose not to explore themes related to human nature or the "something more" that many writers insist as a component of true science fiction.
An Empire in Words: The Great Library of Alexandria, by Jennifer de Guzman (3/8/10)
But this much is clear: The Great Library of Alexandria was a bid toward immortality, a stay against annihilation. In the ancient world, Alexandria was a remnant of Alexander the Great's empire and a major cultural and trading center. Ships that sailed into the harbor were forced to hand over their scrolls to the library, where scribes made copies. The library gave the copies to the scrolls' owners in place of the originals, which became part of the Great Library's collection. The collection held works of only of drama and poetry and philosophy, but also scientific texts, works of mathematics, astronomy, medicine and mechanics. The library was the known world, past and present, under one roof: the ultimate empire.
Fall of a Superhero in Doctor Who: "The Waters of Mars", by Kristin King (3/1/10)
There is an inherent contradiction in superhero fiction. The stronger the villains are, the more powerful the superhero must become. And the worse the situation, the more serious the consequences of the superhero's actions. Unless stopped, the superhero crosses a line and becomes not our protector but our villain.
A Stranger in a Strange Land: Ricardo Pinto and the Stone Dance of the Chameleon, by Angeline Adams (2/22/10)
"Although it is within our power to eliminate poverty, for example, I'm not so sure that we have it in us to avoid the most terrible consequences of global warming. I feel that, because there is always hope that a human being can be talked around—talked off a ledge, talked into putting down his gun—too many of us treat our planet as if it was amenable to such persuasion. It isn't: it's not human, and it's implacable."
2009: A Year of Giving, Part 4: LiveJournal Auctions, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (2/15/10)
Regardless of the shows they watch or the books they read, fannish LiveJournalers tend to be a close-knit and generous group with a reputation for protecting their own. Not even two years after Strikethrough, the LiveJournal fan community united against a problem that affected far more people than the site's user base: the 2009 U.S. recession. And they did it in a most creative way: By auctioning off everything from DVDs, books, and memorabilia to crafts, fanart, and fanfiction to make rent money, pay hospital bills, and save the homes of fans and pros alike from the rash of foreclosures sweeping the United States.
To Infinity, and Beyond: Exploring the Limits of Computation, by Owen Anderson (2/15/10)
Since computers began to intrude on popular consciousness in the second half of the 20th century, authors have been quick to latch onto their superhuman calculating capacities as a mechanism for narrative advancement, and as a means of justifying near-future speculative fiction. Indeed, the powers of the computer, particularly as a source of alternative and/or augmented reality, have spawned whole subgenres which have risen, fallen, and been reinvented. However, contrary to popular conception, modern computers (and even conceivable future ones) are not without limitations. There are some questions out there that are really too hard to solve, even for a computer.
Nice Makes Write: An Interview with Casey Wolf, by Robert Runté (2/8/10)
Not all of my characters do the right thing. But when they don’t, there are repercussions—not in terms of divine (or authorial) retribution, but in the same terms as life. I don’t see this as being about niceness, or characters putting others ahead of themselves. It’s more about integrity, something some of my characters summon up with ease where others struggle with it. When we live without integrity, we suffer the consequences: greater isolation, with all the lack of resource—emotional and psychological, at least—that that implies; lower self-regard (on whatever level we are honest with ourselves); an extinguishment of a sense of belonging and all-for-oneness that gets human communities through long periods of difficulty and want. In other words, supposedly selfish behaviour actually drags the individual down. We don’t like ourselves as much, and no one else holds us in such high regard, either. And we don’t heal from our wounds, but carry them around sequestered behind our defenses.
2009: A Year of Giving, Part 3: Child's Play, by Pamela Manasco (1/25/10)
To be sitting there with your child who can barely move for all the tubes and wires connected to him, who hasn't been able to eat for days and hasn't been home in weeks, who can't remember the last time he didn't feel awful and wonders if he'll ever feel good again, and have him laugh out loud when he crashes his go-kart in a video game... well, there aren't words so I won't try.
2009: A Year of Giving, Part 2: Madras Press, by Pamela Manasco (1/18/10)
It's unfortunate when writers view the thoughtless turns of commercial publishing as indicative of an inherent quality to something so basic as page length. Our job, as publishers, is to figure out suitable methods for making great literature available to large groups of people, regardless of what we're used to reading or to seeing on bookshelves.
2009: A Year of Giving, by S.J. Chambers (1/11/10)
During the height of last year's problems, readers came out of the World Wide woodwork to help support their favorite writers and artists, small publishers and arduous editors produced collections solely for charity, and satirical cartoonists championed toy drives for children's hospitals.
Everyone's a Rebel: An Interview with Jeff VanderMeer, by Cynthia Hawkins (1/4/10)
I really and truly believe that if you don't invest enough personal self into a fantasy novel, then why should anyone care? I mean, all fiction is imaginary, but it's more pronounced when you're reading something about an imaginary place. If you don't put something personal in there, if you're not personally invested in it, and of course as a thinking, feeling person in the 21st century who has been absolutely horrified, and your jaw drops sometimes when you see what's happened, the whole way in which America's imperialism of the last decade has played out, it just can't help but effect your work.
Three Questions for The Apex Book of World SF Authors, by Nicholas Seeley (12/14/09)
A few weeks ago, Nicholas Seeley took a look at the recently published Apex Book of World SF, to discuss questions of "otherness" in literature, and how speculative fiction plays a role in societies around the world. This week, Seeley asks the authors three simple questions about what the market for speculative fiction is like in their countries, and what role they think local culture, myth, and legend play in literature of the fantastic.
Comic-Con 2009: Fandom Meets its Makers, and the Makers Meet New Media, by Mark Newheiser (12/7/09)
In real life he's a marine stationed in Arizona, but when he gets the chance he cosplays to the hilt.
The Emancipation of Bat Durston, or: "I'm from Iowa, I Only Work in Outer Space", by Nathan E. Lilly (11/30/09)
Just as science fiction isn't properly defined as having rocket ships, and Westerns aren't properly defined as having cowboys, space Westerns certainly aren't properly defined as cowboys on rockets.
Universal Language? Authors from the Apex Book of World SF Discuss the Global Reach of Speculative Fiction, by Nicholas Seeley (11/23/09)
The stories cross genre—some are fantasy, some sci-fi, a few are horror and one seems more a crime thriller than anything else. One element that one could argue unites almost all the tales in this anthology, and indeed, gives it its own particular flavor, is the explicit connection that's drawn between speculative fiction and displacement. These are stories from many cultures and countries, but they are, in the vast majority, stories about people without countries, or between cultures. So is it really important where they were written? Well, yes—both because of the discourse each tale offers on culture, and because each tale is, in a way, a different answer to the question of why we value "world fiction" to begin with.
Jesse Bullington and The Brutal Invasion of The Brothers Grossbart, by S.J. Chambers (11/16/09)
I absolutely love monsters. After all that talk of everything else, I neglected to mention I also wanted to write a book with a lot of monsters. Not just human monsters. I wanted to deal with the question of what is more horrific: a person who is capable of anything, or something that is literally monstrous and out of the bowels of our collective imagination? Rather than just sticking to medieval bestiaries, I tried to incorporate the parallel between different mythologies of similar creatures.
A History of the Death Ray, by Benjamin Wakefield (11/9/09)
Phasers, lasers, masers, disruptors, blasters, pulse rifles, plasma cannons and concussion beams—call it what you will, the directed energy weapon has become a staple element of the science fiction and fantasy genre.
A Memory of Robert Jordan, by Stefan J�zefowicz (11/2/09)
Robert Jordan has been recognized as one of the most famous fantasy writers of his time. He passed away on September 16, 2007, before he was able to finish his magnum opus. Nevertheless, the Wheel of Time still turns. October 27, 2009 marked the publication of The Gathering Storm, the first of three posthumous novels planned to conclude the series.
Crying Wolf on Mars, by Brian Trent (10/19/09)
Methane represents the best clue yet, and coupled with the mystery of the Dark Dune Spots, we have all the justifications needed to conduct a serious investigation. NASA is presently narrowing a list of landing-sites for its upcoming Mars Science Laboratory project. That list includes ancient riverbeds, dead seas, craters containing flood deposits, and clay-rich mountains. Should an upcoming mission prove life is there, then the Martian meteorites would likely move out of limbo. And in a strange irony, this would also confirm the notion that Martians brought life to Earth�in a way.
Redneck on the East, Redskin on the West: An Interview with Caleb Fox, by Neal Szpatura (9/28/09)
It is precisely by making the effort to walk in someone else's shoes, to enter someone else's mind and look out through her eyes, that human beings begin to truly understand each other. I believe that goodwill for all sentient beings is the right path for us all, and goodwill comes from understanding.
Serving Your Fellow Man: An Interview with Peadar O'Guilin, by Angela Handley (9/21/09)
What I was really interested in were the necessities of survival and the hypocrisy of people who can sneer when they themselves live in more comfortable surroundings. As Robert Louis Stevenson once said: "Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own."
A Dragon in the Time Machine: The Gross Anatomy of Horror, by Nicholas Seeley (9/7/09)
And I do believe there is a narrative that underlies these tales—a story or cycle, rooted in biology or psychology that explains horror stories the way Joseph Campbell's monomyth explains religion and mythology.
Sagas, Screenplays, and Reasons to Read the News: An Interview with Terry Brooks, by Mark Newheiser (8/24/09)
[Y]ou have to be open to the fact that your ideas today are not necessarily going to be your ideas tomorrow. And what seems like it's going to work today may not necessarily be what works tomorrow. You cannot get too dogmatic.
Wordcraft and War Fiction: An Interview with David Weber, by Kenneth Mark Hoover (8/10/09)
I think of what I do as my craft, not as my "art." . . . The story I'm telling takes me where it has to go, and I go there willingly, doing the best work I can along the way.
Saint Patrick, the Irish Druids, and the Conversion of Pagan Ireland to Christianity, by Bridgette Da Silva (7/27/09)
The stories of the mythical saint can certainly tell us much about the context of the times in which they were invented, the seventh century AD, but what can they tell us about the truth behind the conversion of the Irish to Christianity?
Was There Ever a Dinosaur Civilization?, by Brian Trent (7/13/09)
It must be accepted that our fossil collection represents a sliver of a fraction of the species that existed. It's like a great lottery game, whose ultimate prize is immortality on a museum shelf.
A Statistical Study of Locus Online's "Notable Books", by Valentin D. Ivanov (7/6/09)
What is going on with the demography of the subgenres? Do we get more and more sequels every year, recycling the same old ideas?
The Adventures of Little Martin in Tomorrowland, by Matthew Davis (6/22/09)
[I]n the mid-1970s, one of contemporary English literature's soon-to-be foremost personalities spent his apprenticeship as the SF reviewer at one of Britain's most respected Sunday broadsheets.
Captain Newbie!: A 3-D Pete Cartoon, by Mike Fisher (6/15/09)
Hmm . . . I wonder what the first mission with Captain "No Starfleet Experience Whatsoever" Kirk would be like?
Superheroes Used Symbolically in Novels, by Karen Burnham (6/1/09)
Superheroes, being so over-the-top and recognizable, lend themselves brilliantly to satire, and satire is easy to turn towards any number of political targets.
"That Place of Dark": A Jaunt Through Speculative Fiction, by Daniel Peretti (5/25/09)
The word "jaunt," as it is used today, has a fairly positive connotation. Yet jaunting—or teleportation, movement between two places without traveling through the intervening space—is not so clearly beneficial in speculative fiction.
Let's Stop Conning Ourselves, by Patience Wieland (5/11/09)
Are failures like JumpCon and FedConUSA a testament to science fiction fandom's limitations?
The "You" Continuum: Narration and Narrative Agents in Video Games, by Mark Newheiser (5/4/09)
[G]ames have a continuum between strongly defined characters tied strictly to a story conceived by the designers, and more free-form characters whom the players are free to create and fill in. The problem with video games is that a designer can't anticipate everything a player might possibly want to do[.]
Imagining the Perfect Man: Science Fiction and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Chris Kammerud (4/27/09)
Franklin's Autobiography isn't characterized by such obvious strangeness as Gulliver's Travels, yet it also presents readers with an imaginative and alternative way of viewing both Franklin's and their own world.
The Revelatory Power of Story: An Interview with Jeffrey Overstreet, by John Ottinger III (4/13/09)
I suppose that the story has led me to think about the revelatory power of art—how beauty "speaks" to us in mysterious ways. But it has also caused me to think about the "monsters" in the real world[.]
Éowyn under Siege: Female Warriors During the Middle Ages, by Stefan Ingstrand (4/6/09)
Going to war was the most masculine activity imaginable, and men who failed in battle were thought effeminate, so women who entered the fray broke the predominant pattern in a grand way.
SF's Founding Father Turns 200, by S. J. Chambers (3/30/09)
Nothing better illustrates Poe's speculative versatility than how widespread and diverse his influence was. To each writer, Poe stood for different ideas[.]
Art and the Artist: An Interview With Clive Barker, by Lucy A. Snyder (3/16/09)
I'm fed up with the world being divided up into the good guys and the bad guys. It just doesn't work for me. It's not a question of black hats and white hats; that's the movies.
Playing Fair: A Look at Competition in Gaming, by Mark Newheiser (3/9/09)
A game is broken or unbalanced if it becomes clear that spamming a particular move, taking over a particular location, or employing a particular tactic makes everything else in the game irrelevant.
Revisiting the Victorian Techno-thriller, by Nader Elhefnawy (2/23/09)
[W]hat these [1980s techno-thriller] novels really represented was a resurgence of a genre long thought dead, namely the "future war" story as it was known prior to the outbreak of World War I.
Creating Dark Matter: An Interview with Sheree Renée Thomas, by Jenn Brissett (2/16/09)
I woke up at three o'clock in the morning and it just hit me. Bam! I'm gonna do black science fiction!
Petting the Singularity: An Interview with Mark von Schlegell, by Claire L. Evans (2/2/09)
Presumably, off Earth, one-third gravity will be the norm so we'll be able actually to hold enormous books rather easily. These extreme books of the future will be extreme-length narratives constituting alternate realities and economies of their own.
Apocalypse How?, by Nicholas Seeley (1/26/09)
We see ourselves as at the end of history, and a few of us even write books about it. But we're not; we're right in the middle of it. And cataclysm doesn't happen overnight.
Lost Chance: Greek and Chinese Philosophy's Unrealized Romance, by Brian Trent (1/19/09)
Over the course of two centuries, intellectual luminaries simultaneously emerged in Greece and China. . . . What would have happened had the two met?
Elven Lays and Powerchords: Chaos, Revelry, and Community in Tolkien-themed Heavy Metal, by Stephanie Green (1/12/09)
Why is it that thousands of metal fans worldwide see Tolkien's works as synonymous with the ideology of heavy metal, when Tolkien would have abhorred the music and its fans?
Can Life Compete?, by Keith Pike (12/22/08)
If WoW [World of Warcraft] is the beginning, what will the middle look like?
Where is My Favorite Martian Hiding?, by Omar Vega (12/22/08)
There was a time not long ago when the solar system was full of life. . . . Does it sound strange?
Speaking About Pancakes, by Sergey Gerasimov (12/15/08)
Do we live in the aftermath of Chernobyl, or in the before-math of something bigger?
Confession of a Red Mage, by Paul Jessup (12/1/08)
After playing Chrono Trigger, I went to the library, where they had one computer (one!) that was hooked up to the then newly found Internet. I browsed GeoCities pages, looking for other fans of this game and others, and found instead a community of programmers[.]
Beyond the Beep: Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music, by Mark Newheiser (12/1/08)
[G]ame music is not written to accompany the spectacle of some scene being passively observed, but to accompany an activity. In this regard it shares some features with dance/exercise music.
Gort Power!: A 3-D Pete Cartoon, by Mike Fisher (11/24/08)
Michael Rennie seems well cast as the strange alien Klaatu. Maybe that's because his head is as big as a window-mounted air conditioner . . .
Autumn 2008 in the Key of Schubert, by Jeffrey Johnson (11/17/08)
The glimpses of Schubert's day-to-day life prove a relationship between the ordinary and the miraculous.
What Killed the Robot Soldier?, by Ben Crispin (11/10/08)
Did the Army receive their new machines on the radio-clogged battlefield, relieved that all of those worrying signal problems had been resolved . . . and then discover that they hadn't been?
The Fantasy of Talking Back: Susanna Clarke's Historical Present in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Elizabeth Hoiem (10/27/08)
At the center of Susanna Clarke's historical novel are three characters, each a victim of Strange and Norrell's project to promote magic as rational and "English," and each corresponding to a social group historically marginalized in order to solidify Englishness as a cohesive category of identity[.]
A Revisionist History of Earthsea, by William Alexander (10/20/08)
It is not easy to bring a Foucauldian understanding of historical contingency to high fantasy. The genre resists. Le Guin manages anyway.
Fang Fiction: An Interview with E. E. Knight, by Kelle Campbell (10/13/08)
As for the fire breathing, I had a scary experience with a grease fire once . . . and it seemed to me that a dragon could probably put liquid fat into a big bladder and secrete a chemical that would light it up when exposed to oxygen.
From iTunes to the Bookshelves: The First Wave of Podcast Novelists, by Shaun Farrell (9/29/08)
[W]hile the podcast novel has attracted thousands of fans, it is unclear whether famed and celebrated podcasters can generate similar enthusiasm from the book-buying public, many of whom have never heard of podcasting. Several authors, however, are poised as forerunners who may well determine the long-term publication prospects of the fiction podcaster.
Who Killed Thomas M. Disch?, by Sam J. Miller (9/22/08)
[A]fter reading his blog, revisiting his books, speaking with Tom's friends, and interviewing members of the SF literary community, I saw a total of five suspects emerge.
Founding Mothers: The Jeanne Gomoll Interview, by Adrian Simmons (9/15/08)
SF and feminism are the perfect partners. . . . When I was reading science fiction in the late '70s, it offered tools for changing the world.
Rimfall, Finger Pokes, and Angry Letters: Discworld's Fantastic Reaches, by Donna Royston (9/8/08)
It is the peril—and the paradoxical lure—of the Rim that elevates Discworld from amusement to something strange and terrifying.
From Console to Celluloid: Uwe Boll and the Art of Adapting Video Games for the Big Screen, by Nader Elhefnawy (8/11/08)
[It is] very difficult to turn even great games into substantial films without ditching or overhauling the source material—something that Boll has never been interested in doing.
Searching Under the Rug: Interfaces, Puzzles, and the Evolution of Adventure Games, by Mark Newheiser (8/4/08)
What decades of evolution have done for the [adventure game] genre is refine the user interface. The genre's improvements are largely independent of the technology used and have gradually evolved in response to user feedback and designers' efforts to make the puzzles clear yet challenging.
Of Preachers and Storytellers: An Interview with Sheri S. Tepper, by Neal Szpatura (7/21/08)
When the judges arrive to see how we've done, I don't think they'll rate us as "keepers." I believe there will be judges who will decide which races deserve to go on existing to accomplish whatever the universal task is. I also believe that all of us—the human race—have at most one shared human soul.
Lingua Rpga & the Writer, by Steve Berman (7/7/08)
I brought together a few other authors—friends of mine once deeply involved with gaming and now telling stories in their own, unique voices. Imagine them around the table: Holly Black, wielder of the coveted Andre Norton Award; Will Ludwigsen, a half-curmudgeon; Cecil Castellucci, the only person to become a bard by first edition rules; and Jim Hines, deservedly proud of his 18/00 career.
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse: An Interview with Editor John Joseph Adams, by Rob Darnell (6/23/08)
The Rebirth of Grue, by Paul Jessup (5/26/08)
With classic or retro gaming hitting a new peak, the superstars of the interactive fiction underground are gaining more and more exposure, and a boom is happening all across the board in popularity and experimentation.
Games to Life: An Interview with Lori, Corey, and Michael Cole of Transolar Games, by Joseph Howse (5/26/08)
[T]he real changes and innovations will come from the indies and the college students who have a love of games and, now, the tools to make them. After all, when Corey and I started out, we made up the game theories as we went along. We started out as amateurs, but it didn't stop us from making great games. I believe that these newcomers will be the ones to pull the life support from the old, creatively dead companies and breathe new life into computer games.
The Farmer Vanishes, by Marian Kensler (5/12/08)
[M]any American children have unknowingly become acquainted with Ambrose Bierce's fiction well before the obligatory high school reading of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge."
Tribute to Dean Koontz: Forty Years as a Published Novelist, by Michael McCarty (4/28/08)
Dean Koontz is a rarity in this business: someone who cares. He could have simply signed my books and sent me on my merry way, but instead he reached out, he made an effort . . . and he gave me a career.
Fear Nothing: Interview with Dean Koontz, by Michael McCarty (4/28/08)
There is such a thing as "reckless caring," and by God there has to be in order for any civilization to arise and to be sustained.
The Wizard in the Space Station: A Look Back at the Works of the Late Sir Arthur C. Clarke, by Nicholas Seeley (4/14/08)
The idea of a wizard in a space station may seem strange or contradictory—even dangerous in its invocation of pure fantasy to describe one of the great pioneers of "hard" science fiction. But it is the role Clarke played most of his life: a mythologized figure of intellect and prescience, standing on the shadowy frontier of modern science.
Who's Afraid of Nanotech?, by Corie Ralston (4/7/08)
If even a fraction of the imagined applications pan out, nanotech will have an immense impact in all areas of human life, from medicine to transportation to commerce to war.
Transformed Minds: Jamil Nasir Discusses War, Culture, and How Our Dreams Determine Our Reality, by Nicholas Seeley (3/17/08)
A lot of what science fiction does is overthrow assumptions that we have about the world, and it's much easier to do that if you've already had that experience.
The Universe in a Pita: An Interview with Nir Yaniv, by Lavie Tidhar (3/17/08)
Every SF writer, if he or she is not heartless, must have at least one story dealing with Zeppelins.
"Junior, you aren't shaping up too angelically": Queerness in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, by Allyn Howey (3/3/08)
The queerness of the text lies in the author's ability to recognize the social construction of sexuality, and effectively posit that it is the very existence of these constructs which "queers" non-normative practices.
Conversations in Deep Time: The Greg Bear Interview, by Michael Lohr (2/25/08)
Science fiction writers since H. G. Wells have been read by politicians and world leaders, and invited to participate in discussions on the present and the future. That dialog is still going on�I've been invited to numerous government-sponsored seminars and analysis sessions, along with quite a few of my colleagues.
Well-stocked Larders: Food and Diet of Hobbits, by Stephanie Green (2/11/08)
Tolkien's choice of foods reflect his concept of the ancient Middle-earth chronology. These descriptions can also provide insights into Tolkien's underlying theme of the Hobbits as nostalgic English yeomen.
Frankenstein's Microbe, by John Pettigrew (11/12/07)
Natural selection is the process by which differences between similar organisms cause the organisms to have different degrees of success at living. One bacterial cell might be better at acquiring nutrients than another. When nutrients are limited, these variants would infer an advantage and hence increased possibility to survive and produce offspring.
Medieval Mindsets: Narrative Theory and The Mists of Avalon, by Bridgette Da Silva (10/1/07)
By giving the women characters a voice in her narrative, she humanizes them. In doing so, [Marion Zimmer Bradley] offers a counterstory to the oppressive Woman as Temptress master narrative.
SF and Fantasy in the New Millennium: Women Publishing Short Fiction, by Susan U. Linville (8/20/07)
To find out, I compiled a database of stories published in the Big Four from 1980 through 2001, identified gender for as many authors as I could, and examined trends.
SF and Fantasy in the New Millennium: An Update, by Susan U. Linville (8/20/07)
As it has been five years since I collected data for the original article, I decided to reexamine the topic of women publishing short fiction by obtaining actual submission data.
Lexx at Ten, by Nader Elhefnawy (7/9/07)
All facetiousness about just who the show was intended for aside, the simple fact was that he "liked some science fiction a lot and hated most" of the rest. In particular, he'd more than had his fill of "do-gooders trying to save the universe in highly derivative plots."
Interview: Bruce Boston, by JoSelle Vanderhooft (6/18/07)
"Mainstream poetry draws upon our consensual reality of the everyday world for its content and backdrop. Speculative poetry is drawn from the imagination, the world as it might be."
Interview: Eugie Foster, by Lynne Jamneck (5/28/07)
It was always the monsters and magic which drew me, stuff that fires the imagination and leaves you wandering around in a cloud of "what if" and "ooo" for the rest of the day.
X-Ray Vision: Not Just for Superman Anymore?, by Corie Ralston (5/21/07)
Superman's x-ray vision is not very realistic in the way it is presented in the movie and the comics, yet it's not very far from what is actually possible with x-rays.
Offworlding Without Leaving Earth: Going on Location with Starship Troopers, by Brenta Blevins (4/23/07)
Standing at an overlook, I stared at the canyon floor 180 feet below and was able to picture exactly where they'd filmed the first bug battle. I had to admire the Hollywood magic of making a relatively small area do such a wonderful job of suggesting, not just one, but two planetary ecospheres.
David Icke, the Reptilian Infiltration, and the Limits of Science Fiction, by James Trimarco (4/2/07)
[Icke] literally urges his readers to check out works of science fiction in order to help them visualize reptilian infiltration.
The Doctor Who Novels of Ian Marter, by Nicholas Whyte (3/19/07)
In this article, I examine the Doctor Who books of Ian Marter, who wrote more novelizations of broadcast stories than anyone except Terrance Dicks and, uniquely, came to the process not as a writer but as an actor.
Megastructures, by Paul Lucas (2/19/07)
However, if a civilization were to convert all of the material in the system to the job of supporting life, by creating the vast habitable surface area of, say, a ringworld or Dyson sphere, the problem could be circumvented.
Interview: Steve Berman, by Eugie Foster (1/29/07)
"I'd say that more of my experiences make their way into my stories than elements of my personality. Not that I live such an exciting lifestyle, trust me, but tiny things do add an air of verisimilitude. Like when I stumbled onto a gay club in Mongolia while I was pretending to be straight."
"Do No Harm to Me or Mine": The Haunted History of Christmas Eve, by Marian Kensler (12/18/06)
The attempts to Christianize Yule and Saturnalia were not entirely effective. Instead of becoming gradually transformed into wholly Christian holidays, as Gregory the Great had hoped, many of the old traditions continued unabated, particularly in more remote regions.
Interview: M. Rickert, by John Joseph Adams (12/11/06)
"I started to distinguish between the feeling I had when I was writing someone else's truth, and when I was writing my own. I began to trust that feeling, though it is still very odd to me that my writing voice can be quite dark."
cityCityCITY: Jack Kerouac's Science Fiction, by Stuart Cormie (12/4/06)
Ultimately, cityCityCITY serves to emphasize Kerouac's oft-expressed view of his own society as a rampant machine, driven by a military-industrial complex, in which people exist merely to power the machine in return for the consumption of its output.
Interview: Julie Phillips, by Matthew Cheney (11/20/06)
The periods that got more emphasis were the ones for which I had more material. It worked backward from the way you might expect: if I had really interesting or revealing letters or journal entries for a particular period, then I wrote a chapter around them.
Taming the Beast—or Not: Night Journeys with Weyland and Hannibal, by Margaret L. Carter (10/30/06)
Lecter, on the other hand, is one of the human monsters against whom the vampire [Weyland] is judged. In playing Beauty to Lecter's Beast, Clarice becomes complicit in his crimes.
Interview: Chuck Palahniuk, by Jeff Sartain (10/16/06)
"A horror novel, as a social convention, is allowed to end in a dark way and to go to much darker places. It's sort of like labeling it right from the get go: 'This is not going to end well.'"
Secondary in Character, but First in Our Hearts, by Adrian Simmons (10/2/06)
The fact is, most of us are not "main character" material.
The Solitary Quest: The Hero's Search for Identity in Roger Zelazny's Amber, by Lyn Gardner (9/25/06)
[T]he momentum and unity of the series arise not from Corwin's shifting outward goals—grand gestures that progress from escaping a sanitarium to claiming a throne and repairing the Pattern that is the basis for all reality—but from the continuity of Corwin's metaphoric quest for identity.
John Clute: Yakfests of the Empyrean, by Matthew Davis (9/18/06)
The idea that the world can be read as a Story makes the act of criticism redemptive; it can return usto the wellspring of innocent and powerful creativity....
Reading the Rhysling: 1981, by Greg Beatty (9/11/06)
1981 saw two poems awarded the Rhysling, poems at the opposite end of the speculative poetry spectrum, or better, at opposite ends of several speculative poetry spectrums: length, accessibility, and most notably attitude and relation to the genre.
Fusion Future, by Paul Lucas (9/4/06)
Researchers have been promising the "fusion breakthrough" for over half a century now. The reality of fusion power may not be as rosy as some would like to paint.
Interview: Mark Budz, by Tristan Davenport (8/28/06)
Today everything is symbolic, and this symbolic world is the real world. This pseudoself is the real self.
Interview: Naomi Novik, by Rose Fox (8/14/06)
I wanted Europe to be fairly recognizable, partly to take advantage of the fact that that's kind of the most familiar setting to my readers—Regency and Napoleonic Era England is something that a lot of readers have a lot of familiarity with from literature....
That Fairy-Tale Feel: A Folkloric Approach to Meredith Ann Pierce's The Darkangel, by Marie Brennan (7/31/06)
The Darkangel evokes more than one genre, including the gothic and (in certain places) science fiction, so what quality are we pointing to when we say it echoes the feel of a fairy tale?
Interview: Lyda Morehouse, by Lynne Jamneck (7/24/06)
[...] SF writers and readers have a certain amount of luxury to get angry about their genre. All we have to do is point to our amazing subversive history and say, "You know, that book/short story was groundbreaking. Where's our next big mind-expanding/consciousness-raising work?"
The Reader and the Map, by Johan Jönsson (7/10/06)
How is a fantasy book with a map regarded, and what impression does the map give before the story has had a chance to tell us what it wants to say?
Interview: Selina Rosen, by Kenneth Mark Hoover (6/26/06)
"We publish real complete won't find a bunch of atmospheric crap wrapped in a layer of angst that leaves you asking what the hell happened when you close one of our books."
Reading the Rhysling: 1980, by Greg Beatty (6/12/06)
Once presented, the image seems so logical that it poses its own rhetorical question: why can't there be particles of darkness?
Coals in my Toes and Other Fears, by Scott Warner (6/5/06)
It's a fact that sometimes firewalkers are burned. I'd read accounts. The real question is this: if their bare flesh comes in contact with red hot coals, why aren't they burned more often?
Interview: James Patrick Kelly, by Victoria McManus (5/15/06)
I started recording stories on cassette tape and giving them away as presents way back in the mid 'eighties. I am a big fan of spoken word fiction and do the greater part of my pleasure "reading" by listening to books from
Interview: Barth Anderson, by Darin C. Bradley (5/1/06)
"I'm not big into binary morality — good versus evil, etc. — but it's hard not to look at that viral dance and see a classic face off, a sort of reverse Lord of the Rings with a lone, unliving microbe sneaking its evil way past the immune system in order to sabotage the good, pristine body."
Interview: Douglas Lain, by Mahesh Raj Mohan (4/10/06)
"My point of view is that humanity or American society has gotten off-track. We're coming upon a very destructive spiral. And I'm writing about reacting to that."
Reading the Rhysling: 1979, by Greg Beatty (4/3/06)
Bishop's dance with Andrew Marvell and Stephen Hawking displays speculative poetry's bravura ambition.
Interview: Karen Traviss, by Cheryl Morgan (3/27/06)
"I often say that I have a duty to tell the truth in fiction. Fiction is a very good way of getting under people's radar, which is why it's a spindoc favorite."
Colonizing The Moon, by Paul Lucas (3/20/06)
However, not everyone is confident the ice will be able to be harvested as a useful resource. The temperature in the perpetual dark of those craters is hundreds of degrees below zero, making the ice steel-hard and razor-sharp.
An Ingenious Use of Scientific Patter: The Great War and the Science Fiction of H.G. Wells, by David M. Higgins (3/13/06)
H. G. Wells himself, in many ways one of the founding fathers of modern science fiction, serves as a perfect model by which to view the effects of the war on the genre as a whole.
Faery Cats: The Cutest Killers, by Lucy A. Snyder, artwork by D. E. Christman (2/27/06)
Salinas says that, because of their invisibility, faery cats were left out of bestiaries and were often mistaken for other entities such as banshees, poltergeists, and boggarts.
Reading the Rhysling: Introduction, by Greg Beatty (2/13/06)
[T]here is one area that has heretofore been neglected, and that is a systematic reading of the poems which science fiction poets have designated as superior.
Reading the Rhysling: 1978, by Greg Beatty (2/13/06)
Rhysling's vision stands as a metaphor for all science fiction poetry, and perhaps for all science fiction: we write in verse what we cannot see with our eyes.
Michael's Spyglass: An Interview with Mike Coney, by C. June Wolf (2/6/06)
"I think that [writing] has taught me always to be completely honest with the reader and never allow myself to take the easy way out for the sake of glib plot device."
Regeneration: The Return of Doctor Who, by Alasdair Stuart (1/23/06)
Why is the series a success now when it was viewed as a failure sixteen years ago?
Interview: Lydia Millet, by Matthew Cheney (1/16/06)
"I do think more Americans should read and educate themselves, to say nothing of engage in politics, and I do believe that if they don't take a more trenchant interest soon we're all doomed; but sadly, fiction is not going to save us from doom."
Surfing Hell at Mach Twenty-Five: The Science and Speculation of Atmospheric Reentry, by Paul Lucas (1/2/06)
Getting into orbit can seem relatively straight-forward compared to screaming through burning layers of atmosphere at over two dozen times the speed of sound just to return home.
The Turtle Can't Help Us: The Lovecraft Legacy in Stephen King's It, by Margaret L. Carter (12/19/05)
Although King, in It, overlays Lovecraft's cosmology with a dualistic world-view, he permits no outside force to rescue his heroes; but neither does he, like Lovecraft, attribute their escape to blind chance.
Interview: Nicola Griffith, by Lynne Jamneck (12/12/05)
I lived in Hull . . . surrounded by people who in that time and place were considered the dregs of society: bikers, drug dealers, prostitutes, dykes, the terminally unemployed and unemployable. I starved and begged and did all the other things that one does to survive, and after a few years managed to drag myself free and onto my current super-respectable path.
Interview: L. E. Modesitt, by Cheryl Morgan (12/5/05)
"From what I've seen in politics there are only two things that change the way things are. One is power . . . and the other is blood."
Interview: Greg Pak, by Gwenda Bond (11/28/05)
"The script has to work for the finished film to work—it's incredibly difficult to correct major structural story flaws on set."
Arctic Fabulous: Speculative Fiction and the Imaginary Arctic, by Siobhan Carroll (11/21/05)
Even today, you can find conspiracy theorists who believe that the Arctic harbors alien spacecraft, for example, or that an international military alliance has covered up the existence of a tropical island at the South Pole.
Interview: Jane Yolen, by Mike Allen (11/14/05)
"I don't sit around defining my poetic leanings. But I have read a lot of folklore, which redefines the way I see the world...[o]r underlines it anyway."
Scared Shitless: How to Rate the Creep-Out Factor in the Horror Film Genre, by Dr. Deems D. Morrione and Robert K. Morrione (11/7/05)
... [W]e would argue that the key to understanding Creep-Out factors lies in unknowability. The less you understand something, the greater potential it has to frighten you.
Barfing Your Guts Out: Horror Films and the Gross-Out Scale, by Dr. Deems D. Morrione and Robert K. Morrione (10/31/05)
If a Horror film fails to gross you out or scare you because you aren't seduced by its presentation, why watch it?
So, Your Utopia Needs a Language..., by Tristan Davenport (10/24/05)
Modern linguists agree that the notion of one language being more efficient or more expressive than another is pretty much hokum.
Interview: Holly Phillips, by David Lynton (10/17/05)
"The big presses are too conservative; the small presses are increasingly taking up the slack and publishing the more innovative or daring material, not to mention the new writers."
We Must Love One Another or Die: A Critique of Star Wars, by Athena Andreadis (10/3/05)
Just as the boys in Star Wars are given the false choice between glory or love, the girls are given the thankless task of being feisty but unthreatening, without any guarantee of clemency for good behavior.
Interview: Judith Berman, by Victoria McManus (9/26/05)
"Evoking the sense of wonder is also important in both SF and fantasy. But they part company in where you find it."
The Ten Stupidest Utopias!, by Jeremy Adam Smith (9/5/05)
We dream our fears as well as hopes, reflecting all the agonies and contradictions of the waking world; in dreams, demons rise from our darkest places.
Where Does Science Fiction Come From?, by Guy Hasson (8/29/05)
When was the last time you felt something so completely? When was the last time you knew that something about you changed the universe?
Interview: Kim Stanley Robinson, by Lynne Jamneck (8/15/05)
"So it seems to me a kind of race between progress and catastrophe; and that being the case, why not write about progress winning out?"
The Ten Sexiest Dystopias!, by Jeremy Adam Smith (8/8/05)
Hell has always doubled as a heavy metal heaven of leather daddies and biker babes, where the bars are open all night and there's an ashtray at every table.
A View from Outside: A Genre Conversation with Yoshio Kobayashi and Christopher Barzak, by K. Bird Lincoln (8/1/05)
"In twenty to thirty years science fiction bookshelves will be gone. It will only be mystery, horror, and literature. Here in Japan, I am afraid the bookshelves themselves will be gone."
The Dangerous Duckling: Images of Beauty and Illusion in The Perilous Gard, by Yoon Ha Lee (7/25/05)
[Kate] is no longer plied with illusions; she is given the tools to create her own .... [B]y the time Randal encounters Kate on All Hallows' Eve, he mistakes her for a fairy woman.
Interview: Bruce Bethke, by Lynne Jamneck (7/11/05)
Mostly I read history ... the wonderful thing about history is that it's always far more absurd and entertaining than anything a reasonable person can imagine.
The Western Genre Fled Across the Desert, and Stephen King Followed, by David M. Higgins (6/27/05)
Yet in the middle of this sinking void, there is one thing that continues to hold meaning, to remain hard, and stable, and real: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
Your Corporate Network And The Forces Of Darkness, by Lucy A. Snyder, artwork by D. E. Christman (6/20/05)
"Undead workers are kind of a gray area as far as the feds are concerned. And you bet your boots the unions are fighting it."
Hunters in the Great Dark, Part 2: The Weapons of Deep-Space Warfare, by Paul Lucas (6/13/05)
Any physical object entering this field would become instantly charged, allowing an open circuit to form with the ship's capacitors. From an observer's perspective, it would look very much as if a bolt of lightning lanced outward from the ship to incinerate the incoming threat.
Hunters in the Great Dark, Part 1: A Hard-Science Look at Deep-Space Warfare, by Paul Lucas (6/6/05)
Shooting a target a million miles distant would require targeting accuracy on the par of a sharpshooter hitting a flea from orbit.
The Old Switcheroo: A Study in Neil Gaiman's Use of Character Reversal, by Jason Erik Lundberg (5/23/05)
Gaiman takes this a step further by saying we can't really even know ourselves until we walk in someone else's shoes.
Interview: Louise Marley, by Greg Beatty (5/16/05)
"I've been intrigued by all issues of the spirit ... but I find that lots of people who say they have no faith per se are still deeply spiritual beings, fascinated by those things we can't explain, even by death."
Speculative Poetry: A Symposium, Part 2 of 2, by Mike Allen, Alan DeNiro, Theodora Goss, and Matthew Cheney (ed.) (5/9/05)
"I'm not sure that poetry is more emancipatory than fiction, but I do think that speculative fiction and poetry have a particular emancipatory power."
Speculative Poetry: A Symposium, Part 1 of 2, by Mike Allen, Alan DeNiro, Theodora Goss, and Matthew Cheney (ed.) (5/2/05)
"When I say that I'm concerned about newer SF poets not knowing the history of SF poetry, I'm also saying, even proclaiming with a shade of defiance, that there is a history to learn."
Ireland's Ancient Code, by Marie Brennan (4/25/05)
The questions of how and why ogham was developed have puzzled linguists and archaeologists for decades.
Let There Be Write, by Nancy Fulda (4/18/05)
In the beginning the author created the concept and the story.
Interview: Stephen Baxter, by James Palmer (4/18/05)
"I always loved the big cosmic sweep. Asimov, Niven and Sheckley for their prose, deceptively straightforward; I studied their short stories especially trying to learn how to do it."
Interview: Nick Mamatas, by Kevin Dole 2 (4/11/05)
"The more interesting question to me is this: what will the ubiquity of digital channels do to print aesthetically?"
Hubris and Synthesis in Kate Constable's The Singer of All Songs, by Yoon Ha Lee (4/4/05)
The fragmentation caused by the world's partitioning of Powers leads to another, perhaps deeper, consequence: the sundering of story.
Interview: Eileen Kernaghan, Poet and Novelist, by C. June Wolf (3/28/05)
"WOPG wasn't just an acronym. It was also the sound of the returned manuscript thumping back into my mailbox."
How to Start a Small Press, by Gavin J. Grant (3/21/05)
The first and best thing you can do if you want to start a small press is talk to people — lots of people! — until you find some you can work with.
Interview: John Scalzi, by Dawn Burnell (3/7/05)
"[I]t's entirely possible that what I think the book's about and what they think it's about are entirely different things (it's already happened with some of the reviews I've seen)."
20 Questions With Kelly Link, by Lynne Jamneck (2/28/05)
"I don't ever scare myself; I wish I did. I like being scared."
Homesteading the High Frontier: The Shape of Space Stations to Come, by Paul Lucas (2/21/05)
A permanent manned outpost in space was seen as the logical successor to the first manned space flights as far back as the 1960s.
Unexpected Protocol: A Critique of the "I, Robot" Book and Motion Picture, by Nina Munteanu (2/14/05)
"The motion picture rendition of Asimov's ground-breaking book promises little but disappointment for the literate science fiction fan according to many critics. I disagree."
Interview: Tim Powers, by Lyda Morehouse (2/7/05)
"If you make magic systematic and reliable ... It's no more a violation of reality than a Chevy station wagon would be to Charlemagne — a big surprise, but not an intrusion of a different reality."
The Laws of the Space Frontier, by Michael Underwood (1/31/05)
The story is not just an acknowledgement of the cold brutality of the laws of the universe; it is a celebration of these laws.
Bull-Leaping in Bronze Age Crete, by Marie Brennan (1/24/05)
The average individual could not possibly hope to take a flying leap at a charging bull and emerge in one piece on the other side.
Interview: Glen Cook, by Donald Mead (1/17/05)
"The Company itself is the main character of the book. There're always more people; there's always a Black Company."
Interview: Paul G. Tremblay, by E. Sedia (1/10/05)
"[H]onestly, I still think of myself as a kid sometimes, or at least, I'll find myself picturing how I'd react to a certain adult-situation through the eyes of a younger me."
Cyril M. Kornbluth: One of Science Fiction's Forgotten Greats, by James Palmer (1/3/05)
"SF has long been the perfect realm for satire, and Kornbluth was one of the best at infusing it in his work in subtle ways."
Interview: Laura Anne Gilman, by Stacey Cochran (12/20/04)
"[L]ike everything else in their lives, it's not going to be a traditional happily-ever anything. Magic's easy. Relationships are tough."
The Case for Inversion: A 19th Century Idea Comes of Age, by John Garrison (12/13/04)
"Depictions of 'inversion' have allowed authors to make new observations about gender roles, personal identity, and even larger problems of philosophy."
The Logic of Sacrifice, by Marie Brennan (12/6/04)
[H]uman sacrifice ... has been practiced in a number of real-world human societies, where the entire population was made up of real people, rather than the one-dimensional caricatures bent on slaughter which populate so many fantasy novels.
Interview: Elizabeth Hand, by Cheryl Morgan (11/29/04)
"I can remember when I was about four going to the Natural History Museum in New York, and I was just entranced. I always wanted to live in a museum."
The Port Orford Meteorite, by J. D. Adams (11/22/04)
Reportedly a rare type of meteorite composed of iron, nickel and gemstone, its value has been estimated at millions of dollars.
Orbital Oddballs: Unusual Ideas For Future Space Travel, by Paul Lucas (11/15/04)
[T]he reality of future space travel may turn out to be far stranger than anything we've previously imagined.
Interview: Susan Shwartz, by Lesley McBain (11/8/04)
"What I see these days, however, is more of an emphasis on radical chic, but portraying hip and knowing to me isn't nearly as fun as writing about James T. Kirk."
The OED Wants You! to Contribute, by Carol Pinchefsky (11/1/04)
Now the OED wants you to volunteer your time and your book collection to add science fiction-based words to the dictionary.
Stephen King's Super-Duper Magical Negroes, by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (10/25/04)
The archetype of the Magical Negro is an issue of race. It is the subordination of a minority figure masked as the empowerment of one.
Interview: K. J. Bishop, by David Lynton (10/18/04)
"I think we've always lived with the sense that 'something' happened in the past. [...] We have this inexplicable feeling that things were once much better."
Interview: Daniel Wallace, by Jason Erik Lundberg (10/11/04)
"I don't know if it's possible for me to write a novel in the traditional way and do it successfully. I tried."
Genetically Modified Crops: Will They Help or Hurt?, by Dawn Burnell (10/4/04)
Examples of early genetic breeding include the Burbank potato, bred for blight resistance in the late 1800s for planting in Ireland, and Cabernet Sauvignon . . . .
Interview: Laura J. Underwood, by Kenneth Mark Hoover (9/20/04)
"I want to write a swashbuckler. A real fantasy swashbuckler, something on the order of Pirates of the Caribbean...."
The Color Red: Drops of blood in the sky, by Brian Tung (9/13/04)
The bane of the modern astronomer is light pollution. . . . Severe light pollution, as experienced today by observers in and around major cities, can turn an otherwise exquisite sky into a muddy, milky mess.
Interview: Zoran Zivkovic, by Jason Erik Lundberg (9/6/04)
"Basically, there are only two themes in the noble art of fiction writing: love and death. Everything else is one of their many derivatives."
Mesoamerican Calendars, by Marie Brennan (8/30/04)
In ancient Mesoamerica, measuring time was a complex business, often involving multiple different calendars at once . . . [but] explanations rarely go beyond the math.
AI: Changing Us, Changing Them, by Nina Munteanu (8/23/04)
Robots mow your lawn; conduct complex scientific research, surveillance and planetary exploration; track people; play table soccer; and act as pets. But they can't "think" like you and I. And they don't possess common sense . . . yet.
Lee Martindale Interview, by Kenneth Mark Hoover (8/16/04)
Such a Pretty Face was the first anthology to bring together stories featuring fat protagonists. I asked for science fiction, fantasy and horror stories that cast large people, not as silly sidekicks or comic relief, or "villains by virtue of size", but as heroes and heroines . . . and the writers came through.
The Color Orange: Our mysterious neighbor in space, by Brian Tung (8/9/04)
The fourth planet in our solar system is often referred to as the Red Planet. . . . But to me . . . Mars will always be . . . the Orange Planet.
The 2004 Campbell Award, by Greg Beatty (8/2/04)
. . . quite a crop of writers have appeared in the past two years . . . they fall all across the spectrum of speculative fiction.
Interview: Leslie What, by Gregory Feeley (7/26/04)
I would say I belong to the tradition of satire. The majority of my work uses exaggeration and irony alongside tropes of the fantastic.
Evolution of a Moralist: J.G. Ballard in the 21st Century, by Jeremy Adam Smith (7/19/04)
Ballard has been both celebrated and attacked as a sex-obsessed, amoral nihilist . . . but devotees and detractors alike often miss the meaning behind Ballard's metaphors.
The SciFi Superiority Complex: Elitism in SF/F/H, by Tee Morris (7/12/04)
The more I watched and listened . . . the more it was impressed upon me that media fans were . . . not needed by those in the literary circles.
Interview: James Maxey, by Luc Reid (7/5/04)
"In the church I grew up in, Hell was populated by people like Mother Teresa and Gandhi while Heaven had an inordinate number of death row convicts nicknamed Mad Dog."
Our Guardian Uncle: A Star Not Born?, by Peter Jekel (6/28/04)
Jupiter . . . may have been a key factor in the evolution of our species, acting as a distant protective uncle over the eons. . . .
Cruising the Infinite: Strategies for Human Interstellar Travel, by Paul Lucas (6/21/04)
The spaces between solar systems are unimaginably vast. . . . When human beings are ready to go, how will we get there?
Interview: Sean McMullen, by Cheryl Morgan (6/14/04)
". . . my work has the look and feel of fantasy, but I need to use real-world physics, chemistry, biology and engineering to force me to have ideas. A world where anything can happen is a boring world."
The Color Yellow, by Brian Tung (6/7/04)
. . . the Babylonians first identified the Sun as one of the planets, but it was the Greeks who first tried to come up with theories of how the Sun moved. . . .
Interview: Julie Czerneda, by Leah Tribolo (5/31/04)
"I'm often shocked by the lack of understanding and knowledge the general public seems to have about the natural world and their own bodies. Attempts to establish ethical standards without that knowledge—or without valuing that knowledge—terrify me..."
The Portrayal of Scientists in Science Fiction, by Lucy A. Snyder (5/24/04)
It is difficult to figure out exactly how much SF's portrayals of scientists affect public perceptions, mostly because little research has been done. . . .
Interview: Mike Resnick, by Lynne Jamneck (5/17/04)
"And here comes the heresy: I don't think much of Tolkien."
The Color Green: There actually are green stars in the sky, but you can't see them., by Brian Tung (5/10/04)
"Why are there so few green stars? . . . you can look all you want in the night sky, and you won't find a single star that consistently looks green. . . .
Shadows of the Soviet Space Age, by Paul Lucas (5/3/04)
. . . people sometimes forget that there was another great space program of the last century, one that had an early lead. . . .
Rococo Excrescences: An Interview with Jay Lake, by James M. Palmer (4/26/04)
"I write the way the story wants to be written. . . . The story dictates the style rather than the other way around."
The Ten Best Science Fiction Film Directors, by Jeremy Adam Smith (4/19/04)
The best science fiction films . . . look beyond contemporary trends to the big questions of how science and technology shape the human spirit, and vice versa. . . .
The Color Blue: The "wild blue yonder" reveals something of the atomic world, by Brian Tung (4/12/04)
. . . what is it about air that creates the blue sky?
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger: User's Notes, by Lucy A. Snyder (4/5/04)
Place badger in center of fireproof surface, making sure ventilation is adequate and all doors are locked.
Interview: Eleanor Arnason, by Lyda Morehouse (3/29/04)
". . . when I began working out what the Hwarhath were like I realized that there are many excellent, excellent arguments against heterosexuality. . . ."
Interview: Karen Joy Fowler, by Clinton Lawrence (3/22/04)
"I read an essay by Donna Haraway which had a pretty startling assertion that in the early 1920s, a group was taken into the jungle by the man who ran the Natural History Museum in New York, and that his purpose was to have one of the women kill a gorilla."
Sailing the Photon Sea: Spaceflight with Solar and Magnetic Sails, by Paul Lucas (3/15/04)
Solar sails are without a doubt the most poetic of all forms of near-future spacecraft: gigantic, mirror-like, hundreds of miles wide but gossamer thin, riding on currents of unfiltered sunlight.
Interview: Jacqueline Carey, by Beth Oing (3/8/04)
As a writer, I don't think anyone ever forgets the first time a fan sends a letter that moves you to tears. . . . Some of mine just happen to come with tattoo photos.
Science Fiction's Secret Father: Time to Celebrate the Seusscentennial, by Greg Beatty (3/1/04)
The S in SF stands for Seuss. / It makes things better, silly goose.
Interview: Joe Haldeman, by Donald Mead (2/23/04)
"I had gay characters in The Forever War. That was for a specific purpose. It wasn't about homosexuality. It was about being isolated."
The Charismatic Killer, by Fran Wolber (2/16/04)
What are prions? Prions are proteins. What do prions do? Prions kill you.
Myths of Origin, by Cheryl Morgan (2/9/04)
One's choice of the first SF work is a . . . question of mythology.
"May You Die in Horrible Agony": A Brief Overview of Curses in the Western World, by Marian Kensler (2/2/04)
"You taught me language—and my profit on't is, I know how to curse."
Interview: Brandon Massey, by Philip Madden (1/26/04)
"[S]ince our world is constantly growing more diverse, with people of various ethnic backgrounds represented at almost every level of society, if you want your fiction to mirror real life, you should inject some diversity into it."
The Nuclear Space Age: Fusion, Plasma and Antimatter (part 2 of 2), by Paul Lucas (1/19/04)
Spine drives have been seen most notably in some of Larry Niven's Known Space stories.
The Nuclear Space Age: Orion, NERVA, and Beyond (part 1 of 2), by Paul Lucas (1/12/04)
Chemical rockets got humans to the moon. But no further.
Interview: Lucius Shepard, by Jayme Lynn Blaschke (1/5/04)
"[O]ne of the reasons I'm interested in Central America is because Central America is the United States' Balkans. They stand in relation to us the way the Balkans did to the Russian empire."
Interview: Cem Akas, by Philip Madden (12/22/03)
"[T]hey would expect me to write an essay, and I would sit there for nearly an hour trying to figure out a short story on white cheese, and then furiously scribble it down in my horrible handwriting during the last thirty minutes."
A Science Fiction Museum, Hurrah!, by Cheryl Morgan (12/8/03)
In a striking purple building designed by the architect Frank Gehry, a new museum is being born.
"Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know": Le Vampyre, the Gothic Novel, and George Gordon, Lord Byron, by Lezlie Kinyon (12/1/03)
There, exquisitely tailored, loved and loathed by his contemporaries, is a figure of legend and shadowy scandal, the poet, Lord Byron.
Interview: Nina Kiriki Hoffman, by Karen Meisner (11/24/03)
One of my brothers became a glassblower. Several of us played guitar. One played cutthroat pool. Everybody drew. I dibsed writing.
Interview: Michael Swanwick: Twenty Questions from Lynne Jamneck, by Lynne Jamneck (11/17/03)
1950 - 98,347
This monument erected by his loving widow, Marianne Porter.
Interview: Wendy Rathbone, by William Mordore (11/3/03)
The area of my mind that is tapped [when I write poetry] is the magic aura of me, the core essence, the authentic part of my soul even if I use fantastical imagery.
The Ultimate Halloween Prank: The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast, by James Palmer (10/27/03)
Now, everyone who heard the broadcast didn't believe that invaders from Mars were torching New Jersey. Many of the listeners figured it was really the Germans.
Interview: Liz Williams, by Cheryl Morgan (10/20/03)
"Well, around that particular area of the Altai mountains there is supposed to be an entrance to an alternate dimension. It is most often known as Shambhala, but the Russian name for it is Byelovodye, which means 'The Land of White Waters.'"
The Failure of Fahrenheit 451, by Jeremy Smith (10/13/03)
Launched with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Cassandraism remains the most socially acceptable branch on the family tree of science fiction.
Interview: Steven Piziks, by Mahesh Raj Mohan (10/6/03)
"Will Steven Harper become known as 'that gay SF writer'?" I asked. "The label doesn't bother me, but I'm worried about sales."
"Gay characters don't hurt sales these days," she said. "Do what you like."
Interview: Nicola Griffith, by Lynne Jamneck (9/29/03)
Rage. That's how it began. I was so angry I was afraid to leave the house. Instead, I started to write out my feelings.
Interview: Vernor Vinge, by Jayme Lynn Blaschke (9/15/03)
Trying to incorporate [the singularity] into religion in a pre-singularity era would just be putting religious claims in new clothing. Religious claims do not need new clothing.
Interview: Robert J. Sawyer, by Stephen Humphrey (9/8/03)
The beauty of science fiction is that it lets us for a very small investment of money—believe me—hire people who are going to spend an awful lot of time doing a lot of high-level thinking about the consequences of our science and technology.
The Color Purple: Is chromatic aberration an unavoidable flaw in refracting telescopes?, by Brian Tung (9/1/03)
Why do refracting telescopes show so much chromatic aberration? Why does building them longer reduce these effects to some degree? And what else can be done about this problem? The first and last of these questions were answered by the greatest scientist the world has ever known, Isaac Newton.
Interview: Juanita Coulson, by Peggi Warner-Lalonde (8/25/03)
In the Midwest in the '50s, we'd sit in a circle of three or four and run through our entire repertoires—which at most was three or four songs, including our adaptations of Heinlein's lyrics—until we'd done them all; then we'd repeat them, or stray into folk music or Tom Lehrer.
The Black Market vs. the Hypercorp, by Fred Bush (8/18/03)
Is it too much to think that interplanetary or interstellar trade could be organized on an eBay model?
Interview: Les Johnson, by Kenneth Mark Hoover (8/11/03)
[T]he total projected cost for a human mission to Mars is in the tens of billions of dollars. [] We could easily afford to undertake the effort without the help of any other nation—if we deemed it a priority to do so.
The 2003 John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award Finalists: Who, What, and Why?, by Greg Beatty (8/4/03)
All of these writers are committed to speculative fiction for the long run. They value it as a literary and interpersonal community, and are actively working to improve their craft.
Interview: Lisa Goldstein, by Lori Ann White (7/28/03)
"None of my books is like any of the others. That's not good for a career. But it's fun."
Interview: Jeff VanderMeer, by Rick Kleffel (7/21/03)
"My research for Veniss was easy—look around you. We're destroying this planet at a rate far faster than anyone could have conceived of even sixty years ago."
Orbital Railroads: Beanstalks and Space Fountains, by Paul Lucas (7/14/03)
Space Fountains can be used to create truly gigantic structures and towers as well as used merely to hold a space station aloft.
Interstellar Conflict Across Time: Military and Structural Similarities and Differences Throughout the History of Space Opera, by Derryl Murphy (7/7/03)
Space opera cannot but help take many of its cues from whatever military matters rule the day. Whether it is the approaching threat of World War Two or a world in which war is manufactured and sold as a commodity, space opera has managed to respond to and mirror current events.
In Your Wildest Dreams, by Karen A. Carpenter (6/30/03)
Fast forward to modern times and the Zanzibar islands, where every decade or so, a creature with talons and bat-like ears and wings terrorizes men in their beds.
Interview: Ann Zeddies, by Victoria McManus (6/23/03)
"There's a long, slow conversation going on, in which all the organisms in the world exchange information and adapt to changes in each other and in the environment. Studying natural selection is one of the ways that we humans have tried to listen in on this conversation."
The Triple C Catastrophe, by Eric Dontigney (6/16/03)
Since heroes are typically portrayed as being similar in nature to we mere, mortal, human beings, it would stand to reason that their experiences would alter them; yet, this does not happen.
Interview: M. John Harrison, by Cheryl Morgan (6/9/03)
"I think it's undignified to read for the purposes of escape. After you grow up, you should start reading for other purposes."
A Plat for the Future, by Fred Bush (6/2/03)
Let a fringe group explore the stars, and the result will be a patchwork of marvels, and often a shockingly weird culture for Our Heroes to encounter.
Interview: Brian A. Hopkins, by Simon Owens (5/26/03)
"Violence scares me. The kind of mindless violence that comes so fast and unexpected that there's nothing you can do about it."
Travel by Jargon, by Ian Creasey (5/19/03)
The speed of light is way too slow.
Interview: Gordon Van Gelder, by Richard Brignall (5/12/03)
"Video games, at that stage, were so scorned that they were the equivalent of science fiction in 1928: people were saying that that is just little boy's stuff and you can't take it seriously."
Energy Weapons: Not Just For Buck Rogers Any More, by Gary Lai (5/5/03)
While some solid-state lasers do produce beams in visible wavelengths, most lasers contemplated for weapons use . . . produce infrared beams invisible to the human eye.
Beguines, by Lezlie Kinyon (4/28/03)
What united these women, and a lesser number of men, called Beghards, was a desire to lead a committed life, without the constraints of enclosure in a monastic community or within the bonds of marriage.
Interview: Justina Robson, by Cheryl Morgan (4/21/03)
We have evolved into our present set of cultures and societies. They're all amalgams of our inclinations, our biological imperatives and our intellectual abstractions. . . .
Cosmic Rope Tricks: Space Tethers and Rotovators, by Paul Lucas (4/14/03)
The hammer thrower spins around, holding onto the crossbar, imparting momentum to the ball. When he or she releases the hammer, the hammer sails down field, while the thrower is forced back a step or two by the momentum transfer of the throw. This is basically what happens to two tethered satellites in orbit. . . .
The 2002 Tiptree: An Inside Look at a Juried Award, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (4/7/03)
I'm going to tell you a little bit about the Tiptree Award, about what we were looking for as we read stories and novels, about the selection process, and about how I, personally, made my recommendations, helped select a winner, and helped create the annotated primary list, plus a secondary list of recommended titles.
Interview: Cory Doctorow, by Katherine Macdonald (3/31/03)
"At the time that Napster was shut down, there were fifty-seven million American Napster users, and that was one month after fifty million George Bush voters elected the President; so there were more Napster users than Bush voters."
Dubious Truths: An Examination of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, by David Michael Wharton (3/24/03)
Sure, most life on the planet has been obliterated, but really, is that any more ridiculous and unpleasant a situation than the way things were before?
Misconceptions about Medieval Medicine: Humors, Leeches, Charms, and Prayers, by Michael Livingston (3/17/03)
These worms were called leeches because they were used extensively by Anglo-Saxon physicians. (The word for "doctor" in Old English is læce.)
Maid in Canada: Those Bad, Bad Ladies, by Nancy Bennett (3/10/03)
Baring her breasts, she whetted the sword upon them and stared defiantly at the oncoming crowd of Eskimos.
A Conversation Between Writers: Benjamin Rosenbaum and Aimee Bender, by Benjamin Rosenbaum and Aimee Bender (3/3/03)
AB: I can't believe I just used the word post-modern in an interview.
BR: There are a bunch of bald guys in black sweaters with clove cigarettes surrounding my house now. See what you've done? But I can hold them off for a while, I think.
Interview: Patrick Read Johnson, by David Michael Wharton (2/24/03)
The whole Republic is basically the 1929 World's Fair grown to galactic proportions.
Pyewacket: Names Familiar and Unfamiliar, by Fred Bush (2/17/03)
No witch is complete without her black cat.
Interview: Ernest Hogan, by James M. Palmer (2/10/03)
[Chester] Himes being black made him absurd, and being Chicano did the same to me.
Interview: Steven Brust, by Chris Olson (2/3/03)
"I have a lot of trouble imagining a world filled with people who actually, truly grasp what is happening in their society. And so very few, if any, of my characters really know what is going on, although many of them think they do."
Step by Step: Galaxies that recede from us at more than the speed of light . . . or do they?, by Brian Tung (1/27/03)
Now, an infinitely red-shifted photon has no energy.
Speculative Fiction: A Dozen Doorways, by Fred Bush (1/20/03)
But what do you recommend to an adult who doesn't read much speculative fiction, to get them hooked?
How James P. Hogan Saved the World, by Terry Hickman (1/13/03)
"[M]y tab for toppling the Soviet Empire: $8.43."
Crucified to the Machine: Religious Imagery in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, by David Michael Wharton (1/6/03)
More sacrifices tossed into the ever-hungry belly of Moloch, to be consumed in fire and smoke and ash.
What Little Girls Are Made Of: An Interview with Tanya Huff, by Ahmed A. Khan (12/23/02)
I firmly believe that I have the best job in the world because when the words fall together just right and I know that I've said what I wanted to exactly the way I wanted to . . . it's better than anything!"
Rising Sun vs. Morning Calm: The Birth of a Korean Fencing Tradition, by Myke Cole (12/16/02)
The Japanese art of fencing, also known as kendo, has long since been converted to a modern sport-like martial art, and exported around the world. Competitive teams have sprung up at universities, recreation centers and company-sponsored fencing halls all over Asia and Europe and it has a strong following in such far flung places as South America, the United States and even Israel. But the sport has no stronger extra-Japanese following than Korea.
Interview: Helen McCarthy, by Glenn Schmall (12/9/02)
"A truly great translator can do a translation that is true to the spirit of the Japanese, but lets an American or Chinese or French audience enjoy that text as though it was written for them."
Interview: Gregory Frost, by Victoria McManus (12/2/02)
"The more I teach writing, the more I see that fiction writers are some mutant strain of addict, like creatively channeled obsessive-compulsive disorder."
The More Things Change: Science Fiction Literature and the New Narrative, by Niko Silvester (11/25/02)
To express strange ideas in a strange experimental narrative format would be the same as "tell[ing] how odd things struck odd people" as Lewis describes. It would be "to have an oddity too much".
Please Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again: The Allure of Anime Conventions, by Glenn Schmall (11/18/02)
What is it about a relatively obscure art form that makes running an event for it so popular? The answer, surprisingly, has little to do with the popularity of Japanese animation and more to do with it being a learning experience, a growth experience, and just plain fun.
Interview: Ellen Kushner, by Steve Berman (11/11/02)
"I take Anthony Trollope as my spiritual master."
Playfully Perverting Consensus Reality: A Critical Chronology of Paul Di Filippo's Fiction, by Claude Lalumière (11/4/02)
Di Filippo's imagination is too restless for his work to be so easily categorized. His bibliography is dominated by a string of diverse thematic collections that showcase the breadth of his erudition and the scope of his oeuvre.
Interview: Paul Di Filippo, by Claude Lalumière (11/4/02)
"Something about thematic collections always appealed to me. They just seemed stronger than grab-bag assemblages. Almost novelistic in their impact, without quite being 'fix-ups.'"
Distant Worlds: The Search for Planets Outside the Solar System, by Vandana Singh (10/28/02)
Finding an extrasolar planet is a staggeringly difficult task.
Manhole Covers in Space—and Online, by Debbie Moorhouse (10/21/02)
Was it true that a manhole cover, accidentally blasted upwards at escape velocity during the American nuclear tests in the 1950s, was in fact the first manmade object in space? . . .
Who Killed Farscape?, by Clare Sainsbury (10/14/02)
"We [the creators of the show] are responsible [. . .] for it being cancelled, in a wonderful way. We didn't want to make it boring and bland."
The Unwinnable Race, by Brian Tung (10/7/02)
If we run the galaxies backward in time, we see that there must have been a time, then, when all the galaxies were in the same place, or very nearly so. This is not an ironclad conclusion, but it is the simplest one, given the evidence of the Doppler shifts.
Guillotines and Body Transplants: the Severed Head in Fact and Fiction, by Fred Bush (9/30/02)
Why is the severed head such a powerful image throughout movies and within our heads? I want to begin by taking us back to some prehistoric conceptions and myths surrounding severed heads, and then move to some more contemporary science fictional ideas.
Interview: Brad Strickland, by James Palmer (9/23/02)
"I'm always keenly aware that I have a responsibility to do the best I can to live up to John's books, though I'm also aware that I am not John Bellairs and will never be. The best I can do is to keep the characters true to their backgrounds and to write the stories that seem to me to show off their personalities best."
Spirits, Art, and the Fourth Dimension, by Bryan Clair (9/16/02)
[O]ne of the instrumental ideas in the development of Cubism was that the fourth dimension could provide a viewpoint from which to observe the undistorted forms of objects.
Interview: Maureen F. McHugh, by Pat Stansberry (9/9/02)
But if you watch how gays are presented in the media, unless you watch Jerry Springer, they tend to be witty, wise, or they die. When we marginalize characters, we often make them into either martyrs or Yodas.
Elven Blades and Zero-G Ki: The Evolution of Martial Arts in SF and Fantasy, by Rachel Manija Brown (9/2/02)
In Tolkien's trilogy, the hobbits are given weapons but are never taught how to fight with them. . . . But when the time comes for the hobbits to fight, they do so, apparently instinctively. . . . It's a curious omission from a writer so focused on practical details that he never neglects to say where his characters are getting their food and water.
Figure-Eight in the Sky, by Brian Tung (8/26/02)
The thing that fascinated me most about the globe, however, was an unexplained, elongated figure-8 that was unceremoniously placed in the sparse expanse of the southeast Pacific. What was it, I wondered?
Perpetual Nonsense, by Charles Mirho (8/19/02)
United States Patent 6,362,718 was issued in March 2002. . . . [T]he patent covered what would soon become "the first commercially-available free-energy device in history." I thought, "Uh-oh, here we go again."
Interview: Jon Courtenay Grimwood, by Cheryl Morgan (8/12/02)
"I suspect that if I tried to write space opera I'd end up with a tightly-knit, angry society within a generation ship. I'll stick to what I'm good at."
Rare Bird in Parts: The State of the SF Serial, by Rich Horton (8/5/02)
Once upon a time, almost all new SF novels, at least those published within the genre, were published in magazines.
Interview: Steven Barnes, by Greg Beatty (7/29/02)
"Evil is anything that adds to entropy. . . . Damaging children. Interrupting caring. Interfering with the process of life. That's evil."
Lust, Love, and the Literary Vampire, by Margaret L. Carter (7/22/02)
The very qualities that make the traditional vampire a threat in nineteenth-century stories—particularly his or her erotic power and unconventional behavior—make the vampire appealing to twentieth-century readers.
The Time of the Other: Alternate History and the Conquest of America, by Fred Bush (7/15/02)
What I've identified as the "it could have happened here!" fearmongering agenda explains one possible motive for strengthening the Native Americans in an alternate history: it makes them more dangerous and more credible opponents, and thus makes the victory over them seem the greater. One story, "In the Circle of Nowhere", does indeed feature Native American war canoes enslaving the European mainland. Other stories feature tough Aztecs battling Vikings, or Crazy Horse leading a unified army out of the hills to battle a weak Irish confederation. The threat of a real Indian war looms.
The Golden Age of Fantasy Is Twelve: SF and the Young Adult Novel, by Rachel Manija Brown (7/8/02)
YA novels are about issues that concern teenagers: leaving home and exploring strange new environments, acquiring knowledge and skills, discovering sex and falling in love, finding one's place in the world, trying to change the world, and recognizing one's true identity. Or, in other words, growing up.
Defining/Redefining the Masculine "Other" in Science Fiction, by Neil P. Baird (7/1/02)
It is their experience with twins from Minnesota which causes Sirsi and Botkin to view their own perception of gender as the disorder. These twins cannot identify gender in terms of the acknowledged categories of "male" or "female"; however, drawing on their own language developed during childhood, they can identify gender in terms of twenty-two categories, from those with clitoromegaly to different forms of hermaphrodism.
Quality in Epic Fantasy, by Alec Austin (6/24/02)
What the perpetrators of the endless trilogies which clog bookstore shelves do not seem to grasp is that their attempts to reproduce the wonder of, for example, The Lord of the Rings are doomed by the very methods they employ. Just as the qualities of a summer night cannot be reduced to a formula or a checklist, the insight and passion which move us in works of great literature cannot be canned, shrink-wrapped, or faked.
Inferno, by Peter Jekel (6/17/02)
Venus was once thought to be a haven of life, but it's actually a far cry from the Garden of Eden originally imagined. In fact, it has a greater likeness to the biblical Hell.
Modern Medieval Map Myths: The Flat World, Ancient Sea-Kings, and Dragons, by Michael Livingston (6/10/02)
To be blunt, most medieval maps have next to nothing to do with representing geography. This fact places us at several removes from the mindset of a medieval cartographer, since we tend to view maps as little more than geographical representations of the Earth. This expectation is ignorance on our part, not theirs, because maps are never, ever geographically precise.
Interview: Karin Lowachee, by Samantha Ling (6/3/02)
The first time I consciously thought that this would be a cool thing to do for a living was around grade six, after reading The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Apparently she published or sold that novel when she was sixteen. I was eleven at the time, or thereabouts, and I thought, "if she could do it, then so can I." It took me a bit longer, but hey.
Anti-Apocalyptic Fiction, by Tom Doyle (5/27/02)
The most outrageous example from the Vertigo line is the Preacher series. The main character, Jesse, the "preacher" of the title, finds that he shares his body with a being named Genesis, the child of a liaison between an angel and a demon. Upon the birth of Genesis, God leaves his post in Heaven and hides on Earth. Jesse and Genesis decide to hunt down God and make him answer for the evils of Creation.
Power Dynamics in the Novels of Tananarive Due, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (5/20/02)
The protagonist of both works, Jessica Wolde, is an ambitious black journalist, married to David, a dream of a husband, whom a friend refers to as Mr. Perfect. Before long, though, it becomes clear that he isn't so perfect—people keep dying around him.
Interview: Frank Wu, by Terry Hickman (5/13/02)
"I'm not doing art to make money. I already sold my soul to patent law."
Naming the Stars: The Awards of Science Fiction (part 2 of 2), by Greg Beatty (5/6/02)
Welcome back to my discussion of the various awards of science fiction. . . . [I]n this article I'll be looking at the different awards that seek to change science fiction.
Interview: John M. Ford, by Mary Anne Mohanraj and Fred Bush (4/29/02)
"SF/F is very often about The Event—getting the space colony built, defeating the Dark Overlord; the characters are there to help or impede that effort, and to tell us what we're supposed to think about it. I want to come at it from the characters' angle, and trust the reader to decide what the moral implications are."
The Ghost at the Edge of the Solar System, by Peter Jekel (4/22/02)
Percival Lowell was a man obsessed with ghosts. His "ghosts" were not the souls of the dead, but phantoms that only he could see. His idea of canals on Mars was but one of those phantoms. . . . His other "ghost" was the so-called Planet X.
Naming the Stars: The Awards of Science Fiction (part 1 of 2), by Greg Beatty (4/15/02)
So you're in the bookstore, browsing the science fiction shelves, and a back cover blurb catches your eye. "Winner of the Sidewise Award!" Or "Nominated for a Ditmar!" or "Two Time Winner of the Golden Duck Award!" If you're like me, your first reaction is "Huh?"
Christian Apocalyptic Fiction, by Tom Doyle (4/8/02)
As the hero of the Christ Clone Trilogy warns: ". . . [Y]ou just can't go around cloning people, especially if the guy you want to clone might just be the son of God!"
Interview: Richard Parks, by K. Mark Hoover (4/1/02)
". . . at heart I'm a fantasist. I enjoy the mythic, timeless mindset. . . . At its best, fantasy reaches down deep into humanity's collective soul and shows us aspects of ourselves we all recognize."
Excavating Human Remains, by Peter Jekel (3/25/02)
Human bones. They just lie there in the ground, slowly degrading to the atoms from which they were originally created, often the only lonely reminder of a past life. Is there any information that can be garnered from bone?
Going Native: The Human as Other in Selected Works of C. J. Cherryh, by J. G. Stinson (3/18/02)
Cherryh focuses on a type of person who is able to transcend the limitations of species, culture, and history to find points of intersection with other species and cultures that remain alien to the rest of humanity.
Folding, by Bryan Clair (3/11/02)
People have been folding paper for centuries. Not long after paper was invented in China, the Chinese were folding it.
Interview: Laurel Winter, by David Soyka (3/4/02)
"I really do write what I want to read. That said, I love to read YA and middle grade fiction, perhaps even more than adult fiction. Fortunately, I don't have to choose one or the other."
Making Believable Planets, by Peter Jekel (2/25/02)
Too many novice writers have a simplistic vision of an ice world, a jungle world, or even an ocean world. . . . [T]ake look at our planet. It's hardly a one-ecosystem world. . . .
Both/And: Science Fiction and the Question of Changing Gender, by Sherryl Vint (2/18/02)
In the world of speculative fiction, gender reassignment surgery can occur with an ease that is not possible in our own world. Through the trope of perfected technology, SF is able to raise questions about the malleability of gender identity given a perfectly malleable body.
The Dimension of Our Galaxy, by Brian Tung (2/11/02)
. . . suppose you're at the center of the Milky Way, and you have a spaceship capable of travelling at . . . 100,000 times the speed of light. . . . [H]ow would you find your way back to Earth within your lifetime?
Interview: Mark Ferrari, by Terry Hickman (2/4/02)
". . . people were stopping by my booth and examining my work and asking all these questions: 'What medium is that?' 'That can't be pencil!' 'But how do you get that effect with pencils!?'"
The Polynesian Voyagers, by Ramon Arjona (1/28/02)
The ancient Polynesians crossed the Pacific Ocean without compass or sextant. The first Europeans to encounter Polynesian settlements had to explain how a heathen, primitive group of people managed to spread throughout the Pacific islands, establishing colonies that were separated by thousands of miles of ocean—all before the first European had even laid eyes on the Pacific Ocean.
Culture Clash: Ambivalent Heroes and the Ambiguous Utopia in the Work of Iain M. Banks, by David Horwich (1/21/02)
Most of Banks' Culture stories revolve, in one way or another, around the conflict between the values of the Culture and another civilization's values. . . .
To Make a New Dog, by Dan Derby (1/14/02)
Until now, it has taken generations of dogs and people to develop a truly new breed....Now, bioengineering technology allows us to supersede traditional breeding techniques and create previously unrealizable innovations.
Interview: James Alan Gardner, by Louis Bright-Raven (1/7/02)
"I'd say I have an auditory mind—I hear all the scenes in my head, the characters speaking, the background sounds, and so on. I also hear the flow of the narrator's words. . . ."
The Wonder and Limits of Science: An Evening with Freeman Dyson, by Greg Beatty (12/31/01)
When Dyson took the stage . . . he took it as a platform, as another chance to talk about issues that have consumed him his entire career.
Sleeping with the Bug-Eyed Monster: Sexuality in the Novels of Anthony, Heinlein, and Le Guin, by Jim C. Hines (12/17/01)
In most cases, science fiction's thought-experiments with sex have fallen short of their goals. . . . [I]n essence, science fiction's sweeping vision of the future all too often finds itself bogged down by the past and the present.
Bose-Einstein Condensates, by Marissa K. Lingen (12/10/01)
BECs have strange properties with many possible applications in future technologies. They can slow light down to the residential speed limit, flow without friction, and demonstrate the weirdest elements of quantum mechanics on a scale anyone can see.
Interview: James Morrow, by Faith L. Justice (12/3/01)
"The comedy in my fiction functions as a kind of Trojan horse. It lets me smuggle all sorts of grand opinions into each story without seeming too pretentious."
Falconry: The Real Sport of Kings, by Mary K. Wilson (11/26/01)
The sight of a hawk soaring above the hillsides inspires a reverence for the untamed beauty of nature.
Fan Force: The Universe of Star Wars Fan Films, by Cristopher Hennessey-DeRose (11/19/01)
These aren't your backyard-on-the-weekend superhero serials your little brother made all those summers ago with mom and dad's Super-8. No, these productions are polished comic or dramatic efforts. . . .
Music of the Ellipses, by Brian Tung (11/12/01)
It was at this moment that Kepler took his greatest leap and abandoned the circle.
Interview: James Van Pelt, by K. Mark Hoover (11/5/01)
"I'm not sure why I gravitated to short stories more than the longer stuff, other than I'm a closure addict. I like getting to the end of things and calling them done."
Interview: Joan Aiken, by Gavin J. Grant (10/29/01)
". . .an autopilot takes over to change the mode between writing for adults and writing for children. There are many differences—the vocabulary is simpler, the style more direct. The pace is faster when writing for children. . . ."
Sometimes a Codpiece Is Just a Codpiece: The Meanings of Medieval Clothes, by Rachel Hartman (10/22/01)
Clothing is never just clothing: it can carry with it a variety of social, economic, and even moral implications. The Middle Ages are foreign enough to our experience that many of their ways of thinking about clothing will be counterintuitive for us.
Divining Neil Gaiman: An Exegesis of American Gods, by Bryan Hollerbach (10/15/01)
"Gaiman has enjoyed a career of stunning diversity, and this book feels almost self-consciously summational. . . ."
Steganography: How to Send a Secret Message, by Bryan Clair (10/8/01)
Steganography is the dark cousin of cryptography, the use of codes. While cryptography provides privacy, steganography is intended to provide secrecy. . . . For true secrecy, you don't want anyone to know you're sending a message at all.
Interview: China Miéville, by Cheryl Morgan (10/1/01)
"I am conscious of writing in a tradition that blurs the boundaries between three fantastic genres: supernatural horror, fantasy and science fiction. I have always been of the opinion that you can't make firm distinctions between those three."
How the Stirrup Changed Our World, by Dan Derby (9/24/01)
A stirrup is such a small thing—a bit of metal and leather weighing in around 600 grams—but some scholars think it changed the world, or at least some important pieces of the world.
Reason, Sexuality, and the Self in Libertarian Science Fiction Novels, by Greg Beatty (9/17/01)
The sense of wonder so central to science fiction comes, in libertarian science fiction, from rebellion and material achievement, and not from curiosity and its satisfaction. . . .
The Grand Illusion: Einstein's paradoxical proposal, by Brian Tung (9/10/01)
Einstein made it a habit to let things that didn't bother anyone else bother him, and this time it led him to one of his greatest triumphs—the general theory of relativity.
Interview: John Kessel, by Catherine Pellegrino (9/3/01)
"If I see anything as uniting my enterprise as a teacher of literature and of fiction writing, it is that SF and fantasy are legitimate forms of art. They may have some peculiar rules, but they are worthy of serious study and respect, and can bear serious study and earn that respect."
Vikings in America, by Arturo Rubio (8/27/01)
After a long journey, the weary European explorers catch a glimpse of land, far on the horizon. . . . Yet these are not Spaniards, commanded by an Italian sailor named Christopher Columbus. These are Vikings, guided by Leif Eriksson, arriving at American shores almost five hundred years before Columbus' momentous "discovery."
Under the Daddy Tree: Family Relations in Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber, by Heather Shaw (8/20/01)
Hopkinson does not shy away from telling hard truths, and her books explore both the tenderness and the difficulties of family life. There is a kind of duality in these relationships that she examines. . . .
Interview: Andy Duncan, by Mack Knopf (8/13/01)
"One's life should not serve one's art. It should be the other way around. You don't necessarily have to do the Charles Bukowski thing and live in filth. Living in filth is not romantic."
What the Light Said, by Brian Tung (8/6/01)
Special relativity looks, at first blush, like nothing so much as a bundle of contradictions.
Interview: Thomas M. Disch, by David Horwich (7/30/01)
"Science fiction, in our culture, is basically intended for children, or young adults, as they say. . . . If it fails to do that as a genre, then it won't command its place in the marketplace."
Sermonettes, by Thomas M. Disch (7/30/01)
We live in an age of permitted theft. From high to low thieves feel they are entitled to take what they want, so long as they really, really want it.
The Soul-stealing Camera and Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, by Simona Josan (7/23/01)
We constantly survey ourselves and our emanated effigies, and they often become the only reality of self we are familiar with or we allow others to see. We control, or we try to, every possible angle of our image and form, since now, thanks to the film, we are much more aware of their effects.
Computer Game Developers and Speculative Fiction Authors: A Symbiotic Relationship, by JEM (7/16/01)
Speculative fiction authors now had reason to fear: computer games were not a passing fad; the figures on developers' balance sheets were growing at a tremendous rate; and graphical and sound capabilities were now reaching a point where players could suspend disbelief. . . . It was time for speculative fiction authors to adapt.
Interview: Gary A. Braunbeck, by Lucy A. Snyder (7/9/01)
"Almost every week I'll have a nightmare of some sort. . . . I don't know what that says about my psychological stability, but man, have they ever provided me with material!"
Living Lodestones: Magnetotactic Bacteria, by Cat Faber (7/2/01)
Blakemore brought a magnet near the microscope. Hundreds of swimming cells promptly swerved away from it in unison. They acted like tiny, self-propelled compass needles, aligning themselves to the local magnetic field. . . . Blakemore was astonished, but he knew an interesting phenomenon when he saw one.
I Have a Dream: 2001, by Lady Laura Jayne Hawke (6/25/01)
I look at the headlines and see a future that is coming soon.
Things We Were Not Meant to Know: H. P. Lovecraft and Cosmic Horror, by Mack Knopf (6/18/01)
. . . horror for Lovecraft involved the breaking, or disturbance, of cosmic law—in short, things that are against nature, or at least nature as humans conceive it.
Interview: Jeanne Cavelos, by Cristopher Hennessey-DeRose (6/11/01)
"Spotting the weak areas in your own work is the hardest thing for a writer to do. The best way to develop this ability is to do a lot of critiques on other people's stories. It's easy to see the flaws in other people's work."
On the Extraterrestrial Origin of the Species: Molecules From Space and the Origins of Life, by Dr. Max Bernstein (6/4/01)
The trajectory of early evolution, if not the origin of life, may have been dependent on the formation of molecules in ice grains in deep space billions of years ago.
Nun, Widow, Wife, and More!: Career Options for Medieval Women, by Rachel Hartman (5/28/01)
Most medieval texts were written by men who . . . did not provide the most unbiased testimony. . . . [I]n real life there was some middle ground between saint and sinner.
The Suburbs of Amber, by Marissa K. Lingen (5/21/01)
Amber has its problems, and so do the suburbs. Social crisis is not their only point of similarity.
Interview: Tad Williams, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (5/14/01)
"[O]ne of the things I hope will be fun about Shadowmarch will be the message board on the site, and people expressing opinions. If the readers overwhelmingly want to have more of a particular character (or less) it will very possibly influence what I do."
Real World Linguistics 101, by Suzette Haden Elgin (5/7/01)
It's harder to study languages scientifically than it is to study chemicals, because so much of the evidence is shut away inside the brains/minds of human beings. Still, we can learn a lot from indirect evidence in the form of spoken and signed and written language.
Ledoyt: A Novel by Carol Emshwiller, by Ursula K. Le Guin (4/30/01)
Emshwiller's like a wild mixture of Italo Calvino (intellectual games) and Grace Paley (perfect honesty) and Fay Weldon (outrageous wit) and Jorge Luis Borges (pure luminosity), but no—her voice is perfectly her own. She isn't like anybody. She's different.
Interview: Carol Emshwiller, by Patrick Weekes (4/30/01)
"The SF community . . . was such a sort of cozy place. . . . Everybody knows everybody. People help each other. It's smaller than the mainstream, therefore more wieldy."
Beltane, by Heather Shaw (4/23/01)
Spring is here! All around us are symbols of fertility, growth, warmth and light. It is the perfect time to throw a May Day party or Beltane Festival, to celebrate the end of winter hibernation and to reconnect with your friends and loved ones.
The Bridge Between Truth/Death and Power/Knowledge: Ted Chiang's "Seventy-two Letters", by Greg Beatty (4/16/01)
Chiang's main characters explore their universes on profound levels, and in each story striking images mark a place where the fundamental laws of the universe must be re-examined. . . .
Interview: Lynn Flewelling, by Charlene Brusso (4/9/01)
"I think I created Seregil just to see if he'd work—a gay hero, and a gay character who wasn't tragic, evil, victimized, or a bit player thrown in for color."
The Biggest Numbers in the Universe, by Bryan Clair (4/2/01)
What's the biggest number you've ever seen? Think about it fondly for a moment, because it's going to be blown away. Yes, you can always add one. Yes, you can multiply by ten, or a million. Yet the number you're thinking of is a speck on the knee of the world's smallest flea compared to what's coming.
Forgotten Classics of Science Fiction Cinema: The Monolith Monsters, by Glen R. Chapman (3/26/01)
Science fiction cinema, for the most part, has sprung from the realm of low-budget, independent studios. Freed of the need to attain huge profits or enhance the reputation of 'name' actors, filmmakers could, and did, concentrate on making the movies they wanted to make.
Homer Eon Flint: A Legacy, by Vella Munn (3/19/01)
The life, work, and untimely death of a pioneering science fiction author, as told by one of his descendants.
Interview: Brian Stableford, by Cheryl Morgan (3/12/01)
I'm very interested in the Decadent movements in France and England, and in their aesthetic theories. . . . I've always hoped that a more relaxed society of the future would be able to recover some of [their] doctrines . . . the notion of art for art's sake, the enthusiasm for alternative lifestyle fantasies, and so on.
Plastic That Comes Alive, by Cat Faber (3/5/01)
More than twenty-five years after The Forever War was published, it looks like growing new limbs and organs may be possible long before humans fly between the stars.
Non-Verbal Communication: Fact and Fiction, by Ahmed A. Khan (2/26/01)
. . . we frequently use a combination of words, gestures, and facial expressions to express our full meaning . . . gestures often have different meanings in different circumstances . . .
Bring Your Magic With You, by Chip Sudderth (2/19/01)
We share in the building of a culture, through our votes and civic involvement. When we retreat from that responsibility, we take the chance that the others who will fill the void will act in our best interests.
The Medieval Agricultural Year, by Rachel Hartman (2/12/01)
Life was defined by the seasons, and by specific agricultural tasks that had to take place at specific times of year.
Fantasizing About Natural History Museums, or What Is All That Stuff, Anyway?, by Kira Berman (2/5/01)
The objects we collect, and the way we display them, and the stories we tell about them . . . continue to reflect the ideas we have about nature and our place in it.
Three Ways of Looking at Howard Waldrop (and Then Some), by Jed Hartman, et alia (1/29/01)
This week is our first Author Focus week at Strange Horizons, featuring Howard Waldrop, one of the most unusual writers in the speculative fiction field. This article provides a brief introduction to Waldrop's fiction, and also links to three other fascinating introductions to Waldrop: one by George R. R. Martin, one by Gardner Dozois, and one by Eileen Gunn and Leslie What.
Introduction to Howard Who?, by George R. R. Martin (1/29/01)
He knows everything there is to know about B movies, he can sing fifties rock and TV theme songs all night long (and often does), he likes to fish, and he just happens to be the most startling, original, and entertaining short story writer in science fiction today.
Introduction to All About Strange Monsters of the Recent Past, by Gardner Dozois (1/29/01)
As a writer, Howard is a Unique. You have never seen anything like the stories collected here; you will never see anything like them again. This is another sign of a genius—good, bad, or indifferent, nobody but Howard could possibly have written one of Howard's stories; in most cases, nobody but Howard could possibly have even thought of them.
Alternate Waldrops, by Eileen Gunn, with photo-collages by Leslie What (1/29/01)
Ward Waldrop, in his iridescent sharkskin suit, was standing by the bookcase, idly surveying his wall full of titanium-framed award certificates. He turned and looked over at me, tilting his head to peer over his hornrimmed glasses, the bigtime creative director focussing all his attention on little me. He shook his head, slowly and sadly.
Interview: Jane Routley, by Cheryl Morgan (1/22/01)
". . . I've tried to undermine the idea that a woman should fall in love once with her one true love and live happily ever after with him. And I don't like my women getting rescued by men."
The Top 5 SF Novels of All Time, by David Horwich (1/15/01)
You know you're reading good SF when several times in the course of your reading you look up and think to yourself, "that is so damn cool. . . ."
Habitrails and Asteroids: Topology from the Inside, by Bryan Clair (1/8/01)
Science fiction can transport you to other worlds, and so can mathematics. But few people ever see the mathematical worlds, because the natives speak a different language and the terrain is rough, full of abstractions and infinities. That's a shame, because there are some wonderful sights to see, and some fascinating ideas to try on.
Interview: Pamela Dean, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (1/1/01)
"My first attempt at writing occurred when I was about eight, and my consuming desires at that point were to be either a nurse or an astronomer."
Holiday Feasts, by Carol S. Paton (12/25/00)
Folk in the Middle Ages had a fascination with food that didn't look like food. A decorated pitcher made of sausage might be used to pour the gravy, then be sliced and eaten.
Strange Bedfellows: Eugenics, Attraction, and Aversion in the Works of Octavia E. Butler, by Heather Shaw (12/18/00)
[Butler's] willingness to explore the range of arousal, intimacy and attraction between unlikely bedfellows may make us uneasy, but it is always believable.
Interview: Robert Silverberg, by David Horwich (12/11/00)
[Speculative fiction] lit me up as a small boy and I've wanted ever since to contribute important work to the genre. . . . [I]t seems to me the thing I was put here to create. . . .
One Little Star: The Deaths of the Stars, by Brian Tung (12/4/00)
. . . the sun's hydrogen fuel supply is not infinite, but only unimaginably huge . . . and there exists no known mechanism to replenish it. . . . So it's completely natural to ask: what happens when the sun runs out of fuel?
Brains vs. Brawn: The Birthright Trend in Current Science Fiction Television Programming, by Ingrid de Beus (11/27/00)
. . . the message that some people are born to greatness, while the rest, no matter what their abilities, are meant to support them, smacks of a feudal sensibility.
Interview: David Coe, by Catherine Pellegrino (11/20/00)
I get a rush out of playing with new characters and watching them come to life, having them do things that even I don't fully anticipate. Every day I feel my imagination stretching, discovering new elements of my worlds and the people who populate them.
From Tapestry to Mosaic: The Fantasy Novels of Guy Gavriel Kay, by Christopher Cobb and Mary Anne Mohanraj (11/13/00)
Guy Gavriel Kay, one of the major fantasy authors of our time, has achieved a rare combination of popular and critical acclaim . . . Kay's eight novels ask to be understood in relation to one another, as parts of a much larger imaginative project. . . .
How to Cook a Star, by Brian Tung (11/6/00)
That, to me, is the essence of science. You practically never have full and complete access to the internal workings of whatever it is you're trying to figure out. . . . In astronomy, of course, the problem is that everything is too far away. . . . How, then, do we figure out what's in the stars, and what makes them shine?
The Many Masks of Halloween, by Heather Shaw (10/30/00)
Halloween is full of traditions, superstition and all things supernatural. This is the night when magic is high, and the dead may walk the earth, a holiday that allows us to confront our fears, to scare ourselves silly or feel brave for not jumping when things go boo!
Interview: Cecilia Tan, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (10/23/00)
"I think the erotic science fiction I wrote was defining for me, because it was the final step in solidifying who I was as an adult individual, asserting my sexuality and uncovering a lot of what had just been sublimated up until then. Once that was uncorked, I found my voice, and I've been going strong ever since."
From Herodotus to Hollywood, by Carol S. Paton (10/16/00)
. . . I have walked the desert, thirsty for knowledge of this beautiful place and time, but seeking it in the popular media has been akin to chasing an oasis, only to find it a mirage. Ever shrouded in mystery and misinformation, unwrapping the true Egypt is like unwrapping a mummy.
Double Vision, by Brian Tung (10/9/00)
The first person we know of who estimated the distance to a star was Aristarchus, who lived between 310 and 230 B.C.
Interview: Catherine Asaro, by J. Alexander Harman (10/2/00)
"I've been reading science fiction since I was old enough to read; I loved it from the first day. I didn't make any distinction between science fiction and fantasy, I liked it all."
Irony and Misunderstanding in the Stories of Robert Sheckley, by David Horwich (9/25/00)
Sheckley is known for his sharp, satirical style, and his humor is often tinged with ironic bitterness at human folly. Although he wrote them decades ago, Sheckley's stories have a very modern feel. . . .
The Moon, by Brian Tung (9/18/00)
I turned the paper towel roll . . . toward the one object that was like no other in the night sky—the Moon. For about an hour, I sat transfixed in my lawn chair, wondering at all the things I could see. It is a source of endless fascination, even now.
Gil Patterson, Sheera Galernis, and Jenny Waynest: Female Heroes in the Novels of Barbara Hambly, by Catherine Pellegrino (9/11/00)
As a feminist, I'm not often insulted or offended by the treatment of female characters in modern fantasy fiction, but I'm not often impressed by their depth and realism, either. Gil Patterson and Jenny Waynest, as well as others of Hambly's characters, have provided me with consistently compelling and rewarding reading.
Interview: Nalo Hopkinson, by Mary Anne Mohanraj (9/1/00)
"I was born in Jamaica, lived in Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and the U.S., then moved to Canada in 1977 when I was sixteen . . . I guess I have a sense of many places, not of one. It's given me a sense that all places are unique, so when I write, I try to convey a strong sense of the location in which my story is set."