Genre

Christopher Nolan’s Inception as Shamanic Psychodrama

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing which films should be considered science fiction and which shouldn’t. He claimed comic book/superhero movies should not be called SF. I claimed that Inception isn’t science fiction either. While the case can be made that comic book movies can be considered to be science fiction […]

Is Science Killing Science Fiction?

Gregory Benford shared this on facebook, asking if this notion was true: Strahan, Jonathan, “Introduction,” Edge of Infinity, Solaris, 2012. This is just a short introduction to Strahan’s latest book of short stories, but he has some fascinating ideas here. He explores what he calls “the Fourth Generation” of science fiction. “Science fiction publishing is […]

The Galapagos Frontier Thesis

The formative American experience was the conquest of the western frontier. Would science fiction and fantasy exist without the frontier model? What does Japan’s parallel conquest of Hokkaido tell us about the legacy of colonial expansion?

“I Like Science Fiction, It’s Got Like Giant Robots and Stuff, Right?” Science Fiction’s Self-Esteem Problem Part IV: To Boldly Go Where No Fan Has Gone Before

Over the last three weeks I have discussed the sources and causes of Science Fictions self-esteem problem. The genre’s inability to shed it’s pulp roots and ongoing pulpishness, the relative obscurity of SF to the book reading public and the enduring legacy of brainless Hollywood Science Fiction films have all contributed to the critical non-acceptance […]

A Kepler’s Dozen

NASA’s Kepler mission has been watching a swath of the Milky Way watching for the signs of stars being eclipsed by planets in orbit around them.  This takes patience and favorable geometry, but Kepler has already been successful in finding dozens of confirmed planets and is producing lists of thousands of additional candidates.  You can […]

E-Zines vs. Dead Tree Zines: the more things change…

I have been producing fanzines off and on since 1976, shortly after encountering science fiction fandom and this particular aspect of that hobby interest. As anybody who has ever pubbed (that is fanspeak for “published”) an ish (“issue”), the life-blood of fanzines is the letter of comment (here’s another fanspeak term: loc, or LoC, depending […]

The Speed of Science

Science deals with a lot of high speed phenomena, like the speed of sound and the speed of light, which can make the topic seem fast and exciting.  We also see science news on tv and the internet, and there always seems like there’s a nifty new gadget to buy.  The truth is that science […]

Crossroads: A Genre Darkly

World-building, extrapolation, analogy, conceptual breakthrough, thought experiment – these are science fiction’s basic methods. Other genres might occasionally borrow them, but SF has sharpened them to a razor’s edge. So what happens when this set of tools works alongside the themes, styles, and plot structures of noir?

Scientists and Stereotypes

Older male (check), glasses (check), white lab coat (check).  A scientist!  Even without the funny hat or breaker full of red liquid, everyone recognizes the stereotype. Stereotypes can be based on a nugget of truth and can be useful in situations when there isn’t much time to figure out what’s happening, but they can also […]

On Genre Diversity, or ‘Why Mark Charan Newton was Right’

A couple of years ago, Mark Charan Newton, author of Nights of Villjamur and Drakenfeld, as he’s wont to do, stirred some feathers when he challenged several bloggers to diversify their book coverage, to shift focus from all the frontlist new releases and give more coverage to the wonderful backlist of the genre. Long story […]