humor

Scide Splitters: Unidentified Funny Objects 2 edited by Alex Shvartsman

If done well, an anthology is like a box of chocolates filled with a variety of delectable confections. Granted, there are bound to be a few flavors you are not partial to, but on the whole, the selection is delightful. When not done so well, you end up with something a little more like Monty Python’s Whizzo Chocolates, getting a mouthful of Crunchy Frog or Cockroach Cluster….

Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Classic works of science fiction can be timeless for many fans, but they will not always translate well with modern fandom. Issues include implausible science, obsolete predictions or an unfamiliar writing style. I saw some of this when I read The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip […]

Scide Splitters: The Humans by Matt Haig

Horace Walpole, the eighteenth century British writer and politician, once wrote, “The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel.” It is a truth that makes writing humorous fiction rather tricky. Not enough emotional attachment and readers will complain that they don’t “care” about the characters. Too much and […]

Scide Splitters: Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison

I was first enticed to read Bill, the Galactic Hero, Harry Harrison’s darkly humorous take on military SF and space opera, by the funny illustration on the cover of the book (see right).  I was a teenager, late golden age, and had already learned that covers often made promises they couldn’t keep.  I didn’t really […]

The Ghost of Towel Day Yet to Come: A True Story (sort of)

WHOOSH… A vaguely familiar sound woke me and I sat up in bed.  “What’s that noise?” I asked. “It’s a deadline,” said a translucent Douglas Adams, who for some reason was sitting in a chair drinking tea in my bedroom. “Are you sure?” “I should know,” he said. I dropped back to my pillow and […]

Guards! Guards! by Sir Terry Pratchett

Crossroads: Satire and the Fantastic

NOTE: This week’s essay is actually an adapted form of an essay from December 18, 2012 that was originally published at The King of Elfland’s 2nd Cousin. Some changes, however, have been made from the original. For as long as I can remember, I have been in awe of literary satirists from Lucian of Samosata, […]

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Crossroads: The Importance of Parody to the Speculative Fiction Genre

Last week, we talked about how every piece of humorous speculative fiction inevitably gets compared to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But as I outlined, Adams’ comedy of the absurd operates very differently from the vast majority of humorous speculative fiction out there. Most funny speculative fiction squarely operates within the realm […]

The Meteor That Never Fell

Just kidding! Putin didn’t really ride that meteor! But it was an uneasy thing to watch, and it prompted uneasier thoughts about other things that fall, and why I crave stories with endings.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

CROSSROADS: Right Place, Time, and Tech – The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (itself spread across five books with a six written by Eoin Colfer), with its friendly, green warning against panic, casts a huge shadow over the field of humorous speculative fiction. Though it is far from the only explicitly comedic science fiction (and far from the first), it […]

Make 'em Laugh from Singin' in the Rain

CROSSROADS: Make ’em Laugh – Humor and Speculative Fiction

Hello, folks! Now that I’m back on my feet, I find that April’s here. A few days ago was April 1st, also known as April Fool’s Day. And while I may not be clever enough to come up with fun jokes for April Fool’s Day, I can at least appreciate the humor. There’s something about […]