Tag: Science Fiction

The Monstrous H. P. Lovecraft

Part literary detective story, part Gothic tale, and part fictional biography, Paul La Farge’s enthralling novel The Night Ocean is composed of the formal hybrids and ...

Miéville’s Surreal Weapons

In his rambling 2011 photo-essay “London’s Overthrow,” composed in the lead-up to the London Olympics, China Miéville takes his reader through the ever-changing, history-drenched streets of his beloved city ...

My Neighbor Octavia

For years, I knew Octavia E. Butler, the famed African American science fiction and fantasy writer, by her first name only. That was the way she introduced herself when I first met her back in the fall of 1999 ...

Trouble in Lovecraft Country

Matt Ruff’s novel Lovecraft Country drops into the world of science-fiction and horror publishing at an interesting time. The fandom around this culture is arcane and probably irremediably nerdy to ...

Speculative Pulp Fiction

Margaret Atwood’s most recent novel, The Heart Goes Last, began as an unusual digital experiment. Starting in March 2012, the website Byliner played host to the “Positron series,” a sequence of ...

Jeffrey Combs’s Re-Animator

The first scene of the Stuart Gordon’s 1985 cult classic Re-Animator shows us our lead, our anti-hero protagonist, in a state of panic. In the halls of the stately University of Zurich, Herbert West ...

Ghost in the System

It’s fitting that a videogame about novels and their authorship manages to marry two media long thought to be polar opposites. Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe’s The Ice-Bound Concordance, available for ...

Afrofuturism: Everything and Nothing

Whence the “Afro” in “Afrofuturism”? In the 1994 interview with Samuel R. Delaney that inaugurated the term, Mark Dery defines Afrofuturism as “speculative fiction that treats African American themes ...

Le Guin’s Anarchist Aesthetics

What makes readers fall in love? You might want to start your answer by explaining Ursula Le Guin. I can only speak for one childhood—and one adulthood—spent reading Le Guin, but I’d bet my last ...

Drought Lit

For the last several summers I’ve spent August in the Central Valley of California, swimming twice a day and eating guacamole for dinner. During the same last few years, the state’s drought, already ...

Searching for Purpose

Near-extinction stories are nearly as old as the human species, from Noah’s flood to 20th-century narratives about nuclear holocaust (1950s–60s) and pandemics (1970s–80s), to the current spate of ...

How Other Halves Live

In disciplines ranging from philosophy to computer science, the term “black box” describes a system that cannot be understood internally, by how it works, but only externally, in terms of its inputs ...

China at World’s End

In a galaxy far away, but close enough, an intelligent alien civilization finally realizes that its planet orbits around three suns instead of one. They face the classic three-body problem of ...