Tag: Science Fiction

The Bingewatch: Mother Winona

Since its release last July, Stranger Things has been praised as an “original,” “meticulous” homage to the Great Men of 1980s popular culture (Carpenter, King, Lucas, Spielberg) ...

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 ...

A Global Neuromancer

Neuromancer is now more than 30 years old, a considerable time to remain a classic. Its publication in the Orwellian year will seem ironic and laden with symbolism only for those who think Orwell has ...

The Post-Apocalyptic Present

Post-apocalyptic fiction used to be disreputable, a source of pulpy thrills and nuclear terror. Flourishing in the post-World War II period, works like Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow (1955), John ...

Love Story

Romeo and Juliet, War and Peace, Wuthering Heights, Portrait of a Lady, Death in Venice: love stories—sublime, tormented, star-crossed or otherwise—are the bread and butter of the Western literary ...