Tag: Science Fiction

Privacy Cultures

In “USS Callister,” a much-discussed episode of Black Mirror, a reticent computer programmer collects DNA around his office from discarded objects like lollipops and coffee cups. He uses that DNA to ...

Purgatory Is for Real

If heaven, as the Talking Heads lyric puts it, is a place where nothing ever happens, it has nevertheless powered numerous books up American best-seller lists. In the past decade, several titles have ...

In Memoriam: Ursula K. Le Guin

If Ursula K. Le Guin’s death left only a small hole in the larger world, it poked a large hole in my smaller one. I was glad, of course, that her praises were quickly ...

The Misfit Resistance

What is a misfit? In Lidia Yuknavitch’s definition, the term refers to those of us who “do life weird or wrong,” who literally miss fitting in with normative models of linear progress. Childhood ...

Robot and Juliet

What makes us fall in love with technology? In those enchanting early days, new tech can seduce with expanded horizons, allowing us to travel faster and farther, or connect across longer distances; and we appreciate this ...

World without Antibiotics

Sepsis: a systemic response to infection. The body gone wild. A reaction disproportionate to its cause, one that refuses to respect the division between hearts and limbs. Diagnosing sepsis requires a sense of proper proportions. And in Surgeon X, a comic series ...

Even Broken History Is History

Last month the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, spoke movingly about the removal of Confederate monuments and “the cult of the lost cause” they celebrate. The “Free Southerners” in Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, which opens in 2074, are also a cult of the lost cause: …

Future Shocks

“The future’s not what it used to be,” sings Mickey Newbury in his 1971 hit of the same name. His song frames this witticism in romantically personal terms, but the insight has broad applicability ...

The Bingewatch: #Resist

After November’s election, I only wanted to watch normporn. Craving fallible yet manicured characters whose gaffes—provoked by pain mired in class privilege—always culminated in tear-jerking ...

Jane Austen Meets Sci-Fi

After two hundred years of being known as a genius, Jane Austen is now a brand, a marketing phenomenon. According to Wikipedia—so this is more universally acknowledged than necessarily true—in 2015 ...