Hugo Gernsback had such a huge impact on the history of science fiction that one of the field’s most prestigious awards is named after him. But after he founded Amazing Stories in the 1920s, the pioneering editor had a long slide into obscurity.
You often hear people say things like, “no science fiction writer could have predicted the Internet,” when they’re talking about science fiction’s lack of predictive power. But actually, writer Murray Leinster did get a lot right about the Internet, in the 1946 story “A Logic Named Joe.”
Over at Reddit, there’s a terrific discussion among real scientists, talking about the books they love—and the things that drive them nuts. Peeves include fake “chaos theory” magic, “You only use 10 percent of your brain,” futures without advanced computers, and the genetics in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves.
Tor.com published some fantastic stories in 2015, and they’ve collected the best of them into one volume, Some of the Best of Tor.com: 2015 Edition, which is now available as a free download!
The distinction between “hard science fiction” and “soft science fiction” means many different things to different people—but that doesn’t prevent people from turning it into a status game. Which science fiction has the most real science, or the most serious scientific discussions? Depends whom you ask.
Everybody is fascinated with True Crime nowadays—but happens when that obsession with real-life gruesomeness turns into an appetite for more and more? That’s the focus of “The Killing Jar,” a new story by Laurie Penny about a young woman who gets an internship with a serial killer.
Most U.S. readers probably haven’t heard of Leena Krohn, but among connoisseurs of weird fiction like Jeff VanderMeer, she’s a beloved icon. She’s also the winner of the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious literary honor in her native Finland. And it’s a great time to discover her bizarre stories.
Want to read a totally trippy, insane short story that will keep you guessing—and possibly a little bit uncertain of the solidity of your surroundings? You’re in luck, because there’s a weird-as-hell Laird Barron short story over at Apex Magazine.
It’s a fascinating question. Over at Charles Stross’ blog, he responds to a reader question: What would a technological society look like without written language? And could such a thing even happen?
Like military science fiction? Rich Larson’s got a fantastic story in the January issue of Clarkesworld: Extraction Request.
Great news! The always fantastic Walter Jon Williams has a reprinted story in the new issue of Clarkesworld Magazine, that I had never read before. “Daddy’s World” starts out idyllic and slowly gets more dark and demented. Until it finally gets just insane.
Great works of science fiction can help us become more aware of real science, and more curious about the wonders of the cosmos. But for some people, they can actually help inspire a career in the sciences. The Conversation asked scientists to name their favorite science-fiction stories, and the results are inspiring.…
I was blown away by “Telling the Bees” by T. Kingfisher, newly published in Strange Horizons. To the point where I was kind of amazed that I’d never heard of the author before, until I realized it was a pseudonym for Ursula Vernon.
Some of us love spoilers—but some of us really, really hate them. Spoilers have become an especially charged topic of late, with the new Star Wars movie among other things. So it’s a good thing you can sign on to a new Kickstarter for SpoilerFree and erase those spoilers from your brain!
Back in the mid-1970s, the U.S. government was worried that the kids were getting too high. Drugs like marijuana and LSD were at their peak—and meanwhile, the government noticed the kids were also really into science fiction. So the National Institute on Drug Abuse hired Robert Silverberg, author of Dying Inside…
Nigerian author Wole Talabi has posted his list of the 10 best African science fiction and fantasy stories of 2015. They include Afro-cyberpunk, a reimagined fairy tale, magical realism, and far-future SF. Definitely worth checking out! [via Metafilter and BoingBoing]
The Bread Lab at Washington State University is a collaboration between plant geneticists and master bakers. The goal? To breed new varieties of wheat that can turn out superior breads and beers while still growing well in the cool and wet Northwest climate.
The very first volume of the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy series just came out, guest-edited by Joe Hill. It includes stories by Jo Walton, Kelly Link, T.C. Boyle and Karen Russell. We’re proud to present one of the stories from the book, “Skullpocket” by Nathan Ballingrud.
The great science fiction magazine Strange Horizons is having its annual fundraising drive, and to help raise money, Kelly Link has written them a brand new story. One which will only be released if Strange Horizons raises at least $17,000. And we’ve got an exclusive excerpt!
Some mammals have a dangerous-looking penis because their glans is covered in spines. In a few cases, we know why they’re there (typically, to induce ovulation during copulation). But in many other species, the purpose of the spiky bits is something of a mystery.