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.
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.…
What would Herman Melville have made of Larry Niven’s huge space mega-engineering project? You don’t have to wonder any longer.
When Chris Moseley, an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, decided to teach a "special topics" course on general relativity, he opted for an unusual supplementary textbook: Larry Niven's 1973 novel Protector, which vividly depicts a battle between spaceships moving at relativistic speeds.
Here on Earth, we speak over 7,000 living languages. But in science fiction, alien species routinely turn out to have just one language, or a few major dialects at best. Over at Slate, they ask whether this is realistic — or whether we're just lumping alien languages together, based on shared characteristics.
Author Gareth Powell recently attended a book group where nobody had read any authors who came along in the past 50 years. In a bracing essay for SF Signal, he talks about the peril of focusing only on "golden age" science fiction, and neglecting how the genre has changed.
Science fiction is the literature of discovery — and there are tons of great ways to come up with stories worth telling. But a lot of the most compelling stories are based on actual cutting-edge science. But how do you turn real science into science fiction? To find out, we asked hard SF writers and scientists.
September's science fiction and fantasy novels are packed with excitement and cool new ideas. Learn how to survive the slow apocalypse and how to prepare for the Singularity! There's space opera, cosmic action, and dark, dirty fantasy.
What do science fiction and fantasy books have in store for you this fall? There are new fantasy series by Tad Williams and Jacqueline Carey. A brand new Culture novel by Iain M. Banks. Collaborations between Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, and Larry Niven and Gregory Benford. A classic Gene Wolfe novel. A massive…
Emily Dickinson had it wrong: There is no star cruiser like a book. When you want to journey past the furthermost limits of your own imagination, you turn to books. And August's new book releases are just packed with brilliant new ideas and thrilling stories, from some of the world's best writers.
Part of the joy of science fiction is seeing all the awesome toys, and imagining how they could exist in the real world. And so many of science fiction's coolest gadgets have come true, including Star Trek's PADDs and communicators.
Old-school cosplayers were fucking rad. They'd spend hours constructing costumes, sometimes with zero guarantee that anybody would know who the hell they were. In this day and age, everyone's got the internet hooked up to their earmuffs. Imagine trying to explain who the Dirty Pair were when a hearty portion of the…
Not only is Iain M. Banks very generous with his time, he's also the author that British fans most want to see on the big screen.
Over at Shelfari, they're discussing "the worst books of the good authors" in science fiction. Including lone clunkers by Asimov, Heinlein and Niven. What are your least favorite books by your favorite authors? [Shelfari]
Here are some gorgeous illustrations from the French science fiction compilation Club Du Livre D'Anticipation. Check out the works of Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick depicted by French artists like Moebius.
Science fiction is the literature of our times, the fuel of our imaginations and the source of our favorite imaginary worlds. But what do we mean when we talk about "science fiction?" Here are some of the many definitions.
The history of science fiction is full of unforgettable characters. So it's no surprise that famous writers often appear in fiction themselves — either by name, or wearing the thinnest of disguises. Here are our 10 favorite science-fiction writer cameos.
August brings some exciting new speculative fiction releases. We've got conclusions for the Hunger Games and Void trilogies, plus Regency magic and a sentient MMORPG. Here are the books you can't miss out on this month.
Scientists now believe there's a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. But back in the day, we dreamed the galactic center held God's home planet. Or a super-civilization. What else did science-fiction authors think we'd find there?
Larry Niven's Hugo-winning novel from 1971 has a surprising amount in common with network television's biggest sci-fi hit. But what's really interesting is how Ringworld differs from Lost.