The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Issue a Press Release: Audrey Watters, a folklorist by training, examines the storytelling techniques of technology forecasting (especially ed-tech forecasting): If you repeat this fantasy, these predictions often enough, if you repeat it in front of powerful investors, university administrators, politicians, journalists, then the fantasy becomes factualized. (Not factual. Not true. But “truthy,” to borrow from Stephen Colbert’s notion of “truthiness.”) So you repeat the fantasy in order to direct and to control the future. Because this is key: the fantasy then becomes the basis for decision-making.
The New Yorker reviews and shows images from Never Existed New York: plans and renders for megastructures and utopian fantasies that never came to pass. Atlas Obscura rounds up more designs and drawings
In 2010, science fiction and fantasy author (and MeFi's own) Tim Pratt wrote "Scientific Romance", a Valentine's Day love poem for his wife.
The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin - "Ursula Kroeber was born in Berkeley, in 1929, into a family busy with the reading, recording, telling, and inventing of stories. She grew up listening to her aunt Betsy’s memories of a pioneer childhood and to California Indian legends retold by her father. One legend of the Yurok people says that, far out in the Pacific Ocean but not farther than a canoe can paddle, the rim of the sky makes waves by beating on the surface of the water. On every twelfth upswing, the sky moves a little more slowly, so that a skilled navigator has enough time to slip beneath its rim, reach the outer ocean, and dance all night on the shore of another world."
The City Born Great, short fiction by Hugo Award winner N. K. Jemisin.
Dust - by Ember Lab & Mike Grier A Sci-Fi fantasy inspired by anime and classic horror, Dust is set in a harsh and unpredictable natural environment where people have isolated themselves in an ancient city behind a massive wall. A socially marginalized tracker teams up with a black-market merchant to save the society that has rejected his way of life.
No, Alan Moore Isn't a Recluse [Publishers Weekly] “Speaking in intimidatingly long and thoughtful sentences, Moore is affable, relaxed, and eager to talk about his new novel, Jerusalem [Amazon], to be published in September by Norton’s Liveright imprint in the U.S. and Knockabout in the U.K. It’s a 600,000-word opus that has been lurking, Cthulhu-like, behind his last decade of work. Remixing the most-reader-challenging tricks of writers such as James Joyce, Roland Barthes, and Mark Z. Danielewski, Jerusalem is an astonishing collection of words and ideas that weaves a hypnotic spell.” [Previously] [Previously] [more inside]
The end of WTF D&D's epic saga of 90's music stars and cosmic horrors has finally begun, half a year after that post (which contains links to the entire story so far). Zack and Steve's zany game logs from the interim: Death Star plans on Naboo (1, 2), Dark Heresy: The Lost Dog Detectives (1, 2), a redneck WWE wrestler, a 90's Marvel character trapped in the Cinematic Universe (1, 2) and a Ghostbusters franchise in North Dakota (1, 2). As evidenced by the site's archives, much pointing and laughing at sourcebooks did indeed also ensue.
Fantasy Test Cards is a YouTube channel that features dozens of fake television test patterns, each accompanied by an hour of relaxing music. [via] [more inside]
A new wave of Lovecraftian stories confront, rather than ignore, the racism and antisemitism that permeated Lovecraft's work, and, indeed, served as the basis for much of the horror. This roundtable of authors discussing how they address the problems of Lovecraft is worthwhile. Some authors are explicitly using Lovecraft as a lens on contemporary racism, such as in Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country [PDF preview], while others mine Lovecraft's fear of the other to examine bigotry, as in Ruthanna Emrys's lovely Litany of Earth [full story] (Emyrs is also part of the Lovecraft Reread, which looks at both the Mythos-building and uncomfortable aspects of Lovecraft's stories). Previously, on the World Fantasy Awards and Lovecraft.
152 published authors of speculative fiction, of Asian descent. (includes links to stories by the authors, if available online.)
60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads. Though you might want to quibble with the "essential" as it's somewhat biased to more recent books but a valuable introduction to the genres nonetheless, the occasional tokenism not withstanding.
Cookie Jar, a short story by Stephen King
An African writer who makes mix tapes of game soundtracks. A Nairobi filmmaker with Nietzsche on his smart phone. A chess champion who loves Philip K Dick. An African SF poet who quotes the Beatniks… meet the new New Wave in Nairobi, Kenya. Part one of our series 100 African Writers of SFF.
Author Jim C. Hines (previously, previously, previously, previously) once again takes a look at sexism in Science Fiction and Fantasy, this time looking at the written word.
What if you swapped the genders in classic SF&F novels?
What if you swapped the genders in classic SF&F novels?
After five years and over 250 pages, the Eisner Award Winning webcomic, Battlepug by Mike Norton (previously) has finished its epic
tailtale (but with promises of more pug tales to come). It started here. (some NSFW, due to violence, language and nudity, including that of the Narrator)
Cartoonist Boulet (previously, previously, related previously) thinks about the problem with all these elaborate traps in adventure movies.
On September 22, 2011, Justin Kuritzkes posted a short video called Potion Seller, in which he takes advantage of a distortion filter on his camera to act out both roles of a dialogue between a magnificently coiffed knight and an impish potion seller. This video inspired a small but dedicated fandom that persists even today. [more inside]
42 black science fiction works that are important to your understanding of its history. Nisi Shawl has assembled a rich syllabus of novels and story collections, from 1859 to 2015. Some fantasy and horror along with the strictly science fictional.
After many months, Something Awful (and now also The Bad Guys Win) comedy/insanity writer Zack Parsons (previously) has finally confirmed the long-promised finale of his and Steve Sumner's series of Call of Cthulhu 1990's Handbook campaigns starring Kurt Cobain, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes and Eazy-E as they battle forces beyond human ken: the custom module Hard Ticket to Baghdad. (He also eventually finished the Tooth Tooth series because word is bond, god.) Beneath the fold: the entire story so far, including the recent 'solo project' campaigns. [more inside]
With the highly-anticipated release of two King Hu masterpieces on home video by the Masters of Cinema organization, as well as the critical success of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin last year, it seems like the wuxia film is making some inroads into the Western critical consciousness. So I thought I’d put together a guide to some of the essential films of the genre. - 30 Essential Wuxia Films
WRITE YOUR OWN FANTASY GAME FOR YOUR MICROCOMPUTER (PDF) is a beautifully illustrated guide to programming (what else) fantasy roleplaying games on early personal computer hardware, along with its companion WRITE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE PROGRAMS (also PDF), covering text adventures. Hat tip to the game design Tumblr Put Games Here for the original link. [more inside]
Warcraft [YouTube] [Trailer]
“The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.”[more inside]
18-year-old self-taught costume designer Angela Clayton makes incredible, highly detailed outfits based on history, fantasy, and (formerly) cosplay. Some standouts include a medieval gown with accompanying escoffin, an Elsa costume with over 100,000 hand-applied rhinestones, and a Christmas costume with LED lights. She documents her progress regularly and provides sewing tutorials for her work.
Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride - Jo Walton takes a look at William Goldman's (or if you will S. Morgenstern's) classic novel.
The Science of Life and Death in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein [The Public Domain Review] Professor Sharon Ruston surveys the scientific background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, considering contemporary investigations into resuscitation, galvanism, and the possibility of states between life and death.
Heather Lindsley's "Werewolf Loves Mermaid," Sunil Patel's "The Merger," and Emil Ostrovski's "Tragic Business" develop humorous situations from SF/F motifs: cryptid romance, intergalactic business negotiations, and the cycle of death and rebirth, respectively. Lincoln Michel's "Dark Air" combines common weird fiction / horror situations with a very dry, very dark sense of humor. Naomi Kritzer's "So Much Cooking" is a serious SF story about a grave possibility, but it brings the matter home via a witty parody of a cooking blog.
Nigerian AfroSFF writer Wole Talabi shares links to his favourite 10 short stories of 2015 with a short intro.
Øyvind Thorsby, creator of multiple strangely charming webcomics (previously), has recently begun his fifth series, Trixie Slaughteraxe for President (link is to the first page). Thorsby's comics bear multiple trademarks: distinctively simplistic art, strange creatures with strange adaptations to their environments, creative applications for magical and technologically advanced objects and phenomena, and, of course, complicated farcical situations often involving desperate wacky schemes. A list of his comics (including the new hosting for his first three comics) is inside. Content warning: violence, swearing and sexual themes. [more inside]
If you, too, tend to forget to visit MeFi Projects, possibly due to everything existing everywhere, simultaneously, then you ought to check out MagicRealismBot on Twitter. [more inside]
At the recent World Fantasy Awards it was announced that the trophy will no longer be modeled on the head of horror writer HP Lovecraft. [more inside]
In an essay originally published back in 2000, Ursula K. LeGuin takes a punt at the question any writer dreads to get asked: "so, where do you get your ideas from" and uses it as a springboard to examine the art of reading and writing and why Americans are afraid of dragons.
Zack Parsons, Something Awful's resident writer of much weirdness (oldest articles in that listing may be misattributed) has resumed his beloved series with Steve Sumner (the Max to his Sam), WTF D&D. While Zack still writes for Something Awful, he and Steve's reviews of weird pen-and-paper RPG sourcebooks and art, and their rollicking RPG campaigns, have resumed on Zack's new site, The Bad Guys Win, which also features other new articles from Zack (all of the new WTF D&D, currently a two-part adventure in the Ravenloft setting starring Steve as an idiot monk, is collected under Games). [more inside]
The Wheel of Time Reread by Leigh Butler [TOR.COM]
Hello! Welcome to the introductory post of a new blog series on Tor.com, The Wheel of Time Re-read. This is in preparation for the publication of the next and last book in the series, A Memory of Light, which is[more inside]
scheduled to bepublished this fall. My name is Leigh Butler, and I’ll be your hostess for the festivities. I’m very excited to be a part of this project, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.
Detailed guide to building a medieval village. LEGO builder Luke Watkins Hutchinson / Derfel Cadarn's massive, 300-photo guide to building an intricate medieval scene out of LEGO bricks. [more inside]
"First of all, in terms of history I’d like to say the vast majority of the medieval world as we think of it was all kinds of people with various shades of brown skin moving back and forth across borders. Yes, there were people in remote little areas who might have never encountered anyone who looked any different than themselves, but overall there was a lot of movement and a lot of contact and a lot of exchange of ideas, crossing transcultural, trans-religious, trans-ethnic zones." -- Arthur Chu and David Perry talk about The Inaccuracy Of “Historical Accuracy” In Gaming And Media.
"The bohemian aspect, in terms of style and decor, was clearly part of the beachcomber look—the guy in tattered clothes who built his shack from found objects and natural materials like bamboo and driftwood. It became this escapist thing for urbanites to go to these places and feel bohemian for a while. If you look at 1930s photos of restaurants like Trader Vic’s in Oakland or Don the Beachcomber in Los Angeles, these places were full of jetsam and flotsam that didn’t exist in the normal, mid-century home at the time." Tiki Hangover: Unearthing the False Idols of America's South Seas Fantasy (Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector's Weekly)
The 51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written [Buzzfeed]
Whether you’re a Swords and Sorcery type of fantasy reader, a fan of battles and betrayal, or you just want a few more goddamn elves in your life, there’s something for you here. These are the truly great fantasy series written in the last 50 years.
A Mad Hatter’s Mashup Party: Reimagining Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with public domain and CC-licensed art. [Medium]
The Public Domain Review has invited a dozen Lewis Carroll experts to annotate a special version of the story with lots of fun trivia and facts about the book and its author. You’ll find their comments in the margin notes. We’ll be publishing two new annotated chapters here each week for the next six weeks.[more inside]
Julie Dillion is an award winning science fiction and fantasy artist in a field that rarely nominates women. One of the themes of her work is diversity. And yes, she's up for the Best Professional Artist Hugo again this year.
Stress Fantasy: Overwhelmed by the relentless p_a_c_e of it all, I decide to abandon the Internet and live a simpler life founded on principles of health and self-sufficiency. I move to an organic farm and learn to make my own yogurt.
Reality: I cannot boil water, let alone handle live cultures. I become incredibly sick after eating the yogurt and blog about it before I die.
“As a black woman,” Jemisin tells me, “I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo. Why would I? The status quo is harmful, the status quo is significantly racist and sexist and a whole bunch of other things that I think need to change. With epic fantasy there is a tendency for it to be quintessentially conservative, in that its job is to restore what is perceived to be out of whack.”
NK Jemisin on upending the fantasy literature status quo and getting beyond medieval fantasy Europe.
NK Jemisin on upending the fantasy literature status quo and getting beyond medieval fantasy Europe.
The Imaginary Network rounds up under categories the various subreddits for imaginary art such as Imaginary Cityscapes, Ebony, Architecture, Ruins, History, Science, Starships, Aww, Weather, Armored Women and more.
Simon Pegg as drunk Ron Weasley wishing Harry Potter a happy 35th Birthday. Weasley previously got smashed to celebrate the occasion back in 2013.