SF author (and Mefi's own) Charles Stross is thinking about the cliches in Space Opera and tries to put together a complete list of the hoary genre tropes that literary (no TV or movies) Space Opera is prone to.
Blue Monday - a sci-fi short story by Laurie Penny for Motherboard all about cats, Internet videos, and emotional contagions.
This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but a bronchial spasm. That is, at least, according to William Delisle Hay’s 1880 novella The Doom of the Great City. It imagines the entire population of London choked to death under a soot-filled fog. The story is told by the event’s lone survivor sixty years later as he recalls “the greatest calamity that perhaps this earth has ever witnessed” at what was, for Hay’s first readers, the distant future date of 1942. -- Brett Beasley in the Public Domain review on one of the first modern urban apocalypse stories.
"I’ve been infected by a parasite. I won’t tell you what because I don’t want you to search for it. By the time this reaches you it won’t matter much, anyway. In fact, I’m forbidding you right now from looking for anything or asking anyone. Apparently I have about twelve hours as myself. They won’t say what happens next, because it’s kind of unpredictable. There are lots of animals who’ve had it, but only two people. They won’t tell me." -- The Glad Hosts, a SF short story by Rebecca Campbell
The Ghost Of Grindr "On Wednesday Michael Musto has an item in his column that reads “We’ve all met someone online with attractive photos who then shows up at your door looking like something from Night of the Living Dead, but rumors are growing amongst app-happy gays of a real life ‘ghost trick’ who shows up at your apartment via Grindr, then vanishes into thin air (shady!). I don’t know what to think of this urban legend-y tale, but shaken witnesses are sticking by their stories, and police have been involved in a few incidents, so be careful out there, boys (and ghouls).”
Tor.com presents "As Good As New" a short story by Charlie Jane Anders about a girl, the apocalypse, and making sure those three wishes count.
The Boy Who Grew Up by Christopher Barzak is a Peter Pan story featured in the first issue of Uncanny Magazine, a kickstarter funded SF/F magazine co-edited by Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas and Hugo Award-nominee Michael Damian Thomas. Issue One contains fiction by Kat Howard and Max Gladstone (Gladstone previously) as well as non-fiction essays including "The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Films On The Web".
Tor.com presents Max Gladstone's A Kiss With Teeth, in which an ancient evil settles down and tries out middle-class married life.
"He makes love to her, his first time with a woman, but she's not really a woman—is a woman, then a man, then his exact double, then a peacock, feathers alluringly erect. " Rumaan Alam's "Scene From A Marriage" imagines the domestic bliss of Zeus and Hera and assorted boytoys.
Six short stories by Edwardian humorist and short-form master H. H Munro (Saki) that do not appear in any yet-published collection of Saki’s “complete” short stories, taken from an appendix in A.J. Langguth’s A Life of H.H. Munro (1982).
Leigh Bardugo writes haunting, Eastern-European inspired fairy tales (Previously) often highlighting the experience of women in a unfair world. Tor.com presents two new stories, the somber "The Too-Clever Fox" and the subversive "Little Knife."
"No, I took her voice for two simple reasons—she was a twit and she was in love. I took one look at her and knew that she’d spill everything she knew in the pretty human boy’s ear, and then where would we be?" - The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight by Ursula Vernon.
The uncommonly well-moderated and researched Ask Historians subreddit answers the question: What common medieval fantasy tropes have little-to-no basis in real medieval European history?
SF/F legend Connie Willis pours a preview of a near-future version of the story of backstage back-stabbing, " All About Eve" with "All About Emily" for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
Celebrate author Laura Ingalls Wilder's 147th birthday with a recipe for Laura's Wedding Cake, taken from Little House Cookbook, Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories. (The Hairpin)
The collaborative wiki-as-fiction site, Secure Contain Protect (previously), held a contest to determine which entry will get the coveted SCP - 2000 spot. The theme? Science Fiction. Read the winning entry here, and the rest of the alien-spaceship-crashing-memetic-virus-watching-living-TV-show-spreading contestants here.
Hey! It looks like you're trying to write an original character for your fiction/fanfic/RPG, why not run it through The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test and make sure you're not actually writing a self-insert wish-fulfillment fantasy.
A new iteration of the august tradition of fictional Amazon.com product reviews has arrived: The 2-in-1iPotty Activity Seat for iPad. (scroll down for reviews)
Zero Hours - For a workshop on future London, Arup, Social Life, Re.Work, Commonplace, Tim Maughan and Nesta created 10 Future Londoners for the year 2023. This one describes the working day of 19 year old Nicki, a zero hours retail contractor.
Cecil Crowninshield, resident mystical defender of Salem Massachusetts, has put down his Lumurian Quartz topped wand and picked up the keyboard to help keep his neighbors informed of goings-on around town via a series of local news columns - Impress your date! - The Top Five Salem Sandwiches and the ghosts who stole them! - Magick On A Budgetk! When not writing his regular column, Cecil enjoys commenting on others. [via mefi projects]
A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
"I have thrown a terrarium of land crabs on the floor at a party in a drunken rage, I have known regret. "
Actor and writer James Urbaniak (Venture Brothers, American Splendor) has a wry, occasionally upsetting "fictional podcast" with every episode written by a new author. Getting On With James Urbaniak.
Television Without Pity re-capper Jacob Clifton has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
Around 1992 Mondo 2000 magazine asked: "R.U A Cyperpunk?"
SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks about the future of "big idea" Science Fiction: If SF's core message (to the extent that it ever had one) is obsolete, what do we do next?
The Onion's AV Club Asks: Just How Prescient Was Hackers Anyway?
One of the most popular stories on the Amazon Kindle marketplace is ...Wesley Crusher Slash Fic?. (i09)
AN ANACONDA UNHINGES ITS MAGNIFICENT JAW. INSIDE, THE BRIGHT SCREEN OF A FREE IPAD RESTS JUST WITHIN ARM'S REACH
Daniel Manitou is ActualPerson084 on Twitter. He writes slices of life about marketing and unspeakable horror. He is a real person and not a metal ghost in a rainbow box.
We all know beloved fantasy author Terry Pratchett has a sword, but did you know he has his own Coat of Arms?
On Writing Gay Characters : Megan Rose Gedris.at Squidoo talks about common mistakes and preceptions to avoid when writing LGBT characters.
The Invasion From Outer Space: Steven Millhauser gives The New Yorker a short, unsettling sci-fi story.