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Orphan Black is Back

Clones Are People Too: The Science and Science Fiction of BBC America’s Orphan Black. BBC America's science fiction series Orphan Black has returned for a second season, with Tatiana Maslany reprising her extraordinary performance playing half a dozen different clone characters. Meanwhile, in the real world, scientists have created cloned embryonic stem cells from the DNA of two adult humans. [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Apr 26, 2014 - 66 comments

Sci-Fi Spoilers!

Spoilers for every book ever...
posted by Renoroc on Apr 3, 2014 - 33 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

"Topics galore."

Collected Essays by Rudy Rucker [via]
posted by brundlefly on Aug 21, 2013 - 7 comments

The intersection of parasitism and philosophy

The Thoreau Poison - Caleb Crain of The New Yorker takes a closer look at the ideas explored in Upstream Color (spoilers)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 16, 2013 - 19 comments

She Blinded Me ... with SCIENCE!

Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction. An intelligent discourse from The Awl about the state of modern science fiction movies. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Aug 12, 2013 - 172 comments

The Age of Networked Matter

An Aura of Familiarity: Visions from the Coming Age of Networked Matter. The Institute for the Future commissioned six science fiction writers to create short stories for their Age of Networked Matter research project. "We asked our collaborators to envision a world where humans have unprecedented control of matter at all scales, and to share with us a glimpse of daily life in that world. It was a process meant to make the future tangible." Three of the stories have appeared so far. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 28, 2013 - 9 comments

Sturgeon! Dick! Asimov! Heinlein! DeCamp! Bradbury! Sheckley! Pohl!

The very first major science fiction series for adults on radio was Mutual Broadcasting System's 2000 Plus (1950-1952). An anthology program, 2000 Plus used all new material rather than adapting published stories. Just one month after its premiere, NBC Radio began airing Dimension X (1950-1951), which dramatized the written work of such young writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. In 1955, NBC relaunched Dimension X as X Minus One (1955-1958), drawing from stories that had been published in the two most popular science fiction magazines at the time: Astounding and Galaxy. 17 of 30 episodes of 2000 Plus, all 50 episodes of Dimension X, and all 125 episodes of X Minus One are available for free download as individual mp3s from the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 12, 2013 - 23 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

OMNI Magazine Downloadable from Internet Archive

OMNI Magazine delighted, informed, and even confused geeks of many flavours, and is now available to be downloaded from the Internet Archive. [previously]
posted by batmonkey on Nov 1, 2012 - 86 comments

Space-Time Origami Engine of Dreams

In 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a scheme for virtual faster than light travel using a real-world analog to the familiar science fiction trope known as "Warp Drive." The basic premise exploited certain space-time warping effects predicted by General Relativity to fold space-time, theoretically allowing a specially designed space craft to reach distant destinations effectively at FTL speeds without actually having to accelerate to light speed or beyond at all. There was, however, at least one major problem with the proposal: The math suggested it would require as much energy as the mass of the planet Jupiter to power the thing. But according to newer calculations based on a modified version of Alcubierre's original proposal, warp speed travel may now theoretically be within reach (warning: eyeball-gouging Space.com link), requiring drastically less energy than originally thought. Of course, not everyone's convinced there's anything to see here. And even so, prohibitive energy input requirements may not be the only serious challenge facing the development of real-world warp drive technology, so don't go packing your bags for that long overdue vacation to Risa just yet.
posted by saulgoodman on Sep 17, 2012 - 73 comments

The Viable Zombie

“[...] it took more than a dozen calls to work out the details of her zombie contagion. “After about the 17th time,” says McGuire, “I called and said, ‘If I did this, this, this, this, this, this and this, could I raise the dead?’ And got, ‘Don’t … don’t do that.’ And at that point, I knew I had a viable virus.”
posted by batmonkey on Jun 27, 2012 - 70 comments

"Science fiction is, after all, the art of extrapolation." ~ Michael Dirda

Daily Science Fiction: Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish "science fiction" in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you'd likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday's weekend stories are longer.
posted by Fizz on Apr 2, 2012 - 18 comments

Day at Night, half-hour New York public television interviews from the 70s

Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 16, 2012 - 6 comments

2061

On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

That which does not kill us makes us stronger

> comp.basilisk - Frequently Asked Questions :: Is it just an urban legend that the first basilisk destroyed its creator?
Almost everything about the incident at the Cambridge IV supercomputer facility where Berryman conducted his last experiments has been suppressed and classified as highly undesirable knowledge. It's generally believed that Berryman and most of the facility staff died. Subsequently, copies of basilisk B-1 leaked out. This image is famously known as the Parrot for its shape when blurred enough to allow safe viewing. B-1 remains the favorite choice of urban terrorists who use aerosols and stencils to spray basilisk images on walls by night. But others were at work on Berryman's speculations...
[more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 6, 2011 - 88 comments

Bioshock

Scientist and Science Fiction author Joan Slonczewski, author of A Door Into The Ocean, guest blogs about science fictional and microbiology on Charles Stross's site: Salt Beings, Microbes grow the starship, Synthetic Babies
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2011 - 13 comments

Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick

Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans. (Science Fiction Studies # 5 = Volume 2, Part 1 = March 1975; Translated from the Polish by Robert Abernathy)
posted by gen on Aug 21, 2011 - 20 comments

What science fiction thinks of science

Six or seven stances science fiction movies take towards science. From John Holbo at Crooked Timber. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 26, 2011 - 50 comments

Q to the E to the D

Futurama has always been a haven for geek humor, but last week's episode "The Prisoner of Benda" pushed things to the next level. First hinted at in an American Physical Society interview with showrunner David X. Cohen (previously), staff writer and mathematics Ph.D. Ken Keeler devised a novel mathematical proof based on group theory to resolve the logic puzzle spawned by the episode's brain-swapping (but no backsies!) conceit. Curious how it works? Read the proof (in the show or in plain text), then see it in action using this handy chart. Too much math for a lazy Sunday? Then entertain your brain with lengthy clips from the episode -- including two of the funniest moments in the series in the span of two minutes.
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 22, 2010 - 130 comments

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang on Writing (and other things) (Previously)
posted by Artw on Jul 26, 2010 - 49 comments

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid

Is mysticism overtaking science in sci-fi? Does Every SF Show Need Jesus Now?
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2009 - 121 comments

Cat food.

Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
posted by crossoverman on Aug 23, 2009 - 135 comments

Rules for Time Travelers

Rules for Time Travelers [Spoiler? alert.]
posted by BitterOldPunk on May 14, 2009 - 82 comments

Dagger of the Mind

The SF Signal Mind Meld feature poses science fiction related questions to a number of SF luminaries and the scientist, science writer or blogger. Subjects have included the best women writers in SF, taboo topics in SF, underated authors and the most controversial SF novels of the past and present. The also cover lighter topics, such the role of media tie-ins, how Battlestar Galactica could have ended better (bonus Geoff Ryman) and the realistic (or otherwise) use of science on TV SF shows.
posted by Artw on May 6, 2009 - 17 comments

The Future of Everything

SpaceCollective. Where forward thinking terrestrials exchange ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction today. A growing number of universities, architecture and design schools are conducting projects on this site. Hundreds of art treasures, educational videos and narratives are found in their galleries. Every SpaceCollective member is provided with a personal time capsule, preserving their contributions for the edification of each other as well as future times and beings.
posted by netbros on Apr 7, 2009 - 5 comments

Fiction vs Science

Ken MacLeod, Paul Cornell, Iain [M] Banks and Ian Watson comment on the relationship between science fiction and science fact.
posted by shoesfullofdust on Mar 18, 2009 - 49 comments

Contracting SyFyllis

Sci Fi has a new name. Now it's SyFy. The Sci Fi Channel is distancing itself from its geek demographic by rebranding its network. The former SyFy Portal website (a nerd news outlet) has been rebranded "Airlock Alpha" after selling the name to an "undisclosed recipient".
posted by crossoverman on Mar 16, 2009 - 257 comments

Time Travel gives you a headache...

The new Star Trek movie is both canon and a (partial) reboot. Screenwriter Roberto Orci explains using canon examples - and a discussion of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Dec 14, 2008 - 107 comments

Make it work

"He's always thinking about lots of things — he's a pollinator, he brings ideas to the table" You probably know Neal Stephenson for his work as an author (generally in or adjacent to the Science Fiction genre), but he's also an inventor at Washington based "Idea Factory" Intellectual Ventures, a place with modern goals like stomping out malaria and preventing hurricanes. This is after his old job as part-time rocket scientist.
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2008 - 17 comments

Warp Drive

Putting the Warp into Warp Drive.
posted by homunculus on Jul 28, 2008 - 60 comments

Sexy-smelling deceptive robot cockroaches!

Remember that X-files episode? The one with the robot cockroaches from outer space? Well, scientists in Belgium have created robots that act like cockroaches, and are accepted by the real cockroaches because they smell sexy to them. Better yet, the scientists were able to use the robots to change how the cockroaches behaved. [more inside]
posted by gingerbeer on Nov 17, 2007 - 16 comments

You can’t trade with balls of frozen methane.

Geoff Ryman on mundane science fiction. [previously, via]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 22, 2007 - 82 comments

Breaking: Science fiction is fiction

Ruining science fiction: Not only are the science fiction cliches humorously skewered in the Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy, but the science itself is wrong. For example, despite the best efforts of SF writers, interstellar trade will never work, unless wine costs $11 billion a bottle. Slower-than-light travel is much harder than you think, and warp drives are far away. Space battles, if they happen, won't have fighters and dramatic dogfights, but instead involve vast distances and maneuvers lasting years. And you can ruin a whole lot more science fiction with real science (and wonderful examples) at Atomic Rocket. Don't follow the links if you want to read Heinlein or watch Battlestar Galactica with a light heart.
posted by blahblahblah on May 8, 2007 - 185 comments

"We're space explorers, and we need space!"

Where did you want to live when you grew up? If you're like me, you read Clarke's SF classic, Rendezvous with Rama (soon to be a major motion picture?). Donald E. Davis took what we dreamed about and illustrated it, for NASA. His depictions of O'Neill Cylinders, Stanford Tori, and Bernal Spheres are in the public domain (and make excellent desktop wallpaper).
posted by Eideteker on Feb 2, 2007 - 24 comments

Where's My Flying Car?

Where Science Meets Fiction "Explore the wide variety of inventions and ideas of science fiction writers - over 975 are available on Technovelgy (that's tek-novel-gee!)." Science fiction inventions become reality. Sort of.
posted by ereshkigal45 on Mar 10, 2006 - 3 comments

Latro, Cerebrus, Suns New, Long and Short - Gene Wolfe

We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges. When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin, an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life--they are soldiers from that moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then, but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all.

Gene Wolfe      -     Now step within Father Inire's mirrors....
posted by y2karl on Jan 15, 2004 - 25 comments

Anyone got the time?

Just how plausable is time travel? Could you go back in time and kill your own grandfather?. Would you want to? Time travel is a popular subject for films, but do the writers work out exactly what is happening? Current opinion seems to be that time travel is only possible to the future, and is only one way, by travelling at near light speed. However despite this, time machines seem to already be on sale.
posted by Orange Goblin on Feb 10, 2003 - 53 comments

Parallel universes

Parallel universes Alternate universes may exist besides our own in some ghostly manner. Various science-fiction series explore parallel universes, but what do serious physicists think? Hugh Everett III's doctoral thesis outlines a controversial theory in which the universe at every instant branches into countless parallel worlds. Physicist Andrei Linde's theory of self-reproducing universes implies that new universes are being created all the time through a budding process. Stephen Hawking's quantum cosmology also suggests the possibility of other universes connected by wormholes. Some scientists feel that the famous photon double slit experiments proves the existence of parallel universes in which a photon from one universe interacts with a photon from another. Black hole theory suggests that black holes may be portals to parallel universes.
    Science-fiction stories about parallel universes always delight the mind. Two of my favorite SF novels on parallel universes are Heinlein's Job and Number of the Beast. Several others intrigue me, such as The Neoreality Series, Diaspora, and Parallelities. Science books on the subject include a famous book by David Deutsch.
    Do you have any favorite books on parallel universes or parallel realities, fiction or nonfiction? What do you think? No doubt, scientists and science-fiction authors will continue to explore the concept in the decades to come.
posted by Morphic on Oct 21, 2002 - 64 comments

A Few Words About Jack Vance

A Few Words About Jack Vance. Gersen entered a hall with a floor of immaculate white glass tiles. On one hand was the display wall, characteristic of middle-class European homes; here hung a panel intricately inlaid with wood, bone and shell: Lenka workmanship from Nowhere, one of the Concourse planets; a set of perfume points from Pamfile; a rectangle of polished and perforated obsidian; and one of the so-called "supplication slabs"* from Lupus 23II.
* The nonhuman natives of Peninsula 4A, Lupus 23II, devote the greater part of their lives to the working of these slabs, which apparently have a religious significance. Twice each year, at the solstices, two hundred and twenty-four microscopically exact slabs are placed aboard a ceremonial barge, which is then allowed to drift out upon the ocean. The Lupus Salvage Company maintains a ship just over the horizon from peninsula 4A. As soon as the raft has drifted out of sight of land, it is recovered, the slabs are removed, exported and sold as objets d'art.
(Not for season ticket holders to The Short Attention Span Theater -More within)
posted by y2karl on Apr 10, 2002 - 39 comments

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