Margaret Atwood defines science fiction
"Is [the term science fiction] a corral with real fences that separate what is clearly 'science ﬁction' from what is not, or is it merely a shelving aid, there to help workers in bookstores place the book in a semi-accurate or at least lucrative way? If you put skin-tight black or silver clothing on a book cover along with some jetlike ﬂames and/or colourful planets, does that make the work 'science ﬁction'? What about dragons and manticores, or backgrounds that contain volcanoes or atomic clouds, or plants with tentacles, or landscapes reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch? Does there have to be any actual science in such a book, or is the skin-tight clothing enough? These seemed to me to be open questions."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi
on Oct 6, 2011 -
Over the summer, NPR solicited the input of its listeners to rank the top science fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted for the top picks which were then compiled into a list by their panel of experts. The result? This list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it. SF Signal comes to the rescue with this handy flowchart.
posted by Artw
on Sep 27, 2011 -
To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
posted by Trurl
on Sep 25, 2011 -
From the start of Bill Lancaster writing the original script to the final edited cut of the film, The Thing underwent some serious changes. A lot of footage ended up littering the cutting room floor. The Collector's Edition DVD gives us a look at some of the Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, but it falls shy of showing us what really was cut.
- Deleted Scenes
from The Thing
and other assorted goodies at Outpost 31
.There is also a prequel of some kind.
posted by Artw
on Sep 20, 2011 -
Section 1. In the event of the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the surviving members of the CUSFS shall be formed into a clan, henceforth referred to as 'the Clan.' The surviving members of the Board will reconvene under the new name of The Elders Who Remember The Time Before It Changed, henceforth referred to as 'the Elders.'
The Columbia University Science Fiction Society's Constitution and Bylaws
. [more inside]
posted by pts
on Sep 15, 2011 -
"Transient is a black comedy
about a homeless man who's visions lead him to believe he is an inter-dimensional savior of humanity, on a mission to save the universe. Is he indeed the 'one', chosen by mystical divine forces to embark on a crusade against ultimate evil, or a hopeless lunatic, aimlessly wandering the streets of San Francisco? Transient is a spoof on the hero's journey that's part Men in Black, part Raising Arizona, flavored with liberal portions of Ghostbusters and John Steinbeck. It is a ballad to the city by the bay, and a heartfelt tale of the sacrifices one man will take for his love for his family, his friends, and all of humankind." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Sep 3, 2011 -
NOON, 22ND CENTURY. The research vessel Pegasus is getting ready for liftoff from a spaceport near Moscow. Its small crew of three comprises interplanetary zoologist Dr. Seleznev, his adventurous nine-year-old daughter Alisa, and the terminally pessimistic Captain Zeleny. As they search for rare animal specimens to expand the Moscow zoo's collection, they will discover which of the ferocious tigerat
's two tails is longer, save a planet of robots
from a paralyzing epidemic, and deliver a modestly sized birthday cake
. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte
on Jul 8, 2011 -
"The contemporary setting and concerns of "The Steam Arm
" are a very great distance from the Gothic setting and tropes of much 1830s horror fiction, and its science fictional content makes it possibly unique."
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 6, 2011 -
After over seven years, Stephen R. Donaldson, has stopped taking questions for his monumental and amazing Gradual Interview
"After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life."
The Gradual Interview is a fully-searchable question and answer session with his readers that currently contains over 2600 exchanges on topics including minutiae about his novels, his writing process, and many other interesting subjects. [more inside]
posted by hippybear
on May 29, 2011 -
is a free political simulation game founded by author Max Barry
back in 2002 (previously
). Loosely based on his dystopian corporate thriller Jennifer Government
, the game starts
by asking players to provide some national trappings and answer a few civics questions, then generates a virtual country with a matching political outlook. Periodic policy decisions
like mining rights and compulsory voting allow players to further modify their country along axes of social, political, and economic freedom
, arriving at one of twenty-seven colorful government types
like Tyranny By Majority or Scandinavian Liberal Paradise. There's also a healthy roleplaying community -- players can discuss current events in the General forum
, practice wargaming in International Incidents
, form cooperative Regions to debate internal affairs (many of which form their own communities
), and elect Delegates to send to the World Assembly
(so renamed after an amusing cease-and-desist from the real-world U.N.
). Their collective history is thoroughly recorded in the 35,000-article NSWiki
, which provides a detailed legislative record
, gameplay guide
, and profiles on many of the 90,000 active nations
, 8,000 player regions
, and countless characters
that currently make up the game world.
posted by Rhaomi
on May 9, 2011 -
The Edgewise Guide To Filmmaking.
Screenwriter Lisa Morton kept a diary while making the very, very strange 1989 movie Meet The Hollowheads
). The low-budget sci-fi/horror/social comment/sitcom takes place in a dystopian underground suburb whose entire infrastructure, operated by monopolist corporation United Umblicial, consists of flexible tubes which carry waste, energy, and slimy and sometimes still living comestibles. The movie, the one and only directorial effort of horror FX and make-up man Tom Burman
, inspires confusion
in most viewers. Hollowheads
stars John Glover
and features a 14-year-old Juliette Lewis, her big brother Lightfield, a musical instrument made out of a live chicken
, an eyeball attached to a large intestine that lives in a glass tank, and an uncredited Bobcat Goldthwait as a lascivious cop, whose few lines include "When will children learn to just say no to butt polish?"
posted by escabeche
on May 1, 2011 -
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan
has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms
), The Gipsy Charmer
), The Tragedy of Elina
), The Activists
), The Wooden Pauper's Bride
), and Sampo
), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala
. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita
is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo
was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 30, 2011 -
Blogging the Hugos: Decline
, part 2
, part 3
), is a series of blog posts covering some dystopian trends in recent Hugo nominees and itself winner
of the of the BSFA award for non fiction. Meanwhile the 2011 Hugo finalists have been announced
, with Mefi favorites featuring strongly: In Best Novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects
by Ted Chiang (previously
), In Best Short Story The Things
by Peter Watts (previously
). Doctor who features heavily under Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (too many posts to mention
), but has strong competition from Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
posted by Artw
on Apr 24, 2011 -
Alan Moore and Ian Gibson's
epic story The Ballad of Halo Jones
concluded 25 years ago today (bar the odd strange one page appearance
hinting at why it did not return). Despite being unpopular with readers at first due to it's female protagonist and relative lack of action it is now rightly regarded as one of 2000ads classic stories. However despite Quality Comics reprinting a color monthly version (which was anything but quality) it has remained a rarity in the US, until now
. But how would the other 6 chapters of the planned 9 part chapter have gone? Moore revealed how it would have ended
in a recent interview
posted by Artw
on Apr 19, 2011 -
Following the success of The Haunter of The Dark
, the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcasts presents two new readings, From Beyond
and The Picture in The House
, by Andrew Leman and Bruce Green. Both recordings are available "In 3D". Alternatively if you like your Lovecraft with both pictures AND sound, the HP Lovecraft Historical Society version of The Whisperer in Darkness
is complete and being shown at worldwide film festivals - it's a talkie! (The HPLHS are now also offering a rather handsome "official membership"
pack.) Want something more interactive? Cthulhu Dark
offers a complete Lovecraftian tabletop RPG system that fits on two sides of a sheet of paper. Please note: "If you fight any creature you meet, you will die. Thus, in these core rules, there are no combat rules or health levels. Instead, roll to hide or escape."
posted by Artw
on Mar 29, 2011 -