907 posts tagged with sciencefiction.
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"The real award is the warm regard and respect of our peers and fans"

On Thursday, the 1941 Retro-Hugo Awards were presented at the 74th Worldcon. Relevant material online includes Slanology: An In-Depth Guide to A.E. van Vogt's Slan, "A Study of 'If This Goes On--'," 1950s radio adaptations of "The Roads Must Roll", comments/links on "Robbie", and Batman #1, as well as a review round-up of many finalists. The 2016 Hugo Awards ceremony set for 8pm CDT this evening will have both video and text coverage (see also #MAC2 on Twitter). The nominees have been broken down by slate at File 770, and Alexandra Erin offers timely remarks in anticipation of the outcome.
posted by Wobbuffet on Aug 20, 2016 - 156 comments

Troubling, enduring work of New England’s strangest son

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.
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 18, 2016 - 34 comments

Story of Your Life

Trailer for Arrival, the new Denis Villeneuve film based on a Ted Chiang short story, starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner. Ted Chiang on seeing his stories adapted to the screen. Previous Ted Chiang.
posted by Artw on Aug 17, 2016 - 48 comments

how many have you read?

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.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 9, 2016 - 152 comments

“But which is the biggest, dumbest object of them all?”

Big Dumb Objects: Science Fiction's Most Mysterious MacGuffins by Damien Walter [The Guardian] “When the unknown is also alien, the mystery only grows more magnetic. Think of that iconic opening to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey: a family of apes wake one morning to find a black monolith looming over them; that had its origins in Arthur C Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. Did some super-advanced civilisation intercede in the early evolution of intelligent life on earth? Or was the monolith just filming a very special edition of Life on Earth? We don’t know, and never find out. But this shiny, looming thing is just one of many Big Dumb Objects [wiki] that have turned up in science fiction over the decades.”
posted by Fizz on Jul 22, 2016 - 50 comments

Barclay Under Pressure

In the almost too perfect Star Trek universe, Lt. Reginald "Reg" Barclay started out as a insecure and neurotic comic relief but became one of its most lovable and relatable characters. Here's a surprisingly sweet tribute to Reg.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jul 18, 2016 - 40 comments

Explore the Psi Factor, the unknown, with the O.S.I.R and Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd grew up with psychic researchers and seances, which lead to the original Ghost Smashers idea, which in turn would become the Ghostbusters film. As he and his father, Peter, discussed on Q TV, their shared interest in the unexplained continued. A significant work of theirs was Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, a Canadian science fiction drama television series co-created by Peter Aykroyd and Christopher Chacon, a researcher of psychic and parapsychological phenomena, and episodes are hosted by Dan Aykroyd. You can now see the show, as archived by fans, on YouTube (72 episode playlist). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 17, 2016 - 12 comments

“May the Force be with us.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Celebration Reel [YouTube] Go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 17, 2016 - 36 comments

"The International Space Police Force ... is a shambles"

Star Cops [YT playlist]: A "blast from the past" that is "paranoid in the way only Cold War eighties drama can be." The ISPF's commander "finds himself stonewalled ... while investigating old crimes with new sci-fi spins ... Throughout the series he picks up a motley collection of 'waifs and strays' ... Some of the plots seem eerily prescient today ... The show is both optimistic that we'll get 'out there' tinged with a realisation that we'll take the worst aspects of humanity on the journey. It's flawed brilliance." [more inside]
posted by Wobbuffet on Jul 16, 2016 - 7 comments

“...with vintage fonts and mottled with faux film grain.”

Netflix’s sci-fi throwback Stranger Things is Yesterday’s Summer Blockbuster Today [A.V. Club] Stranger Things is stylish, beguiling, and eminently bingeable, but it isn’t skeptic-proof. The Duffer brothers, who previously worked on Fox’s surprisingly compelling Wayward Pines, should know by now that open-ended supernatural mysteries are going to dissuade some viewers, particularly those who have felt duped by such stories in the recent past. But anyone willing to push through their resistance will find a borderline hypnotic show that could be to this summer what USA’s Mr. Robot was to last summer: a hyper-stylized niche series that feels essential even at its wobbliest. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 15, 2016 - 51 comments

100 African Writers of SFF - Part One Nairobi

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.
posted by infini on Jul 14, 2016 - 4 comments

I'm not sure his this happens, only that it does.

The Forbidden Words Of Margaret A. is a science fiction story by L. Timmel Duchamp, first published in 1990, describing a journalist's heavily-vetted meeting with a woman whose words have been declared illegal by the American government. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jul 13, 2016 - 27 comments

Who's On First (I always wanted to use that as a title)

The pop culture site DigitalSpy ran a poll to determine the most popular science fiction TV series of all time (not including animated or 'comic book based' shows). The winner, with almost 5,000 out of 50,000 votes, was perennial British show Doctor Who (not surprising since it is a British site). But the runner-up, just a hundred votes behind, WAS surprising: '90s space station epic Babylon 5. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jul 5, 2016 - 67 comments

If We Wrote Men Like We Write Women

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?
posted by happyroach on Jun 22, 2016 - 166 comments

The sounds of starships

The background engine noises of iconic science fiction spaceships can be remarkably soothing. That is why Spike Snell created 12-hour sound loops of the background hum of the TNG Enterprise (prev.), the old Battlestar Galactica (and the new), a Cylon Basestar, the Discovery from 2001, the Heart of Gold, the Millennium Falcon (made from the sound of a P-51 Mustang), Mass Effect's Normandy, Babylon 5, Serenity, and hundreds more. Strangely, these fake space ship sounds don't sound too different from the actual noise on the ISS or space shuttle Atlantis. And if you don't like any of these, you can always generate your own!
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 9, 2016 - 30 comments

2001: A Picasso Odyssey

2001: A Picasso Odyssey - '2001' rendered in the style of Picasso using Deep Neural Networks based style transfer. More details.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2016 - 28 comments

We have portkeys! Boom! Middle of the ocean!

Cartoonist Boulet (previously, previously, related previously) thinks about the problem with all these elaborate traps in adventure movies.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 1, 2016 - 66 comments

Bisexual Buccaneers from Both-Ways Bay

How Tumblr Users Transformed a Homophobic Post Into a Dystopian Science Fiction Lovefest [more inside]
posted by moody cow on May 30, 2016 - 27 comments

M I N D W E B S

Mind Webs: semi-dramatized readings of classic science fiction stories by Le Guin, Ballard, Wolfe, Clarke, Dick, Bester, Bradbury, Sheckley, Lafferty, Leiber, Merril, Brunner, Russ, Davidson, Matheson, Vonnegut, deFord, Asimov, Counselman, Spinrad, Bloch, Niven, Clingerman, Harrison, Sturgeon, Aldiss, Knight, Saberhagen, Saxton, Pohl, Silverburg, Cheever, Zelazny, Farmer, Simak, Dybek, Dahl, Priest, and many others. Originally broadcast between the late 70s and early 90s by WHA (AM) of Madison, Wisconsin. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on May 20, 2016 - 10 comments

Are my points safe?

Hyper-Reality presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media.
posted by brundlefly on May 19, 2016 - 25 comments

Friday Flash Fiction: Plot Elements used in Plot.

17 Amazing Plot Elements... When You See #11, You'll Be Astounded! [more inside]
posted by storybored on May 5, 2016 - 9 comments

Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge

On Saturday morning you're given a title, a line of dialogue, and a description of a prop. Exactly 48 hours later, your team hands in a completed 5-minute science fiction film. The shortlisted 5-minute films to win this year's challenge have just been announced, and are free to watch here. Plus, in a new twist for this year, the shortlisted flash fiction (<1500 words) entries based on the same time limit and randomised prompts. [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on May 3, 2016 - 6 comments

I prefer the term "acticulated figurine" myself...

The Failed ‘Operation: Aliens’ Cartoon and the Kenner Toys it Inspired
posted by Artw on Apr 27, 2016 - 19 comments

Puppies All the Way Down

The 2016 Hugo Award finalists have been announced. As is probably to be expected given the problems of the last two years slates have yet again had an outsized influence on the nominations. Though various fixes have been proposed the future of the award may be in doubt.
posted by Artw on Apr 26, 2016 - 420 comments

A Private Little War

Between 1975 and 1977, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry planned to make a Star Trek movie, but it turned out to be anything but easy. What would it be about? Plot ideas included time travel, snake people, God, black holes and the titans of ancient Greek mythology. Writer after writer took a turn at coming up with a story, leaving behind a string of rejected screenplays. In March 1978, Paramount president Michael Eisner announced a film spin-off. The race to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 23, 2016 - 96 comments

A crash course in the history of black science fiction.

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.
posted by doctornemo on Mar 10, 2016 - 36 comments

"[C.E.] has been rejected by every single game publisher on the planet."

The story of Cosmic Encounter is about a flash of creative genius in the early seventies, followed by four decades of struggle to see that vision fully realised. Despite the rapturous critical acclaim Cosmic Encounter has accrued in the 39 years since its first publication, it has not been followed by commercial success. Indeed, the creators of the greatest boardgame in existence have never made a living off it. The making of Cosmic Encounter, the greatest boardgame in the galaxy
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Mar 9, 2016 - 43 comments

To erase the line between man and machine

Every Best Visual Effects Winner. Ex Machina [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 8, 2016 - 28 comments

Fan made beats Phantom

Darth Maul: Apprentice Making Of
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 7, 2016 - 44 comments

Towards a taxonomy of cliches in Space Opera

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.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 5, 2016 - 85 comments

I've made a lot of special modifications myself

A Complete History of the Millennium Falcon [more inside]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker on Mar 2, 2016 - 21 comments

No Utopia

By James H. Burns: Recently, a television mini-series based on Arthur C. Clarke’s classic novel, Childhood’s End, debuted internationally. But if the vagaries and fortunes of Hollywood had been just a bit different, there could have been such a production, or a theatrical feature film, far sooner, from Universal Studios - The Lost Childhood’s End: A Tale of Phil DeGuere, The Late 1970s, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Classic Novel
posted by Artw on Feb 28, 2016 - 6 comments

"Aristocrat of Science Fiction"

"That's what Life Magazine calls GALAXY!" The Internet Archive presents the complete run of classic sf magazine Galaxy, from 1950 to 1980.

Previously on MetaFilter. (via HackerNews)
posted by doctornemo on Feb 28, 2016 - 10 comments

Pulp Fiction: The Internet Archive's "If" sci-fi magazine run

"If was an American science fiction magazine launched in March 1952 by Quinn Publications, owned by James L. Quinn. The magazine was moderately successful, though it was never regarded as one of the first rank of science fiction magazines. It achieved its greatest success under editor Frederik Pohl, winning the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968." The Internet Archive hosts 176 issues of If, as part of its pulp magazine archive. [more inside]
posted by MonkeyToes on Feb 25, 2016 - 12 comments

States of Being Besides Nirvana

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]
posted by BiggerJ on Feb 23, 2016 - 16 comments

The X-Positions

Every Episode of The X-Files, Ranked From Worst to Best, not including the recent FOX revival. Regardless of how those episodes would stand up in the list, David Duchovny would love to come back for more, while Gillian Anderson might prefer to play a Bond villain.
posted by Artw on Feb 22, 2016 - 66 comments

Cult classic

John Carpenter: analysing his style and growing influence
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 21, 2016 - 28 comments

This is the last time I leave the house until I finish the novel.

Eventually, I wind up in the master bedroom, looking at a poster against the wall that has a hand-drawn map of Area X on it, just like I thought the former director would have left behind. It’s a poster I drew myself, of course. But I stare at it for a while, and a genuine feeling of dread and fear travels up my spine. I’m seeing the room through Control’s eyes—he’s looking at a map created by some unknown source, wondering what the hell it’s doing in the former director’s bedroom.

Getting an entire trilogy published in less than a year is bad for your (mental) health, as Jeff Vandermeer found out writing the Southern Reach trilogy.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 15, 2016 - 36 comments

Equality by Edward Bellamy

Equality [internet archive] was first published in 1897: "The story takes up immediately after the events of Looking Backward with the main characters from the first novel, Julian West, Doctor Leete, and his daughter Edith. West tells his nightmare of return to the 19th century to Edith, who is sympathetic. West's citizenship in the new America is recognized, and he goes to the bank to obtain his own account, or 'credit card', from which he can draw his equal share of the national product... " (previously 1,2) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 14, 2016 - 3 comments

Herland

"In 1915 women could neither vote, divorce nor work after marriage, yet in that same year the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman envisaged a revolutionary world populated entirely by women who were intelligent, resourceful and brave." -- For Radio 4 science fiction writer & critic Geoff Ryman looks at the utopian feminist tradition in science fiction, with contributions by Stephanie Saulter, Laurie Penny, Dr Sari Edelstein, Sarah Le Fanu, Dr Caitríona Ní Dhúill and Sarah Hall. Related: ten women who changed sci-fi.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 11, 2016 - 20 comments

Super supercuts

Vimeo user somersetVII has created 10 beautiful, masterful supercut videos. Coens | 30 celebrates 30 years of Coen Bros movies while Stanley Kubrick gets an appropriately moody and atmospheric tribute. Other standouts include Baseball on Film and Cinema: A Space Odyssey, which only a true fan of the genres could make.
posted by Room 641-A on Feb 8, 2016 - 8 comments

W A T E R D R O P

Waterdrop "Waterdrop" is a science fiction film about the second kind of close encounter with aliens. It is a tribute to the critically acclaimed Chinese science fiction novel "The Dark Forest"
posted by dhruva on Feb 6, 2016 - 18 comments

61st Century Lip-Synch Man

In the history of gag dubs, one of the earliesr and more obscure is a segment from MTV's Cartoon Sushi, Ultracity 6060, debuting in episode one. After the fold, all but one of its six or seven episodes, depending on how you count - one is an original parody. [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ on Jan 13, 2016 - 6 comments

Celebrating the Polyester Decade

Space 1970 :: Journey with us back to the days when special effects were created by skillful hands and spaceships were detailed models, when robots were obligatory comedy relief, when square-jawed heroes and cloaked villains battled among the stars -- and the future was fun!
posted by anastasiav on Jan 7, 2016 - 37 comments

Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?

Gordon's Alive! The Untold Story Of Flash Gordon
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 4, 2016 - 90 comments

"Only a story. Only the most important thing in the whole world."

What to do when you're not the hero any more by Laurie Penny [NewStatesman] From Star Wars to Mad Max, a new, more diverse kind of storytelling went mainstream this year - and the backlash shows how much it matters. [more inside]
posted by pibkac on Jan 3, 2016 - 61 comments

"1000 ships from a star far out in space would land on 1 January 2000"

Those mammoth vessels carried within their holds treasure of which the United States was in most desperate need: gold, to bail out the almost bankrupt federal, state, and local governments; special chemicals capable of unpolluting the environment, which was becoming daily more toxic, and restoring it to the pristine state it had been before Western explorers set foot on it; and a totally safe nuclear engine and fuel, to relieve the nation's all-but-depleted supply of fossil fuel. In return, the visitors wanted only one thing—and that was to take back to their home star all the African Americans who lived in the United States.
"The Space Traders" is a science fiction story and social parable published in 1992 by pioneering law professor and civil rights advocate Derrick Bell. In 1994, "The Space Traders" was adapted for television as one-third of HBO's Cosmic Slop, a TV-movie anthology of scifi starring people of color. Written by Trey Ellis and directed by Reginald Hudlin, the half-hour "The Space Traders" episode can be watched in its entirety here. [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Dec 31, 2015 - 21 comments

Sci Sci Fi

Scientists on their favourite science fiction
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 30, 2015 - 60 comments

"Folks at NPR thought, 'Oh good grief, we're selling out to Hollywood.'"

In 1981, NPR affiliate station KUSC hatched a bold plan to adapt George Lucas’ Star Wars for radio. Easily the most visual film of the last decade, Star Wars as a listening experience seemed like an unlikely idea, but Lucas sold them the rights to adapt the hit movie for one dollar, and opened the Lucasfilm vaults to the show’s producers: Star Wars sound effects would be available to them in their raw form, along with every note of John Williams’ music. The cast was a mixture of original Star Wars cast members, Hollywood veterans, and future TV and movie stars still in the early stages of their careers. Novelist Brian Daley and Director John Madden then turned the first three films into "movies to watch with your eyes closed." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 20, 2015 - 46 comments

Three SF Stories from 2015: Two Near Future and One Very Far

Martin L. Shoemaker's "Today I Am Paul" and Rich Larson's "Meshed" explore the emotional impact of technological developments within relatively familiar futures, and Caroline M. Yoachim's "Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World" draws on a wide variety of SF motifs to make the future a strange and sometimes poignant allegory for wonders of the past. Each story has been selected for an upcoming year's best SF anthology—either Rich Horton's or Neil Clarke's—and two received mention earlier this year from the unverified @gardnerdozois.
posted by Wobbuffet on Dec 20, 2015 - 6 comments

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