245 posts tagged with sciencefiction and scifi.
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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

"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

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

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

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

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

"[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

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

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

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

"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

Don’t do it. Don’t fight Sisko.

If I fought this DS9 character, would I win?
posted by panama joe on Dec 13, 2015 - 86 comments

"Doctor Smith, please! You're making The Robot very unhappy!"

In September, sci-fi master Irwin Allen’s 1965 cult TV classic, Lost In Space marked its 50th anniversary. Now, Netflix has won a bidding war to remake the series. Meanwhile… [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 3, 2015 - 62 comments

And now, a departure from "Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf"

The "SyFy" network has released the first episode of their space noir television adaptation of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse novels on YouTube: "Dulcinea." (region-restricted to US viewers only -- contains a scene that may be NSFW) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2015 - 79 comments

"I'm Heading Out to the Black. Farewell, io9 and Gizmodo!"

Annalee Newitz (prev) is jumping ship for Ars Technica.
posted by valkane on Dec 1, 2015 - 38 comments

You won't get a better collection of AfroSFF

Nigerian AfroSFF writer Wole Talabi shares links to his favourite 10 short stories of 2015 with a short intro.
posted by infini on Nov 29, 2015 - 11 comments

You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else.

Alien 3's perfect shot [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 24, 2015 - 137 comments

The Worlds of Øyvind Thorsby

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]
posted by BiggerJ on Nov 12, 2015 - 8 comments

The Zack Parsons Project

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]
posted by BiggerJ on Oct 23, 2015 - 16 comments

In a universe at a slightly different frequency

In a universe at a slightly different frequency than ours there was an alternate Hugo Ballot. Below the fold are links to the authors and works: [more inside]
posted by ladyriffraff on Sep 19, 2015 - 28 comments

Can Raging White Guys Succeed in Hijacking Sci-Fi’s Biggest Awards?

The Hugo Award process has always been hackable, There was just never anyone narcissistic enough to hack it. [more inside]
posted by AGameOfMoans on Aug 21, 2015 - 860 comments

The weird worlds of African sci-fi

African sci-fi features all manner of weird and outlandish things, from crime-fighting robots to technological dystopias. But could they be closer to predicting the future than they realise?
posted by infini on Jul 10, 2015 - 24 comments

the paradigmatic fantasy of the Age of Aquarius

Dune, 50 years on
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 3, 2015 - 100 comments

Saga of the Sagas

This years proposed Worldcon rule changes included one introducing a new Hugo Award, for Best Saga:

A work of science fiction or fantasy appearing in multiple volumes and consisting of at least 400,000 words of which the latest part was published in the previous calendar year.

Initially the new award was coupled with the removal of an old one: Best Novellete. This raised some objections and that part of the proposal was removed. What would the winners of Best Saga Award look like? Brandon Kempner tries modeling it based on The Locus Awards and Goodreads.
posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2015 - 93 comments

Who are you?

Answer the following questions in any language(s), formats, or paradigmatic expressions with which you are comfortable. Videographers are available for those most comfortable in physical languages. If you need further support to fully actualize your responses, do not hesitate to ask the Proctor for any materials or mediums you require. When you have finished, virtually or physically attach all answers to this questionnaire.
"Application for the Delegation of First Contact: Questionnaire Part B," a short story by Kathrin Köhler. Additionally: Köhler on the inspirations and influences for this piece.
posted by mixedmetaphors on May 26, 2015 - 12 comments

An Entire Stable of Characters in One Issue

Wham-O (previously) revolutionized the circle, the torus and the sphere, but they once did something innovative with the humble rectangle: Wham-O Giant Comics (alternate ad here), intended to be a quarterly magazine but ultimately the only issue released by the company. You can read it in its entirety here and read critiques of its contents here. It's an anthology whose contents run the gamut of genres, so if you don't like a story, you can just skip to the next. Of particular note are Radian and Goody Bumpkin, drawn by Wally Wood (previouslies).
posted by BiggerJ on May 22, 2015 - 13 comments

Where No Freak or Geek Has Gone Before

Other Space: A sci-fi workplace comedy created by Paul Feig. Featuring Milana Vayntraub (a.k.a. the lady from the AT&T ad), Karan Soni (a.k.a. the dude from the AT&T ad), and Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu from MST3K.
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 25, 2015 - 27 comments

2015 Hugo Nominees Announced

The 2015 Hugo Nominees have been announced. Notably, authors from Brad R. Torgensen's "Sad Puppies" slate have successfully secured all of the nominations for both the Novella and Novellette categories, a result which is bound to cause significant discussion.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Apr 4, 2015 - 2489 comments

"We see the Universe as a machine."

Sundays is a beautiful science fiction short film by Dutch director Mischa Rozema of PostPanic Pictures for roughly $50000. The film was also intended to be a concept pitch for a feature, and it worked as intended, sparking a bidding war between Hollywood studios.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 1, 2015 - 40 comments

"Being a grown-up is highly overrated"

Never Give Up, Never Surrender: Cosplay After 40
My name is Phaedra Cook, I am 46 years old and I’m a cosplayer. That sounds like some kind of intro to a confession at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, doesn’t it? There are certain types of people who would like me to have a sense of shame about my hobby, but that’s not going to happen.
[more inside] posted by Lexica on Mar 5, 2015 - 43 comments

The Starlost

It could have been the greatest television show ever. Conceived by Harlan Ellison. Ben Bova acting as technical advisor. Special effects genius Douglas Trumbull was on board. Scripts and storylines had been contracted from Phillip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Joanna Russ, Thomas M. Disch, Alexei Panshin and A.E. van Vogt. Keir Dullea starred. (Dave from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Guest stars: John "Baltar" Colicos (Battlestar Galactica), Walter Koenig (Star Trek) and Barry Morse (Space:1999). And then it all fell apart. In all, 16 deliciously terrible episodes of The Starlost were made. Was it the worst science fiction series ever? Watch and decide for yourself! [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 19, 2015 - 119 comments

Indigenous Science Fiction narratives

This was the official inauguration of indigenous futurism. The movement is in part about speaking back to the SF genre, which has long used indigenous subjects as the foils to stories of white space explorers hungry to conquer new worlds. Given these continuously re-hashed narratives of “the final frontier,” it is no coincidence that western science fiction developed during a time of imperial and capitalist expansion. Science/speculative fiction author Nalo Hopkinson, known for her use of creole languages and Caribbean oral stories in her works, writes that people of color engaging with SF “take the meme of colonizing the natives and, from the experience of the colonizee, critique it, pervert it, fuck with it, with irony, with anger, with humor and also, with love and respect for the genre of science fiction that makes it possible to think about new ways of doing things.”
posted by infini on Feb 11, 2015 - 18 comments

How To Tell If You Are In A Soft Science Fiction Novel

Racism no longer exists now that all of humanity has banded together to speak English, vote democratically, adhere to 20th-century American social standards, and battle alien intruders in a thinly veiled metaphor for anti-immigration sentiment.
By Mallory Ortberg. [slthetoast]
posted by cthuljew on Jan 30, 2015 - 171 comments

Future so bright

Yes, yes—We live in the Gibsonian tomorrow, the grim meathook future, the ever-weirder cyberpunk dystopia. But it won't be that way forever. Well, it might get weirder. But good-weird. To that end, the latest anthology from The Sockdolager, You Gotta Wear Shades, contains an astonishing seven tales of brighter futures. Because we happen to think things are in fact gonna get better.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 1, 2015 - 25 comments

What are you doing here? ... Physician, heal thyself.

The first 15 mins of all the episodes of classic Doctor Who at the same time. (SLYT)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 8, 2014 - 12 comments

I'm going to punch Cardassia out of orbit. Hold my calls.

Shamus Young reviews Star Trek. (Almost) all of it. [more inside]
posted by lharmon on Dec 5, 2014 - 32 comments

"The Culture represents the place we might hope to get to"

The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we've got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren't terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we'll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.
In 2010 Jude Roberts interviewed Iain M. Banks for her PhD. Banks discusses his utopia, The Culture, which he created in a series of science fiction novels.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 19, 2014 - 71 comments

"Tomorrow's news today"

Why We Terraformed a New Home for Future Fiction: "Science fiction is an extremely powerful tool. Not for predicting the future, but for clarifying our present. We want to see that happening not just in monthly magazines, but on Reddit, Digg, and Facebook. We want fiction to be part of your feed." Vice has launched its new site for short-form science fiction, Terraform, with new stories by Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, and "exciting newcomers."
posted by jbickers on Nov 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Nature Special: Futures, adding some fiction into science, once a week

What does the future hold? Is there life beyond the stars? Will artificial intelligence take over the world? Is time travel possible? All of these questions and more are addressed every week in Futures, Nature's science-fiction column. Featuring short stories from established authors and those just beginning their writing career, Futures presents an eclectic view of what may come to pass.... Prepare to be amazed, amused, stimulated and even outraged … That's the blurb from Nature's Futures online archive, with almost 400 short stories (under 1,000 words) to browse, and one new story added each week. If that is a daunting list to face, you can check out SF2 Concatenation's selection of the very best of the SF short stories from the journal Nature, with about 30 top picks as PDFs, instead of the web pages on Nature.com
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 16, 2014 - 6 comments

Looking at Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series.

Isaac Asimov's Foundation: The little idea that became science fiction's biggest series [SPOILERS] (io9)
On the planet Terminus, a group of academics struggles to survive as the Galactic Empire crumbles. With no weapons, all they can rely on are the predictions of a dead genius named Hari Seldon. That's right — it's time to discuss Isaac Asimov's Foundation!

Welcome to Foundation Week, a Blogging the Hugos special event. In 1983, Isaac Asimov won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for Foundation's Edge, in which he revisited his groundbreaking Foundation mythos for the first time in over thirty years. Because the Foundation series is such classic, quintessential, and beloved science fiction — the original stories won their own unique Hugo for Best All-Time Series in 1966, and influenced artists from Douglas Adams to George Lucas — Josh Wimmer and Alasdair Wilkins will be discussing each of the seven books between today and Sunday. We begin with Foundation, published in 1951.
[more inside] posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 13, 2014 - 87 comments

When Science Fiction Grew Up

How renegade sci-fi writers of the 1960s paved the way for today's blending of literary and genre fiction [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2014 - 34 comments

Broke into the wrong goddamn rec room, didn't ya you bastard!?

Monster Legacy, a blog "trying to delve into the secrets of the making of Movie Monsters," presents Subterranean Terror, an in depth look at the creature effects of the greatest Precambrian sandworm horror-comedy franchise of all time. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 29, 2014 - 32 comments

SIMILO

SIMILO. "2065. The entire planet is hit by the effects of climate change. One of the few places that remain habitable is Antarctica, where corporations have built private cities. Hebe and Ciro get back together again. She is looking for love. He is searching for his own identity." [NSFW, Via]
posted by homunculus on Sep 21, 2014 - 9 comments

Future Politics

Future Politics (PDF link) is a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign class by Jake Bowers on the political theory of science fiction and a great recommended reading and discussion list for the rest of us.

How can imagining the future help us understand the present? How does considering the future help us think critically about politics today?...The future hopes and imaginings of past political thinkers do not include either enough detail or enough information about our rapidly changing technological, social, political, and economic landscape to provide us with enough practice to confidently confront the future as citizens as it happens to us. Science fiction allows us a much more detailed view of life in alternative futures, and the writers that we choose to read here tend to think seriously and logically about how current cutting edge technology might have social and political ramifications — however, science fiction authors are also mostly working on a narrative and thus may skim over core concepts that ought to organize our thinking about politics and society. Thus, we read both together in order to practice a kind of theoretically informed futurism (which is not the same as prediction or forecasting, but is more like the practice of confronting the unexpected).
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Sep 17, 2014 - 4 comments

#5½: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss... YEEEAAH..."

"10 Lessons From Real-Life Revolutions That Fictional Dystopias Ignore"...because sometimes the biggest problems with Science Fiction is less 'getting the Science wrong' and more 'getting the Social Science wrong'.
posted by oneswellfoop on Sep 15, 2014 - 30 comments

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