106 posts tagged with scifi and sf.
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Storytelling explained visually

Jeff VanderMeer, best known for his SF Southern Reach triology (previously, previously), wrote a guide for writing fiction: Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction (previously). An Illustrated Guide to Writing Scenes and Stories summarizes key points of the book and is a great resource for highly visual thinkers.
posted by zardoz on Sep 8, 2016 - 15 comments

Ancillary Justice Fan Trailer

A fan made trailer for Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Aug 15, 2016 - 52 comments


In 1998, cult horror author Thomas Ligotti and coworker Brandon Trenz wrote a script for an episode of The X-Files which draws more on Ligotti's style and sentiment than on Kolchalk and flying saucers. The episode, "Crampton", was never produced, but the text is online.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 18, 2016 - 26 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

Temporal Gentrification

"The past is like a foreign country: They have weird McDonald’s specials there. Here, it's a burger with olives and larks' tongues; it's called the McTrojan Deluxe, which makes it sound like there's something sneaky hiding inside it, which if you hate olives is true. I hate olives. But they also serve wine, so I'm drinking lots of wine. It’s unpleasantly packed in the restaurant, but then, it’s packed everywhere." Time Travel tourism takes off in 'Trojan Horses' a short story by Jess Zimmerman [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 17, 2016 - 17 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

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

Memory, Law, and Recording

Sci-Fi Author (and Metafilter's own) Charlie Stross has an interesting thought experiment: Could you get to a technological society without the use of writing? And if so, what would that look like?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 3, 2016 - 58 comments

Sci Sci Fi

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

This place has changed a lot.

These photos are why I'm trapped in Tokyo forever now is an animated photo essay about ... some kind of Tokyo.
posted by grobstein on Nov 29, 2015 - 15 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 paradigmatic fantasy of the Age of Aquarius

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

There’s only one class of people who don’t like escape

"It’s very nice to have my story go out there, and if it’s in a different form, I want the thing to mutate slightly." Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro discuss genre, escapism, copyright and how stories expand over time at The New Statesman. (via io9)
posted by thecaddy on Jun 5, 2015 - 22 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

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

"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

100 Scifi-Themed Songs, best or not

io9 has come up with a surprisingly good list of 100 science-fiction-themed songs. The comments are actually pretty great, with a lot more songs. There's rap, heavy metal, folk, polka, you name it. Still missing: more coverage of songs in languages other than English. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Oct 24, 2014 - 100 comments

Star Trek Fact Check

Sifting through decades of publications, oral history and archival records, Michael Kmet sets the record straight on numerous aspects Star Trek: TOS production history lore. Was "Spock's Brain" originally conceived as a comedy episode? Did Roddenberry write the lyrics to the theme song as a cash grab? Which of the Mercury Seven did Roddenberry try to get as guest stars? [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on Oct 13, 2014 - 12 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

Spaceman, I always wanted you to know...

How do you say controversial in your Terran language? The top 40 space movies, as decreed by the Telegraph. (Deslided)
posted by Mezentian on Sep 5, 2014 - 141 comments

If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

Hum Hum Beep

12 Hours of the Ambient noise in Deckard's apartment in Blade Runner.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 12, 2014 - 20 comments


On the Scientific-Marvelous Novel and Its Influence on the Understanding of Progress, written by Maurice Renard in 1909. Via.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 7, 2014 - 5 comments

Beyond "tea, Earl Grey, hot" and Soylent green

MIND MELD: Food in Science Fiction versus Fantasy
This week we asked about Food and Drink in SF. Food and Drink in science fiction sometimes seems limited to replicator requests for Earl Grey tea and Soylent green discs. Why doesn’t do as much food as Fantasy? Does Fantasy lend itself more to food than Science fiction? Why? This is what they had to say…
[more inside] posted by Lexica on Aug 1, 2014 - 73 comments

"All Good Things..." 20 Years Later

Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga discuss writing the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale. [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on May 23, 2014 - 43 comments

Disk Around a Star

An Alderson Disk is a science fiction megastructure imagined first by scientist Dan Alderson. It's a solid disk that is thousands of kilometers thick, with a circumference equal to the orbit of Mars or Jupiter. The habitable zone would be on both sides of the disk and would be millions of times the surface area of the Earth. Not much theoretical work has been done on its feasibility, but some have tried. Missile Gap, by MeFi's own Charles Stross, which won the Locus readers' award for best novella of 2006, features a 1960s Earth transposed to an Alderson disk and is available for free on the publisher's website.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 1, 2014 - 70 comments

We've planned too many wonders for one little star

"In 'Somebody Will' I wanted to get across why I see sci-fi and fantasy fandom as a more positive, productive world than many of the hobbies and communities common in our culture. [...] The hardest part of the piece is singing it to the end without crying."
[more inside] posted by Sokka shot first on Jan 6, 2014 - 5 comments


Saga - Sex, Robots & Rockets, The Birth of a Sci-Fi Epic
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 4, 2014 - 25 comments

Tis The Season To Secure Contain Protect

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.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 23, 2013 - 31 comments

Crack Open a Sunset Sarsaprilla And Settle In

Wayside Creations' surprisingly high-budget, on location shot Fallout New Vegas fan-series returns with: Nuka Break Season 2! (Full episode playlist). Rejoin Twig the Vault-Dweller, Ben The Ghoul , Scarlet The Escaped Slave and the Mysterious Ranger as they deal with the explosive aftermath of Season 1. (Nuka Break Previously, Wayside Creations previously)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2013 - 47 comments

Hands up and touch the sky

Starships were meant to fly.
posted by Sokka shot first on Oct 27, 2013 - 61 comments

The tornado did nothing to the sharks, sorry.

Twitter: @HardSciFiMovies imagines the plots of SF/F movies moving more in line with reality.... [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 13, 2013 - 201 comments


In a not too distant future, societies of all countries come to rely on an intricate network of artificial intelligence devices designed to bring efficacy to man's life. Yet, man continues to devour himself in useless wars. A strong political hierarchy now divides all powers into three factions, and A.I. devices rapidly gain ground as efficiency becomes a priority. As social revolts grow worse everyday, authorities seek ways to control their citizens. They decide to carry out a series of tests that will determine not only whether some crucial powers can be transferred to non human entities, but also whether man is ready to yield those powers. The world has become a cell for all man and women, who withstand and endure their lives, rather than living them. Machines might have found a solution. From now on, you are set free. [more inside]
posted by gucci mane on Oct 8, 2013 - 27 comments

The City Of Dreams Resurfaces After A Long Slumber

In the pre-podcast days of 1999, the then Sci-Fi Channel website worked with the Seeing Ear Theater and Bablyon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski to produce a series of Twilight Zone-inspired radio stories called "City Of Dreams" along with a cast that included Steve Buscemi, Tim Curry, Kevin Conway, and John Turturro. 13 episodes were planned, but only 8 got produced, and with the decline of Real Player and the Seeing Ear Theater, the episodes were thought to be lost to the mists of internet history. Until someone uploaded all of them to Youtube. (each episode about 30 min, link goes to the first video for the episode) The Damned Are Playing At Godzilla's Tonight!. Rolling Thunder .The Friends Of Jackie Clay . The Tolling Of The Hour. Night Calls. Samuel Becket, Your Ride Is Here. The Alpha And Omega Of David Wells . MSCD 00121J [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Aug 1, 2013 - 16 comments

The End of the World SF Blog

"I started the World SF Blog in February of 2009 – a century in Internet time! – partly as an excuse to promote my then-forthcoming anthology of international speculative fiction, The Apex Book of World SF – but mostly out of what can only be described as an ideological drive, a desire to highlight and promote voices seldom heard in genre fiction... The change I have seen in the four years of the blog is heartening. In a way, I have decided to stop now because the blog has fulfilled everything I ever wanted it to, and so much more." - Lavie Tidhar. The World SF Blog leaves behind 61 short stories and a serialized novella by authors from 33 countries, plus exclusive interviews, articles, guest posts and round tables (on WP.com where it's likely to stay up for a while)
posted by oneswellfoop on Jun 19, 2013 - 7 comments

The year is 2013. The name of the place: Phoenix Comicon

It's been 20 years since ground-breaking, TV-defining science fiction TV show Babylon 5 debuted. Join Phoenix Comicon in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Babylon 5 with creator J. Michael Straczynski and 14 of of the surviving Babylon 5 actors. Part 1. Part 2. Learn secrets such as why Michael O'Hare really left Babylon 5. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on May 30, 2013 - 32 comments

The Net Before The Net

John Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 30, 2013 - 31 comments

We're Going To Have To Find Out How To Deal With Lots Of Idle Hands

The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like? (Youtube 56:43)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 27, 2013 - 18 comments

European SF classic films

Classic European science-fiction movies (1916-1961) you probably haven’t seen – but you should according to io9.
posted by Mezentian on Feb 20, 2013 - 10 comments

We, The Aliens.

In Defense Of Spielberg's War Of The Worlds
posted by The Whelk on Feb 19, 2013 - 197 comments

In the future, all Space Marines will be Games Workshop

Last December Amazon blocked sales of the Ebook Spots the Space Marine by author M.C.A. Hogarth after a notice from gaming industry powerhouse Games Workshop that they had trademarked the phrase "Space Marine" and that Hogarth, and anyone else who uses it, is infringing. GW brought this complaint based on "Class 16" of their European tradmark. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Feb 7, 2013 - 77 comments

Like Lazarus with a triple bypass

Amazing Stories, "the World's First Science Fiction Magazine", founded by Hugo Gernsback in 1926 and cancelled in 1995, and resurrected in 1998 and again in 2004 before being cancelled again by Paizo Publishing in 2006, is back -- again. Amazing is now a website, claiming to have "more than 50 bloggers covering the field from more than 50 different perspectives". The idea is to develop an online following and release a print version. Bonus cover galleries from the Golden Age
posted by Mezentian on Jan 22, 2013 - 13 comments

The computer /is/ your friend

Friendship is Optimal is not a "My Little Pony" fanfic, but a SF story that starts with a procedurally-generated MLP MMO, and crescendos to what could very well be the Best Possible Outcome if self-optimizing algorithms are given /almost/ the right goals. Some readers are horrified by the implications; some want to move into "Equestria Online" anyway. Whichever camp you fall in, you'll never forget the phrase "satisfy human values through friendship and ponies".
posted by DataPacRat on Nov 28, 2012 - 41 comments

Just in time for Lazarus Long's birthday

People tend to divide noted libertarian Robert A. Heinlein's career into three different eras, with the "juveniles," the "slick" science fiction stories, and the bigger, more opinionated novels, but over in Locus Magazine, Gary Westfahl has a theory that's sure to be controversial: Heinlein's career actually divides into a slew of serious novels, followed by a swerve into satire. {Via I09} [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Nov 26, 2012 - 96 comments

...and then you strangle a giant slug with a chain.

Searching for Slave Leia fiction by Sandra McDonald. Slave Leia PSA starring Kaley Cuoco (yt), Leia's Metal Bikini, Meet the Slave Leia's of Star Wars Celebration V (yt), Slave Leia Appreciation Society, In Defense of Slave Leia , In Response to In Defense of Slave Leia.
posted by Artw on Nov 10, 2012 - 76 comments

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