National Public Radio produced at least two short runs of sci-fi radio dramas in the relatively recent past. The first of these two was Sci-Fi Radio, which was was produced out of Commerce, Texas, and broadcast on NPR in 1989-90. The producers drew their inspiration from some of the best stories from some of the best science fiction authors of the 20th century, including Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Henry Kuttner, and Poul Anderson. You can read more here on the Old Time Radio Plot Spot, or listen to the series on the Times Past Old Time Radio blog (also on Archive.org). A decade later, NPR revisited the format with 2000X: Tales of the Next Millennia, for which they won a a 2001 Bradbury Award. The official site is no longer online, but Archive.org captured Yuri Rasovsky's site for the series. Rasovsky shared two of those broadcasts and talked about his work in radio with Radio Drama Revival, and you can listen to the rest, as recorded from radio and grouped in an unsorted jumble (with duplicates), thanks to the very generous OTR Sounds.
Noted science fiction author, editor, and SFWA Grand Master Frederik Pohl has died. His granddaughter announced the news via her twitter account. Pohl was born in 1919 (the same year stainless steel was patented and a year before the first commercially licensed radio station in the US) and after nearly a century of imagining the near and far future, and sharing that with the world, he was still updating his blog [previously] on a regular basis until his death.
The Problems of the 1st and 3rd Worlds have been well covered. And in 2011 we found out about 5th World Problems and 6th World Problems. But there are new worlds and new problems (and new ways to express them). Let's explore some shall we? [more inside]
Why has there been only one non-white Worldcon chair? Because science fiction fandom is not welcoming to non-white people, because con-running has not done enough to address its own lack of diversity, because people would rather believe that fandom is inclusive than force it to become inclusive.Jonathan McCalmont writes on institutional racism in the science fiction fandom.
Network of Blood: "Videodrome’s depiction of techno-body synthesis is, to be sure, intense; Cronenberg has the unusual talent of making violent, disgusting, and erotic things seem even more so. The technology is veiny and lubed. It breaths and moans; after watching the film, I want to cut my phone open just to see if it will bleed. Fittingly, the film was originally titled 'Network of Blood,' which is precisely how we should understand social media, as a technology not just of wires and circuits, but of bodies and politics. There’s nothing anti-human about technology: the smartphone that you rub and take to bed is a technology of flesh." Nathan Jurgenson writes about Videodrome (previously) as a way of understanding our present social media technologies for Omni Magazine (previously).
"To launch a science-fiction anthology series is to dare comparisons with The Twilight Zone. Happily, Welcome to Paradox is not unworthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Rod Serling's classic show. The weekly dramas, all based on short stories, are set in Betaville [a nod to Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 dystopian sci-fi/noir film, Alphaville], a future city filled with ultrahigh technology and perennial human unhappiness.... Bottom Line: Makes the future look intriguing." The Sci-Fi channel only produced 13 episodes (archived view of their site; ep list on Wikipedia), letting the series end with one season. The show was only released on DVD in Australia, which now seems to be out of print. But fear not! You can watch the episodes on YouTube in a convenient playlist, or with separate episodes linked below the fold. [more inside]
If you rented VHS horror and sci-fi in the late eighties and early nineties, then you’ll recognize the name of Charles Band. [more inside]
Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction. An intelligent discourse from The Awl about the state of modern science fiction movies. [more inside]
The Solarnauts could've been a groovy, British Star Trek but unfortunately the pilot was never broadcast. Produced by Roberta Leigh and Arthur Provis, starrring John Garfield as "Power" and Derek Fowlds as "Tempo", it's now available in all its Gery Andersonesque glory on Youtube.
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]
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
The 2013 Locus Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy have been announced by Locus Magazine, and (at least) two MeFi writers have won in the novel categories. [more inside]
"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)
Fifteen years ago this month, the WB network premiered what they heralded as the first animated miniseries: Invasion America. [more inside]
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]
Orson Scott Card's Unaccompanied Sonata [Google Books], which he has called one of his favorite short stories, is an darkly enchanting tale about a boy who, at a young age, is taken from his family and brought to a house deep in the forest...
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]
George RR Martin created the series, then let it hang around for decades without resolution. In the last couple of years however, there's been renewed interest, new novels and a screen adaption in the works. No, not Game of Thrones: Wild Cards! [more inside]
How do you solicit freelance scripts for a science fiction television series that breaks the mold? You create a comprehensive guide to writing an episode of Star Trek. [more inside]
A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online. [more inside]
Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison & Gene Wolfe discussing Science Fiction in 1982 (slyt). And oh yeah, one of the moderators is Studs Terkel
A review of the 1971 novel "The Feminists," which portrayed the nightmarish future of 1992, where women ruled over men.
"She also found herself liking Kermit a lot more than she'd expected to. Anji had never really watched the Muppets before; her parents, like most parents she knew, had treated TV as only slightly less corrupting an influence than refined sugar and gendered toys. But The Muppet Show was really funny—strange, and kind of hokey, but charming all the same. She ended up watching way more of it than she needed just for the project. "Tomorrow Is Waiting", a short science fiction story by Holli Mintzer, published in Strange Horizons.
A man, a woman, a monster costume, gun-toting villagers ... The Elaborate End of Robert Ebb. [more inside]
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)
For generations both societies lived apart from humanity, united in their common experience as outcasts. But as so often happens when downcast but fanatical groups find themselves in the ascendancy, today their factionalism is exposed and the rivalry has erupted into open conflict. [more inside]
Classic European science-fiction movies (1916-1961) you probably haven’t seen – but you should according to io9.
Morris Scott Dollens was an active and creative science fiction fan from the earliest days of sci-fi fandom, starting with making the fanzine Science Fiction Collector via hectography at age 16. He went on to illustrate covers for various other fanzines and wrote short stories, but largely left those creative endeavors for technological hobbies and jobs related to photography and recording from the 1950s to 1960s. Following the moon landing in 1969, he began creating small-scale astronomical paintings that he mailed to sci-fi conventions all over the country, where they were part of convention art shows. He also made miniature scenes of space exploration, which he crafted as teasers for a movie, Dream of the Stars, which he sent to magazines and book publishers, but his movie was never made. [more inside]
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]
Utopia is a new British TV show about members of an online comic book forum who are in search of a cult graphic novel that can predict the future. It draws from 90s underground culture and the conspiracy theories around Grant Morrison's Invisibles. Den Of Geek spoiler-free review and links to the rest of their reviews. Spoileriffic Guardian review. Guardian reviews blog. [more inside]
Sometimes you might find yourself sitting at a computer, wanting to read something. But you don't want something long. You're thinking, what about a short story, and possibly something in the fantasy or sci-fi realms? You're in luck! Here are four collections, for your reading pleasure: Apex Magazine short fiction | Baen Ebooks Free Library, which includes some short story collections | Eclipse Online, from Nightshade Books | Strange Horizons fiction archive, including podcasts of many stories. If this is overwhelming, io9 has a pick of 5 short stories from January, with synopses. [Previously: Plane of the Ecliptic, on the Eclipse series | This isn't your grandfather's science fiction, where "Exhalation" is from the Eclipse series]
Doctor Of Celebrity Gossip and frequent chronicler of the Scandals Of Classic Hollywood (previously) Anne Helen Petersen (more previously) muses on growing up with Star Trek: The Next Generation. [more inside]
"You may find my actions extreme, but for a crew of sufficient numbers, if a suitable destination could be found, no return destination would be needed. Therefore, I have had to improvise, with our ship, with our crew." The goal was to make a short sci-fi film, but without CGI, greenscreens, or other digital trickery, instead relying on camera tricks, miniature photography, and stop-animation. And now it is done: C 299,792 km/s [more inside]
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
And now he has a posse. Mefi's Own cstross and jscalzi plus Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Robinette Kowal and Jim Hines posed for a remake of the cover of the Poul Anderson book Young Flandry. Hines promised to remake the cover if his readers raised $5,000 for the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. They raised over three times that amount and Hines gathered his cohorts and fulfilled his promise. [via]
Many of history’s—and the present’s—irresistible, beautiful women heartbreakers can’t tolerate mere males.
Science fiction pioneer Hugo Gernsback proposed a state-run electronic matching and mating service in 1964.
Check out the fantastic 10 minute gag reel that accompanies Season 2 release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray. (SLYT)
This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
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".