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2061

On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

 

Deus Est Machina

In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these. The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth -- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect," a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger. More: Table of Contents - Publishing history - Technical discussion - Buy a paperback copy - Podcast interview - Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace" - possible sequel discussion
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 27, 2011 - 39 comments

Journalism is just a gun. Aim it right, and you can blow a kneecap off the world.

In this time of corrupt politics, police brutality, media dereliction, and increasingly vicious culture wars, there's perhaps no graphic novel more relevant today than the brilliant and blackly funny Transmetropolitan. Created by Warren Ellis back in 1997 and inspired by prescient sci fi novel Bug Jack Barron, the series covers the work of gonzo journalist, vulgar misanthrope, and all-around magnificent bastard Spider Jerusalem in a sprawling futuristic vision of New York so chaotically advanced that humans splice genes with alien refugees, matter decompilers are as common as microwaves, and a new religion is invented every hour. As a callous Nixonian thug nicknamed The Beast prepares for his re-election to the presidency, a primary battle heats up between a virulent racist and a charismatic senator whose rictus grin masks some disturbing realities. When Jerusalem delves into the machinations of the race, he breaks into a web of conspiracies that threaten the future of the country -- a problem only he, his "filthy assistants," and the power of intrepid journalism can defeat. More: Read the first issue (or three) - browse images from the new artbook - Tor's read-along blog (another) - Jerusalem's touching report on cryogenic "Revivals" - dozens of original sketches and sample pages - timeline - quotes
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 17, 2011 - 55 comments

It's the Ham Bot that keeps me up nights.

A spherical flying robot has been developed at the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense; it can zoom along indoors and outdoors at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, or just hover. Menacingly. Science Fiction In The News is a subsection of science-fiction site Technovelgy, which tracks both the predictions of future tech made in science fiction past and present and its manifestations in real life. What tech, you ask? Well, if it’s appeared in your nightmares, it’s probably been on this page: [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Dec 15, 2011 - 29 comments

Battlestar Galatica's ending sucked and that's great

"Here, in my final post on the ending, I present the case that its final hour was the worst ending in the history of science fiction on the screen. This is a condemnation of course, but also praise, because my message is not simply that the ending was poor, but that the show rose so high that it was able to fall so very far." -Brad Templeton's dissection of the modern version of Battlestar Galatica and where it went wrong
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 12, 2011 - 275 comments

24 hours of ambient STNG USS Enterprise engine noise (SLYT)

24 hours of ambient STNG USS Enterprise engine noise (SLYT) This is basically ocean sounds or rainstorm noise for geeks.
posted by rudhraigh on Dec 12, 2011 - 96 comments

A Wizard's Staff Has A Knob On The End

The Rules of Magic. Every fantasy saga has its own rules for magic, and its own explanations for how the magical arts work. Where does magic come from? Who can use magic, and how? io9 has compiled a list of the rules of magic in 50 fantasy sagas. (jpg)
posted by zarq on Dec 9, 2011 - 63 comments

He wasn't a legend, and he wasn't mad.

The Exegesis of Phillip K Dick has finally been published. A thousand pages of it, anyway. Editor Jonathan Lethem and two of PKD's daughter's got together to discuss it at a Berkeley book store. Introduction, Jonathan Lethem, From The Estate and Inside PKD's Mind, The Vision of the Source, Correspondence, How To Read It, Philosophy. [more inside]
posted by empath on Dec 3, 2011 - 40 comments

Two, not one, singularities

With everything rolling towards the abyss, our only hope for a bright future seems to be the Singularity, a technological transformation of what it means to be human. But in a talk for TEDx Brussels, science fiction and horror writer John Shirley argues that there are really two Singularities — and yes, everything will be terrible in the short term. So why is he optimistic about the future of the human race? Read on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 1, 2011 - 52 comments

Tick, Tick, Boom

The National Ignition Facility (and fusion power) has been in the news lately. (pdf) [more inside]
posted by Orange Pamplemousse on Nov 28, 2011 - 38 comments

Giving thanks with pumpkin juice and butterbeer.

Great food ideas for a fantasy and sci-fi themed Thanksgiving features recipes from Inn at the Crossroads (medieval recipes/Game of Thrones), Harry Potter Recipes, and The Geeky Chef ("a collection of recipes inspired by books, movies, and video games").
posted by flex on Nov 17, 2011 - 34 comments

Color in motion: spray payin artwork made in minutes

If you think that airbrushed sci-fi landscapes like like this have been rendered obsolete by time-saving computer graphics, let Brandon McConnell prove otherwise. You can watch him make similar art in five minutes with a few cans of spray paint, magazines and the lid for a pot. Don't have enough time for that? How about a one minute sci-fi landscape? OK, let's go faster: here's a 45 second painting, and faster yet: a 39 second painting. But it's not all pyramids and planets, there are also quickly created nature scenes, and tutorial clips, within the collection of 184 videos uploaded to YouTube.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 10, 2011 - 26 comments

That which does not kill us makes us stronger

> comp.basilisk - Frequently Asked Questions :: Is it just an urban legend that the first basilisk destroyed its creator?
Almost everything about the incident at the Cambridge IV supercomputer facility where Berryman conducted his last experiments has been suppressed and classified as highly undesirable knowledge. It's generally believed that Berryman and most of the facility staff died. Subsequently, copies of basilisk B-1 leaked out. This image is famously known as the Parrot for its shape when blurred enough to allow safe viewing. B-1 remains the favorite choice of urban terrorists who use aerosols and stencils to spray basilisk images on walls by night. But others were at work on Berryman's speculations...
[more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 6, 2011 - 88 comments

GeekGirlCon Power!

Was GeekGirlCon 2011 the most important con of the year? [more inside]
posted by Artw on Oct 22, 2011 - 88 comments

Here, use cream

Nostromo Crew Portraits
posted by Artw on Oct 21, 2011 - 62 comments

Many Lives, Furnished in Middle-Period Moorcock

Intrigued by the trolley problem? Here is a link to the full text of Michael Moorcock's 1971 SF novel Breakfast in the Ruins. Moral conundrums at the end of every chapter for you. [more inside]
posted by infinitewindow on Oct 17, 2011 - 43 comments

"...coppers are easy to write for; they tend to run on rails."

Snuff, Sir Terry Pratchett's 50th book (and 37th Discworld book) will be released in the U.S. tomorrow, and Neil Gaiman has interviewed him for Boing Boing. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 10, 2011 - 47 comments

It's alive!

The beta version of the SFE (The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction) has just gone live (blog - What is a beta text? Some philosophy, Some history…)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 10, 2011 - 22 comments

A Twonky is something that you do not know what it is.

One of the more terrifying monsters to haunt the human imagination: The Twonky (yt). [more inside]
posted by kuujjuarapik on Oct 8, 2011 - 19 comments

A Clumsy Martian, Indeed

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 - 228 comments

Deja Vu

EVERYTHING IS A REMIX tackles the truly numerous amount of references, call-backs, remixes, quotations, scene mimics, and inspiration parallels found in The Matrix (via) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 6, 2011 - 65 comments

How Doctor Who Became My Religion

Watching Doctor Who Is Like Having A Relationship With God
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Sep 25, 2011 - 209 comments

Walt Disney's "The Black Hole"

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 - 106 comments

I can't file that, Dave.

An office space right out of sci fi by Kubrick. Apparently, the employees at SuperGroup are all science fiction fans. So they hired a design firm to turn their office into something out of 2001 A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.
posted by Bunny Ultramod on Sep 15, 2011 - 46 comments

Logan's Run

Logan's Run is a 1976 science fiction film... It depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expediency of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation. (related 2004 post worth clicking through for) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 3, 2011 - 121 comments

Hugo, I go, We All Go to WorldCon !

The 69th Worldcon (world science fiction convention) starts today ! Worldcon is the yearly convention at which the Hugo awards are voted upon by the membership. [more inside]
posted by Poet_Lariat on Aug 17, 2011 - 37 comments

List of emerging technologies

Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with: The list of emerging technologies.
posted by Cogentesque on Aug 16, 2011 - 49 comments

Not just your everyday Gideon.

For sale: Philip K Dick's Bible, with handwritten annotations.
posted by scalefree on Aug 6, 2011 - 47 comments

"I've beheaded that last child of Ghrotian VII, where should I spend my vacation?"

Forget First World Problems. Fifth World Problems are irritations of Lovecraftian proportions. Stuck between alternate dimensions? Plagued by neighboring hyperlizards? Is your quantum state beginning to crystallize? You've got Fifth World Problems.
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 4, 2011 - 23 comments

Before Doctor Who, there was Professor Quartermass

British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults, and a live-to-viewers BBC production, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels and a radio drama-documentary, along with movie re-makes of the first three series by Hammer Films. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 23, 2011 - 21 comments

I will kill the first person who mentions Ender's Game

Fleet Commander. That is all.
posted by anigbrowl on Jul 15, 2011 - 50 comments

"Don't steal from *this* show! That's like taking pants from a hobo!"

After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?! That's right. The Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer -- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences (including the iconic animal puppets): "ABC" by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance" by Irene Cara, "On the Floor" by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka" by Shakira, "Men in Black" by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant" by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)" by Tino Rossi. Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious -- he responded to Arthur's "homáge" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 11, 2011 - 12 comments

Deep space. The silence of the void. Shhh.

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 - 24 comments

It's like ILM, but on a realistic budget.

Shawn Thorsson makes costumes for his friends Shawn Thorsson, self-professed busiest man alive, uses a laptop, a printer, a carving machine, and a mad scientist's lab of home-made tools to make costumes based on Star Wars, Halo, LEGO, and other appropriately nerdy, sci-fi related media artifacts. He shares them with his friends, and they have the best Halloween ever!
posted by willhopkins on Jul 6, 2011 - 28 comments

An example of early scifi horror fiction

"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 - 16 comments

Brave New Beige

Ever wonder how many variants of jumpsuits there can be? Do mock turtlenecks belong in space? Why is brown the color of respecting alien cultures? Fashion It So takes on the couture of the 24th century one Next Generation episode at a time.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2011 - 32 comments

Traveller

Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Jun 29, 2011 - 86 comments

Sometimes we need to see things through a screen.

There's Only One Sun is a gorgeous sci-fi ad/short film by acclaimed director Kar Wai Wong.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jun 27, 2011 - 13 comments

Bizarre scifi movie sounds and the instruments that love them

The bizarre musical instruments behind classic scifi movie sounds. Includes the Waterphone, Theremin and Blaster Beam.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 25, 2011 - 26 comments

New 'Solaris' translation locked in Limbo

Solaris, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English. The current print version, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker, was always scathing of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston 'The Definitive Solaris' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves.
posted by 0bvious on Jun 19, 2011 - 64 comments

Rocky Star

Rocky Star was a 1990s Australian TV show that had actors lip-syncing along with a 1950s Flash Gordon-esque radio play. Mostly forgotten by absolutely everyone, two of the twenty episodes have recently turned up on youtube.
posted by dng on Jun 4, 2011 - 19 comments

Science Fiction You Can Dance To

Claire L. Evans is half of the music group YACHT. She also writes two thoughtful blogs: the science blog Universe, and the science fiction blog Space Canon. The latest post on Space Canon is her sci-fi infused hour long dance mix Fly On, UFO. (direct mp3 link, 111mb) It promises "to travel to disco dystopias and far-flung cosmic boogies." Groovy.
posted by HumanComplex on Jun 3, 2011 - 6 comments

Out Of This World

Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It is an exhibition at the British Library exploring the origins of Science Fiction, running until September. China Mieville takes a look at the exhibition for the BBC. (Out Of This World postcards - images from the exhibition) [more inside]
posted by dng on May 27, 2011 - 13 comments

The Fiction Liberation Front

The Fiction Liberation Front: cyberpunk/slipstream/transreal author Lewis Shiner has released his collected writings under a Creative Commons license, including his award novels Frontera, Deserted Cities of the Heart, and Glimpses. Shiner may be best known for his inclusion in the seminal 1986 cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades, alongside the likes of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Rudy Rucker. A few years later he was pronouncing the movement dead.
posted by unmake on May 27, 2011 - 27 comments

skiffy

Today's Guardian Review is a science fiction special [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2011 - 89 comments

Cricket on the halo deck?

"This Imperial dOvewalker COOs his way into a Big Surprise. Parveen says let him have it with the dOveton Launcher 3000! He won't know what hit him after attacking my planet." Just another tale from the The Pakistani Starfleet Explorers. Via boingboing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 12, 2011 - 16 comments

Meet "Meet The Hollowheads"

The Edgewise Guide To Filmmaking. Screenwriter Lisa Morton kept a diary while making the very, very strange 1989 movie Meet The Hollowheads (trailer). 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 and dismay 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 - 52 comments

An Extended Finnish Saturday Matinee

Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), 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 - 12 comments

'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz Reflects

'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz Reflects When George Lucas and I began planning the first film, we had no idea what it would become; the kind of devotion it would attract... So what was it that made Star Wars so different, so special? I can give you one small example of the kind of care we took when putting the film together...
posted by modernnomad on Apr 19, 2011 - 132 comments

Well Excuse Me, Princess!

Is Star Wars sexist? Cracked examines the lack of strong female characters in Star Wars.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Apr 17, 2011 - 125 comments

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