264 posts tagged with sf.
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John Barnes hates snark

Snark is the universal solvent of cultural conversation. Someone mentions Hemingway; you mention cross-dressing, drinking, and short choppy sentences. Not only did you not have to read Hemingway, you have one-upped the other person by not having read it; you know more about it than they do because you know the important thing, that Hemingway doesn't need to be read. Star Wars has a plot straight out of a comic book, the indescribable beauty of an athlete's best moment is just ritualized combat, any given religion is a collection of three or fewer especially silly-sounding superstitions, all academic subjects are useless hazing intended to keep the wrong people from being hired, all peace protestors are just trying to get on television and soldiers are all unemployed hillbillies whose masculinity feels threatened so they've enlisted for a chance to commit war crimes. Occupy Wall Street is rebels without a clue (itself a plagiarized phrase), the Tea Party is scared old people, and nothing in the wide world matters compared to the general wonderfulness of the observer. [Some 3700 words from a science fiction writer deriding and analyzing the emptiness of snark as a rhetorical mode. Might need to click through Blogger's NSFW warning, though it's just text.]
posted by cgc373 on Aug 31, 2012 - 114 comments

The main African American character in the novel is referred to as a "beast-man."

It's about a year since the storied Weird Tales magazine (previously) got a new editor and sacked its staff (previously), so WT elected to celebrate that milestone by publishing some text from actress, film director, sometime blogger and new author Victoria Foyt's debut Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls. Some people have a problem with its content and its video. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Aug 22, 2012 - 92 comments

W.D. Richter's "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension"

... Buckaroo Banzai is paradoxically decades ahead of its time and yet completely of its time; it’s profoundly a movie by, for, and of geeks and nerds at a time before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed, and a movie whose pre-CG special effects and pre-Computer Age production design were an essential part of its good-natured enthusiasm. What at the time was a hip, modern take on classic SF is now, almost thirty years later, almost indistinguishable from the SF cinema that inspired it in terms of the appeal to modern viewers: the charmingly old-fashioned special effects, and the comparatively innocent earnestness of its tone. - Danny Bowes [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 19, 2012 - 119 comments

“You’re maybe going to take this journey with me for a spell, People aren’t stones.”

"... That’s the way with epiphanies: You can’t know in advance what they’ll be. Even me. I can see them coming, but I can’t understand something until I understand it.”
T he man who can see the future has a date with the woman who can see many possible futures.
posted by divabat on Aug 9, 2012 - 21 comments

Images from SF conventions of the past

SF conventions, and snapshots of SF conventions, go back a long time. Here's Midwestcon 2, put on by the Cincinnati Fantasy group in June 1951; shots include a haunting image of Henry Burwell, publisher of Atlanta zine Science Fiction Digest, and an already-old E.E. "Doc" Smith. From Retronaut, an unnamed 1980 con in LA. From the Mills photo archive, con costumes from the late 60s through the 80s. Forrest Ackerman, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland, in "futuristic costume" at the first WorldCon in 1939. This last from the endless compendium that is the MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive.
posted by escabeche on Aug 1, 2012 - 19 comments

Zakalwe enfranchised;

Guardian Book Club: Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, Week one: John Mullan discusses the twist [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jul 21, 2012 - 50 comments

"Because we’re a smaller outfit, we can take some risks—find authors and manuscripts that are trying to move the genre forward."

ChiZine Publications (CZP) is an independent Toronto-based book publisher that is single-handedly changing the face of genre fiction in Canada. Though CZP was founded just four years ago and put out just twelve books per year, they are responsible for four of the six nominees for the the 2012 Best Novel Prix Aurora (Canada's highest honour in genre fiction). CZP grew out of the self-styled "dark fiction" 'zine The Chiaroscuro which has been publishing free genre fiction online since 1997. Their most recent release is David Nickle's tale of cold war psionic operatives gone rogue, Rasputin's Bastards.
posted by 256 on Jul 19, 2012 - 6 comments

Or, the ethics of popular culture

Sub-Cultural Darwinism: Some Thoughts on the Rise and Fall of Fandoms
posted by subdee on Jul 18, 2012 - 76 comments

Bush to the bay, Pine to the sea

Reddit user and actual wizard bananimator takes us on a quick spin through the city by the bay.
posted by theodolite on Jul 13, 2012 - 19 comments

From Solaris to the Zone

Through a spasm of serendipity whose mechanism I cannot begin to fathom, two inarguable masterpieces of Eastern European science fiction - Solaris by Stanislaw Lem and Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - have recently been accorded fresh translations. In this posting I would like to briefly consider the virtues of these new versions [...] [more inside]
posted by smcg on Jul 11, 2012 - 51 comments

Ford Fiesta Flips Donuts in SF

DC and Ken Block present Gymkhana FIVE: Ultimate Urban Playground; San Francisco -- Or what happens when a drifting master gets free reign over SF streets. I have been wondering who put those donut-shaped tread marks on the Bay Bridge. Previously... Previouslier... Previousliest
posted by cman on Jul 10, 2012 - 69 comments

Every Hollywood Movie Is A Children's Film

Essayist and cartoonist Tim Kreider is no stranger to film criticism ( previously) but his thoughtful, surprising, detailed analysis of Lynch's The Straight Story and Spielberg/Kubrick's AI deserve special attention.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 23, 2012 - 42 comments

Kubrick In The 60s

Stanley Kubrick didn’t like giving long interviews, but he loved playing chess. So when the physicist and writer Jeremy Bernstein paid him a visit to gather material for a piece for The New Yorker about a new film project he was writing with Arthur C. Clarke, Kubrick was intrigued to learn that Bernstein was a fairly serious chess player. The result was an unusually long and candid recorded interview for the New Yorker. (77 min)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 17, 2012 - 8 comments

Yeah, I'm pro-cat-saving, too.

Alex Pappademas and Sean Witzke over at Grantland have a long, detailed, super geeky film-nerd discussion of the Alien franchise. "It's important to note here that this is a nuke-it-from-space kind of conversation in which just about every aspect of the original "Alien Quadrilogy" is spoiled, as are some fairly crucial plot points from Prometheus. The Alien vs. Predator movies are neither spoiled nor discussed, because that would mean acknowledging their existence. Some people will undoubtedly view this as curatorial negligence on our part, but we welcome their scorn. "
posted by The Whelk on Jun 14, 2012 - 109 comments

If More Gyms Had Sword Fighting Classes....

"I'm in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle, to which I've traveled so that award-winning science fiction novelists can demonstrate how they could cut me in half if they felt like it." i09 Talks to Neal Stephenson about working on the multi-author IP-experiment *thing* The Mongoliad and sword fighting as a heart-healthy hobby.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 3, 2012 - 29 comments

Can You Jam With The Console Cowboys In Cyberspace?

Around 1992 Mondo 2000 magazine asked: "R.U A Cyperpunk?"
posted by The Whelk on May 24, 2012 - 123 comments

Where Do We Go From Here?

SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks about the future of "big idea" Science Fiction: If SF's core message (to the extent that it ever had one) is obsolete, what do we do next?
posted by The Whelk on May 23, 2012 - 71 comments

“I suppose the first thing I should do is apologize for the billions of dead.”

A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
posted by The Whelk on May 16, 2012 - 47 comments

Women's lib... in space!

Star Maidens was an obscure and pretty much forgotten British/German low budget (they borrowed sets from Space 1999 ) science fiction televsion series from 1975... On the planet Medusa where the women (naturally all hot) rule over the men, two of the later inferior species escape (including Gareth 'Blake' Thomas!) to the 'paradise' of Earth [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 4, 2012 - 13 comments

It's a good life

"It's a Good Life" is a 1953 story by Jerome Bixby, who also wrote It! The Terror From Beyond Space, said to be the inspiration for Alien, and the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" (the one with evil bearded Spock.) It was made into a famous Twilight Zone episode, and is generally considered among the greatest SF stories ever written. Is "It's a Good Life" about God? Communism? 1950s suburban conformity? Or just about the horror of the self-contained world it creates in its few pages and the terrible realization that it would be possible to survive inside it, for a while?
posted by escabeche on May 1, 2012 - 106 comments

Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element"

Beanplating on The Fifth Element from architecture students at the University of Waterloo. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 25, 2012 - 198 comments

The Logical Extension Of Business Is Murder

The extended trailer for David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis has hit the internet.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 21, 2012 - 62 comments

Hull 0, Scunthorpe 3

How can one describe it? For fuck’s sake, it is a quest saga and it has a talking horse. There are puns on the word ‘neigh’. Christopher Priest on the 2012 Clarke Award shortlist, the self-described "most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain".
posted by Hartster on Mar 29, 2012 - 226 comments

In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

Revenge Of The Fan Fic

One of the most popular stories on the Amazon Kindle marketplace is ...Wesley Crusher Slash Fic?. (i09)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 10, 2012 - 23 comments

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....

British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 25, 2012 - 85 comments

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

John Christopher [1922-2012]

Samuel Youd, who wrote under the name John Christopher, has passed away. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 6, 2012 - 53 comments

New masters

SF versions of famous artworks
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 5, 2012 - 31 comments

The Star Pit

The Star Pit, a radio play by Samuel R. Delany, based on his short story. Notes on the production.
posted by Artw on Jan 10, 2012 - 8 comments

"We fall into genre wars, of literature versus science fiction, and I don't think it's a real war." - Lauren Beukes

The Guardian interviewed four science fiction authors on the theme of the current state of SF. These authors are, in order, Lauren Beukes, Michael Moorcock, Alistair Reynolds and Jeff Noon, the latter two being interviewed together. Opinion ranges from bullish to crotchety, with plenty of shades and nuances.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 8, 2012 - 41 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

The Victorian Hugos

The Victorian Hugos: "Over the next several months, in open imitation of Jo Walton's splendid "Revisiting the Hugos" series at Tor.com, I'll be reviewing science fiction and fantasy works from 1885 to 1930 and deciding which novels and short works would have received the Hugo had a Worldcon been held that year and which novels and short works should have received the Hugo–often not the same thing." 1885 1886 1887 1888
posted by Lentrohamsanin on Dec 8, 2011 - 12 comments

49ers-least talked about comeback story?

The 49ers are back, but who's paying attention? Sitting on top of a weak NFC West, is the Niner's impressive rise going overlooked? [more inside]
posted by Carillon on Nov 15, 2011 - 77 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

“Why do we eat shrimp and crawfish but not their brethren on land?”

The San Francisco Street Food Festival is an annual Summer event in the Mission District that features around 60 different Bay Area vendors and is attended by tens of thousands of foodies. This year the usual mainstays were joined by Don Bugito, which served up insect-based dishes and billed itself as the first "PreHispanic Snackeria." When the food truck commences permanent operations this month, it may be the first eatery in the country devoted exclusively to preparations involving insects. But they're not the only entomophagy pioneers in San Francisco, where Bug Cuisine is Booming. So just how tasty are insects? (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2011 - 30 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

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

The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.

The Flat Streets of San Francisco Photographs by Dan Ng.
posted by grouse on Oct 10, 2011 - 36 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

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

The President will be addressed as Your Brilliance or Your Luminosity.

Section 1. In the event of the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the surviving members of the CUSFS shall be formed into a clan, henceforth referred to as 'the Clan.' The surviving members of the Board will reconvene under the new name of The Elders Who Remember The Time Before It Changed, henceforth referred to as 'the Elders.'
The Columbia University Science Fiction Society's Constitution and Bylaws. [more inside]
posted by pts on Sep 15, 2011 - 26 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

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

Computational Theology

Author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross presents Three Arguments Against The Singularity
posted by The Whelk on Jun 24, 2011 - 188 comments

Support Telepath Local 153

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2011 - 80 comments

“—to remind us of the values we've lost, and of those that we've allowed ourselves to relinquish.”

Abigail Nussbaum, senior reviews editor for Strange Horizons, has written a series of personal blog posts on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. [more inside]
posted by kipmanley on Jun 8, 2011 - 87 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

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

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