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Science Fiction & Fantasy







October 2016 ISSUE

Méliès to Bonestell: Relevancy and Realism in Cinematic Science Fiction

The future looks a lot more real than it used to.
Or at least that’s the impression given by movies like Gravity and The Martian. For over a century filmmakers have wowed audiences with voyages to space. Unfortunately, most of them look silly now—and even fewer would hold an audience’s attention for ninety minutes.
Will these [...]

March 2016 ISSUE

The Age of the Excessive Machine: Psychedelic SF, On-Screen and Off

In 1975, a group of talented young men started work on an epic film version of Dune. It would have featured extravagant visual design, never before seen effects, an all-star cast (including Orson Welles, Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger)—and would have sparked a new age of spiritual awakening for the entire world!
At least, that’s Alejandro [...]

November 2015 ISSUE

You Wouldn't Be Reading This If It Weren't For Buck Rogers

Buck Rogers.
The name is often spoken with a sneer, as if all of science fiction could be summed up with a single, iniquitous name—which makes it very hard to appreciate how much we owe him.
Buck freed SF from the confines of the adventure pulps and a narrow, specialized audience and put it in the average [...]

August 2015 ISSUE

“Fans Are Slans”: A Study in Campbellian Influence

In September of 1959, Jason Howley walked into the Golden Casino in Reno, Nevada, carrying a small, black, plastic box. Within a matter of minutes, he’d won over three hundred thousand dollars. When the device was opened up by investigators, they found nothing in it but a plastic lens, two silver contacts, white paint, and [...]

February 2015 ISSUE

What in the World Do They Want, Anyway? The Myth of the Friendly Alien

It was one of those typical open line nights on Art Bell’s late night radio show, the talk drifting easily between the serious, the bizarre and the ludicrous. Somehow—perhaps the recent release of both Independence Day and Mars Attacks! started it—it settled into a discussion of how the movies have portrayed aliens. Why did so [...]

September 2014 ISSUE

Flash Gordon, Cardboard Space Stations, and Zero Gravity Sex: Why Science Fiction Isn't Always to Blame

It was early July of 1960 and Flash Gordon was in trouble.
A deadly virus had Flash, Dale and Doctor Zarkov trapped on a space station as it killed one crewmember after another. However, on July 12, Zarkov and the team of doctors discovered the answer:
For most people watching the victims’ rapid recovery, it was the [...]

March 2014 ISSUE

A Sympathy of Light and Shadow: Science Fiction, Gothic Horror and How They Met

The decade started well enough.
We boldly set out into the stars, confident we could conquer every peril. We faced unknown hazards, unexpected consequences of our own actions, beings vastly more powerful than us, and even the darkest corners of our own psyche. Yet we knew the universe would open all its secrets to us.
But then [...]

September 2013 ISSUE

Aliens, Robots, Spaceships and . . . Popsicles? SF on American Radio, Then and Now

It took a long time to heat up. It was nothing special, just an old plastic GE radio. First silence, then crackling and hissing static, and then—if you were very lucky, if the weather conditions were perfect, if the stars were in the right conjunctions, who knows—then came the faint strains of a familiar theme [...]

February 2013 ISSUE

The Great Leap Sideways: SF and Social Media

Science Fiction isn’t always about the big things.
Nor does it get it right all the time.
Consider the first SF visions of the internet: for William Gibson and the other pioneer Cyberpunks, the online world was home to a chosen few—the corporate elite on one hand, the radical fringe of cowboys and hackers on the other.
But [...]

November 2012 ISSUE

Foundation and Reality: Asimov’s Psychohistory and Its Real-World Parallels

“Psychohistory dealt not with man, but with man-masses. It was the science of mobs; mobs in their billions. It could forecast reactions to stimuli with something of the accuracy that a lesser science could bring to the forecast of a rebound of a billiard ball. The reaction of one man could be forecast by no [...]