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Science Fiction & Fantasy

CLARKESWORLD

HUGO AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY MAGAZINE  

 

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February 2018 ISSUE

The Undiscovered Country: Planets of Dead Stars

The solar system is dying. It’s happening slowly, but inevitably. In approximately six billion years, the Sun will become a red giant: a bloated star burning up hydrogen in its outer shell. It will have engulfed Mercury and Venus and, possibly, Earth. While our beloved planet may survive the event, it would do so as [...]

January 2018 ISSUE

Why Science Fiction Detective Stories Aren't Impossible

Perhaps it wouldn’t have been as bad without all the buildup.
Episode after episode, Doctor Who regaled us with stories about Madame Vastra, a reptilian Silurian living in Victorian England, and her prodigious detective skills: The police always went to her with their difficult cases. She was the basis for all those stories about Sherlock Holmes.
And [...]

December 2017 ISSUE

You are (Most Likely) Not Living in a Simulation

The idea that we may be living in a simulation is familiar to science fiction readers. Some fine films and many novels explore the theme. But though the idea may be old, one surprising new twist has arisen in recent years: many people now claim that we are likely living in a computer simulation. Such [...]

November 2017 ISSUE

Science Fiction and the Fall of the Evil Empire

By the 1970s, no one believed in Communism anymore.
Not in the Soviet Bloc, at least. Least of all those running the system and particularly not the KGB and the State Security Apparat. Which didn’t stop the vast machinery of the Communist State from shuddering on, crushing those who dared to resist, while it slowly fell [...]

October 2017 ISSUE

An Optimist and Pessimist Tackle the Fermi Paradox

The universe around us echoes with the Great Silence. It seems oppressive to some, foreboding to others. We have not picked up any alien transmissions; seen any indications of interstellar travel or construction; met any other civilization. Yet even with propulsion systems based on known technological principles, it should be possible to colonize the whole [...]

September 2017 ISSUE

Artificial Wombs and Control of Reproductive Technology

A new technology could help save the lives of premature babies—and raises new questions about both age of viability and reproductive control.
It’s called the Biobag, an artificial womb designed by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Essentially, the Biobag is a fluid-filled bag hooked up to wires and cords. Researchers maintain the bag at [...]

August 2017 ISSUE

How to Invent an Alien Language? A Linguistic Perspective

Invented languages spoken by races in imaginary worlds can add credibility to a story, making both the world and the characters feel more real. An author of a science fiction or fantasy novel involving different countries or planets may choose whether to make everybody speak the same language or try to create separate languages. As [...]

July 2017 ISSUE

Impossible Colors of an Infinite Universe

In 2001, Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry, a team of astronomers from John Hopkins University, discovered that the universe had a color.
This discovery was somewhat inadvertent. Glazebrook and Baldry had originally set out to study the history of star formation through the use of a major spectroscopic survey known as the “2dF Galaxy Redshift.” The [...]

June 2017 ISSUE

How to Injure Characters Without Killing Them

Every author strives for reality. Especially so when it comes to science fiction and fantasy. If the author gets the details right, then the unreal is cemented.
Despite this, authors often injure characters in ways that would, in the real world, lead them to death or extensive hospital stays. Humans are fragile creatures, and the patient [...]

May 2017 ISSUE

Cut, Fold, and Conquer the Universe: The Best Models in the Galaxy

It wasn’t unbelievable.
It was something more than that, something you could hardly wrap your mind around.
If you’ve seen the Matrix sequels, you would recognize it instantly: the APU (Armored Personnel Unit), a huge, heavily-armed and intensely detailed battle exoskeleton.
It wasn’t so much that someone had created a model of this complex machine: after all, McFarlane [...]