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Science Fiction & Fantasy

CLARKESWORLD

HUGO AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY MAGAZINE  

 

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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 [...]

April 2017 ISSUE

Narrative Perception: A Study in Interspecies Stimuli

Perception is the gateway to cognition; it is the difference between awareness and ignorance. Although we are often not consciously aware of how our senses operate as they perceive the world, their physiology nevertheless dictates our understanding of reality. The realm of speculative fiction is filled with characters that possess sensory abilities different from those [...]

March 2017 ISSUE

SF Short Fiction Markets in China: An Overview of 2016

In 2010, the Chinese science fiction market was heavily dominated by a small number of magazines that published mostly short fiction. Science fiction has since become a hot theme in multiple cultural and creative industrial areas such as book publishing, movies and television, games, comics and animations, and theme parks. For instance, in 2016, there [...]

February 2017 ISSUE

Frodo Is Dead: Worldbuilding and The Science of Magic

In 1966, Time magazine asked, “Is God Dead?” on its infamous April cover. Around the same time, a piece of graffiti began appearing in New York subways: Frodo Lives! It was an interesting crossroads for America—God seemed to be fading out of the lives of many Americans, while Tolkien’s masterpiece was just starting to find [...]

January 2017 ISSUE

The Evolved Brain

In 2014, the psychologist Gary Marcus from New York University gathered a book of essays by the world’s leading neuroscientists, including multiple Nobel prize winners. From this experience, he drew one main lesson: we have no unifying idea about how the brain works.
However, Dr. Marcus and his essayists missed something. We comprehend much more than [...]