Science Fiction & Fantasy

CLARKESWORLD

HUGO AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY MAGAZINE  

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February 2014 ISSUE

Taught by the Moon: Oral Traditions in Speculative Fiction

When drawing upon real archaeology to build a fictional world, it’s perhaps no wonder that we often turn first to settled societies with written languages. Some of those societies have built impressive monuments and maintained complex governments—and left us a written record of those activities. It’s easy to stop there and [...]

January 2014 ISSUE

Distributed Cities

The Swarm is a fleet of at least one hundred fifty dirigibles that ceaselessly crisscross their planet in the recent action-packed novel Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds. Once they were the defense force for the vast city of Spearpoint, but they along ago declared independence and have become a complete society. In effect, they constitute [...]

December 2013 ISSUE

Druids Reconstructed

Stonehenge rises like a crown above the horizon, ancient four-tonne bluestones fixed in a sacramental circle. The cryptic monument’s sudden appearance through the windshield is seductive. Alone with these noble rocks, one’s mind turns to ritual and rite, and druids. From Merlin and Terry Brooks to World of Warcraft and the neo-druids celebrating solstice at [...]

November 2013 ISSUE

Sapir-Whorf Must Die

What do telekinesis, brain hacking, and large scale cultural transformation have in common? The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. Speculative fiction is full of stories that explore the potential of language to enhance, change, or control its speakers; to the point where the genre has a set of recurring tropes that are self-perpetuating long after current research has [...]

October 2013 ISSUE

Difficulties of an Asteroid Capture Mission

2013 is shaping up to be the Year of the Asteroid.
On February 15th a 10,000 ton meteor, undetected until it streaked through the sky, exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. According to National Geographic, the shock wave from the explosion circled the entire globe twice before dying down.
Coincidentally, it came on the [...]

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 [...]

August 2013 ISSUE

The Candlelit World: The Dark Roots of Myth and Fantasy

Folklore and legends are part of a legacy of primal fear that begins at the dawn of humanity, when the world seemed to be dominated by the supernatural: the woods, the hills, the mountains, and the rivers were the domains of old, unseen things, and living meant living in their shadow. Candles illustrated man’s deepest [...]

July 2013 ISSUE

Spock's Pops: How Operational Research became Wartime Magic!

During the Second World War, a new form of applied science emerged called Operational Research (OR). OR scientists came from nuclear physics, engineering, advanced mathematics, physiology and other disciplines and applied their knowledge to a myriad of military problems, from lethality of weapons studies to battle investigations.
In many ways, these talented and unmilitary people are [...]

June 2013 ISSUE

Beyond the Tracks: The Locomotive in Science Fiction Literature

The capsule of metal begins to hum. Forces accumulate. Seated inside, the passengers feel the propulsion system lurch to life. Their bones thrum in synchronous frequency. Thus harmonized, man and machine move as one. The vehicle is launched along a predestined trajectory, arcing outward, soon to bisect a barren frontier. It accelerates hesitantly at first, [...]

May 2013 ISSUE

When the Alien Is Us: Science Fictional Documentaries

Directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris are well known for their renegotiations of what’s called cinéma vérité—the notion that truth can be found through footage in the absence of a blatantly intervening narrator or narrative. When these documentarians sat down in 2008 with Believer Magazine, Herzog observed that Morris’s recently released Standard Operating Procedure had [...]