Science Fiction & Fantasy






June 2014 ISSUE

The Issue of Gender in Genre Fiction: The Math Behind it All

Editor’s Note: Knowing that some people will be curious about the math behind Susan’s piece, we asked her to provide something a bit more technical for those more mathematically inclined among us.
Key Points for Understanding

Publications refers to prose fiction published by a market, including reprints and solicited stories.
Each publication is treated [...]

May 2014 ISSUE

From Wooden Legs to Carbon Fiber Hands: How Technology Improves Prosthetic Limbs

Humans are incredibly adaptable. A person can lose a hand or a leg and learn how to do most of the same things they could do before, from mundane daily tasks to impressive athletic feats. No one would argue that life is easier when you’ve lost a limb  though, which is why we’ve been making, [...]

April 2014 ISSUE

Realms of Dark, Deep and Cold

These places never see sunlight, are buried deep under thick ice crusts and warmed mostly by radioactive decay and tidal forces: subsurface oceans of celestial objects far from their stars—if they have any. Decades ago, they were the domain of science fiction, until such places were hypothesized in our solar system thanks in part to [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]