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Science Fiction & Fantasy








May 2020 ISSUE

Ray Guns, Robots and Spaceships, Oh My! The Birth of Science Fiction Toys

When we think of archaeological digs, most of us picture Indiana Jones in search of ancient civilizations, but just as often, they are conducted on far more modern sites to learn how people lived in the recent past.
Not long ago they conducted a dig in the Shenandoah National Park. Back in the twenties and thirties, [...]

April 2020 ISSUE

A Machine for Telling Stories: Tarot and Speculative Fiction

In his book The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Italo Calvino refers to tarot as “a machine for telling stories.” Writers have been using tarot cards as a storytelling device since the Italian and European Renaissance. Tarot appears in fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and speculative fiction works, including The Castle of Crossed Destinies.
“Tarot” refers to special [...]

March 2020 ISSUE

Separated at Birth? Occultism, Science Fiction, and Why People Can't Tell Them Apart

Things are not always what they appear to be.
For example, take The Suns of Easter Island (1972), a film by French New Wave director Pierre Kast. The basic premise is familiar. So familiar, in fact, that one has to keep reminding oneself that it was made several years before a certain far better-known film. Aliens [...]

February 2020 ISSUE

Jules Verne and a Journey Through Genre

Before science fiction was called science fiction, a hybrid category existed called scientific romance. Combining elements of fantasy, realism, and futuristic or alternative technologies, this genre formed a bridge between the medieval and the modern. In this essay we’ll explore the role that French author Jules Verne played in scientific romance and in the development [...]

January 2020 ISSUE

Reshuffling Evolution

In February 2001, a draft version of the human genomic sequence, over three billion DNA base pairs in length, was completed. Knowing the sequence of the human genome encouraged the development of biotechnology that has advanced personalized medicine, biomedical research, and catalyzed provocative discoveries in human evolution and migration.
Yet, perhaps the most fascinating discovery was [...]

December 2019 ISSUE

But Is It Art? Science Fiction that Isn't Really Science Fiction

It sounds familiar.
A tough, intergalactic private eye goes to a city enslaved by a giant supercomputer, to arrest or kill its creator and shut down the computer. But somehow it isn’t familiar—or perhaps too familiar, as Alphaville is just bits of the real Paris.
Then, there are the truly strange parts: the bizarre swimming pool execution [...]

November 2019 ISSUE

Dracula and Modern Anxiety

The Victorian era, which lasted from 1837 to 1901, saw the rise of many iconic monsters in literature. One of the most enduring was Count Dracula, the villain of Dracula by Bram Stoker. The novel, published in 1882, was an immediate success in England and America. However, Stoker had no idea that the novel would [...]

October 2019 ISSUE

Destination: Luna

Throughout history, humans have been entranced by our closest celestial neighbor, the Moon. It provided the inspiration for countless stories over time, but it wasn’t until 1969 when a pair of astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the first footsteps on its surface.
The last Apollo mission took off from the Moon in 1972, and [...]

September 2019 ISSUE

Staying with the End of the World: SF Futures of Hope during Ecological Devastation

By the end of the twenty-first century we might lose the majority of all species. Worse, this widely read academic paper claims that we have only about a decade left before facing irreparable consequences of climate change (that is, before everyone faces them. The underprivileged already do).
Landscapes of ruination constitute the effects of what some [...]

August 2019 ISSUE

It Came From the Garage! Technology, Film, and the Guy Next Door

“Who is this guy?”
There in the midst of Amazon’s suggested list of horror and science fiction films was a series of what appeared to be lost Fifties films. Except that they were new, and the work of someone named Christopher R. Mihm.
“Who is this guy?” This time it was lurid covers promising octopus men and [...]