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Science Fiction & Fantasy







November 2016 ISSUE

Kubrick to Scott: Relevancy and Realism in Cinematic Science Fiction

By the time 2001: A Space Odyssey arrived, everything had changed.
Behind the Iron Curtain the Soviets launched their own science fiction boom, one far more realistic and adult-oriented than ours.
Pavel Klushantsev’s 1958 documentary, Doroga k zvezdam (Road to the Stars), strongly influenced Kubrick. It starts with a brief history lesson, then moves into the future [...]

October 2016 ISSUE

Méliès to Bonestell: Relevancy and Realism in Cinematic Science Fiction

The future looks a lot more real than it used to.
Or at least that’s the impression given by movies like Gravity and The Martian. For over a century filmmakers have wowed audiences with voyages to space. Unfortunately, most of them look silly now—and even fewer would hold an audience’s attention for ninety minutes.
Will these [...]

September 2016 ISSUE

Space Is the Place: The Science Fiction Pulse of '80s Electro Music

“I am a computer,” says the voice. It isn’t human. Robotic and coldly electronic, it sounds like something conjured by the eeriest science fiction nightmare. Underneath it hovers a mechanical hum that might be the ambient noise of a spaceship, or an android brain, or even cyberspace. “I have been programmed to dance,” the voice [...]

August 2016 ISSUE

Frankenstein's Soldier: David Morrell and the Creation of Rambo

Monsters are constructed from the passions of their age. In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates life out of corpses using arcane science that defies the natural world. The creature comes to life but is an abomination to its creator, who abandons it to a world that will despise him. When Victor [...]

July 2016 ISSUE

Paradise Lost: A History of Fantasy and the Otherworld

If primal fear forms one pole of the fantasy genre, paradise forms the other. But from the tales that built the genre to the writers who resurrected it after each of its deaths, the narrative that plays itself over and over across time and geography is one of paradise lost. To understand the history of [...]

June 2016 ISSUE

The Science Fiction Future of the Microbiome

You are wheeled into a hospital after a stroke. The doctors stabilize you and monitor you for a couple days. The latest treatments are at their disposal, so they use bacteria therapy to stimulate the growth of a diverse microbial ecosystem: feed you 3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol (DMB) to regulate trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels, nourish certain microbiota to [...]

May 2016 ISSUE

Destination: Venus

From antiquity, Venus has been watched from afar. Often praised for beauty, its close position to Earth and its reflective atmosphere made it stand out amongst the stars. Like Mars, Venus has played into our stories, becoming a destination for many science fiction authors. Unlike Mars, however, the planet has never quite matched that of [...]

April 2016 ISSUE

Silver Machine: Hawkwind's Space Rock Journey throughout Science Fiction and Fantasy

From Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds to Blind Guardian’s Nightfall in Middle-Earth, a handful of music albums have adapted entire works of science fiction/fantasy. This month, the long-running British space-rock band Hawkwind will do the same with the release of The Machine Stops—an album that musically interprets E. M. Forster’s [...]

March 2016 ISSUE

The Age of the Excessive Machine: Psychedelic SF, On-Screen and Off

In 1975, a group of talented young men started work on an epic film version of Dune. It would have featured extravagant visual design, never before seen effects, an all-star cast (including Orson Welles, Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger)—and would have sparked a new age of spiritual awakening for the entire world!
At least, that’s Alejandro [...]

February ISSUE

Six Quirks of the Human Genome

Since the discovery of the DNA double helix by Watson and Crick in 1953, our knowledge of the genetic code has grown exponentially. Advances in technology have driven much of that discovery, including the rise of next-generation DNA sequencing instruments that I wrote about in issue #108. One of the best parts about working as [...]