MIT's Science Fiction Society Has 60,000 Books And Some Zany Traditions

Reason number 5,000,000,000 to wish you'd gone to MIT... There's a great article in MIT News Magazine about the MIT Science Fiction Society, with its incredibly awesome library. Which started with a wooden crate dragged between dorm rooms in 1949 and is now a massive storehouse of awesome. » 10/22/14 4:00pm Yesterday 4:00pm

Which Series Did You Love — Until It Killed Your Favorite Character?

Death adds real stakes to a fictional universe. If nobody ever dies, then nothing feels real. And yet some deaths don't just diminish us all, they just plain ruin a series. For good. Which science fiction or fantasy series lost its heart, or just became less good generally, when one character died? » 10/22/14 2:23pm Yesterday 2:23pm

What Story Did You Recognize As An Important Work Of Art Right Away?

Sometimes, it takes decades or longer for something to be recognized as a timeless, vitally important artwork. Great art stands the test of time after all. But sometimes, you see something and just know immediately that it's a great life-changing artwork. Which science fiction or fantasy story did you recognize as… » 10/21/14 1:15pm Tuesday 1:15pm

Why Are Many Of Today's Hottest Authors Writing Post-Apocalyptic Books?

If there was any doubt that post-apocalyptic fiction rules the book world, it was probably erased when Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven became a National Book Award finalist. But why do today's hottest writers write stories set after the end? We talked to Mandel and four other post-apocalyptic authors, to find… » 10/21/14 12:21pm Tuesday 12:21pm

Just Because Magic Has Rules, Doesn't Mean It Should Be Predictable

A lot of fantasy writers and readers will tell you that magic needs to have a clear set of rules, so you don't just have a situation where magic can do whatever the author needs it to do. A system of magic. But go too far in that direction, and you end up with something too much like technology. » 10/20/14 6:00pm Monday 6:00pm

Which Tie-In Books Are Better Than Some Of The Series' "Real" Stories?

We're always being told that tie-in books and comics "don't count" — even when they're really terrific and take the series in great directions. Doctor Who's New Adventures, Star Wars' Expanded Universe... they're not "real." But which series has spawned tie-in books, comics or audio stories that are better than some… » 10/17/14 2:49pm Friday 2:49pm

A Step By Step Guide To Converting Your Friends To Fandom

We always want to share the things we love with our friends, coworkers and family members — that's human nature. And it's a generous impulse, the desire to share. But how can you introduce your most beloved TV shows, movies, comics and books to people without turning them off? Here's a step-by-step guide. » 10/17/14 1:43pm Friday 1:43pm

Who's Your Favorite Hero Who Kills Without Hesitation?

Everybody's always going on about how great it is that some heroes don't kill. Like Batman, for example. Not killing is what makes them so heroic. But sometimes, a hero who does kill can be pretty effective, too. Who's your favorite hero who has no hesitation about ending a life if circumstances require it? » 10/16/14 2:05pm 10/16/14 2:05pm

Believe It Or Not, The Latest Literary-Vs-Genre Book Debate Is Progress

At first blush, it sounds like the same old story — a literary author writes a novel set in the post-apocalyptic future, and then complains when people describe it as science fiction. But actually, Emily St. John Mandel's debate with the Washington Post's Ron Charles represents a bit of progress. » 10/16/14 1:30pm 10/16/14 1:30pm

​The Tragic Demise of Science Fiction's Greatest Idea

The matter transmitter is one of science fiction's greatest inventions. It's been in hundreds of SF stories, perhaps most famously in Star Trek as the transporter. And yet writers keep trying to turn this incredibly useful, flexible idea into nothing more than a fancy system of transit. Which is all wrong. » 10/16/14 10:25am 10/16/14 10:25am