Post-Scarcity Societies (That Still Have Scarcity)

One of the most alluring dreams in science fiction is the post-scarcity society — a place or time where nobody goes without, because technology has improved. But when you dig deeper, most post-scarcity worlds still have some scarcity, because otherwise it's hard to tell a story about them. See for yourself! » 9/30/14 12:23pm 9/30/14 12:23pm

An Archaeologist Excavates a Hippie Commune, Preserved in 1969 by Fire

In 79 AD, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius covered Pompeii in ash, preserving the city for millennia. In 1969 AD, a fire broke out at the mansion of the famed Chosen Family commune north of San Francisco. Most of the possessions were left behind—providing archaeologists with a one-of-a-kind time capsule of hippie life. » 6/18/14 10:08am 6/18/14 10:08am

Of Penises and Planets: On Labels in Science and Culture

Just what counts as a penis? A debate over what to call the genitals of an unusual group of cave insects has broader implications, because it gets right at the heart of science and science communication: what's the relationship between the labels we use in science and the way those labels are understood by our culture? » 4/19/14 6:50pm 4/19/14 6:50pm

The Year's First Must-See Horror Movie Is So Much More Than That

Jennifer Kent's Australian thriller The Babadook is of the big success stories from this year's Sundance Film Festival. The story seems standard enough: A boogieman character named the Babadook terrorizes a single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who's so poorly behaved, he's a bit of a… » 3/28/14 1:20pm 3/28/14 1:20pm

The Landscapes Of Suburbia Are The Real Science Fiction

Science fiction is often charged with naïve technological optimism and historical amnesia. But for present-day Californians struggling with a wide range of environmental and social problems, science fiction might just provide the perspective we need to successfully pivot from the boom times of the twentieth century to… » 1/30/14 5:03pm 1/30/14 5:03pm

A unified theory to explain the casting of every new Doctor Who

So, your friendly neighborhood post-apocalyptic fake mailman has been hanging out in this place called Bridge City, which I swear to god is run by Tom Petty. He won’t admit it, but he keeps singing “Free Fallin’” and it’s driving me goddamned crazy. If I don’t hear “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” soon I’m throwing him off… » 8/07/13 8:10am 8/07/13 8:10am

Iain M. Banks explains why the Culture will never end

Just a month before his passing, Iain M. Banks did a final interview with the Guardian, and it's a must-read in general. In particular, he answers one of the great longstanding questions about his Culture novels: why didn't he ever write a novel about the fall of the Culture, his massive spacefaring civilization? » 6/17/13 9:40am 6/17/13 9:40am