Karen Russell's Imaginary Nonprofit Saves The World But Costs Your Soul

There's been a wave of fiction about an insomnia epidemic, as if some collective anxiety is bubbling up. Most recently, Kenneth Calhoun's Black Moon freaked us out. But Karen Russell's new novella "Sleep Donation" is still something pretty unique: a look at people in the nonprofit sector, struggling with insoluble… » 4/18/14 4:37pm Yesterday 4:37pm

The Most Fascinating Media Memes In The Wake of Divergent's Success

Divergent had a respectable opening weekend box office — not as high as some had predicted, but high enough to justify a sequel. And everybody had to have their own take on the cultural significance of this film, from the Hillary Clinton factor to its role as capitalist propaganda. » 3/24/14 4:11pm 3/24/14 4:11pm

Divergent Is A Ridiculously Fun Story Of Social Engineering Gone Mad

At first glance, Divergent sounds like a more contrived version of Hunger Games. In a dark dystopian future, everybody is required to have just one personality trait. Like Smurfs. Or the Seven Dwarfs. But the film version does a good job of revealing how this story is actually about social engineering. Plus, it's… » 3/21/14 9:00am 3/21/14 9:00am

Get ready to fall in love with Veronica Mars all over again

Veronica Mars was a teen sleuth whose superpower was storytelling. She was adroit at making up clever lies and crafting fake identities, but it was always in the service of piecing together the truth — which was another story she constructed. Now she's starring in a big crowd-funded movie, which turns out to be about… » 3/14/14 9:00am 3/14/14 9:00am

Why Maze Runner's James Dashner abandoned dystopia for virtual reality

James Dashner made a huge impact with The Maze Runner, his dystopian young-adult novel which is being turned into a major movie by Fox. Now he's back with a novel about virtual reality, The Eye of Minds. We talked to Dashner about why virtual reality could replace dystopia in young-adult novels. » 10/07/13 12:44pm 10/07/13 12:44pm

Designing Elysium: All The Secrets of Neill Blomkamp's Stark Future

Neill Blomkamp blew our minds with District 9, and now he's back with Elysium. We talked to concept artists and the movie's VFX producer to find out how they imagined a future space station, with the help of legendary designer Syd Mead. Here's our exclusive look inside the design of Neill Blomkamp's Elysium! » 8/08/13 12:33pm 8/08/13 12:33pm

The Purge could be this year's most hamfisted political movie

In The Purge, a suburban family is put through hell because right wingers came up with a plan to eliminate the poor and the sick. And we all come face to face with how broken the American dream really is. Yadda yadda. Basically, it's like this year's Atlas Shrugged or Now: a clunky and implausible political screed in… » 6/07/13 9:00am 6/07/13 9:00am

Wow, a Dystopian Coming-of-Age Novel With Actual Real Science

At this point the glut of novels about a young person growing up in a fearsome dystopia has become kind of insane, especially as the dystopias have gotten more and more far-fetched. So it's refreshing to read a novel like Jane Rogers' Testament of Jessie Lamb, where the dark future involves actual science. And real… » 5/23/13 4:43pm 5/23/13 4:43pm

What's the most stylish dystopia of all time?

Everybody knows that dystopias have the best fashions and the coolest designs. Whether it's the stark paleness of THX-1138, the totalitarian chic of Nineteen Eighty Four, the orgy cool of Brave New World or the priests-on-prozac aesthetic of Equilibrium... dystopias are always fashionable. So what's the most stylish… » 5/10/13 4:10pm 5/10/13 4:10pm

The Perfect Health Regimen that Only an Absolute Dictator Could Impose

There's been a lot of outrage over outlawing large sodas and banning trans-fats, and some people have complained about the Nanny State. But that's nothing. What if the state really decided to force you to live healthily? The results would be a horrifying dystopia, in which everybody lived to be 120. » 4/12/13 1:19pm 4/12/13 1:19pm

Elysium's Neill Blomkamp shares the secrets of designing a dystopia

Now that you've seen the first stunning trailer for Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and picked apart the screencaps, you can start to see a few similarites to Blomkamp's first movie, District 9. The politics, the cool gear, and the massive object floating in the sky. We caught up with Blomkamp a while ago, and he told us the… » 4/11/13 5:50pm 4/11/13 5:50pm

The Host is the most terrible movie you'll ever fall in love with

Everybody loves dystopias right now. And we're in the middle of a huge boom in movies about sexy young people who are struggling to figure out their identities and which hottie they want to boink. Both of these trends are inherently absurd, so it's a pleasure to encounter a movie that embraces the absurdity as joyously … » 3/29/13 9:00am 3/29/13 9:00am

This Tea Party science fiction movie trailer is better than both Atlas …

This fake trailer for a conservative science-fiction movie just premiered at CPAC, the big right-wing confab, and... it's a thing of true beauty. It contains more awesome scenes of socialist oppression, and a few heroic people fighting back, than both Atlas Shrugged movies. And the acting is truly epic as well,… » 3/15/13 3:20pm 3/15/13 3:20pm

Why is it so hard to create a good science fiction movie romance?

Some of the coolest science fiction movies of all time are love storiesEternal Sunshine, Brazil, and plenty of others. Combining big ideas with an epic passion just makes sense. But why do so many films fail to pull off this combination? Watching the new movie Upside Down, which fails so spectacularly as a love… » 3/15/13 9:00am 3/15/13 9:00am