From Metropolis To Ex Machina: Why Are So Many Robots Female?

The new movie Ex Machina has been pushing people’s buttons. It features a seemingly vulnerable robot named Ava, who’s as beautiful as she is mysterious. But Ava’s just the latest in a long line of artificial seductresses, girlfriends and mothers. Why are so many thinking machines female? » 4/21/15 1:15pm 4/21/15 1:15pm

The "Heroic Translators" Who Reinvented Classic Science Fiction In China

When early science fiction novels were first translated into Chinese, the translators took a lot of liberties with the material, reinventing Jules Verne for Chinese readers. Author Ken Liu (The Grace of Kings) explains how this helped inspire him, in turn, to reinvent Chinese traditions for Western fantasy readers. » 4/10/15 8:00am 4/10/15 8:00am

Star Blazers Got Me Through The Shittiest Year Of My Childhood

I was a happy child, but I didn't have such a happy childhood. Other kids didn't get my weird vibe, especially in elementary and middle school. And one year in particular, we moved to a new city and a new school, and things got ugly. Only one thing kept me from losing my shit: Star Blazers. » 3/13/15 12:30pm 3/13/15 12:30pm

Is The "Fix-Up" The Best Kind Of Science Fiction Novel There Is?

Everybody knows that short stories are where science fiction writers really get to experiment, and the most perfect pieces of narrative often happen at shorter lengths. But we also love to explore a world at the length of a whole book. So that makes the "fix-up" the best of both worlds, right? » 3/10/15 1:30pm 3/10/15 1:30pm

Will Lost In Space Ever Get Its Props?

Star Trek's 50th anniversary in 2016 is already shaping up to be a huge event — but what about Lost in Space's 50th birthday, coming this fall? Like Trek, Lost in Space was an important part of science fiction TV history. And Lost in Space had some seriously entertaining stories. So why doesn't this show get its due? » 3/02/15 1:42pm 3/02/15 1:42pm

Brandon Sanderson Explains Why Superhero Books Are So Hard To Get Right

As the proud father of three boys ages seven and under, our household is a goldmine of improvised superhero costumes. Along with the quintessential blanket as a cape, I regularly encounter oven mitts as Hulk fists, boxes (sometimes with eyeholes, sometimes not) as helmets, and cardboard tubes over the hands to… » 12/31/14 7:30am 12/31/14 7:30am

Why The Best Fantasy Stories Include Mundane Everyday Life

Anne Leonard's fantasy novel Moth and Spark comes out in paperback today. To celebrate, Leonard's written us an essay about how the "mundane" and everyday things are even more important to include in a book about dragons and heroic quests — because without them, you'll never understand the scale of magic. » 12/30/14 2:42pm 12/30/14 2:42pm

Why I'm Kind Of Tired Of The "Smartest Man In The Room"

He used to be so cool and unpredictable. He would breeze into a complicated situation and make it simple through the razor-sharp power of his intellect. But lately, he's gotten dull and predictable, performing the same party trick over and over. The "smartest man in the room" is overexposed lately, and he needs a… » 12/22/14 1:09pm 12/22/14 1:09pm

Great Villains Whose Schemes Aren't Just Aimed At Destroying The Hero

Sometimes it seems like every villain is obsessed with murdering the hero of the story. (Or making the hero realize they're alike.) But it's not true — in fact, some of the best villains have their own goals, and the hero just happens to get in the way. Here are some great villains whose schemes don't revolve around… » 12/16/14 8:00am 12/16/14 8:00am

Does Anyone Really Think Star Wars Ruined Science Fiction?

The meme has been going around pretty much since Star Wars first came out in 1977: Star Wars wrecked science fiction. George Lucas' extravagant space opera messed up a genre that was fumbling towards grown-up sophistication. This idea made a bit of a come-back with the Force Awakens teaser, and it's time to kill it. » 12/09/14 11:45am 12/09/14 11:45am

Stop Hating Original Science Fiction Movies Just For Having Tropes!

It never fails lately. We actually get a movie that's a new story, instead of a rehash or continuation of a venerable tale. And people immediately start piling on, pointing out all the stuff in it that's been done before. But just because something contains story elements we've seen before doesn't mean it can't be new. » 12/08/14 12:00pm 12/08/14 12:00pm

Here's One Genre That Could Replace Post-Apocalyptic Stories

We're in the middle of a huge boom in post-apocalyptic storytelling, including some of the most acclaimed novels and some of the biggest media properties. Will the apocalypse ever stop? What could replace it? Here's one idea: Instead of the apocalypse, maybe we can start writing about colonizing other worlds,… » 12/04/14 6:00pm 12/04/14 6:00pm