12 Happy Accidents that Helped Save Science Fiction

Science fiction history is full of strange occurrences, and it's easy to imagine some wild alternate histories of the genre. And without some bolts from the blue, science fiction could have turned into something way less interesting. Here are 12 happy accidents that helped save science fiction. » 5/16/14 11:50am 5/16/14 11:50am

Daniel Suarez's Influx Shows The Paranoid Side of Techno-Optimism

I was prepared to be annoyed by Daniel Suarez's novel Influx. This techno-thriller, which has already been optioned as a movie, has the feel (and logic) of a blockbuster movie on paper. But then I realized: Influx is science fiction as Hugo Gernsback would have written it if he lived today, a thriller packed with… » 3/20/14 1:01pm 3/20/14 1:01pm

Astounding Spaceship Designs From Before The Space Age

Long before we were building spacecraft, we were dreaming of them. And some of our earliest ideas about space vehicles were pretty fanciful, or even downright bizarre. Here are the most astonishing and baffling spaceship designs from before we had spaceships. » 8/15/13 3:08pm 8/15/13 3:08pm

Will we ever chow down on kibble made for humans?

Twice a day, I pour my dog a bowl full of kibble, a specially formulated blend of barley, lamb, herring, and few other goodies I'm told will fully meet his nutritional needs. Sorting out my own nutritional needs is a bit more complicated. As much as I appreciate the variety afforded me by the bounty of fruits,… » 2/24/13 7:00am 2/24/13 7:00am

This gallery proves Frank R. Paul still rules science fiction art

Frank R. Paul did more than almost any other artist to shape the images that light up our collective dreams. He provided the bright, eye-popping imagery for Hugo Gernsback's vision of science fiction, and his art from the 1920s still feels fresher than a lot of the stuff being created today. » 1/30/13 11:20am 1/30/13 11:20am

How do you end racism? Transform black people into white people!

Science fiction pioneer and futurist Hugo Gernsback was a man who dared to dream big. And making big predictions meant that he was going to whiff huge every now and again. » 10/04/12 8:40am 10/04/12 8:40am

The ultimate invention for telling your coworkers to screw themselves

Science fiction pioneer Hugo Gernsback wasn't simply the founder of Amazing Stories, the first scifi periodical — he was also a prolific inventor and futurist who regaled past generations with zany visions of Dalek-like killing machines and computer-mandated marriage examinations. » 8/28/12 9:25am 8/28/12 9:25am

Science fiction's mascot is downright terrifying

Although Hugo Gernsback is best-known among fans for creating the first-ever magazine devoted to science fiction, he published a great many science fiction magazines, continuing well into the 1950s. However, while science fiction evolved and progressed around him, he remained firmly rooted in the style of the old … » 6/01/12 8:30am 6/01/12 8:30am

Tremble before the Daleks of 1918

In the October 1918 issue of Electrical Experimenter magazine, science fiction pioneer Hugo Gernsback revealed his vision for a nigh indestructible war engine. Gernsback — who also devised such retrotech killing machines as the riot control droid and the anti-gangster sky bobsled — regaled readers with the automatic… » 4/05/12 6:50am 4/05/12 6:50am

Robots, Mad Scientists and Damsels: Astounding Pulp Cover Art

Last week, we talked about how science fiction cover art evolved into the colorful, pulpy art we love today. Now, here's our look at the evolution of cover art from 1930 to 1955, as pulp styles exploded into awesomeness. » 8/26/11 2:00pm 8/26/11 2:00pm

, Shadow Out of Time, cover by Howard Brown, 1936 Amazing Stories, Adam…

How Pulp Science Fiction Cover Art Got Its Sense of Wonder

We all love the colorful richness of science fiction pulp cover art. But pulp art didn't spring into the world fully formed, full of beautiful women adventurers and marauding robots. » 8/19/11 1:03pm 8/19/11 1:03pm

In the future, we'll undergo tests to avoid marrying frigid hubbies and…

Hugo Gernsback is famous for being a science fiction publishing titan, being the namesake of the Hugo Awards, and his no-holds-barred futurism. He was less renowned for his Clockwork Orange-style views on marriage, which are equal parts horrifying and gut-busting. » 2/28/11 7:51pm 2/28/11 7:51pm

5 reasons why Hip Knox the Super Hypnotist is the worst superhero of…

There are scads of godawful Golden Age superheroes, but Hip Knox the Super Hypnotist is one of the worst. Not only is his costume eye-gougingly ugly, but he also uses his powers in profoundly creepy ways. » 12/19/10 12:15pm 12/19/10 12:15pm

Hugo Awards namesake suggested chasing criminals using airplane-mounted…

This invention is such a unabashedly terrible idea, but if I were a criminal, its sheer awesomeness would cow me into surrendering. Witness the apocryphal adventures of the Dieselpunk Deputies and their patented Anti-Gangster Gondola™ (by Hugo Gernsback)! This article by the godfather of science fiction comes courtesy… » 11/24/10 8:25am 11/24/10 8:25am

How many definitions of science fiction are there?

Science fiction is the literature of our times, the fuel of our imaginations and the source of our favorite imaginary worlds. But what do we mean when we talk about "science fiction?" Here are some of the many definitions. » 8/27/10 7:30am 8/27/10 7:30am

The Best Year of Science Fiction Ever: 1912

Today, we look at the year that gave us works by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Hugo Gernsback — does 1912 deserve to be crowned the Best Year of Science Fiction Ever? » 5/25/10 7:30am 5/25/10 7:30am

Hugo Gernsback Predicted A Tunnel From New York To France, Through The…

Hugo Gernsback didn't just pioneer the term "science fiction" — he insisted on a visionary philosophy, in which SF became the literature of predicting technological change. Ars Technica has a fascinating profile of the father of the genre. » 5/05/10 2:40pm 5/05/10 2:40pm

Golden-Age Science Fiction And Gay Chickens Went Hand In Wing

Hugo Gernsback, who invented the term "science fiction," also started a magazine called Sexology in 1933. The same boundless curiosity that led to Amazing Stories also spawned articles on priapism and other sexual oddities. » 12/17/08 8:30am 12/17/08 8:30am

Hugo Gernsback’s RoboCops of 1924

In the words of inventor (and father of science fiction) Hugo Gernsback, the Radio Automaton had "no superior for fighting mobs or for war purposes." Powered by a gasoline engine and radio controlled at a distance by a police car, it glided along on caterpillar treads, shooting tear gas and using its rotating discs… » 6/26/08 1:20pm 6/26/08 1:20pm