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10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them)

Science fiction and fantasy offer a rich legacy of great books—but that abundant pile of reading material can also be daunting. So sometimes, it’s easier to fake it. We asked some of our favorite writers, and they told us the 10 books that everyone pretends to have read. And why you should actually read them.
» 7/30/15 10:30am Yesterday 10:30am

18 Perfect Short Stories That Pack More Of A Punch Than Most Novels

People sometimes mistake short stories for trifles, wee vignettes that are over before they start. But there's a reason why many of the best movies are based on short fiction rather than novels: a short story is just the right length to blow your mind. Here are 18 science fiction and short stories that rock our world. » 3/19/15 12:38pm 3/19/15 12:38pm

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

Biggest Worldbuilding Mistake Made By Isaac Asimov And Frank Herbert?

Both Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels and Frank Herbert's Dune books imagine empires in space. But everything we know about technological change and development suggests that an empire could never spur rapid enough technological development to make it in space, argues an article in Time Magazine. » 3/09/15 9:00pm 3/09/15 9:00pm

10 Time Travel Books That Need To Be Movies Right Now (If Not Sooner)

Time travel is huge at the movies right now. This Friday sees Hot Tub Time Machine 2, and Terminator 5 is coming soon. But as Predestination recently proved, the smartest movies about time warps are often based on literary sources. So here are 10 time-travel books that would make bloody amazing movies. » 2/18/15 10:28am 2/18/15 10:28am

When You Can't Tell The Difference Between Science And Science Fiction

As more and more stuff from science fiction feels as though it's coming true, we run into more situations where straight-up descriptions of real discoveries feel science fictional. But it works the other way, too — some SF writers go out of their way to make their fiction feel like real science writing. » 1/22/15 3:40pm 1/22/15 3:40pm

Isaac Asimov's Newly Published 1959 Paper for DARPA on Creativity

Isaac Asimov was one of the great sci-fi writers of the 20th century. So naturally, at the dawn of the space age, the military wanted to tap his brain. In 1959 he was approached by ARPA (now known as DARPA) to "think outside of the box" about how ideas are formed. His brief work for the organization has never been… » 10/20/14 8:08pm 10/20/14 8:08pm

The Weirdest Reasons Why Aliens Created Humanity

Science fiction is full of stories in which extraterrestrials engineer life on Earth — it's one of the main ways we explain humanoid aliens, after all. But why would aliens want to create the human race? It seems to be a lot of trouble to go to. Here are the most outlandish reasons for aliens to put human beings here. » 10/08/14 1:28pm 10/08/14 1:28pm

The Real Reason Why Endless Sequels And Remakes Are Bad For Us

These days, it often seems like the entertainment industry just wants to keep monetizing the same handful of properties over and over, instead of taking more risks. That makes for a "warmed-over meatloaf" feeling — but in Slate, Hieroglyph co-editor Ed Finn argues it's also bad for innovation.
» 9/17/14 12:33pm 9/17/14 12:33pm

Why Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics Can't Protect Us

It's been 50 years since Isaac Asimov devised his famous Three Laws of Robotics — a set of rules designed to ensure friendly robot behavior. Though intended as a literary device, these laws are heralded by some as a ready-made prescription for avoiding the robopocalypse. We spoke to the experts to find out if Asimov's… » 3/28/14 9:00am 3/28/14 9:00am

The Failed Publisher That Gave Us I, Robot And Arthur C. Clarke

We owe a huge debt to Gnome Press, a small start-up science fiction publisher that launched in the wake of World War II and failed because it couldn't pay its authors. As Andrew Liptak explains over in Kirkus Reviews, Gnome made Asimov's I, Robot possible, and gave us the first themed anthology. » 3/27/14 3:40pm 3/27/14 3:40pm

50 years ago, Isaac Asimov predicted what 2014 would look like

Fifty years ago, the 1964 World's Fair got Isaac Asimov to thinking about just what 2014 would look like, and he wrote up his predictions in an essay for The New York Times. It's a mixed-bag that includes early forecasts of GPS, microwave dinners, and a dead-on summation of our relationship with robots ("Robots will… » 1/02/14 7:40am 1/02/14 7:40am