All The Ways You Can Screw Up Your Own Timeline

Time travel and temporal anomalies can be messy and unpleasant. When time starts getting out of whack, anything can happen. People can be born over and over, meet themselves, relive the same day, or just screw up all their relationships. Here are all the ways people get tangled in their own timelines in science… » 4/14/14 10:00am Monday 10:00am

​12 Aliens Who Came to Earth to Save Humanity

What with wars, destroying the environment, and general imbecility, humanity is constantly getting itself into trouble. More than a few kindly aliens have come to Earth trying to help us change our ways, and for the most part, we've tried to kill them. Here are a dozen aliens that, directly or indirectly, tried to save … » 2/24/14 10:07am 2/24/14 10:07am

​The 14 Least Competent Alien Invaders of All Time

There have been many times when the Earth has been at the mercy of alien invaders. And there have been more than a few times where haven't — not because of our weapons, our savagery, or our inner strength — but because the aliens themselves were morons. Here are 14 alien invaders who did not think their invasions… » 12/16/13 10:01am 12/16/13 10:01am

What does it mean when people say your story's “tone” is wrong?

Writers and creative people talk about tone all the time. But what does it mean? Is it just the difference between a comedy and a drama? Is it just light versus dark? When you write a story, how do you figure out your "tone," and keep it from lurching from one thing to another? Here are some ideas. » 7/15/13 1:08pm 7/15/13 1:08pm

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Who Served in the Military, and…

So much of science fiction's core topics intersect with war, one way or the other. Rapid social change and technological innovation both get supercharged during wartime, and some of our greatest explorers are also warriors. So it's not surprising that many of science fiction's most well-known authors served in the… » 1/30/13 1:15pm 1/30/13 1:15pm

Don't you wish that every writing teacher was like Kurt Vonnegut?

Over at Slate, there's a hilarious excerpt from the new book of Kurt Vonnegut's letters: a term paper assignment he gave to his creative writing students at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1965. Basically, he wanted them to read a book of allegedly classic short fiction as if slightly tipsy, and then give each story a… » 12/03/12 3:00pm 12/03/12 3:00pm

The 'Banned Books' list is a hilariously depressing history of people…

Educators thought Orwell's 1984 was promoting Communism. They thought Huxley's Brave New World made promiscuous sex "look like fun," and the book is "centered around negative activity." They thought the point of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-5 was to promote "deviant sexual behavior." People burned Tolkien's Lord of the Rings » 10/01/12 3:14pm 10/01/12 3:14pm

Tonight: Hear some of your favorite SF authors read their favorite SF…

If you're in Brooklyn tonight at 7:30, you should stop by the new science fiction bookstore Singularity & Co., where some great SF authors are paying tribute to their influences. Lev Grossman is reading James White, Paul Park is reading Ursula K. Le Guin, and Ophira Eisenberg is reading Kurt Vonnegut. More details at… » 9/28/12 1:43pm 9/28/12 1:43pm

Science Fiction and Fantasy Creators Who Became Their Own Genres

Some people don't just create new worlds and super-memorable characters — they give life to their own genres. There are some creators of fantastical stories whose work is so distinctive, you have a pretty good sense what's going to happen when you pick up their work — and you're excited, because it's going to be a hell … » 4/18/12 9:00am 4/18/12 9:00am

Read the rejection letter Kurt Vonnegut received for his account of…

Here's something to galvanize you as NaNoWriMo 2011 rolls to a close. On August 29, 1949, The Atlantic Monthly sent this rejection letter to a 27-year-old Kurt Vonnegut, who had submitted his account of surviving the Allied bombing of Dresden (plus two other articles) to the magazine. » 11/20/11 11:25am 11/20/11 11:25am