Did Neal Stephenson predict the NSA spying on World of Warcraft?

New leaked documents from Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA and British intelligence have been spying on people in World of Warcraft and other online games. And Neal Stephenson's epic spy novel REAMDE predicted this whole mess back in 2011. » 12/10/13 6:28pm 12/10/13 6:28pm

The Greatest Fictional Versions of Alan Turing

Take a moment away from your computer screen, and give some props to Alan Turing, the code-breaking badass who helped make all this possible. Turing has captured our imagination several times, in books and movies. Here's our potted history of the Father of Computer Science in pop culture. » 11/27/13 1:27pm 11/27/13 1:27pm

What's the best piece of optimistic science fiction?

Science fiction can warn us about potential disasters, and school us about the downsides of knowing too much — but a lot of the best science fiction inspires us, instead, by showing how people can solve problems and conquer ignorance. What's the most uplifting piece of optimistic science fiction you've ever seen? » 10/18/13 2:13pm 10/18/13 2:13pm

Watch Neal Stephenson slice up fruit with swords on high-speed video

In one of those Internet things that exists solely to delight us, science fiction author Neal Stephenson starts slicing up fruit (and other things) with swords, shot at about 2,300 frames per second. Come for the cantaloupe, stay for the amazing shot of Stephenson demolishing a plastic water bottle with his longsword. » 1/13/13 9:00am 1/13/13 9:00am

It's time the major literary awards stopped being a gated community

This year's finalists for the National Book Awards were announced, and over at Salon, Laura Miller makes a strong case that the list should have included some of the year's best genre books. Her picks include the fantasy novel Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (read our review here). » 10/11/12 3:00pm 10/11/12 3:00pm

Science Fiction Authors Who Could be Hollywood's Next Philip K. Dick

When Hollywood wants a futuristic, paranoid thriller where nothing is what it seems, the studios reach for the work of one man. This week, Philip K. Dick continues his reign as Hollywood's idea spigot, with a remake of Total Recall. More PKD films are in the works, and there's no shortage of material out there. » 7/30/12 2:01pm 7/30/12 2:01pm

10 Recent Science Fiction Books That Are About Big Ideas

Nowadays, everybody says that science fiction has stopped talking about Big Ideas. Science fiction used to be the genre that asked the huge questions, about who we are and where we're going. But somehow, people say, the genre lost its appetite for deep thoughts. » 7/27/12 10:00am 7/27/12 10:00am

10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should …

Science fiction and fantasy offer a rich legacy of great books — from Asimov to Pynchon, there are some fantastic, ambitious works of genre fiction out there. But they're also daunting. So a lot of us just muddle through and pretend to have read these classics — which isn't that hard, because they're everywhere, and… » 7/10/12 10:08am 7/10/12 10:08am

Do we really need more optimistic science fiction?

Noted writer Neal Stephenson has argued that contemporary science fiction is too focused on nihilism and apocalyptic scenarios. The current crop of such works, such as The Walking Dead, are compared rather unfavorably to the hopeful view of the future that was supposed to be common theme in the mid twentieth century. » 5/31/12 3:08pm 5/31/12 3:08pm

Sword Fighting with Neal Stephenson and His Mongoliad Co-Authors

It's not even 10:30 in the morning, and I'm already holding an archaic deadly weapon in my hands. I'm in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle, to which I've traveled so that award-winning science fiction novelists can demonstrate how they could cut me in half if they felt like it. Somebody has just pulled a sword out of… » 5/30/12 7:00am 5/30/12 7:00am

The Mystery of the Knight with the Blue Roan Horse, from Neal…

A group of knights travel East towards the lands of the Mongols, in an exclusive excerpt from The Mongoliad Part 1, the group novel spear-headed by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. In this selection from chapter 7, the mysterious knight Istvan seems to know more about the Mongols than he's been letting on — and he seems… » 4/19/12 3:48pm 4/19/12 3:48pm

April Books: Stephen King's Dark Tower, Neal Stephenson's Weird History, …

The book world has some treats in store for you this month — including a brand new novel in Stephen King's Dark Tower universe, and the first book of Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear's Mongoliad. John Shirley revises and updates his groundbreaking cyberpunk trilogy. There are more jazz-age vampires and Regency magicians,… » 4/06/12 1:07pm 4/06/12 1:07pm