Forget the "Busy Trap" — you're trapped way worse than that

There's been a popular meme going around lately about the "Busy Trap" — the idea that we're all keeping busy with meaningless junk like checking our email or doing random tasks, and that this is somehow a lifestyle choice. But a new essay by Mark Fisher, "Time Wars," makes a persuasive case that our chronic busy-ness… » 8/13/12 11:48am 8/13/12 11:48am

Deepest, Darkest Coming of Age Stories from Science Fiction and Fantasy

When it comes to discovering strange new worlds, there's nothing like a young protagonist venturing out into a world where it feels like absolutely anything can happen. Many of science fiction and fantasy's coolest stories are about coming of age — but coming of age, in the end, means losing your innocence and… » 8/06/12 12:10pm 8/06/12 12:10pm

Why Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is The Ultimate White Guilt Fantasy

K. Tempest Bradford is the main writer behind the Angry Black Woman blog, and also the author of that great list of stock science fiction TV plots we linked to a few years ago. Here, she explains why Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn't just a weak genre mashup, but also the ultimate white guilt fantasy. » 6/26/12 7:00am 6/26/12 7:00am

Paolo Bacigalupi: Science fiction "thrives at uncertainty points, when…

Wind-Up Girl author Paolo Bacigalupi's essay over at Wired is both a must read and a quick read. The essay is mostly about how Cyberpunk saved science fiction by shaking up the complacent view of the future that had dominated for decades — but then he broadens out into a more general theory of science fiction as a… » 6/20/12 4:43pm 6/20/12 4:43pm

Awesome Books to Replace Your Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

The love of television is always tragic. We're doomed to fall in love with television shows and then lose them, again and again. And often, our love burns the brightest for shows that live the shortest amount of time. We'll never get our favorite cancelled TV shows back again — but the good news is, for every TV show… » 6/20/12 3:40pm 6/20/12 3:40pm

One Theory That Finally Explains What's Going on in Prometheus

However you feel about Prometheus, one thing's for sure: This movie has inspired more arguments than any film in the past few years. What's it all about? Does it actually mean anything at all? David J. Williams, author of The Mirrored Heavens, The Burning Sky and the Machinery of Light, has a few theories that might… » 6/18/12 11:14am 6/18/12 11:14am

Are we living in the Golden Age of Trash Culture right now?

We often tend to think that the best era for trash culture was sometime in the middle of the Twentieth Century. An era where there were a lot of 25 cent paperbacks with gun-toting lesbians on their covers, plus drive-in movies, stag films, cheap comics and weird burlesque shows. And so on. But actually, the pinnacle… » 6/12/12 3:27pm 6/12/12 3:27pm

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

A Chart that Reveals How Science Fiction Futures Changed Over Time

The future may seem to be closer or farther off, depending on the era you're living in. That's one of the possible conclusions you can draw from this chart (embedded below), created by Stephanie Fox for io9, based on research we've done over the past month. We wanted to know whether there are historical trends in how… » 5/18/12 12:00pm 5/18/12 12:00pm

The Real Secret Behind Awake's Compelling Drama

Awake is winding down in the next couple of weeks, and then we'll never see it again. But we'll be talking about it for years, because of the way it's managed to blend genres. In particular, as the season's gone on, the full weight of this show's portrayal of mental illness has begun to sink in. This is a show that's… » 5/17/12 11:37am 5/17/12 11:37am

Why Octopuses Should Run Our National Security Infrastructure

Next time the government wants new ideas about how to protect our nation's security, it should consult an octopus. That's the unusual proposition of marine biologist Rafe Sagarin, a pioneer in the infant field of "natural security," where experts use models from nature to help them come up with emergency responses to… » 5/16/12 1:15pm 5/16/12 1:15pm

Why do all of the grown-ups on The Vampire Diaries suck so much?

There was only one reasonably stable adult human left on The Vampire Diaries — and they just borked him. The vampire-hunting history teacher and surrogate parent Alaric Saltzman has been forever altered by a supernatural plot twist — leaving the CW series with absolutely zero likable adults left who aren't vampires.… » 5/10/12 11:33am 5/10/12 11:33am