Why "Plot" Should Not Be A Four-Letter Word Among Novelists

It's easy to find people in the book world who regard "plot" as sort of a dirty necessity at best. Lots of literary books try to avoid any overt "plot," in favor of autobiographical details. In science fiction, there's a dichotomy between "plot" and "character." But in the New Yorker, Adelle Waldman offers a stirring… » 12/03/14 4:30pm 12/03/14 4:30pm

Who Wrote Women Better, Davies Or Moffat? Neither, Says One Professor

The great debate in Doctor Who fandom these days is between fans of "original" showrunner Russell T. Davies and his replacement, Steven Moffat.* And one of the focal points of that debate comes down to the notion that Davies was better at writing female characters. Not so fast, says one college professor. » 11/07/14 3:01am 11/07/14 3:01am

Just Because Magic Has Rules, Doesn't Mean It Should Be Predictable

A lot of fantasy writers and readers will tell you that magic needs to have a clear set of rules, so you don't just have a situation where magic can do whatever the author needs it to do. A system of magic. But go too far in that direction, and you end up with something too much like technology. » 10/20/14 6:00pm 10/20/14 6:00pm

Legendary Designer Syd Mead Says We Should Stop Saying "Wearable Tech"

With his work on Blade Runner and other movies, designer Syd Mead did as much as almost anybody to shape our vision of the future. And in a new interview with Fast Co Design, he explains why the term "wearable technology" is meaningless — and what it takes for wearables to become must-wears. » 10/03/14 7:00pm 10/03/14 7:00pm

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

Must Watch: John Brunner Breaks Down The Silliness Of Genre Categories

Back in (I'm guessing) the early 1970s, Hugo Award-winning John Brunner already understood that the division between "science fiction" and "mainstream fiction" was largely meaningless. In this must-watch video, the eloquent writer explains why science fiction is the mainstream literature of our technological world. » 9/12/14 3:19pm 9/12/14 3:19pm

The VFX Wizard Behind Ghostbusters Explains Why Practical Effects Rock

John Bruno is a legend in the world of visual effects, having worked on the first Ghostbusters, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Batman Returns and countless other films. And even though he helped pioneer computer-generated effects in T2 and The Abyss, he still believes practical effects are usually better. Here's why. » 8/12/14 3:40pm 8/12/14 3:40pm

When Writers Remake Gender, They Create A Better Mirror On Our World

There's a fascinating interview with Ursula K. Le Guin over at Electric Literature. She talks about the former literary/genre divide, and when to ignore "the rules." And she also explains why creating radically different versions of gender is actually a way to help people see the here and now more clearly. » 8/08/14 1:40pm 8/08/14 1:40pm