Max Brooks' Advice To New Writers: "Be Brave, Put Your Stuff Out There"

Max Brooks has had a pretty amazing career, including the acclaimed novel World War Z. But he has one regret — that he didn't start publishing way, way earlier. In a new interview, he advises writers not to let fear of judgment hold them back. » 3/31/15 4:17pm Yesterday 4:17pm

"Magic Is Privilege": The Insidious System At The Heart Of Harry Potter

Every year, the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) delves into the themes and ideas of science fiction and fantasy. And this year, according to attendee Cecilia Tan, one big topic was the idea that Harry Potter's Wizarding World is "a metaphor for racism." » 3/30/15 11:18am Monday 11:18am

The Worst Taboo In Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy often seems more open-minded than other fantasy subgenres. You can have more sex, more swearing, loads of blasphemy, and tons of gonzo violence. So what can't you have in urban fantasy books? Apparently, an older female protagonist, as author Harry Connolly found out. » 3/19/15 2:46pm 3/19/15 2:46pm

How The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Fell In Love With Fantasy Books

Electric Literature asked John Darnielle, singer/songwriter with the Mountain Goats and author of Wolf in White Van, to pick a book to talk about. And Darnielle chose The Worm Ouroboros, a 1922 fantasy novel by Eric Rücker Eddison that's one of the precursors to Tolkien. » 3/16/15 2:36pm 3/16/15 2:36pm

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Defends NASA's Mission. All of It.

On Thursday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden testified in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, chaired by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Pushed hard by Cruz on the core mission of NASA, Bolden delivered an eloquent defense of everything NASA does. » 3/13/15 3:00am 3/13/15 3:00am

Why Kelly Link And Neil Gaiman Are Both Such Essential Writers

Most people have marveled at the fiction of Kelly Link and Neil Gaiman at some point. But it's often hard to describe what makes both their work so terrifically great. Over in Barnes & Noble's The Speculator, writer Paul Di Filippo really pinpoints why they are both so indispensible. » 2/27/15 11:58am 2/27/15 11:58am

Philip K. Dick On Fine-Tuning Your B.S.-Meter To Spot "Pseudo-Realities"

How can you tell what's real, in a world where huge industries, governments and religions are all trying to force-feed you manufactured realities? Philip K. Dick sums up the challenges of detecting reality in a world that resembles Disneyland, in this great 1978 quote. » 2/25/15 12:36pm 2/25/15 12:36pm

James Gunn's Poetic Defense of Superhero Movies

James Gunn took to his Facebook page to respond to a number of disses superhero movies took during the awards season. He was mostly very unconcerned with it all, but he did end with the admonition that their characters were every bit as loved as those from "serious" films. » 2/23/15 9:00pm 2/23/15 9:00pm

Read Roald Dahl's Powerful Pro-Vaccination Letter (From 1988)

Roald Dahl – author of such books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda – lost his eldest daughter, Olivia, to measles in 1962. Twenty-six years later, he penned a cogent and gut-wrenching plea to parents, urging them have their children vaccinated against the disease. » 1/31/15 2:00pm 1/31/15 2:00pm

C.J. Cherryh Explains The Key To Creating Terrific Female Characters

How do you go about creating female characters that have the same charisma and depth as the male ones? People debate this endlessly, and come up with complicated arguments about one aspect or another. But Downbelow Station author C.J. Cherryh has a refreshingly simple answer to this question. » 1/21/15 8:55am 1/21/15 8:55am

Why It's Absurd To Tell Ted Chiang He's Not Writing Science Fiction

People are often keen to impose a restrictive definition on science fiction, usually to rule something out of the genre. And even some of the genre's best authors have been on the receiving end of this. Like multiple award-winning writer Ted Chiang, who's regularly told his work is "not really science fiction." » 1/05/15 9:40am 1/05/15 9:40am

Why Science Fiction Is An Essential Tool For The Post-Ferguson World

Science fiction provides a unique toolkit for imagining how societies could be constructed differently — and for seeing how the structures that seem natural and inevitable to us are actually unnatural, says Walidah Imarisha, co-editor of a new anthology of radical science fiction called Octavia's Brood. » 12/30/14 12:20pm 12/30/14 12:20pm

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

James Cameron Promises That Avatar 2 Will Make You Soil Yourself

Remember when Avatar came out, and people were freaking out about the immersive 3-D and mocap, before that became so commonplace? James Cameron is pretty confident that the Avatar sequels will gain a similar "holy shit" reaction from moviegoers. Literally. » 11/26/14 9:00pm 11/26/14 9:00pm

Carrie Vaughn Explains The Downside Of Becoming Famous For One Thing

Carrie Vaughn is the author of the mega-successful Kitty Norville novels — but she didn't want to rest on her laurels. Instead, she fought to break out of the "urban fantasy" category, which she hadn't even known existed until she was put into it. Her story is fascinating. » 11/20/14 3:32pm 11/20/14 3:32pm

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

Neil Marshall Says Alien Might Not Get Made Today

As a director, Neil Marshall has been responsible for some pretty wild rides, from the post-apocalyptic cannibal medieval mashup of Doomsday to the werewolf epic Dog Soldiers. Not to mention Game of Thrones. But in his essay about Ridley Scott's Alien, he says it probably wouldn't get made today. » 11/03/14 11:25am 11/03/14 11:25am

David Mitchell Grew Up Drawing His Own Maps Of Tolkien's Middle Earth

Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks both prove that author David Mitchell has an incredible knack for world-building. So it's probably not a huge surprise that he was obsessed with Tolkien as a child, to the point of drawing his own maps of Middle Earth. » 10/30/14 11:05am 10/30/14 11:05am

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