Why We Love "Big Dumb Object" Science Fiction Stories

Science fiction critic Peter Nicholls, speaking in 1997, explained the enduring love for novels about a "Big Dumb Object" in space, how this helps us to achieve a Sense of Wonder, and why we would want to. Novelist Gregory Benford just posted the text of Nicholls' speech on his own blog, and economist Robin Hanson… » 11/17/11 1:57pm 11/17/11 1:57pm

The makers of The Sagan Series bring you The Feynman Series

Many of you are probably familiar with The Sagan Series, a collection of videos that pays tribute to the inspirational words of astrophysics-giant Carl Sagan. (And if you're not familiar with the series, you owe it to yourself to check it out immediately, starting with this emotionally stirring first installment). » 10/03/11 11:55am 10/03/11 11:55am

Has "Sense Of Wonder" Gotten Senseless?

"Maybe the world has gotten too grubby and jaded for "awe." Or I have. At any rate, a "sense of wonder" is no longer what I look for in fiction, including SF. I don't want to be dazzled by things I never thought of before, even though often that seems to be what SF values. I want to be emotionally moved, involved at a… » 11/25/08 7:20am 11/25/08 7:20am

How To Be Totally Sophisticated

Welcome to Kronk Burger, an occasional column in which we will mock your shortcomings and -goings. When you're in a foreign country, you don't gawk, and you don't get your photograph taken in front of anything that's not naked and roaring with nubility. That's because you're not a tourist — you're a Seasoned Traveler.… » 5/21/08 10:08am 5/21/08 10:08am