18 Perfect Short Stories That Pack More Of A Punch Than Most Novels

People sometimes mistake short stories for trifles, wee vignettes that are over before they start. But there's a reason why many of the best movies are based on short fiction rather than novels: a short story is just the right length to blow your mind. Here are 18 science fiction and short stories that rock our world. » 3/19/15 12:38pm 3/19/15 12:38pm

Kazuo Ishiguro's New Novel Is A Weird Mess, But It Still Moved Me

Kazuo Ishiguro's brand new novel, The Buried Giant, is a puzzling departure. It's not just that the author of The Remains of the Day is writing an epic fantasy about ogres and a dragon. It's also that it's written in a weird, pseudo-fancy style, and it's hard to love. But I did end up kind of haunted by this book,… » 3/10/15 4:33pm 3/10/15 4:33pm

Why The Best Fantasy Stories Include Mundane Everyday Life

Anne Leonard's fantasy novel Moth and Spark comes out in paperback today. To celebrate, Leonard's written us an essay about how the "mundane" and everyday things are even more important to include in a book about dragons and heroic quests — because without them, you'll never understand the scale of magic. » 12/30/14 2:42pm 12/30/14 2:42pm

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

The Book Of Strange New Things Will Blow You Away

Michael Faber's new novel The Book of Strange New Things pulls a neat trick. At first, you think it's going to be about a human trying to explain our culture — and specifically Christianity — to aliens on the planet Oasis. But at some point, you realize it's about the fate of humanity, instead. And that's when it gets… » 12/25/14 12:29pm 12/25/14 12:29pm

Does Anyone Really Think Star Wars Ruined Science Fiction?

The meme has been going around pretty much since Star Wars first came out in 1977: Star Wars wrecked science fiction. George Lucas' extravagant space opera messed up a genre that was fumbling towards grown-up sophistication. This idea made a bit of a come-back with the Force Awakens teaser, and it's time to kill it. » 12/09/14 11:45am 12/09/14 11:45am

I Refuse To Be Friends With Anybody Who Doesn't Love This Book

It's okay to disagree with your friends or loved ones about certain things. But still, some things are sacred. Which science fiction or fantasy book is so essential, you'd refuse to be friends with (or to date) someone who didn't like it? » 11/28/14 2:08pm 11/28/14 2:08pm

The Difference Between Good Worldbuilding And Great Worldbuilding

Worldbuilding is the bedrock of science fiction and fantasy. We obsess about it constantly, because characters and plots are often only as compelling as the worlds they inhabit. We've decried bad worldbuilding before — but what makes worldbuilding great? Here's one key factor. » 11/13/14 1:40pm 11/13/14 1:40pm

Margaret Atwood Explains Why A Wizard Of Earthsea Is A Masterpiece

Every month the Wall Street Journal's Book Club features a famous author leading its readers through a discussion of a book of their choice. This month, it's Margaret Atwood, and she's chosen Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. » 10/16/14 3:40pm 10/16/14 3:40pm

Lifetime Achievement Award Goes to a Totally Deserving Ursula K. Le Guin

The National Book Foundation's announced that this year's recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters is Ursula K. Le Guin. In an added bit of joy to an already excellent piece of news, Neil Gaiman will present her with the award. » 9/11/14 4:00am 9/11/14 4:00am

Which Science Fiction Or Fantasy Book Do You Wish Went On Forever?

We've all experienced the sense of impending loss that comes when you realize a book is almost over — and you're not ready for it to end. But which science fiction or fantasy novel do you wish would just never end? So you could keep reading it for the rest of your life? » 8/28/14 3:44pm 8/28/14 3:44pm

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

10 Great Novels That Will Make You More Passionate About Science

Many of the world's greatest scientists were inspired to go into their fields by reading science fiction books. And it's easy to see why. A lot of the best science fiction features scientists who solve problems and make breakthroughs. Here are 10 great novels that will inspire you with a new love of science. » 8/07/14 10:09am 8/07/14 10:09am

12 Sequels That Completely Change How You View The Original Story

Most of the time, sequels are at best entertaining, and at worst an affront to the memory of the original. But once in a great while, a sequel comes along that makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the original story. Here are 12 sequels that pull back and show you the bigger picture. » 7/31/14 10:00am 7/31/14 10:00am

21 Books That Changed Science Fiction And Fantasy Forever

Speculative fiction is the literature of change and discovery. But every now and then, a book comes along that changes the rules of science fiction and fantasy for everybody. Certain great books inspire scores of authors to create something new. Here are 21 of the most influential science fiction and fantasy books. » 7/25/14 10:00am 7/25/14 10:00am

How To Write About Sex Without Being Boring

Sexuality is one of our most basic drives, but it's also fundamental to our identities as people. Which means sex is the subject of a million cliches, and tons of terrible writing. Not to mention, stupid prejudice. The good news? Science fiction and fantasy writers have a special opportunity to look at sex afresh.… » 7/15/14 1:51pm 7/15/14 1:51pm

We Need A New Literary Movement With A Slightly Ludicrous Name

When I first obsessed about the idea of being a science-fiction writer, I was captivated by the Slipstream movement, which aimed to bust genre boundaries and shatter expectations. And reading about 1975's science fiction boom makes you realize how great the New Wave was. So maybe it's time for a new movement with a… » 5/08/14 1:27pm 5/08/14 1:27pm

In 1975, Newsweek Warned that Science Fiction Was Taking Over

These days, we're used to seeing articles about how science fiction has gone mainstream, or how the geeks rule the world. But back in 1975, this was still a relatively new idea — and it kind of terrified Newsweek Magazine. » 5/07/14 11:00am 5/07/14 11:00am

Science Fiction vs. Fantasy Round One: Space Opera and Epic Fantasy!

In this year's edition of io9 March Madness, we're on a quest to find the greatest series in all of science fiction and fantasy. On Wednesday, we kicked things off by making eight classics battle it out just to make it into the tourney. Now it's time to start voting on the round of 64! » 3/14/14 11:18am 3/14/14 11:18am