science fiction Archive

The Internet in Literature: Sven Birkerts, Jennifer Egan, Chuck Klosterman, Jarett Kobek, & Patrick Madden

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Kurt Vonnegut, in A Man Without a Country (as quoted by Chuck Klosterman), writes, “I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex.” Yet books set before the ubiquity of the internet often grace bestseller lists and win

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN

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This blog series, Big Picture, Small Picture, provides a contextual collage for a chosen piece of literature. The information here is culled from newspapers, newsreels, periodicals, and other primary sources from the date of the text’s original publication. “If we shadows have offended, Know but this and all is

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Men and Women Like Him” by Amber Sparks

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In “Men and Women Like Him” (Guernica), Amber Sparks explores dark tourism from the perspective of a time traveling tour guide who must ensure that historical tragedies don’t change—even when those tragedies become personal.Sparks drops us right into scene in the first couple paragraphs, letting the action and scenario

Reading Across the Great Genre Spectrum: A Cheat Sheet for Transliterary Consumption

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When I teach creative writing at the college level, one of the tasks I always assign early on in the semester is to have my students pick out a short work outside (preferably diametrically opposed to) the student’s preferred genre, read it, and offer a brief informal presentation of

Five Speculative Tales Still Relevant Today (And What They Can Teach Us)

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Seven-Word Summary: Women enslaved by tyrannical dicks with dicks. Excerpt: “Maybe none of this is about control. Maybe it really isn’t about who can own whom, who can do what to whom and get away with it, even as far as death.

Get Real! Or Maybe Don’t Get Real? A Conversation with Lincoln Michel (Part 2)

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Recently, on social media, Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel questioned the label of “realism.” I write “realism,” and I’m branching into other genres, so I introduced myself and asked a few more questions. Our conversation, conducted over e-mail, spanned several days, topics, and now two blog entries for Ploughshares. Lincoln Michel’s fiction

Don’t Go See World War Z!

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 3 Comments
Hollywood’s latest apocalyptic zombie romp, World War Z, could have been great. If it followed the lead that the book set out, it could have portrayed a nuanced view of life ten years after the world was overrun by zombies. When the book was turned into a movie, however,

Chainmail Bikinis and Other Sexism in Science Fiction and Literature

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If you’ve seen older issues of popular science fiction magazines—think from the 1930s to the 1960s—you’ve seen cover art of half-naked women being abducted by aliens or saved by a ‘handsome’ white dude in a spacesuit. (If you’re lucky, maybe you’ve even seen a cover with both at the

The Myth of the Literary Cowboy, Part 6: Save a Horse, Write a (Space) Cowboy

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Over the past few months, the Myth of the Literary Cowboy has explored how and why Willie was spot on when he observed that our “heroes have always been cowboys.” White hats, singers, anti-hero gunslingers, poets, pop music subjects—the role of the cowboy is part of the collective American pop culture

Episodia 1.7: Lost Novels and Love Triangles

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Lately I’ve been thinking about beginnings, endings, and that terribly murky time between a writer completing one project and starting another. After recently finishing a memoir, I’ve been itching to write a novel. I have a strong start to a new one—it’s always thrilling to be at the beginning of something, when all