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My first novel, Big in Japan, is about a neurotic American prog-rocker coming of age in Japan. My second, Jellyfish Dreams, is about a biologist’s quest to reanimate his dead fiancée at the instigation of a black hole beneath his sofa. Readers who’ve read both books usually remark on how different they are, but I don’t see it that way. For one thing: crazy artist, mad scientist—same difference. For another, even if you agree with (a quote I’ve seen attributed to) sf comics genius Warren Ellis that “Prog rock was sick and wrong then and it is sick and wrong now,” one can’t deny that prog drinks as liberally from the sf well as it does from the epic and fantasy ones. And so, a primer on some of history’s more salient prog-sf conjunctions:
Sometimes I look around at intensely intricate Pinterest parties that other people apparently have the time to create for their children, and the mind boggles at the lengths to which theme-ing these parties goes. Sometimes, parents put out totally normal food, but give it a cutesy name to make it match. Example: a Star Wars party with skewers of grapes next to a little homemade sign reading “LIGHTSABERS.” This “treat” would be mildly disappointing to me, but apparently not everyone is such a snob. Adam Driver, for example (aka Kylo Ren), once said that during filming of The Force Awakens, “Every day I would show up to craft services hoping there’d be some space-themed food, but there never was. Which is a shame, because I think that would’ve really boosted morale. Like, if you’re serving meatballs, just call them meat asteroids. Or, if you’re serving grapes, call them fruit asteroids. It’s not that hard.” Yes it is Adam! Yes it is! If you want results you’ve got to put in the effort! (What am I, a coach for geek food? Ok, probably.) If that wouldn’t satisfy you either, check out these amazing sci-fi treats and sweets based on Star Wars, Firefly, Star Trek, Dr. Who, and Stargate. None of them, fortunately, are “meat asteroids” (what was he THINKING?).
Not so long ago, there weren't enough great sci-fi webcomics to shake a ray-gun at. Now, you've got serious options for pretty much every sub-genre you can imagine, from hard sci-fi to space opera to satirical speculative space fantasy. Here's my list of the best sci-fi webcomics to make you laugh, make you think, and feel like a kid again with the best Sunday paper in the galaxy.
In my last article, I discussed William Gibson's cyberpunk classic Neuromancer as a key text in the convergence between science fiction and postmodernism. This time, I want to stay right on the cusp and consider the case of Kurt Vonnegut, who happens to be the writer who made me want to be one myself someday.
Some people would call me crafty. Those people are not technically correct. Can I safely use scissors and Elmer’s glue? Yes, I can. Can I crochet an entire set of miniature Star Wars figurines? Ha ha ha. No. I cannot. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t make some pretty rad DIY Star Wars gifts for all my kinfolk when the holiday season is coming around. My goals when selecting winners for this list were twofold: first, nothing should cost more than $20, and second, nothing should take more than an hour or two of hands-on crafting time. While you might spend a little bit more or take slightly longer depending on your material sourcing and crafting abilities, I hope I’ve hit pretty close to the mark. Grab your supplies and if you’re feeling a little lackluster about your DIY abilities, just remember: do, or do not. There is no try.
If you’re a true fan of science fiction, whether campy or classic, space opera or speculative fiction, Star Trek or Jules Verne, you probably can’t get enough of the worlds your favorite characters inhabit, the clothes they wear, and the technology they wield. Lucky you, because some of the most exciting artifacts and memorabilia are exhibited in carefully curated museums around the world, and the momentum is building for even more. Check out this bucket list of already-existing sci-fi museums and exhibits, then get ready for two world-class museums coming to Hollywood, California and Washington D.C. in the years to come.
"Olbinski’s lush images are layered with complex psychology. He does not paint the landscape of scientific reality, but rather maps the interiors of the mind..."
Space colonization is an iconic and enduring facet of fantastic literature. Driven by expectation, bold prediction, and unrestrained post-industrial optimism, the notion was addressed by scientists as early as 1903, and as is often the case in the history of science. Further exploration of the concept was spearheaded by the imaginations of countless science fiction authors—and brought to life by pulp illustrators.
“It may be too simplistic to say that Li Tobler haunts Giger still… but there is no doubting that the simultaneous agony and joy of life with Li Tobler established the dynamic of fear and transcendence which is present in many of his paintings.” Li Tobler was the melancholic tragic muse of H.R. Giger. Her face haunts Giger’s depictions of ethereal women in many of his paintings, often peering forth from the torment of afterlife to a world beyond anything we’ve known. Shrouded in mystery, Li Tobler is Giger’s most familiar face, yet most unknown.
Of all things futuristic and infeasible, spaceships steal the hearts of sci-fi lovers more than just about anything else. From the stalwart flagbearers like the Millennium Falcon and the Mothership to fighter craft and faster-than-light travel, spaceships—along with their Captains, crews, and missions—have always enraptured fans.
Chris Moore is a British painter, designer, and illustrator recognized as a master of depicting high-tech science fiction. Moore has elegantly devised parallel universes that have graced the works of prestigious authors such as Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov. Moore’s work boasts a fascinating level of technical skill and ascendancy over the canvas, using technology as merely an aid to his own distinctive technique.