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Spaces Where Maps Fail

Spaces Where Maps Fail

AMONG THE MOST NOTABLE publishing phenomena of the late 19th century were the spectacular successes of Edward Bellamy’s utopian fiction Looking Backward (1888) and H. Rider Haggard’s lost-race ad...

The Persistence (and Failure) of Memory

The Persistence (and Failure) of Memory

ALASTAIR REYNOLDS’S SLOW BULLETS opens with poetry and a war crime. The poet is Giresun, the fictional poet laureate for the Central Worlds, one side in a bloody sectarian conflict. Although the no...

Who Knew Imagination Could Be So Deadly?

Who Knew Imagination Could Be So Deadly?

STEPHEN KING’s Finders Keepers is the second book in a planned trilogy featuring a retired police detective, Kermit William “Bill” Hodges, and his assistants: Jerome Robinson, a young African-Am...

Everyday Plato

Everyday Plato

JO WALTON specializes in high concept speculative fictions that she makes both believable and thoughtful through her deployment of the quotidian. Who else could write a story of Darwinian dragons as a...

The Warm Equations

The Warm Equations

STAR TREK makes it look easy. Warp drive eliminates all that unhappy fussing with fuel, mass, and acceleration: the Enterprise, traveling orders of magnitude faster than current science tells us is po...

Excavating a Future

Excavating a Future

Part of the problem is that our Hollywoodish imagination of disaster is dominated by the blockbuster spectacle of some future, definitive event that triggers a system collapse. In reality, the apocaly...

Secure Your Own Mask Before Helping Others

Secure Your Own Mask Before Helping Others

THE TITLE OF Neil Gaiman’s third collection comes from the growing practice of labeling blog posts with content some readers might find upsetting. A survivor of abuse, for example, might have a very...

Vulnerable Creatures and the Wounded World-Soul

Vulnerable Creatures and the Wounded World-Soul

EARLY ON in his latest novel, The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker reveals that his most celebrated character, the Hell Priest Pinhead, has learned the delicate art of origami. For months, the demon secr...

The Story-as-Database

The Story-as-Database

AT ONE POINT in Jennifer Brissett’s science fiction novel Elysium, the protagonist goes to bed for a much-needed rest: She fell asleep and wrestled in her dreams. In her sleep she was herself, but ...

Gender and the Apocalypse

Gender and the Apocalypse

ON APRIL 3, 2015, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust announced this year’s winners of the Philip K. Dick Award for the best science fiction novels published in pa...

Apocalypse Never

Apocalypse Never

IN CONTEMPORARY SF, the postapocalyptic wasteland has become the predominant setting for futuristic imaginings. Recent cinematic examples include Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (2013), Neill Blomkamp’...