a day ago

How would you behave if your IQ suddenly doubles?

Just as history books often tell us more about historians than they do about history, genre fiction can reveal a great deal about its authors and the times during which they write. History books fall into disfavor as new information comes to light, making way for new interpretations of the facts. And science fiction and […]

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4 weeks ago

On a starship, an art heist, a murder, a coverup

The premise is familiar. The remnants of the human race crowd aboard a spaceship en route for centuries to a new home amid the stars. Somehow, far behind them in space and time, the Earth’s billions have perished. Yet never before have I come across a rendering of this story that I can believe without […]

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last month

The alien invasion is coming, and we even know when

Ever since the origins of the genre in the 1920s and 30s, American science fiction writers have imagined military conflict between humans and aliens. Amazon lists more than 60,000 books of military SF. To my mind, the best of the lot (at least among those I’ve read) is Joe Haldeman’s 1974 classic inspired by the […]

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last month

A climate change science fiction novel that runs amok

Climate change has claimed a sub-genre of its own within science fiction. Outstanding examples include Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. No doubt there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others. So, any less prominent author must offer up something truly innovative to get noticed […]

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last month

Wacky science fiction from a master of hard SF

If there’s a sub-genre that might be called wacky science fiction, then surely John Varley’s novel, Red Thunder, is a prime example. Oh, it’s not zany like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Doctor Who. But as the story’s protagonist and narrator notes, the technology at the center of the tale is “outrageous, goofy […]

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