July 24, 2016
Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer Vintage. 1,216 pp. $25. Reviewed by Jim Higgins Surprisingly, the literary spirit that haunts Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's massive new anthology, The Big Book of Science Fiction , isn't Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov or even H.G. Wells. It's Jorge Luis Borges, the creator of miniature fables of humans' grappling with their double-edged longing for and terror of infinity and omniscience. He's represented by a signature story, name-checked in another one, and appears to influence several more.
November 24, 2014 |
Speaking in a small room at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Cherry Hill, Orenthal Hawkins addressed a group of 25 people, but he directed his comments to the world at large, particularly those who may have certain perceptions about the people who go to science-fiction conventions. "Are you passionate about the things you love?" asked Hawkins, an information technology professional. "Then you're a geek. " Hawkins spoke Saturday morning at a panel about what makes a "true" geek and about sexism among creators and fans of science-fiction stories and video games.
November 30, 2012
Boris N. Strugatsky, 79, a prolific writer who used the genre of science fiction to voice criticisms of Soviet life that would have been unthinkable in other literary forms, died Nov. 19 in St. Petersburg. The cause was heart failure, his biographer, Boris Vishnevsky, said. Employed as an astronomer at a state observatory, Mr. Strugatsky began collaborating on science fiction with his older brother, Arkady, in 1956. Together they produced rich, often bleak allegorical landscapes that ranged from a dysfunctional institute for the research of magic in Mondays Begin on Saturday to a postapocalyptic "zone" littered with deadly extraterrestrial objects in Roadside Picnic , adapted for Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky's revered 1979 film.
November 12, 2013 |
CHERRY HILL "Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it isn't going to happen. " That statement, by a participant in a discussion about privacy in the Internet age, summed up the thinking in a room where references to classified- documents leakers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning on the one hand and Philip K. Dick and Cory Doctorow novels on the other were both treated as authoritative. At Philcon, the annual Philadelphia-area gathering that bills itself as the world's oldest science- fiction convention, the experts on panels about privacy were novelists, not NSA technicians.
May 12, 2014 |
The world was a different place when the Betty Bacharach Home for Afflicted Children opened on Mother's Day 1924. Polio, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis, and other disabling diseases were widespread in America, and few facilities offered long-term care for pediatric patients. Five siblings in the wealthy, powerful, and politically wired Bacharach family of Atlantic City - then a prosperous, even glamorous destination - wanted to help. So they opened a tiny charity hospital in Longport for severely disabled youngsters, regardless of "race, creed or color;" named the place for their mother; and nurtured it into a cause célèbre among celebrities of all stripes.
April 11, 2016 |
Drexel professor André M. Carrington has been a longtime devotee of comic books, science fiction, and everything dorky. His first book, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction , is a thoughtful analysis of the genre's attempts to grapple with ethnicity. In it he ranges over delightfully vast tracts of fiction, from the Marvel comics empire to the fantasy world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the representations of black women from the British imperial diaspora.
March 17, 2012
Jean Giraud, 73, a French comic-book artist whose dark, intricately drawn fantasy worlds profoundly influenced graphic novels worldwide and U.S. science fiction films like Alien , Tron , and Avatar , died last Saturday at his home outside Paris. Mr. Giraud was seen in the comic-book world as a kind of artist-avatar of the unbounded interior human landscape. Mr. Giraud's pen name, Moebius, referred to the disorienting, curved plane known as the Mobius strip. In France, where the line between popular and serious art often blurs, he was a source of national pride.
August 21, 2011
Guy Kahane is deputy director of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford In Anthony Burgess' novella (and Stanley Kubrick's film) A Clockwork Orange , Alex, an unrepentant psychopath, has his eyes pried wide open and is forced to watch violent images. Like Pavlov's dog, Alex is being programmed to respond with nausea to violence and sex. This scene remains shocking, but, like most science fiction, it has aged. The behaviorist psychology it drew upon has long since expired, and the fear that science will be used to make, or even force, people to be morally better now sounds old-fashioned.
June 13, 2012 |
It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time. Eckels' mind whirled. It couldn't change things. Killing one butterfly couldn't be that important! Could it? ... "Can't we," he pleaded to the world, to himself, to the officials, to the Machine, "can't we take it back, can't we make it alive again? Can't we start over? Can't we —" ... He heard Travis shift his rifle, click the safety catch, and raise the weapon.
February 4, 2016
By Paul Halpern In January, the world of music lost several giants known as much for their hit songwriting as for their multi-decade performance careers: David Bowie, Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, and Glenn Frey of the Eagles. When luminaries pass away within weeks of each other, articles often appear attempting to find commonalities - sometimes real, other times contrived. In the case of Bowie and Kantner, there is indeed a deep cosmic connection. Both were avid readers who loved science fiction, popular science, and outer-space themes.