Isaac Asimov

No. 6 – Theodore Sturgeon, The Next Question, Well-Meaning Scientists and The Evil They Can Cause.

2013 Feb 10 – Theodore Sturgeon, aka/Edward Hamilton Waldo, is best remembered for asking “What’s the next question?” In some portraits, you’ll see Sturgeon wearing a “Q,” with an arrow pointing forward, suspended from a thin, silver chain around his neck. He believed in questioning our assumptions. He would push further inquiry by suggesting that […]

Crossroads: A Genre Darkly

World-building, extrapolation, analogy, conceptual breakthrough, thought experiment – these are science fiction’s basic methods. Other genres might occasionally borrow them, but SF has sharpened them to a razor’s edge. So what happens when this set of tools works alongside the themes, styles, and plot structures of noir?

Inoculate Against the Lurids: Language Is A Virus

I’m pleased to be participating at Amazing Stories by writing about pulps. But before jumping feet first into that discussion, it’s best to issue a warning: It’s always important for all participants in a conversation to make sure they understand the lingo. That’s an obvious statement when the participants are from different cultures, or if […]

Demolition

I was going to devote this initial essay to The Shaver Mystery, that forties phenomenon masterminded by Raymond Palmer which put science fiction for the first time (and not in an helpful fashion) under the lens of Henry Luce and Time but have decided to take a pass.  Wikipedia has already entirely reconfigured the culture. […]

Hollywood loves “remakes.” Sometimes Hardcore Fans Don’t

The funny thing about movies is that liking or disliking them can become as political a process as anything else.  In fact, sometimes I get a pretty strong sense of whether a movie will do well not only before I have seen it, but before anyone has seen it.  I don’t mean I know whether […]