Tag Archives | SciFi

A teacher uses Star Trek for difficult conversations on race and gender

Can Captain Kirk’s struggle for belonging and identity become a tool for teaching? James Vaughan, CC BY-NC-SA

Can Captain Kirk’s struggle for belonging and identity become a tool for teaching? James Vaughan, CC BY-NC-SA

The television series Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969) debuted one year after my immediate family and I relocated from the Harlem district of New York City to an area of South Central Los Angeles in 1965.

This was also the year in which that latter metropolis erupted into riots that became known collectively as the Watts Rebellion. The television series became a form of escape from the surroundings of a depressing urban reality and envisioning a more tolerant future.

As it turned out, however, TV was not to be the key to that future. Rather, that entrée would be provided by many subsequent years of formal education that would spark in me an intellectual curiosity about the inner workings of the trek of life – engaging the tangibles of this world as well as the intangibles I imagined to exist beyond the stars.… Read the rest

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10 of the Best Sci-Fi Art Books

51TQ776VQ7LAndrew Seel writes at OMNI Reboot:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of science fiction art, no proverbial can ring to be more true. Science fiction art is truly a genre unlike any other. Each illustration, cover, or painting captures a story. Each step in the thought process of a science fiction artist is intricately purposeful and intentional. When it comes to science fiction, art should bombard your eyes with extremely sublime and striking graphic, grabbing your attention within milliseconds but that alone can’t determine its success. A great Sci-fi artwork can make you dwell into the world that is illustrated by the author, visually and emotionally experience the journey of action and adventure that have been prepared for you. These are ten of the best sci-fi art books that highlight their amazing work.

10. Sexy Robot

Sexy Robot cemented Sorayama’s legacy as an artist and brought him worldwide attention.
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1906 Illustrations of H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’

Henrique Alvim Corrêa, a Brazilian artist who worked primarily in Belgium, specialized in military and science fiction illustration. In 1906, he illustrated a French translation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Corrêa’s illustrations were definitely ahead of their time. Their atmosphere and texture echo modern science fiction art. Unfortunately only 500 copies of this edition were ever produced, but Corrêa’s artworks are currently up for auction.

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War of the Worlds. Translated from English by Henry D. Davray. Illustrated by Alvim Corrêa.

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Want a Slave? Date a Gorean

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The origins of a movement that espouses women as slaves, sexual and otherwise, started in a rather innocuous manner. In 1965, a Princeton Ph.D. graduate named John Frederick Lange, Jr. started writing under the pseudonym John Norman. He combined his own philosophical views and his love for sci-fi by writing a novel set in a universe called Gor. While many might find his prose cheesy, Norman thinks of himself as a bit of a philosopher. He cites Homer, Freud, and Nietzsche as the three major influences on his work. He has written 33 Gor novels over the last 50 years.

Norman writes that males have a predisposition to be more dominant, and females have a predisposition to be submissive. Norman points out that with changes in society brought on by industrialization and feminism, human instincts have become confused and suppressed.

Surprisingly a lot of people have taken the philosophy of his books as something of a lifestyle guide, much of which involves power dynamics between men and women.… Read the rest

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“How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” by Philip K. Dick, 1978

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Philip k dick drawing” by Pete Welsch from Washington, DC, USA – Philip K Dick. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Via Deoxy.org

by Philip K. Dick 1978

First, before I begin to bore you with the usual sort of things science fiction writers say in speeches, let me bring you official greetings from Disneyland. I consider myself a spokesperson for Disneyland because I live just a few miles from it—and, as if that were not enough, I once had the honor of being interviewed there by Paris TV.

For several weeks after the interview, I was really ill and confined to bed. I think it was the whirling teacups that did it. Elizabeth Antebi, who was the producer of the film, wanted to have me whirling around in one of the giant teacups while discussing the rise of fascism with Norman Spinrad… an old friend of mine who writes excellent science fiction.… Read the rest

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It’s a sci-fi trope, but are “beings of pure energy” really possible?

“Beings of pure energy” are oft-used tropes in sci-fi. They have no physical bodies, tend to be “enlightened,” and transcend time and space. But, is this transcendent state possible? Xaq Rzetelny at Ars Technica investigates:

If you’ve experienced science fiction in any of its many forms, chances are you’ve encountered “energy beings.” Unlike the other aliens in sci-fi, they have no ‘physical’ bodies but rather exist as beings of pure energy. They’re usually able to flit about the Universe at will and often demonstrate great abilities befitting their advanced, ultra-evolved state.

They are also typically portrayed as more powerful, more enlightened, and possessing a deeper understanding of the universe. It’s almost a given in most science fiction that sufficiently advanced civilizations will eventually develop this way. Converting themselves into beings of pure energy seems like the ultimate stage in the development of any civilization. It’s a ubiquitous trope—as if “pure energy” is our own mass cultural idea of humankind’s far future.

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Colin Batty’s Sci-Fi Reimagining of 19th Century Portraits

From peculiarum.com

“Hooked on Fishing” from peculiarum.com

From Colin Batty’s website:

Colin Batty is an artist from Manchester, England. He has worked on countless cool projects including Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, [!!!] the Oscar nominated short The Sandman, Eddie Murphy’s The PJ’s, and many, many more. He sculpted the original Halcyon model kits of the Alien, the Predator, and the Queen Alien. He also has designed and sculpted for Critterbox toys. Colin has contributed to Freakybuttrue and the Peculiarium for many years and graces this site with his amazing work.

Batty has countless sci-fi portraits for sale (starting at $4) as either prints or originals. Here are some of my favorites:

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Breaking Up the Narrative: the 2015 Philip K. Dick Film Festival

FilmFestivalDaniel Abella is the founder and director behind the Philip K. Dick International Film Festival, which just held its third annual event this January at Tribeca Cinemas, NYC. I spoke with him about Philip K. Dick’s ongoing, reality-bending influence on cinematic expression.

J: What compelled you to start a Philip K. Dick film festival?

D: I have been a big fan of Philip K. Dick since learning he was compared to Jorge Luis Borges by Ursula LeGuin. After reading VALIS, Ubik and The Divine Invasion, I found a writer of great depth approaching some modern day philosophers. Philip K. Dick represents a distinctive voice that speaks of a bygone era in science fiction where humanity is prized and valued. My first film feature The Final Equation(1) was inspired by Philip K Dick’s mind bending 2-3-74 experience of meeting an alien intelligence he called VALIS. Based upon the good reception of the film it occurred to me that other filmmakers may want a forum to express their ideas and stories.… Read the rest

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