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Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Recent
Reading Pandemics

Pandemics and Trumpian Echoes in Miller’s 'Blackfish City'

When we can't turn to the federal government for the truth, sometimes we need to turn to fiction. Sam J. Miller's Blackfish City maps a pandemic in a post-United States future.

Music

Novelty and Identity: An Interview With Colin Stetson

Colin Stetson discusses his process for scoring film and artistic satisfaction it gives him. "I get to invent a new array of solutions with novelty and identity. I hope the music has not existed in the particular guise and aesthetic before that."

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 25 Best Space Disco Songs of 1976-1986

With Star Trek: Picard and Space Force in the news, it's time to revisit the best space disco of the original era. These 25 songs feature outer space on the dance floor, from the avant-garde to Star Wars commercialism and beyond.

Books

Discovering Family, Memory, and Teleportation in Ta-Nehisi Coates' 'The Water Dancer'

Ta-Nehisi Coates' debut novel about slavery in America, The Water Dancer, dares us to dance -- and remember.

Books

Joanna Russ, the First Minister of Feminist Science Fiction

Gwyneth Jones's masterly account of the life and times of Joanna Russ serves as a timely reminder of the strides made in visibility and diversity in science fiction literature —and the distance still left to traverse.

Film

Brilliant Moral Science - and Dinosaurs -- from the Yeaworth-Harris Trilogy!

From the makers of The Blob, Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr .and Jack H. Harris, 4D Man and Dinosaurus! (restored by Kino Lorber) give film fans a can't-look-away sci-fi gaze into the victims of progress.

Books

'Sharp-Finned, Malignant and Inescapable': Ray Bradbury and the Uncanny

We're all paranoiacs at the very heart of our being. Ray Bradbury has the special genius of knowing how to bypass our conscious minds, ever so gently, and speak directly to the lunatic within.

Books

'The Psychology of Time Travel' Is Anything But Simple

The Psychology of Time Travel balances thrilling mystery, complex characterization, and emotional depth, and is a strong debut for Kate Mascarenhas.

Books

A Man, a Woman, a Brooding Replicant and Readership: On Ian McEwan's 'Machines Like Me'

Purists who see Ian McEwan's comments about science fiction and his novel, Machines Like Me, as a slight against their beloved literary genre are missing the point.

Books

Ted Chiang's 'Exhalation' Calmly Stares Oblivion in the Face

With his second collection of short stories, Exhalation, master of existential science fiction Ted Chiang explores AI, time travel, and alternate realities with the studious eye of an anthropologist.

Books

Of Botany, Hacking, Biosurveillance, and Boredom; Or, Pola Oloixarac's 'Dark Constellations'

Pola Oloixarac's Dark Constellations is what the late Michael Crichton might have written if he had grown up in Argentina and fancied himself a high postmodernist.

Books

Extras for an Hour, Voyagers for a Lifetime: 'Live Long and Evolve'

Biology professor Mohamed A. F. Noor voyages through deep sci-fi in Live Long and Evolve, exploring how evolutionary biology is portrayed within the television franchise, Star Trek.

Books

The Art of Typography and Design in Science Fiction Film

From its inception as a blogging project to its culmination into a beautiful art book, Dave Addey's Typeset in the Future is a wonderful but expensive look at typography and design in popular science-fiction films.

Books

'Vita Nostra' Is a Tantalizing Fantasy That Forces Us to Question Our Own Humanity

Sergey and Marina Dyachenko's Vita Nostra is a mysterious Ukrainian sci-fi / fantasy / fairy tale whose unsettling questions will linger.

Television

Mirroring Humans through Westworld’s Othered Artificial Intelligence

In the fantasy world of AI-populated Westworld, unchecked humankind regresses into violence toward the "Other" -- just as we do in the chaotic real world. Is that the essence of human nature, to always reject its' self as seen in the visage of the Other?

Books

The Book About Geek Triumph You Probably Don't Need

Neoliberalism offers the illusion of choice. The triumph of geek culture is an illusion of triumph; it's just another way to be bought—and to like it. A critique of A.D. Jameson's I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing.

Books

David Bowie and Other 'Strange Stars'

Jason Heller's Strange Stars, on David Bowie and sci-fi, is an exciting and loving look at a time when infinite wonder had a role in the pop music marketplace.

Books

Schrauwen's Future Selves Explore Genre, Gender, and the Comics Form in 'Parallel Lives'

In Parallel Lives, O. Schrauwen literally draws attention to the basic building blocks of comics, science fiction, and our cultural sexual norms.

Film

'Thor' Blasted the Comic Book Superhero Genre Away from Earth

Kenneth Branagh's Thor (2011) took the largely Earth-based, sci-fi genre into the realm of supernatural space fantasy, leading the way for a wider array of comic book superhero films.

Music

Sci-Fi Goes Hi-Fi: 10 Artists' Foray into Hip-Hop Futurism

A host of artists have carved out a niche in the interplanetary margins that now rest in hip-hop culture. Some call it an expansion on Afrofuturist philosophies; others simply a long-time propensity for the science-fiction genre.

Books

Robert Aickman's 'Compulsory Games' and the Art of the Miserably Fascinating Short Story

Aickman's ability to imbue in the mundane a hint of the supernatural pushes these stories from the utterly average into absorbing, fascinating territory.

Books

Transformation, Consumption, and Confusion in the Alternate World of Mariko Ōhara's 'Hybrid Child'

Gender is fluid, children are murdered, mothers are monsters, and nobody is safe on the distant planet of Caritas, where humans have settled and the governing female AI system is insane.

Books

'I Still Dream' Gives Us Hope for the Tech Apocalypse

In a world of Palantir, you'll wish for Organon.

Film

Fear and Loathing in the Zone: 'Annihilation's' Dreamy 'Death Drive'

Annihilation's reflections on what Freudian psychoanalysts have referred to as the 'death drive' offers an account of modern life we cannot ignore.

Books

Technology Assists in the Pursuit of Happiness in 'Tell the Machine Goodnight'

While technology is central to the narrative, it doesn't function as a warning about the future of technology, nor does it laud its utility.

Books

Joy, Complacency and Apocalyptic Future in 'Kurt Vonnegut: Complete Stories'

"So it goes" was a phrase Vonnegut used in Slaughterhouse Five as a sort of mantra, accepting chaos and embracing the possibility of wonder once darkness passes. It's a suitable way to end this embrace of Vonnegut's stories.

Books

'How to Stop Time' Is Thoughtful but Thin

There are certainly delights to be found in How to Stop Time, despite its tendency to oversimplify.

Film

Boots Riley Stays True to His Own Voice with the Sundance Premiere 'Sorry to Bother You'

Sorry to Bother You stands as a narrative response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the corporatization of wealth and what can happen when one loses sight of himself.

Books

Who Is the Alien in Ursula K. Le Guin's 'No Time to Spare'?

Le Guin's understanding of aliens, or others of any stripe, is more evolved than ours.

Books

'Frankenstein Dreams': When Sci-fi Lumbered into the Victorian Era

Did the Victorians deal with their rapidly changing society better than civilization today is dealing with equally new dizzying discoveries?

Books

'The Best of Richard Matheson' Is Among the Best of Pop Culture

Richard Matheson's work has so permeated modern pop culture that it can be hard to find works not at least partially indebted to an idea of his or, as is more often the case, someone influenced by him.

Television

'Star Trek: Discovery' Dazzles But Fails to Engage

Discovery might carry the Star Trek name, but not the series' legacy.

Television

'Star Trek: Discovery' and 'The Orville': To Boldly Go Where We've Already Gone

Whereas Star Trek: Discovery continues to explore ideological complexities, so far The Orville seems little more than a celebration of Seth MacFarlane's love of the Star Trek property and his ability to indulge in expensive cosplay.

Books

10 H.P. Lovecraft Stories Worth Rereading

Why not let H.P. Lovecraft's fears of the unknown become yours for a while this Halloween?

Reviews

'Void Star' Stands Out As Unique and Accomplished Sci-fi

Zachary Mason's Void Star requires some effort, but the reward is a wonderfully immersive plunge into a world that is persuasively novel in some places, and appealingly familiar in others.


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