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Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

 

I need help identifying a book.

I don't have much to go on. Who wants to take a stab at it? [more inside]
posted by msali on Apr 9, 2014 - 4 answers

Near(ish) future space exploration fiction

I have a huge love for space/planetary exploration fiction. Think 2001, the sadly mistreated Defying Gravity TV show and Kim Stanley Robinson's mars series. Do you have recommendations for me? Books primarliy, but TV/Films too though I guess i have seen most of those in this genre already. [more inside]
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 answers

Seeking info about theories on extraterrestrial evolution and life forms

I'm looking for academic papers (but also stories, movies, news articles, or anything else!) that talk about this: most of the ideas we come up with about alien life involves those aliens being carbon-based lifeforms with eyes of some sort and internal organs and appendages. But where are the other, more wild (and probably likely) ideas? [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign on Apr 2, 2014 - 12 answers

old short story and newer anime where soldiers "respawn"?

bookfilter: I remember reading a sci-fi (short story?) where the key element was that once a soldier died on the battlefield, they respawned into a new body and had to keep fighting. I believe it was a classic sci-fi because the enemies were russian, I believe. I was telling my friend about this and he said that there was an anime with a similar plot element, but he can't remember what it was. Can you tell me the names of these?
posted by rebent on Mar 21, 2014 - 12 answers

Technology orgasm nightmare

My friend asks: "I once saw a sci-fi film where people had worked out how to record conscious experiences and then others could experience it directly themselves. There's one bit where a guy ends up driving himself into an insane catatonic state when he loops this recording of someone having sex at the point of orgasm and plays it for 12 hours straight." Q: what is that film?
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Mar 15, 2014 - 13 answers

Sure, it's the apocalypse, but at least there's plenty of hairspray

I need more cheesy, overblown, post-apocalyptic music videos from the '80s! [more inside]
posted by Janta on Mar 14, 2014 - 30 answers

Gadget review in the form of short dystopian scifi

Help me find an online review that someone wrote several years ago, reviewing a data-erasing gadget by writing a piece of dystopian fiction in which the user needs to use the device in a hurry. [more inside]
posted by brainwane on Mar 13, 2014 - 1 answer

SciFi Books from a While Ago

I'm yet again looking for some books I read over a decade ago. Details below. Somewhere in there I swear is a link to Frank Herbert, but I don't know for sure (every time I search for his bibliography it comes up all Dune). [more inside]
posted by BenevolentActor on Mar 6, 2014 - 7 answers

Let's Play "Name That Book!"

Back in the early-mid 90s, preteen me read a surreal science fiction book that I checked out from my local library. I remember a few tantalizing details, and I'm curious to find it and find out if it was any good. The basics: Many-worlds, and characters move between them unknowingly whenever they talk on the newfangled quantum telephone. Something bad happened to the US in most/all universes, but nobody in the multiverse knows what. It Gets Weird. [more inside]
posted by Alterscape on Feb 14, 2014 - 6 answers

Psychohistory

Can you point me toward any negative reviews of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy? [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Feb 14, 2014 - 6 answers

I need to build a "social media platform" to market my novel -- help!

In order to get my novel published (comedic science fiction), I've been told that I need to build a social media platform (website, facebook, twitter, etc.) and that if publishers see that you have a following they're more likely to take a chance on you. I'm building a website and getting a facebook page in order, but I'm not sure I get twitter, I'd like input on where on the web my audience may already lie, and I need to get over my aversion to self-promotion. [more inside]
posted by rkriger on Feb 12, 2014 - 19 answers

ISO good fiction about catching babies

Recommend me fiction or very readable memoirs about midwifery, obstetrics, and the politics of birth--any genre is fine, but SF/F and historical suggestions are especially welcome. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Feb 10, 2014 - 24 answers

Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and weird fiction from Central/Eastern Europe?

What are the best sci-fi, horror, and fantasy books, movies, and comics from Central and Eastern Europe? "Best" includes both the finest and also the most popularly influential, as well as both pro- and anti-communist material, as well as both past and contemporary work. Bonus points for such fiction from the former Yugoslavia! [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Feb 10, 2014 - 16 answers

ID a dystopian future short story with massive unemplyment and a utopia.

I'm trying to ID a short story where the protagonist becomes unemployed in a world where once you lose your job you have no hope of getting another job and are therefor forced to accept marginal government assistance. Additional spoilerific details inside. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Feb 7, 2014 - 2 answers

Great streaming indie sci-fi/horror films, 2014 edition

This has been asked before, but long enough ago that it's time for an update: What are the best, smartest, most compelling indie sci-fi and horror films of recent months/years, with a preference for things streaming on either Netflix or Amazon Prime? [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jan 8, 2014 - 22 answers

Hunting for a 1990s scifi novel...

Around 1999/2000, I read a pair of interesting scifi paperbacks that I can't recall the names of. I keep thinking that the name of one of the books was "Spin," but that's not the right story at all. [more inside]
posted by verb on Jan 6, 2014 - 3 answers

Recommend a particular type of science fiction story

Looking for recommendations on a specific type of scifi fiction, be it movies or books. [more inside]
posted by sock, the puppet on Jan 2, 2014 - 38 answers

How does the shrinking work in Michael Crichton's book Micro?

There's a Michael Crichton book (technically finished based on his notes) called Micro. It is about a group of people who get shrunk to miniscule size and are attacked by mundane wildlife. [more inside]
posted by Lorc on Dec 31, 2013 - 4 answers

Name that sci-fi short story (aliens discussing humans)

Do you remember reading a short science fiction story where aliens were regretting their decision to exterminate humanity? [more inside]
posted by ana scoot on Dec 31, 2013 - 2 answers

Lost scifi short story from my youth, the Golden Age of Scifi.

I am looking for a science fiction short story probably from the first half of the 20th Century. It involved a deep mine, strange events at the bottom, footprints in stone and a species that evolved to live underground, INSIDE the rock. [more inside]
posted by Seamus on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 answers

Looking for dystopian short fiction and literary theory

Please help me find as much short (8,000 words or less) dystopian fiction and literary theory (any length) as possible! Anthologies are fine. It can be on the internet or in book/magazine/any purchasable form. It can be famous; it can be obscure. Anything goes, really! [more inside]
posted by Quilford on Dec 21, 2013 - 15 answers

Fantasy/sci-fi TV series NOT available on Netflix?

I'm looking for a DVD stocking stuffer for my partner, who loves fantasy and science fiction television series of varying quality (examples within). He uses his Netflix account heavily. Do you know of any fantasy or sci-fi series that are slightly more obscure -- meaning they're not available on Netflix, but are still available for DVD purchase? [more inside]
posted by southern_sky on Nov 30, 2013 - 36 answers

Battlestar Galactica viewing order

I'm watching the 2003 Battlestar Galactica series for the first time, and loving it! I've come across this post, which purports to be the ultimate BSG viewing order guide. I've just finished season 2, episode 17, The Captain's Hand, and this guide now recommends I watch Razor, a TV movie that was the start of season 4, before watching the next episode of season 2. It also recommends that I mute two bits of dialog near the end of Razor to prevent any spoilers for season 3, which I'm fine with doing. BSG fans of Metafilter - what do you think? Is watching Razor now the best idea for continuity of the story? Will I spoil anything for myself by doing so?
posted by srrh on Nov 21, 2013 - 18 answers

What sci fi story had an assistant trapped in a prof's simluation?

I remember reading a seminal short story notable for raising ethical issues about simulated consciousness, but I can't recall the title or author. I believe a group of researchers were trapped in the simulation, being used to draft papers for the Professor. [more inside]
posted by brownbat on Nov 16, 2013 - 7 answers

Name of short story?

When I was 12 or 13 my English teacher assigned a short story that is quite profound. From what I remember, it was scifi. In this society there was a new company that sold delicious milkshakes. They became incredibly popular, and their stores were everywhere. Unfortunately the people in the story got obese. So another company created a product that would help you lose weight. That became popular too. The people bought lots of milkshakes, and the people paid to lose weight. Round and round... Does anyone know the title of this short story?
posted by daniel.poynter on Nov 11, 2013 - 8 answers

Highfalutin' Genre Fiction

Give me your most well written genre fiction! [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 4, 2013 - 49 answers

Help me find a short story about mind control graffiti

This thread and this hypnotic diagram reminded me of a science fiction short story premised around the idea that breakthroughs in psychology and applied mathematics had made it possible to design two-dimensional black and white images that would produce extreme effects in anyone who looked at them. The result was a society in perpetual counter-terrorism lockdown. An image like "The Parrot" could cause immediate seizures and fatal strokes, and one terrorist sneaking a placard of it into the Superbowl could not only kill everyone in his immediate area but also viewers at home. Our main characters in the story are tweens who attend a school with translucent windows. They've gotten their hands on a low-powered nausea-inducing image and they've formed a secret club to take turns looking at it. Where can I find this story? [more inside]
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow on Oct 28, 2013 - 13 answers

Recent Entry-Level Science Fiction

In search of accessible contemporary SF—help! [more inside]
posted by xenization on Oct 22, 2013 - 24 answers

Please make this pregnant lady cry

Can you recommend me some fiction, comics, and movies that are parenting positive--especially mom-positive? [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Oct 14, 2013 - 39 answers

¿Como se dice "space ship"?

I am re-re-re-embarking on my periodic quest to actually develop competent Spanish skills. (I'm Hispanic, it feels obligatory.) Something I've never had previously--books I actually wanted to read for fun that were not translated from English. So: Are there Spanish-language authors to look for who're writing science fiction and fantasy? Especially of the YA variety? [more inside]
posted by Sequence on Oct 13, 2013 - 11 answers

Help ID a scifi story about aliens and a quarantined Earth

Can you help my friend identify this scifi short story about aliens and a shield around the earth? [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Oct 2, 2013 - 3 answers

What is the name of this classic Sci-Fi story?

I'm looking for the name of this classic SF story about a handful of astronauts stranded in space in radio contact but slowly drifting away from each other and running out of air. [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Sep 29, 2013 - 10 answers

What are the best sites for science fiction and fantasy book reviews?

I like reading reviews of books, both to learn about new things to read, and to gain insight on things I've already read. Right now, almost all the books I'm reading are science fiction and fantasy. What are the best, most comprehensive sites that review books in these genres? I'm looking for review quality above your standard Amazon reviews—not just rehashing the plot with "I liked it" or "I didn't like it", but thoughtful, high quality analysis.
posted by ocherdraco on Sep 24, 2013 - 8 answers

Help identify this scifi short story about political revolution !

Can you identify this vaguely remembered long lost scifi short story? I read this story in London when I was a kid... but it may not be British, just English language: the basic plot goes something like this - the human narrator is telling an anecdote about the pitfalls of universal translator technologies. He relates the story of a lone human scientist (perhaps a biologist or an anthropologist) studying life on an alien planet. More plot details [and SPOILERS] in the extended explanation !!!! [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Sep 23, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me give my Sci-Fi Elective slightly more structure

As a sort of follow up to this question I posted last school year, I am now four weeks into the Sci-Fi elective and am worried about the lack of structure I have in my class. I'm looking for ideas/activities to do with my students in class. More details below the fold. [more inside]
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith on Sep 17, 2013 - 15 answers

Trying to find an old SciFi Story

I'm trying to find an old sci-fi story set in a vaguely dystopian future in which, early in the story, a man sits inside what is ostensibly a vast computer, in his underwear, a cigar in his mouth, answering questions posted to the computer. Essentially a variant on the original Turk. I keep thinking Kutner, P.K. Dick or Brunner, but I can 't find it in my collection. Thanks.
posted by dave31415 on Sep 15, 2013 - 4 answers

I've exhausted Iain M. Banks. I want more. What should I read next?

So I'm a dedicated Culture fanatic and have loved almost everything I've read by Iain M. Banks. (His Iain Banks stuff is pretty good too, but his sci-fi is what I really dig.) I particularly love the holistic, humanist morality that pervades his work and the way that he digs right down into the philosophical implications of various ideas and worldviews while simultaneously serving up lots and lots of sex, action, and sensawunda. However, I've read everything he's written several times over. What should I read next? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Sep 9, 2013 - 36 answers

Short story where the main character is tricked into becoming God

It starts with the main character's death where he meets God. God presents him with some kind of question or riddle to solve. The guy eventually gets the right answer. In the end it turns out that God deceived the man into getting the correct answer so he could be free of his immortality.
posted by laptolain on Aug 24, 2013 - 6 answers

Looking for stories where humans are the monsters.

Many monsters in fiction are scary in large part because of their inherent, biological abilities: acid blood, teeth, claws, wings, etc. Inspired by this tumblr thread (via this Omni article), I'm looking for stories in any genre that avoid or (preferably) subvert this trope, making humans out to be inherently frightening, gross or dangerous.
posted by Skorgu on Aug 23, 2013 - 38 answers

What science fiction books from the 1980s don't assume the Soviet Union?

I'm re-reading Eon by Greg Bear which is starts set in the near future (around 2000) from when it was published. The US and the USSR are of course still very antagonistic. This made me wonder: is there much science fiction published in the 1980s where the author doesn't assume the Soviet Union still exists (or alternately, it still exists but the US and it are not antagonistic)? [more inside]
posted by R343L on Aug 22, 2013 - 7 answers

Is anybody doing good sci fi/fantasy/horror book reviews?

I used to really enjoy the reviews at an old website called Inchoatus, their focus was sci fi. But they went dark a long time ago. So are there any decent independent sites doing thoughtful, in-depth (and, sure, snarky) reviews of sci fi and horror (I'm less interested in fantasy, though I understand that it's part of the whole thing) books these days?
posted by turbid dahlia on Aug 18, 2013 - 5 answers

Sci-Fi stories involving the Maitreya Buddha

Are there any sci-fi stories that involve the future appearance of the Maitreya Buddha? Looking for stories where the character is primarily identified as the Maitreya, rather than general "Second Coming" stories where the character could conceivably belong to a number of different soteriological interpretations.
posted by Greg Nog on Jul 26, 2013 - 3 answers

Help me remember a SciFi story

I am trying to remember an old science fiction novel. I swear I heard of it on Metafilter, but my search skills fail me. It was weird, maybe a classic, maybe an embarrassment. Setting - far, far future. Earth winding down. No space flight. Remnants of humanity live in a chasm, rest of the planet is uninhabitable. The whole thing was online (on a geocities-level website), either public domain or never actually published. Author may be unknown.
posted by SkinnerSan on Jul 25, 2013 - 8 answers

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Novels with Travel to Unique and Well-Imagined Places

I'm looking for a particular type of escapist literature. For financial reasons, I can't travel that much at this stage in my life. So, I would like to read some fantasy or science fiction novels in which the characters travel to interesting and richly imagined worlds. I would like travel or exploration to be a significant part of the novels. I don't want to read about the same old faux-Tolkien worlds or generic galactic empires.
posted by Area Man on Jul 23, 2013 - 41 answers

Weirder = better

After watching Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, I'm suddenly dying to watch old, cheesy, crazy-ass sci-fi movies. Can you recommend the good ones to me? [more inside]
posted by heyho on Jul 11, 2013 - 38 answers

Summer reading recommendation please!

I need a new book to read for my upcoming trip (including long flights). It must be available on kindle. Details inside, of the kind of book I am looking for. [more inside]
posted by Joh on Jul 10, 2013 - 31 answers

Racing as Transistor Metaphor

I vaguely remember reading a SciFi short story about racing cars backwards around a track that was a metaphor for transistors. Does such a story actually exist, or is it all in my head?
posted by Proofs and Refutations on Jul 9, 2013 - 4 answers

Like io9 but covers books instead of TV Shows

Where do you go to read about written science fiction? Not a recommendation engine like GoodReads (or god help me Amazon), but somewhere that talks about new books coming out, old books you may have missed, reviews, previews, release dates, etc? And if they want to throw in some actual science, all the better. [more inside]
posted by Ookseer on Jul 9, 2013 - 12 answers

Futuristic functional food inspiration needed

I want to write a science fiction story where somebody spends a few weeks or so living off a food that was intended for people colonising another planet, with odd effects. I'm not that scientifically knowledgeable and I want this to be grounded in facts. More details below. [more inside]
posted by KateViolet on Jul 7, 2013 - 14 answers

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