I'm trying to find a short story i read years ago. The plot revolves around a man who accidentally comes into knowledge of a magical word, and any time you say it, the person listening to you instead hears the best possible thing you could have said in that moment. In the story (and the title of the short story too, i believe) this word is stylistically written as gibberish characters overlaid on top of one another, the result looks something like "RAETHBO". [more inside]
With The Man in the High Castle hitting Amazon Prime today, it got me thinking about other alternate histories that I have yet to read about or watch. Obviously this lends itself to dystopian lit, but I was wondering if there's more obscure things out there besides the mainstream/popular things like Inglorious Basterds. My favorites are sci-fi and horror, but I'm open to just about anything and will pretty much give everything a shot if it's highly recommended. Hope me, MeFites!
I've been invited to give a series of workshops at a local high school on writing science fiction and fantasy. What should I do to make them awesome? [more inside]
I just got a one-week Nielsen TV diary in the mail for November 5-12 -- including a crisp $1 bill to help grease the wheels. Yay! Unfortunately most of the shows I watch regularly, like Silicon Valley, Louie, Key & Peele, and Rick and Morty are on hiatus (or over) right now. I'm already planning to catch Last Week Tonight and Colbert's Late Show, but what other worthy television (that doesn't require a lot of prior familiarity) should I give my coveted (if minuscule) 18-34 ratings boost to? [more inside]
I'm kicking around some ideas for a sci-fi story about trash. For inspiration, I'm looking for trash-related passages from sci-fi works (e.g. there have to be some in Neuromancer), fiction or non-fiction about electronic waste, articles about trash from different eras, and articles tracing the provenance of trash, analogous to the links within. [more inside]
There are a couple of movies that I adore and keep thinking back on, and I'm looking for more that might scratch the same itch. [more inside]
I'm looking for a story (short novel, perhaps?) I read online probably 5-10 years ago, about a team that invents network gear so good, it happens to pick up packets from the future. Other plot points inside. [more inside]
Is there a list of all the characters in the Threadless "Mini Pixels" shirt anywhere online? Google searching is not turning up anything, surprisingly. I can recognize a lot of (most?) of them, but definitely not all. You can zoom in on this image of it. I am thinking of giving it as a gift but wanted to satisfy my curiosity first! There must be a list somewhere...
I'm trying to remember a books series I read when I was a kid. It was a post-apocalyptic sci-fi YA series (at least four or five books I think) aimed at a Christian audience. [more inside]
I'm leading a session of a quirky academic discussion group. Each week is based on an eclectic set of readings. I'd like to assign: (1) the first chapter of The Sixth Extinction; (2) the third chapter of Elinor Ostrom's Governing the Commons; and (3) something lighter and more fun -- maybe an apocalyptic sci-fi short story about a tiny community trying to get along. What are good options for #3? [more inside]
Another book recommendations question! My son, aged 9, is devouring the Ranger's Apprentice series. What else is in a similar, perhaps a little older, reading ability range, that has strong plotting and imaginative worlds. Also sci-fi...
In the film version of The Martian, Mark Watney says something at the end about what you do when you know you're going to die. Anybody have the exact quote?
I really enjoy posts that solve bookmysteries with links to free, old science fiction. Where's the great and secret library of it? [more inside]
Trying to remember a hard sci-fi book about FTL travel. [more inside]
I was more in to sci fi as a kid, and now every time I try to get in to a book, I find it unbearable. I'd like some recommendations for books that are more like The Road and less like, say, Wool. Can you recommend books to me? [more inside]
If I greatly enjoyed Ted Chiang's "Understand", Lucy, Flowers for Algernon and Limitless, what other works along the same "superintelligence", "hyperbrain" or "gifted with superhuman intelligence amongst a world of normal people" theme would I enjoy? [more inside]
Help me find this: a novel where they use an octopus to pilot a spaceship because something about how it can navigate in 3d space under the water. Some chapters are told from the point of view of the octopus, I think.
I'm moving. Many of my SF books can go away permanently. Who where how? [more inside]
I'm looking for a good anthology of time travel stories to give to someone. [more inside]
Looking for TV Show recommendations (sci-fi, adventure, mystery) to watch with my 9 year old daughter who is currently a big Dr. Who fan. [more inside]
I'm interested in good science fiction in any format (book, film, comics, etc.) that explores that idea that we are not alone in the universe, but wildly mismatched with everybody or nearly every else in terms of civilization stages, kinds of technology, perception, etc. [more inside]
This may be a reach, but I'm looking for a half-remembered website. The main design elements that I can recall are that the page is mostly black and white with a header that has something like a splashed ink illustration of a crow on it. I think that it's a blog, either about metal (the music) or fantasy/sci-fi writing, but I could just be conflating other things together. The crow is the important thing.
I can't find any sources that really explain how they'd work to a science illiterate like me. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Even fiction will help, seeing as it's for a story of my own. [more inside]
What are some works of SFF that showcase beautiful language on a par with All The King's Men, Gilead, and Raymond Chandler's detective novels? I've read plenty of SFF that has transported me, but little that's struck me as gorgeously written. Thanks!
I am looking for post-apocalyptic sci fi books for my husband. He is currently convalescing from a back injury, and when Husband is bored, Wife suffers. [more inside]
Later this month, I have a chance to have 10 minutes on the phone with Neal Stephenson. What question would you ask him if you had this opportunity? [more inside]
What are the best scifi and/or fantasy book series that are consistently great from novel to novel? For my purposes this would be a series of at least three books, and probably no more than... six? ish? (I might be cutting it short; this is a general estimate of about how long my interest tends to remain keen. Not a dealbreaker if a bit more). I'm looking for the sorts of books that really draw you into the fictional world and have a lot of character building, with few or no "weak links" from book to book. [more inside]
What would happen if Darth Vader parked his Death Star in our neighborhood? [more inside]
In the future, people trade social reputation (gained via upvotes on live-streams of their days) for goods and services. Drama ensues when a young woman meets a young man who has gone back to the horrid old way of life: cash! Name that sci-fi short story. [more inside]
Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion are really one story, split into two books. I enjoyed them, but I've never read any books that just left me with so many unanswered questions. If I had the time and inclination, I literally feel like I could sit down with a pen and notepad, re-reading the series and writing questions the whole time. If you've read and/or love the books (and I assume there are a lot of you), would you mind helping me out a bit? Questions below the fold. [more inside]
Two of my favorite terrible TV shows are Zero Hour (so bad it was canceled less than halfway through its first and only season) and Ascension (SyFy miniseries). Plz help me find more. Spoilers for those shows below the fold. [more inside]
In the mid-'90s I watched this sci-fi show that was several agents who had to investigate anomalies. This one guy had a record player that entranced people to where they had to take part in his '50s flashback sitcom fantasy. One of the agents was a black woman who was forced to be a maid, the other was a blonde woman who was turned into the guy's teenage daughter. They shattered the illusion by pretending that they were being hit by a nuclear bomb. Does this juice anyone's mind grapes?
I'm trying to identify/find this pre-1980 story set in America, about an epidemic (highly contagious, spread skin-to-skin) where everyone's turns grey and the victims have hallucinations. The protagonist is on the run (along with a woman?), trying to escape roaming victims (who have a craving to touch his uninfected skin). In that last aspect, it has a zombie apocalypse feel to it. I believe it was a little-known work by a big-name author. Can anyone tell me what it is? SPOILERS BELOW [more inside]
My wife (and I) would like to catch up on the X-Files. However, she doesn't really like things that are too scary. However! One of her favorite shows of all time is Fringe, which had its own fair share of scary moments. Fringe never really scared her too much. So, with that in mind...what are the best X-Files episodes which won't give her nightmares?
He's remembering a story about a couple who lives their whole relationship in a virtual world. His memories inside. [more inside]
A Facebook discussion about good books by well-known authors passing into undeserved obscurity had me looking up reviews of Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth. In the comments on Jo Walton's review there's a discussion about the ending, specifically whether he wrote two distinct endings, replacing the an earlier one in later editions. Did Clarke rewrite the ending? Spoilers below the cut. [more inside]
I'm looking for science fiction with excellent worldbuilding surrounding a particular scenario: a population trapped in an enclosed environment that they can't leave for generations, so that they have to produce or reuse everything within that environment. Preferably something like a space station or a generation ship, but those details aren't required. [more inside]
My uncle is interested in reading science fiction or futuristic fantasy books that involve music as a strong narrative element. He has read some Anne McCaffrey that did this, as well as Patrick Rothfuss, but was hoping to find other options, and I drew a blank. Can you guys think of any more music-tinged works?
I'm looking to ID a scifi short story that was posted online, probably within the last 5 years, about a couple getting a black-market telepresence system implanted in their skin. When one of them touched their own skin, the other one would feel it. [more inside]
Hey all, a particular literary conversation has gotten stuck in my head for days and I can't source it. I've tried every number and combination of Bing/Google searches, but it may be that I'm not getting the exact words right in the phrase. [more inside]
I have some questions about William Gibson's new novel, The Peripheral. Be warned, these questions the answers will involve spoilers. [more inside]
Awhile ago, I read about a science fiction author on Wikipedia. The series was not concluded when the author's notebook fell into a body of water. When he fished it out and saw that his notes for the stories and how they all interlinked had been obliterated, he lost the will to continue on with his stories as he didn't have the patience to try to reconstruct the contents of his notebook. Please help me ID this author as I intended to track his works down, but never got around to it. [more inside]
What are some good fandom-related Halloween treats or tricks for an artsy foodie fangirl? [more inside]
The gist of the story: Natives take potion which slows their movements and thoughts to match those of trees, who it turns out are sentient and out to get us. [more inside]
I'm getting fairly tired of science fiction set in the near or medium future where society and motivations are an extension of modern life. I'd like something set so far in the future that there is nothing that really calls back to earth politics or history or culture, or something which may well be in an alternate universe because earth-like things never even come up. [more inside]
I like dark and/or intriguing television shows. I like shows with interesting characters and long pay offs. What I do not like are any sudden scenes with violence against women or children. I have access to all counties of Netflix but no other streaming services. What can I watch? [more inside]
There's this science fiction story I can recall reading in at least one anthology, if not multiples. It is told from the perspective of a young mother who is going crazy dealing with her kid(s). The writing is very stark and bleak, but it's a fun story nonetheless. I am fairly certain the author was a woman. I believe it's from the late 60s or early to mid 1970s. [more inside]
Genre fiction is typically underrepresented in lists of classic novels. We all know the classics of literary fiction (War & Peace, Ulysses, Pride & Prejudice, etc.). But who's the Tolstoy of Fantasy? Who's the Austen of spy fiction? [more inside]
I recently had the displeasure of encountering Philip K. Dick's "The Pre-Persons" for the first time. What other SF stories or novels by name authors are waiting to affront my political sensibilities? [more inside]
I'm wracking my brains trying to remember the title and author of a science fiction short story to do with dream crafting. I suspect it is either Philip K Dick or Robert Heinlein but cannot pin it down. [more inside]