Science Fiction

10/30/2009 - 2:49pm

Although zombies have a long history of appearances in religion and folklore, interest in them as villains in horror films is largely confined to the second half of the 20th century. The explosion in zombie popularity is based on a characterization established by a single film and the fact that the original characterization of the zombi in African folklore and religion as well as in earlier films is dramatically different from that of the popular characterization from the 1960s onward. To understand zombies in both their original context and in the role they have come to take in popular culture requires an understanding of two divergent traditions.

08/20/2009 - 3:26pm

Alastair Reynolds is a Welsh astrophysicist who writes spectacular stories and novels about the future. A future where there are several types of humans, and not all of them get along. Interstellar travel is possible; it will take a while, even on a lighthugger, traveling just under light speed. Orbital habitats form the Glitter Band above the planet Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system, all doomed. They just don’t know it yet. 

08/07/2009 - 12:59pm

His Majesty's Elephant by Judith Tarr

The hue and cry outside the royal stables of the Emperor Charlemagne sounded like a battle raging to Rowan. The grooms were trying to push a gigantic elephant into one of the Emperor's old war tents, and Abul Abbas, for so the elephant was called, was having none of it.

08/06/2009 - 3:20pm

The Stones Are Hatching by Geraldine McCaughrean

It was naked, filthy, and demanding. Phelim Green had never known such a visitor. The black and greasey Domovoy, a kitchen spirit, left its perch behind the stove to warn him... and let in all the refugee field spirits. They clattered about the kitchen, wolfing down raw potatoes and spitting the peels into the stove door.

08/06/2009 - 2:55pm

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

In the year 2194, there are three Zimbabwe's. There is the Zimbabwe of the rich such as the luxurious compound of General Amadeus Matsika, the country's Chief of Security. His children, Tendai, Rita, and Kuda want for nothing. The robots take care of all their needs, and the Mellower, the house poet, makes everyone feel so much better when he sings their Praises.

In another part of the city dwells the woman who is called the She-Elephant. She has her own compound, her own kingdom, in the abandoned waste dump. She has her servants, too. Fist and Knife are good for running errands-- a little thieving here, a little kidnapping there... When they find Matsika's children by themselves in downtown Harare, the opportunity for profit is just too good to let go.

08/06/2009 - 2:43pm

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

Claidi is definitely NOT a good servant. The ideal maid in the House should be meek and respectful, never looking for more in life than keeping the hundreds of rules and helping in the ever present Rituals, some of which are quite bizarre.

09/03/2009 - 10:05am

She was born Madeleine Camp in grand old New York City on November 29, 1918. Young Madeleine took her meals on a tray in her room with her beloved Nanny, in the English fashion. Often at night, her father and mother would go out to the theatre. Other times, the theatre and literary world would come to them. Madeleine's mother, a Southern belle, played the grand piano wonderfully, and the family apartment would be filled with music and friends.

12/14/2009 - 9:29am

"Would it help if I got out and pushed?"
—Princess Leia to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up."
—Private detective Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep

From sharp-tongued space princesses to Bogey's grim gumshoe, some of Leigh Brackett's most enduring legacies are the scripts she wrote for movies that are considered among the 20th century's very best.

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