Nine ways to help you start writing climate fiction today

Climate change is the new normal. Frequent torrential rains, extended heat waves, and Category 5 hurricanes affect readers more and more often, and writers need to reflect these experiences in their short stories and novels. How do you incorporate long-term, usually invisible trends in your romances, adventures, mysteries, and other genre fiction, as well as … More Nine ways to help you start writing climate fiction today

Review: Thank God King Arthur will survive ‘King Arthur’

The legends of King Arthur and the Round Table are possibly the most abused of the West’s mythic texts, more than the Greek myths, and certainly more than venerated texts, such as the Bible. It’s amazing they’ve survived almost 1,500 years of telling and retelling by most of Western Europe’s cultures, aristocratic Victorian poets and … More Review: Thank God King Arthur will survive ‘King Arthur’

Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and the veneration of veterans

The election and inauguration of Donald Trump has left-leaning book lovers scrambling for analogous stories in fiction. Most have cited George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, both dystopian novels. A few have pointed to Robert A. Heinlein’s science fiction novel Starship Troopers, because of long-standing criticisms of what some believe is its … More Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and the veneration of veterans

Overheated: A weak narrative undercuts the urgency of climate change

Climate change is one of the most difficult subjects to tackle, and I admire any writer who attempts it. Though the reality of climate change is not in doubt—repeat, NOT in doubt—so much of its impact is speculative. Scientists can predict the rise of sea levels, the melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice, more powerful … More Overheated: A weak narrative undercuts the urgency of climate change

Star Wars: Rogue One has a peculiar relationship with death

Warning: Lots of spoilers. The movie Star Wars: Rogue One is a fun way to pass a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon, especially if you’re a kid without much exposure to the Star Wars franchise. For anyone who has a bit more experience with the series, or who thinks much about storytelling, the … More Star Wars: Rogue One has a peculiar relationship with death

Aliens, linguistics, and disruptive storytelling make Arrival must-see sci-fi

We rarely think about our relationship with time. Life is just one damned thing after another. One word follows another. Cause and effect follow the arrow of history. What if you had a different relationship with time, one in which you perceived past, present and future happening at once, so that you know the future … More Aliens, linguistics, and disruptive storytelling make Arrival must-see sci-fi

Ted Chiang’s sci-fi genius arrives with laser-like precision

Possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Arrival. The release of the movie Arrival last month prompted my interest in Seattle science fiction writer Ted Chiang. He has published only 15 short stories, novelettes, and novellas in print, including “Story of Your Life,” the inspiration for Arrival. He’s won Nebulas, Hugos, and host of other … More Ted Chiang’s sci-fi genius arrives with laser-like precision

Reviews: It’s true. Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder is science fiction.

Writers love to complain about the necessity of genre. They’d prefer to write above the petty differences among romance, mystery, fantasy, and dozens of other pigeonholes and sub-pigeonholes. Most writers, though, acknowledge the need for publishers and bookstore owners to make book-finding and thus book-selling intuitive for the reader through categorization. Genre gets mischievous when … More Reviews: It’s true. Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder is science fiction.

Review: Doctor Strange: It’s All Benedict Cumberbatch

I’ll be honest. Movies based on comic books don’t interest me. The only reason I went to see Doctor Strange over the weekend was Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve become a major fan after his performances in the latest BBC version of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and his movies, particularly The Imitation Game, in which he played … More Review: Doctor Strange: It’s All Benedict Cumberbatch

Review: Augments of Change salient in a time of racial tension

America is going through another paroxysm of racially tinged violence, reminding everyone of our failure to reconcile our history with our ideals. In my own lifetime, the country has experienced urban riots (e.g, Watts in Los Angeles), violence after the Rodney King verdict, and last week, two more in a long string of deaths of … More Review: Augments of Change salient in a time of racial tension

The Girl in the Road: Literary fiction with a sci-fi overlay

As a writer who likes to look at speculative fiction through the lens of climate change, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to read Monica Byrne‘s debut novel, The Girl in the Road, published in 2014. Though its portrait of two women connected across time and space is classified as science fiction by some, … More The Girl in the Road: Literary fiction with a sci-fi overlay

Review: Science fiction exists to explore the possibilities of change

Successful science fiction and speculative fiction reflect the hopes and anxieties of their day, the same as any other narrative art. Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury were men of their times. Writing at the peak of American technological, military, and economic power after World War II, much of their work was infused with can-do optimism. Sci-fi’s … More Review: Science fiction exists to explore the possibilities of change

Review: A faux-paleo world with email stumbles on its contradictions

A strain of environmentalism sees civilization as a mistake, a wrong turn in history taken 10,000 years ago at the invention of agriculture. The error sparked a chain of events taking us down the path to global warming and if you extend the trendline, global apocalypse. It would’ve been better if the first seeds sown … More Review: A faux-paleo world with email stumbles on its contradictions