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Showing posts tagged: H.G. Wells click to see more stuff tagged with H.G. Wells
Jul 2 2014 12:30pm

Can We Have These Gorgeous Book-Inspired Benches?

Peter Pan bench

Hoo boy, we are jealoooouuuus. Staring today and running through September 15th, London is getting a set of 50 book-inspired benches designed by local artists. It’s all from Books about Town, and we are so sad that they won’t be nearby where we can sit on them all day and read. Just look at these beauties!

[Check them out. No seriously, check them out.]

Nov 6 2013 1:00pm

How to Time Travel (Without Destroying the Universe) Part One

Back to the Future Story Worlds Time Travel

So you want to travel through time, but you’re worried about the consequences. Perhaps you’ve heard of time travelers erasing their family trees, or screwing up world history, or destroying the universe altogether. You’re curious about the fourth dimension, but you don’t want to be “that guy” (or “that gal”) whose obsession with meeting King Tut ruins the future for the rest of us. Well, good news: when it comes to time travel, you’ve got options.

[Read more]

Sep 21 2013 9:00am

H.G. Wells Invented Everything You Love

HG Wells Art by David A. Johnson H.G. Wells is considered one of the fathers of science fiction, and if you look at a brief timeline you’ll see why he’s so extraordinary:

  • 1895: The Time Machine
  • 1896: The Island of Doctor Moreau
  • 1897: The Invisible Man
  • 1898: The War of the Worlds
  • 1901: The First Men in the Moon

So basically for four consecutive years Wells got out of bed on New Year’s Day and said, “What ho! I think I’ll invent a new subgenre of scientific fiction!” And then he took a year off, only to return with a story about a moon landing. If it wasn’t for that gap in 1900, he probably would have invented cyberpunk, too.

[Read More]

Jul 10 2013 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Edward Gorey Draws War of the Worlds

While working in the Doubleday art department in the 1950s, Edward Gorey was asked to illustrate a special new edition of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, and the result was wonderfully stark and ooky. Check out more from the illustrated version here.

Your Morning Roundup is thinking that yeah, maybe the Doctor should rescue some puppies in space.

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Jun 5 2012 1:00pm

I, Asimov: Your Picks for Robot Authors

Philip K. Dick android

After getting all excited over the robot Philip K. Dick in our latest excerpt, we asked all of you on Facebook and Twitter which other deceased authors should be turned into robots. Some answers probably shouldn’t have surprised us, but all of them made us giggle. Take a look at the new Robot Author Hall of Fame!

[Read more]

Oct 3 2011 10:00am

Steampunk Will Never Be Afraid Of Politics

Illustration by Fabio Romeu for SteamPunk Magazine

I first consciously got into steampunk back in 2004. It was the perfect aesthetic lens for my interests: history, mad science, genre fiction, the underclasses, and radical politics. It was steampunk, really, that helped me realize how awesome it is to be classy yet poor, that we can celebrate individual and communal ingenuity without babbling on about how great this or that nation or empire might be.

Now, seven years later, I’m constantly amazed by how many people, including some of the most die-hard steampunk adherents, seem to believe that steampunk has nothing to offer but designer clothes. There are people (a minority, I would argue, just a loud one) who act like steampunk is simply a brassy veneer with which to coat the mainstream. But sorry, whether folks are happy about it or not, there have always been radical politics at the core of steampunk.

[Read more]

Sep 8 2011 12:00pm

Time Traveling for Wishes: The Story of the Amulet

Looking for fairies in London pet shopsThe wage-system of modern England is a little difficult to explain in three words even if you understand it—which the children didn’t.

The Story of the Amulet opens on an unexpected note, with Edith Nesbit cheerfully informing readers that the first book of this series, Five Children and It, had ended in a “most tiresome” way. (The perhaps unexpected long term result of this was that it took me years to read Five Children and It, since I encountered The Story of the Amulet first and took Nesbit at her word. I note this as a caution to authors planning on inserting derogatory comments about their earlier works into any later novel.) To correct this error, Nesbit has the four children meet the Psammead, that magical, wish-granting creature, in a pet shop, quite by accident for a second time. The Psammead, apparently deciding that even they can’t be as bad as the pet shop, begs the children to buy him.

And although the Psammead still can’t grant their wishes, it can and does urge the children to buy an amulet with magical powers. The amulet does have one tiny, teensy problem: it’s broken. To fix it, the four children are going to have to do a bit of traveling in time and space, and also try chatting with the upstairs neighbor, an antiquities expert.

[And learn how future societies still worship the name of H.G. Wells]

Jun 28 2011 6:50pm

Lost in Translation, Even with a Map: The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

I once took a course in writing science fiction and fantasy from Canadian fantasy writer Ann Marston. In it, Ann warned against explaining oft-used concepts and tropes, as they no longer required explanation. She focused on post-apocalyptic literature that rambled on about how the world had ended, rather than advancing the story. Her point was that SFF readers have a vast intertextual repository of print and screen antecedents to fill in the gaps. A few hints are sufficient for the savvy speculative reader’s comprehension. Consider Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. How did the world become this burnt out husk? It doesn’t matter – the world burned, a father and son survived, and continue to survive. This is the story. We don’t really give a damn precisely how the world fell apart because we’re wrapped up in that story, no further explanation necessary.

While reading the third and final act of Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time, I wondered if his target audience was someone who had never considered parallel universes, or alternate history, or time travel’s ripple effect. In short, someone who has never read Orson Scott Card’s Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. For anyone familiar with possible world theory or Schrödinger’s cat, it feels terribly contrived. It’s like reading the alt history version of The Celestine Prophecy: characters exist only to deliver philosophical exposition. When H.G. Wells utters the words, “Does this mean we are living in . . . a parallel universe?” I couldn’t help myself. I took a red pen and wrote, “Gasp!” in the margin.

[Read more]

Oct 25 2010 5:03pm

12 Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks Who Made a Difference

OrcAs a teen, I was warped by reading swords and sorcery novels, painting miniature goblin and dwarf figurines, and collecting polyhedral dice. Twenty-five years later, I wrote the book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks to unearth the root of my attraction to tales of magical powers and heroic deeds. But one quest I didn’t get around to completing: making a list of fantasy and gaming’s all-time heroes.

Who is on the all-star team of fantasy authors? Which gods eternally lodge in the Valhalla of gaming (and by “gaming,” we don’t mean Texas Hold-Em, we mean Dungeons & Dragons). Who had the most influence on the genre?

I’ve given it a shot (listed here by year of birth). Several didn't make the cut. I have my biases. Of course, you’ll quibble over my selections. But isn’t that what these Top-Whatever lists are all about?

[Get out your 20-sided dice. Game on!]

Aug 29 2010 11:05am

OK, where do I start with that? W

The end of the alphabet is bearing down on us fast, as we look along my bookshelves deciding where to start with different writers. We have reached the last really big letter, W.

These are my personal recommendations, based literally on what’s on my actual physical bookshelves. There are therefore always a lot of things excluded that I don’t read, don’t have opinions on or plain forgot—please add them for me, along with your suggestions for where to start with them.

[Read more: W, containing the resolution to an ethical dilemma]

Jun 23 2010 1:22pm

Frequency Rotation: Pop Will Eat Itself, “Inject Me”










Each week, Frequency Rotation examines a different song with a speculative-fiction theme. Genre, musical quality, and overall seriousness may vary.

In the acknowledgements of China Miéville’s new novel, Kraken, the author lists a handful of literary influences including William Hope Hodgson, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne. No surprises there. But nestled among those hallowed names is a far less obvious inspiration: the late British band Pop Will Eat Itself.

[Read more...]

Sep 21 2009 5:40pm

Happy Birthday H.G. Wells

It’s H.G. Wells’s one hundred and forty-third birthday, and Google has chosen to celebrate it with a lovely Google-Doodle. (I liked it so much I woke my husband to come and look at it.)

It’s no exaggeration to say that Wells invented English-language science fiction. More than that, there’s a sense in which Wells invented the future. Jules Verne had written science fiction in French earlier, but Verne was writing what we’d now call “hard” science fiction. All of his inventions were plausible and one step away from reality. He could have been published in Analog, if there had been an Analog. Wells was different. He wasn’t afraid to dream further. Verne’s system of propulsion for reaching the moon worked according to the best science of the day. Wells freely created anti-gravity cavorite for his. Wells didn’t just think up science fictional devices and put them into stories, he invented the whole genre and suite of techniques for writing about them. He achieved so many firsts—the first time machine, the first alien invasion, the first uplifted animals. But far more important than the specifics of his stories was the sweep of them. He didn’t just have a story with a time machine, he included Eloi and Morlocks and the ragged claws at the end of time. He didn’t just have Martians invade, he had an entire rationale for why they were the way they were. He wrote about characters the reader could identify with taking weird science or strange futures for granted with a breadth of vision that was amazing.

[Read more]

Apr 13 2009 5:32pm

Ancient Rockets: The ? Motorist

Interplanetary Motorcar Badminton: The Early Years

It’s back to the cinematic stone age this week with a rarity from 1906, The ? Motorist. This little British trick film is bizarre and fun, but also worthy of note for the number of its connections with early science fiction films that were and that might have been. Spoilers follow, in case that bothers you in a film less than five minutes long.

The ? Motorist begins with a couple in classic 1906 motoring regalia, swathed up in dusters and goggles in the best steampunk fashion, the lady’s hat held on by a scarf tied under her chin. They rattle along the street in their unholy chariot. A policeman steps out to stop them. They don’t stop. He ends up on the hood of the car, and a moment later is thrown off and rolled over, with a nice bit of cutting to match the live actor with the sacrificial dummy. Our Motorists drive on, as expressionless as robots. The policeman picks himself up and runs off in hot pursuit.

[Read on...]

Mar 30 2009 6:38pm

Ancient Rockets: Metropolis

You got a call from someone named 3PO. He says you gave him up for adoption thirty years ago?

If you’ve only seen one silent science fiction film, it was probably Metropolis.

And yet it would be safe to say that almost no one living has seen Fritz Lang’s classic as it was originally shown in 1927. A very expensive commercial flop, it was withdrawn from circulation immediately after its first run, drastically cut down, and re-released for the foreign market with further changes. The American distributors actually threw out the German script and hired writer Channing Pollock to create an entirely new story using bits of the remaining footage. With each metamorphosis the film became more fragmented, more incoherent, and by the late ’60s was a thorough mess. Campus midnight film festivals ran it for audiences who partook of controlled substances, the better to appreciate its Ohmygod visuals, but found they’d made a ghastly mistake when the Seven Deadly Sins came to life onscreen.

[Let’s just say the experience defines the phrase “Bad Trip”.]