I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream: The Duty of the Black Writer During Times of American Unrest

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At some point on the night of November 24, 2015, the Foodtown grocery at 148th and St. Nicholas caught fire.

In the spring of that year, I had graduated from Columbia Law School and was, that fall, living in Harlem and working as a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General and Civil Rights Fellow with the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Twice-daily, five days a week, I would pass that Foodtown grocery store, heading to and from a job where I and fewer than a dozen others were tasked with enforcing federal and local civil rights laws for the State of New York. By the time I had passed that intersection the morning after the fire, the front window was gone and inside was nothing but bitumen.

Content Warning: Police Brutality, Violence

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Planets on the Move: SF Stories Featuring World-Ships

Recently, we discussed science fiction stories about naturally occurring rogue worlds; there is, of course, another sort of wandering planet. That would be the deliberately-impelled variety, featured in stories in which ambitious travellers take an entire world along with them. This approach has many obvious advantages, not the least of which is that it greatly simplifies pre-flight packing. This spectacular notion has appealed to SF writers for nearly a hundred years; perhaps the first instance is to be found in Edmund Hamilton’s 1934 “Thundering Worlds,” in which every planet in the system is propelled across the interstellar gulf to escape a dying Sun. (As usual, if you know of an earlier publication, let us all know in the comments.)

Here are some further examples of the wandering world in print and/or film.

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Announcing the 2019 Nebula Awards Winners!

This weekend, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has been holding its annual Nebula Awards conference. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s panels, readings, and award presentations have been moved online.

Among this weekend’s events is this year’s Nebula Awards ceremony, which honor the best science fiction and fantasy writing published in 2019.

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This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG Has Everything You’d Ever Want

Transdimensional Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may very well be the greatest role-playing game sourcebook of all time. I’m not even being slightly hyperbolic. It is a book that talks about everything from dinosaurs to time travel, from wizards to parallel dimensions.

I suppose I should start a little further back: do you know that Palladium published the TMNT game, called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness? Well they did, and while the game is built on the rickety foundation of the Palladium system, the “Bio-E” mini-system for mutating your character from everyday animal into an anthropomorphic version is incredibly elegant. Transdimensional TMNT takes the “Strangeness” part of “…and Other Strangeness” and cranks it up to eleven. The real kicker, though, is that it has perhaps the most cogent system for time travel that I’ve ever seen, period.

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Five Books About Finding Hope at the End of the World

Hope.

Four little letters, yet together they represent the most powerful substance in the universe. Whether associated with Princess Leia or Samwise Gamgee or Gene Roddenberry, “hope” conjures up images of the impossible victory, the candle in the darkness, the moral arc of the universe finally snapping back to its correct path.

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How to Recover From Reader’s Block

Towards the end of 2019, a well-regarded essayist expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the SF novel. He went so far as to confidently assert, “I stopped reading novels last year. I think you did too.” Sweeping assertions are often wrong. This one is definitely wrong, at least where I am concerned.

What may have sparked his comment is burnout, of the form that might be called “reader’s block.” You want to read something, but can find nothing specific you want to read. I think most of us who read extensively have been there.

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Bringing Stories to Life: The World of Science Fiction and Fantasy Model Building

Science fiction and fantasy fans love to dream about things that never existed. And some of them enjoy bringing objects and ideas from their imagination to life. Whether working from kits or making something from scratch, there is a great deal of enjoyment to be gained from model building, and satisfaction in seeing a finished project. This is a great time for those who enjoy the hobby: the internet has provided ways to share information with other modelers and to shop for kits and products from around the world, and the new technology of 3D printing has opened up even more ways to bring imaginary things to life. So if, like a lot of people these days, you have some extra time on your hands, you might want to look into model building

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Clones, Sirens, and Dragons: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction for June & July 2020

The pandemic may have put a dent in the spring publication schedule, but the June and July releases are barreling forward full steam ahead. Lots of new and returning series, lots of debuts, and lots of fresh and exciting work from long-time authors. My bookshelves are already protesting all the titles I’m about to add to my TBR.

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Read an Excerpt From Christopher Paolini’s To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

We’re excited to share an excerpt from Christopher Paolini’s first book for adults, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars—publishing September 15th with Tor Books.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira Navárez finds an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and the nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity take her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her—but the entire course of history…

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The Roger Corman Tour of Puerto Rico: Watching Last Woman on Earth

When I learned of exploitation film director Roger Corman’s Last Woman on Earth, part of his “Puerto Rico trilogy” (a trio of films shot in Puerto Rico in 1960) I knew I had to watch it. A post-apocalyptic film from The Pope of Pop Cinema set in 1960s Puerto Rico? Yes please! I wanted to see if he captured the island I remember from my childhood. But then I thought: why not watch it when we were actually in Puerto Rico? To that end, I packed the DVD with the overly sexualized image from the original poster on the front securely in my luggage. On movie night my husband and I went all out, popping corn, projecting the film on the white wall of my uncle Esteban’s beach condo as if we were at a drive-in.

It was quite the experience watching this science fiction movie shot not far from where we sat, with the sound of the ocean in stereo from out the windows and from the computer’s speakers. But it wasn’t until later that the poignancy of watching this particular film at this point in history hit us.

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