Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Space Elevators Are Less Sci-Fi Than You Think – Scientific American

I’ve been working on space elevators for almost 20 years, and though we still have issues to solve, we are getting closer to making them reality

By Stephen Cohen on November 25, 2022

A space elevator made of carbon nanotubes stretches from Earth to space in this artist’s illustration. Credit: Victor Habbick Visions/Science Source

Space elevators are often dismissed as a science fiction dream, but I believe they will exist soon—perhaps in two or three decades. Throughout my career as an aerospace engineer and physics professor, I keep coming back to the concept of a cable stretching from Earth to space, along which people and cargo can easily travel.

In recent years, I and other researchers have found new ways to tinker with designs and answer questions about how space elevators could work. There are many reasons to build a space elevator. The obvious one is the major energy and cost savings; it’s a much more practical way to get to orbit than rockets.

Another reason that is often overlooked is accessibility. The word “space mission” would be replaced by “transit,” as trips to space become routine and mostly independent of weather conditions. Transits involving humans would be safer than current practices, whereby astronauts must accept a nonnegligible risk to their lives with each launch. A space elevator becomes a bridge to the entire solar system. Release a payload in the lower portion, and you orbit Earth, but do so in the upper portion, and you orbit the sun; all without fuel.

Source: Space Elevators Are Less Sci-Fi Than You Think – Scientific American

What Is Space Opera in the 2020s? | Los Angeles Review of Books

By Grant Wythoff, May 28, 2022

from article…

A SPACE OPERA revival is in full flight.

But it’s not streaming on Amazon or any other platform owned by someone trying to escape to Mars. While studios hungry for prestige intellectual property are mining a much older space opera paradigm with adaptations like Foundation and Dune, books by a diverse group of writers from around the world are beginning to rework the tropes of speculative fiction’s oldest and pulpiest tradition.

This revitalization of space opera — stories traditionally set in distant futures when humanity has spread to worlds beyond the solar system — comes at an odd time. Many vanguard SF and literary authors alike, having finally acknowledged that it’s no longer possible to ignore the climate emergency, are writing influential, near-future works of climate fiction.

Why, then, has a new generation of authors like Nnedi Okorafor, Yoon Ha Lee, Ann Leckie, Hao Jingfang, Charlie Jane Anders, and Maurice Broaddus turned to stories of other worlds, when the fate of ours hangs in the balance?

Source: What Is Space Opera in the 2020s?

Science Fiction For Crime Lovers: a Beginner’s Tour ‹ CrimeReads

Or, a look at five great scifi novels that also happen to be pitch-black noirs.

April 13, 2022, by Adam Oyebanji

–from article…

“I can’t read science fiction. It’s not real.”

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone say that—or something like that—when I try to explain my love of a genre chock full of alien invaders, interstellar spacecraft, and gun-toting princesses, alien or otherwise.

There is something so “out there” about SF that many readers never give it a chance.

If so, you’re missing out. Science fiction is “out there” because it sets its stories in a world that isn’t necessarily ours. Sometimes in a universe that has nothing to do with the one where you’re reading this article.

Daunting for the non-nerd? Sure. But think about it this way. If the whole universe is your playpen, you can write any story you want. Any story. A love story? Sure. Starcrossed lovers from warring worlds, for starters. A swashbuckling adventure? Ditto. Isn’t that Star Wars after all?

And crime novels? Absolutely. Wait. What?

Source: Science Fiction For Crime Lovers: a Beginner’s Tour ‹ CrimeReads

50 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time – What Is The Best Science Fiction Book Ever Written? | Esquire

Plenty of imitators have tried to match the heights of our No.1, but none have come close.

By Adrienne Westenfeld, March 21, 2022


Since time immemorial, mankind has been looking up at the stars and dreaming, but it was only centuries ago that we started turning those dreams into fiction.

And what remarkable dreams they are—dreams of distant worlds, unearthly creatures, parallel universes, artificial intelligence, and so much more. Today, we call those dreams science fiction.

Science fiction’s earliest inklings began in the mid-1600s, when Johannes Kepler and Francis Godwin wrote pioneering stories about voyages to the moon. Some scholars argue that science fiction as we now understand it was truly born in 1818, when Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, the first novel of its kind whose events are explained by science, not mysticism or miracles.

Now, two centuries later, sci-fi is a sprawling and lucrative multimedia genre with countless sub-genres, such as dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, and climate fiction, just to name a few. It’s also remarkably porous, allowing for some overlap with genres like fantasy and horror.

Sci-fi brings out the best in our imaginations and evokes a sense of wonder, but it also inspires a spirit of questioning. Through the enduring themes of sci-fi, we can examine the zeitgeist’s cultural context and ethical questions. Our favorite works in the genre make good on this promise, meditating on everything from identity to oppression to morality. As the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing said, “Science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time.”

Source: 50 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time – What Is The Best Science Fiction Book Ever Written?

The best fantasy and sci-fi books of 2021 – Polygon

From sweeping space operas to deadly, magical schools

By Nicole Clark, Sadie Gennis, and Tasha Robinson, Dec 12, 2021, 10:13am EST

Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon

This year we read tons of books. Whether we bought a hard copies at the local bookstore or checked out audiobooks from a library app, or consumed them via e-reader.

Lots new authors wrote fantastic debuts in 2021, while many of our favorite authors continued their sprawling series — ones we were extremely excited to jump back into.

If you love books then you know: They aren’t just escapism, they also inspire introspection, making us think harder about the world we live in.

This is precisely the promise of great science fiction and fantasy — categories we’ve chosen to consider in a list together, as fantastic books continue to blur the line between the two speculative genres (and besides, we love to read them all). These 20 books span genres and perspectives — from space operas, to Norse mythology retellings, to romances with a dash of time travel.

But all of them gave us something new to consider. In a year with so many incredible choices, it was hard to narrow down the list. So we’ve also included some of our favorite runners up.

Source: The best fantasy and sci-fi books of 2021 – Polygon