Star Wars: the Force Awakens—We’re Home

It’s been nearly ten years since the release of the almost universally loathed Star Wars prequels, and over thirty since we first witnessed the Star Wars that generations know and love. When Disney revealed that they are making a new trilogy, with new filmmakers, of course we were nervous. But the release of The Force…

What does Mars tell us in The Martian?

This post contains spoilers. Imagine this: you are stranded on a distant planet without water, food, internet access, your smartphone, or even other humans. What crosses your mind first? Of course, you want to survive. Maybe your goal is to find a way to reconnect with the Earth, or perhaps you’d prefer to settle down…

The Women of Star Wars: Part One

Space opera is a fascinating sub-genre of speculative fiction—part science fiction, part Western, and all action. Star Wars is undoubtedly the most famous example of the space opera—rightly so, as it’s fantastic. I’m unabashedly critical of movies, but every time I get to the last thirty minutes of Empire all I can think is, “This…

More Societal Quirks of Widespread Cryonics and its Contemporary Status

*Scroll down/ click here to read part 1 of this blog* Lois McMaster Bujold’s novel Cryoburn discusses a number of social issues that arise in a society in which cryogenic preservation is commonplace. While driving around Kibou-daini, the planet on which the novel takes place, one of Miles’s retainers notices a discomfiting sign that advertises…

Barbarella: Space Angels and other “Great Ideas”

Science fiction is marvelous: from the machinations and imaginative grandeur of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series to the quip-y, flashy action of J.J. Abrams’ incarnation of Star Trek, the genre continues to ever evolve. However, as most must, it has also gone through phases of cringe worthy atrocity. Before the 1970s, most science fiction tended to…

An Anatomy of Space Operas

Space operas are arguably the quintessential form of science fiction. With stories that feature alien species, artificial intelligence, advanced technology, and large-scale wars, space operas are in fact what most people think of when they hear the words ‘science fiction’. Growing out of the Western fiction and sea adventure narrative traditions, space operas have always…

Impractical Immortality: Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

Well, do you? Really? The idea of immortality, in one form or another, comes up frequently in speculative fiction: elves, Timelords, divine beings, cursed humans, and undying monsters are all easy to find between pages and on screens. Immortality is often a flexible concept, ranging from gods that are all-powerful and cannot die but can—with…

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

“Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.” These are the words that begin Kurt Vonnegut’s great 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five, also known as The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. This is not Vonnegut’s only work of science fiction; indeed, it is not even his only good one. But of all his novels, Slaughterhouse-Five has perhaps…

Fantastic Love in The World of Makoto Shinkai

Although Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli has long been representative of the quality of the Japanese animation film industry, a rising star has been making waves around the world. Makoto Shinkai has been hailed as the “new Miyazaki”, with the depth of his cinematography garnering critical acclaim and millions of fans worldwide. Besides his dogged work…