Tag Archives: science fiction

Why People Love Post-Apocalyptic Stories

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Whether it’s zombie outbreaks, nuclear wastelands, or climate change, people love post-apocalyptic stories. Examples include books like The Road and A Canticle for Leibowitz, TV shows like The Walking Dead and Jericho, video games like Fallout and The Last of Us, comics like Y: The Last Man, and movies like Mad Max, I am Legend, World War ZBook of Eli, and The Postman. The causes and effects differ, but what these stories share is the setting of a world after civilization has fallen, with people living in brutal conditions where everyday survival is a struggle. The themes are dark and dour, yet these stories are extremely popular. The question is: why are people so drawn to post-apocalyptic stories? Continue reading

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The Power of Science Fiction

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There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade RunnerInterstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading

The Simulation Test

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I recently had a short (flash fiction) story published in Daily Science Fiction. This was my first professional publication (though I’ve self-published before). The story is available to read for free on their website. (Which you should do before continuing to read this.) Continue reading

Why I’m Obsessed With AI

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Over the past couple of years, I have become obsessed with artificial intelligence (AI). If you’re not also obsessed with AI then you probably don’t know enough about AI. To remedy that, read Tim Urban’s massive 2-part post about AI on his blog Wait But Why. Continue reading

Social Anxiety in Movies: Her

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As a big fan of Spike Jonze‘s previous films, I was anticipating Her before its release in 2013, and I really enjoyed it when I first saw it in the theater. But upon rewatching Her, I realize it’s even better than I initially thought. The premise may sound preposterous and overly comedic: in the near future, a man falls in love with the operating system on his phone. However, while the film is funny at times, both it and the science behind “Samantha” are quite serious. Her is not some broad comedy about falling in love with “Siri.” It’s actually quite scientifically accurate as far as artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential. Something similar to this could actually happen. The film explores the future of AI technology and how it will affect humanity, particularly in the areas of loneliness and social anxiety. Continue reading

Best Fiction Books I Read in 2017

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I often feel overwhelmed by the number of great books I want to read and my lack of time to do so. Even if all I did was read for the rest of my life and I lived to 100, I wouldn’t have enough time read every book I’d like to. But as I wrote about here, we often fail to realize how much we actually get done. I catalog every book I read on Goodreads, so at the end of the year, I can look back and be surprised at just how many books I read. The total was 115 this year, including novels, non-fiction, comics, and audiobooks. I already went through my favorite comic books. Next up is are my favorite fiction books I read in 2017. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Comic Books

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I wasn’t a big comic book reader when I was a kid, but in recent years, I have become a huge fan of the medium. I love both movies and novels, but in many ways, comics take the best of both worlds, combining the visual images of film with the textual dialogue of novels. When you think about it, comics are one of the oldest and purest forms of storytelling, dating back to cave paintings. I’d like to write a graphic novel of my own, if only I could draw better. Continue reading