Science Fiction

Mary Shelley was just 20 years old when she published the first edition of her Gothic novel Frankenstein. Pictured: Richard Rothwell's portrait of Shelley, circa 1840

First Edition of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' Sells for Record-Breaking $1.17 Million

A rare copy of the iconic Gothic novel is now the most expensive printed work by a woman sold at auction

"I had 'Earthseed' in mind when I created the portrait of Octavia Butler. Parable of the Sower is one of my favorites of Butler's novels," says Nettrice Gaskins.

The Pioneering Sci-Fi Writer Octavia E. Butler Joins a Pantheon of Celebrated Futurists

The author’s career is honored by a newly commissioned work by digital artist Nettrice Gaskins

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

Through her literary works, “Kindred”, “Bloodchild”, “Parable of the Sower”, Butler explored themes of global warming, gender equality, political disparity and racism and as a result is known as the “mother” of Afrofuturism.

Mars' Perseverance Landing Site Named After Science Fiction Author Octavia E. Butler

The Jezero crater location has been named 'Octavia E. Butler Landing' in honor of the late literary giant

The dictionary documents the “core” vocabulary of science fiction that turns up again and again, both in stories and in the real world.

A Dictionary of Science Fiction Runs From Afrofuturism to Zero-G

The long-running project found a new online home, one that showcases the literary genre’s outsized impact on popular culture

Trimeresurus salazar, or Salazar’s pit viper, named for the Harry Potter character Salazar Slytherin

Meet the New Species of Snake Named After Salazar Slytherin of the Harry Potter Franchise

Perhaps the fictional Hogwarts founder would have appreciated the honor

Capitol Hill Books is one of several independent bookstores  selling "mystery bags."

Covid-19

Local Bookstores Offer 'Mystery Bags' of Quarantine Reading

Buyers can ask for a mix of their favorite genre or seek booksellers’ recommendations

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

Science in the Movies

'The Invisible Man' Isn't Real, but This Invisibility Technology Is

A new take on H.G. Wells' classic novel is in theaters, but how far has real-life cloaking tech come?

The original Mary Sue

Pop History

The Women Who Coined the Term 'Mary Sue'

The trope they named in a 'Star Trek' fan zine in 1973 continues to resonate in 2019

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks about getting American astronauts to the moon in the next five years while participating in a Future Con panel discussion at Awesome Con.

Future Con

This Year's Future Con Showcased Cutting-Edge Science and Real-Life Superheroes

A part of Washington, D.C.'s Awesome Con, the dynamic presentation series blends entertainment and education

Rod Serling working at his Westport, Connecticut, home in 1956.

Pop History

An Early Run-In With Censors Led Rod Serling to 'The Twilight Zone'

His failed attempts to bring the Emmett Till tragedy to television forced him to get creative

The late publisher and editor Betty Ballantine at the Nebula Awards on April 28, 2002 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sci-Fi Lovers Owe a Debt of Gratitude to Betty Ballantine

"Introverted and quiet" Betty, who ran the editorial side of the Ballantine publishing companies, deserves her due for changing the industry

Real Planet Discovered Where Vulcan Home World in "Star Trek" Is Set

"Fascinating, Captain"

This science is poppin’

Popcorn-Powered Robots? Get 'Em While They’re Hot!

In an attempt to harness the power of pop, researchers went against the grain to push the boundaries of this staple starch

The chevrons on the Panther's early suit, and the tessellated triangles on his later model, hint at the "sacred geometry" of triangular forms common to several African cultures.

King T’Challa’s Black Panther Suit, a Bold Statement of Afrofuturist Pride, Comes to the Smithsonian

Pounce on the opportunity to celebrate contemporary African-African filmmaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture this fall

We now know that velociraptors were closer to dog-sized than horse-sized, meaning full-grown Blue should be closer to these dimensions. Also: FEATHERS.

Five Ways Real Science Would Make the New <i>Jurassic World</i> So Much Better

It appears that <i>Fallen Kingdom</i> has not evolved alongside 21st century research

Four of the seven newly named Mercury's faculae lie in the Caloris basin, shown here.

Sci-Fi and Snakes Rule in New Official Names for Features on Pluto's Largest Moon and Mercury

Stanley Kubrick and Octavia Butler are among the figures honored

"Deep Pool That Never Dries" nabbed first prize.

Future of Art

These Contest-Winning 'Fairy Tales' Might Be Bleak, But They Are Topical

Blank Space's fifth-annual competition plays with everything from fake news to gravity

Awesome Con provided an opportunity for science fiction and real-life science to play off of one another. The Robot from Netflix's Lost in Space reboot (center) illustrates the former, while the NASA jacket of the con attendee on the right nods to the latter.

The Real Science Behind Your Favorite Nerd Culture at Awesome Con

Astrophysicists, vehicle technicians and biologists joined the party to bring cutting-edge research to fictional worlds

Dr. Frankenstein at work in his laboratory

What Frankenstein Can Still Teach Us 200 Years Later

An innovative annotated edition of the novel shows how the Mary Shelley classic has many lessons about the danger of unchecked innovation

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