Science Fiction

Some fungi can take over ants' minds, killing the host and using its body to spread spores to other victims.

The Real Zombie Fungus That Inspired HBO's 'The Last of Us'

Humans will probably never face a fungal apocalypse, but in the insect world, mind-controlling fungi can pose a serious threat

Critics say the portrayal of the Na'avi alien species in Avatar appropriates and homoginizes Indigenous cultures.

Indigenous Activists Criticize 'Avatar' Sequel

They say the film romanticizes colonization and reduces Indigenous cultures to vague stereotypes

The vaunted unobtanium from Avatar.

The Etymology of Unobtanium

The much-mocked wonder-rock from the 2009 blockbuster 'Avatar' doesn’t have an atomic number, but engineers have used the actual word for decades

Steven Spielberg on the set of Jaws

Steven Spielberg Regrets How 'Jaws' Impacted Real-World Sharks

The movie contributed to a rise in shark trophy hunting

A young Sammy Fabelman (Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord) in The Fabelmans 

Based on a True Story

The Making of Steven Spielberg

"The Fabelmans" is a lightly fictionalized dramatization of the famous director's childhood

The costume worn by Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War is in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The suit imbues him with powers similar to the abilities of the dark cats.

14 Fun Facts About Black Panthers

Many of the Marvel superhero’s powers are inspired by the namesake predator

E.T. looks out the window with Elliott (Henry Thomas) in a scene from the 1982 movie. 

Original 'E.T.' Mechatronic Model Could Fetch $3 Million at Auction

The metallic skeleton, created by special effects pro Carlo Rambaldi in 1981, features 85 movement points

Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown in the film) poses onstage at London's production of Back to the Future: The Musical

Great Scott! 'Back to the Future' Is Coming to Broadway

Marty McFly, Doc Brown and their iconic DeLorean are heading to New York City this summer

James Earl Jones beside Darth Vader in 2002

James Earl Jones Retires From Voicing Darth Vader

Future "Star Wars" productions will recreate Jones' menacing voice using artificial intelligence

David Bowie released his iconic song “Starman” in 1972.

There’s a Starman Waiting at the Auction Block

David Bowie's handwritten lyrics for 'Starman' could sell for more than $35,000

Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura in “Star Trek”

Nichelle Nichols, Pioneering 'Star Trek' Actress, Dies at 89

She made history as one of the first Black women to appear in a leading role on television

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Detail from Tolkien's Conversation With Smaug, 1937

Rarely Seen Paintings by J.R.R. Tolkien Portray a Lush 'Lord of the Rings' Landscape

The Tolkien Estate recently published a trove of rare, unpublished art by the famed fantasy author on its website

Map from front endpapers to The Odyssey of Homer (translated by T. E. Shaw (Col. T. E. Lawrence)), 1935. 

Art Meets Science

See Fantastical Maps From 'Game of Thrones,' 'Lord of the Rings' and More

In honor of the centennial of James Joyce's 'Ulysses,' a San Marino, California exhibition takes museumgoers on a literary journey

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, holding the Mattel Hoverboard in a scene from Back to the Future II

Marty McFly's 'Back to the Future II' Hoverboard Sells for $500,000

Signed by the franchise's star, actor Michael J. Fox, the movie prop easily surpassed its auction estimate

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

Butler is not just a talented writer, says curator Monica Montgomery. She is “this magnifying, visionary author and was and is a social justice warrior for our times.”

Futures

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

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