Desiccation

by Kate Kelly

The day came when Amos walked out across the flats, and the brine pools were gone. He stopped and stared around him, through the thin slit in the fabric he had wrapped round his head to protect him from the sun.  It was setting now, swollen and red, sinking towards a distant range of hills that marked where the oceans had once ended and the land begun. Even so the reflection and glare from the white crystals of halite beneath his feet was blinding, and he adjusted the thin strip of tinted Perspex that he used to protect his eyes. It was scratched and old. But it was better than nothing. He turned and looked back towards the people, now merely a cluster of black specks in the distance. The mush of crystals crunched beneath his feet as he moved. There was still some moisture here, but that would soon ... [continue]

The Adjoiners

by Lisa Schoenberg

Finally Colin was out the door. Andrea watched from the window to make sure he didn’t return, blaming a missing book or the need for a warmer coat. He’d been counting on a snow day, that’s why he’d been so difficult. It was a normal reaction, not “school refusal,” or whatever they’d called it last time. She’d have been equally disappointed this morning if the roads up to the Ogee National Park Visitor Center had confounded all predictions and remained passable. Colin had dwindled to a mote in a blinding field of snow by the time the whistling kettle forced her retreat to the kitchen. She set about making breakfast, all the while struggling to tamp down a rising joy. She could tell herself it was because she’d achieved this tiny triumph with Colin, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t the hours and hours of free time the snowfall had … [continue]

Morality Tale

by John Holbo

The 22nd Century was the Age of Time Travel. The 23rd, the Age of FTL Drive. Mankind conquered time and space. In the 24th Century, travel to possible worlds opened. In the 26th, physically—then logically—impossible worlds became accessible. Unscrupulous banks and companies relocated ‘offshore’, to worlds where 1=0, for tax purposes. Modal derivatives markets, intended to stabilize markets by spreading risk over all possible worlds, triggered an intergalactic financial meltdown when the pool was expanded to include tranches of sub-possible ‘junk realities’, bundled together with AAA-rated worlds. But we survived. By this point, dear reader, the human race had changed in its essentials, past the point of recognition by the likes of you. But, for purposes of the story, go right on imagining I am talking about strong-jawed men in ships like long, silver cigars. By the 27th Century, thanatonauts reported back from the afterlife … [continue]

Editorial

  • For fans of science fiction TV, there can be no doubt about the biggest news story this week: Martin Landau died. A brooding, serious actor who trained in method acting at the Actors Studio, Landau was perfectly cast as the stoic and humane Commander Koenig of Moonbase Alpha in Space 1999. After starring in Mission: Impossible with his wife, Barbara Bain, the couple bravely moved from the USA to Britain to play the leading roles in Space 1999, a show which dared to marry an enormous budget and ultra-cool design to scripts that were morality plays with added aliens. As co-stars, Landau and Bain received an equal amount of time ... [continue]

Fact & Opinion

  • Time is one element that exists in every story we read, watch, or hear. It is so ubiquitous that we fail to notice its existence, unless the narrative forces us to focus on it. But what about assumptions we make about the nature of Time itself? Assumptions like: Time is linear. We even have a compound word in common usage to reflect this assumption: timeline. The past is irretrievable, the ... [continue]
  • The Question of Contact

    by David Kyle Johnson

    July 11, 2017 heralds the 20th anniversary of the release of Contact, the sci-fi classic based on Carl Sagan’s novel of the same name. Carl Sagan was, to some, a controversial figure. Indeed, the first time I heard his name as a teenager, the Christian punk rock band One Bad Pig was calling him a pagan for believing in evolution. (They suggested he would fry like bacon.) But even though he was a prolific science communicator (he hosted the first Cosmos), and was renowned for … [continue]

  • Hey, theology fans. It’s time once again for your friendly neighborhood SF-theologian to help you understand complicated Christian theological concepts with the aid of science fiction metaphors. Today we’re going to take on Original Sin … [continue]

  • As a product of the Enlightenment, most science fiction is undergirded by a distinctly post-renaissance philosophy, which leaves a wealth of ancient and medieval philosophy untapped. Not since C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy has the world received a distinctly science fiction tale rooted in a medieval worldview. However … [continue]

  • HBO’s recent sci-fi/fantasy series Westworld was one of the best TV shows this Fall. On the surface, Westworld taps into traditional sci-fi and contemporary philosophical questions about artificial intelligence and consciousness. But there is a deeper meaning that many might miss. And it’s not about artificial intelligence, “bicameral theories of mind,” or skeptical metaphysics, but about … [continue]