Science Fiction

Big Book of Science Fiction
Penguin

Science Fiction and fantasy have traditionally created worlds of aliens, robots and monsters of various sorts.

And there was a time when readers might have been stereotyped as nerds and geeks. But now sci-fi is exploding in the mainstream through digital media. And authors who were once niche writers are now mainstream.

Three leading writers in the genre read this Saturday at Malaprops Bookstore in Asheville as part of the Shared Worlds event. The event features authors who are participating in a youth program by the same name at Wofford College in South Carolina. 

Armada Cover, by Ernest Cline
Broadway Books

Following the rapid rise of his debut novel, “Ready Player One (Random House/2011),” Ernest Cline felt pressure to produce another cult classic.

His latest sci-fi work, “Armada (Broadway Books/2016)," is a New York Times bestseller and is already a hit in tech circles. The novel will be made into a major motion picture.

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

December marks the two-year anniversary of The State of Things monthly Movies On The Radio series. Each month, Host Frank Stasio and film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon select a category and listeners submit their film picks. The tables are turning. We want to hear from you - what topic would you like to hear on Movies On The Radio? Send an email to sot@wunc.org and put "Movies" in the subject line. 

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

  Science fiction is a genre made for the movies. The narratives make viewers question reality, think about space exploration and ponder human existence. Sci-fi films have produced some of the most financially successful films in movie history.

Image of author Katharine Ashe with a fan at a romance convention.
Katharine Ashe

North Carolina is home to a strong writing community. The state’s writing world has flourished in part because of an equally-strong literary ecosystem of publishers, independent bookstores, and readers. The inaugural Read Local Book Festival celebrates this literary ecosystem in downtown Durham this weekend with workshops, author dinners, and more.

    

Author Jeff VanderMeer dreamed he was walking down a tunnel where words were appearing on the wall.

Murverse.com

Travel guides can help the ordinary humans navigate locales near and far, but what about those monsters banished to the nether regions of human imagination? Well, for those creepy crawlies, there is a service that will help guide them through the underworlds of planet Earth. At least, that’s the premise of Mur Lafferty’s novel, “The Shambling Guide to New York City,” (Orbit/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks with North Carolina writer Mur Lafferty about her new novel.

  

Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha Womack
ytasha womack / http://www.iafrofuturism.com/

    

Recently, the Voyager One space craft entered interstellar space, the farthest a man-made object has ever traveled. But as we push the bounds of space travel, the number of people of color in space-related careers remains low. This weekend, Duke University is holding the first conference to explore the intersection of identity and space exploration, “Race in Space.” Host Frank Stasio speaks with conference participants about the involvement of people of color in space-related careers.

Tanglewood Books

  

John Stanley has been telling stories to his twin boys since they were old enough to listen.

When his children started reading chapter books, he kicked his storytelling up a notch and started writing a book. Stanley's debut work, "Mickey Price: Journey to Oblivion" (Tanglewood Press/ 2013), features children traveling to the moon. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Stanley about penning his first book.

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

 

Today's State of Things show is a rebroadcast of an interview with Jim Minz.  The program originally aired on April 1, 2013.

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

tor.com
tor.com / tor.com

David Drake  has garnered a reputation in the world of science fiction readers as a leader in the military sci-fi genre. But he won’t be penned in by labels. His latest novel, “Monsters of the Earth” (Tor/2013), is the third in his Books of the Elements fantasy series.

'The Best Of All Possible Worlds' by Karen Lord
http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/ / Del Rey

  

Science fiction is a genre dominated by white men. So, Karen Lord is something of an outlier. She’s a woman, first of all, but she is also a native of Barbados, and as such brings a decidedly Caribbean perspective to her novels.  Karen Lord is in town and making various appearances around the Triangle. She will be at the Bull Spec Summer Speculative Fiction event at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh this weekend.

The film adaptation of Frank Yerby's 1946 best-selling novel, The Foxes of Harrow.
wikipedia.org

African-American literary authors like James Baldwin or Zora Neale Hurston are famous for their depictions of black life. But these novelists have also written books with white protagonists. Why is this unexpected? Is there a mandate that black authors write only about black characters?

An image of the Sombrero galaxy, created from composite photos of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team.

The full sound of symphony orchestras is a familiar accompaniment to science fiction spectacles like Star Trek and Star Wars. The North Carolina Symphony is celebrating the music of sci-fi in its Sci-Fi Spectacular tonight and tomorrow.  The concert is hosted by George Takei, “Mr. Sulu” of Star Trek fame.

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

West Bend was home to the West Bend Company – the maker of small appliances which were regularly featured as consolation prize on game shows.