Man and woman testing buttons on machine at Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory

Tomorrow People

For the entire 20th century, it had felt like telepathy was just around the corner. Why is that especially true now?
Female costars in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" next to a picture of Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins.

The Pioneering Black Sci-Fi Writer Behind the Original Wakanda

Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins invented the setting that eventually became Wakanda in her science fiction, but her name isn't widely known.
Octavia E. Butler.

The Spectacular Life of Octavia E. Butler

The story of the girl who grew up in Pasadena, took the bus, loved her mom and grandmother, and wrote herself into the world.
"Washington Crossing The Delaware" superimposed on NASA image of the Pillars of Creation in space

The Age of Planetary Revolution: Remembering the Future in Science Fiction

Nothing dates our vision of the future like how we remember the past.
Picture of two early cosplayers at a convention.

How Costumes and Conventions Brought Sci-Fi Fans Together in the Early 20th Century

Andrew Liptak on the origins of cosplay.

How Sci-Fi Shaped Socialism

Sci-fi has long provided an outlet for socialist thinkers — offering readers a break from capitalist realism and allowing us to imagine a different world.

A Universe of One’s Own

Only in the science fiction genre can one compare an alien to a woman.

The Nuclear Fail

Physicist and writer Leo Szilard was vital to the creation of the atomic bomb. He also did everything he could to prevent its use.

This Futuristic Color TV Set Concept From 1922 Was Way Ahead of Its Time

Back in the earliest days of imagining what TV looked like, the appliance was a magic technology.
A gem tintype album of Elizabeth (Almy) Cobb Hall, with portraits of the Almy family and friends

Past Lives

Who wants to watch a show whose characters never make real moral choices?
A man scuba diving.

Filming the Deep: Underwater Film Technologies

The author of a new book, The Underwater Eye, discusses how film enables audiences "to connect to the most remote environment on the planet: the ocean."
Comic strip: Bungleton Green and the Mystic Commandos: "Jon Smythe has escaped being lynched by Green Men but is captured by the "Dark Mystery!".

Jay Jackson’s Audacious Comics

Written during World War II, Bungleton Green and the Mystic Commandos imagined a future liberated from racism and inequality.
Colorful lithograph showing the "Department of Electricity," a building with electrical lights positioned along the water, with a crowd of people entering

Colonizing the Cosmos: Astor’s Electrical Future

John Jacob Astor’s "A Journey in Other Worlds" is a high-voltage scientific romance in which visions of imperialism haunt a supposedly “perfect” future.
Sketched portrait of Kim Stanley Robinson in front of a line drawing of the Sierra Navada landscape

Seeing Mars on Earth

Kim Stanley Robinson on how the High Sierra has influenced his science fiction.
Picture of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of the superhero known as Spider-Man.

The Subversive Spider-Man: How Spidey Broke the Superhero Mold

Once Peter Parker received his miraculous spider powers, the last thing he wanted to do was go out and get a colorful costume and fight crime.
Drawing of Stranger Things main characters on bikes

Historicizing Dystopia: Suburban Fantastic Media and White Millennial Childhood

On the nostalgic and technophobic motives of the recent boom in suburban fantastic media.
A diagram of the phases of the Moon.

Man-Bat and Raven: Poe on the Moon

A new book recovers the reputation Poe had in his own lifetime of being a cross between a science writer, a poet, and a man of letters.
Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Other Obsession

Known as a master of horror, he also understood the power—and the limits—of science.
Illustration from Percival Lowell's Mars as the Abode of Life, 1908.

Alien Aqueducts: The Maps of Martian Canals

Observing the visible features of Martian landscapes, Giovanni Schiaparelli began seeing things almost immediately.
Political cartoon depicting the menace of monopolies and trusts (1899)

Degeneration Nation

How a Gilded Age best seller shaped American race discourse.