Last Night’s Game Of Thrones Was Actually Pretty Hard To Watch

Two different groups of scary fanatics went on a rampage in the latest Game of Thrones episode, and it was pretty upsetting to watch, even by Thrones standards. The Sons of the Harpy and the Sparrows both want to restore old traditions, and they both build on the weaknesses of two very different queens.Spoilers… » 5/04/15 12:17pm Yesterday 12:17pm

The Smithsonian Museum Has An Early Draft Of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center recently received a treasure trove: 85 cubic feet of Arthur C. Clarke’s papers, shipped from his home in Sri Lanka. Including a high-school notebook, where the young Clarke rated the science fiction stories he read. And an early draft of Clarke’s 2001:… » 4/30/15 11:30pm Thursday 11:30pm

The io9 Guide to Discworld

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld might look intimidating — there are 40 books, and they’re humorous fantasy, which seems like it could be an acquired taste. But everybody should read at least one Discworld book, because they’re wonderful, and there’s something for everyone. Here’s our complete guide to Pratchett’s… » 4/28/15 3:55pm 4/28/15 3:55pm

On Game Of Thrones, All The Oath-Breakers Debate The Meaning Of Faith

Many of our favorite Game of Thrones characters have broken sacred vows at this point. Jon Snow slept with a Wildling girl. Cersei made a mockery of her wedding vows. Roose Bolton stabbed his liege lord. But last night, we got to see them solemnly debating the meaning of religion, and what it means to be faithful. » 4/27/15 11:33am 4/27/15 11:33am

The Forgotten Era: When Bed Bugs Were Tested for Combat in Vietnam

In 2004, Brooke Borel got bed bugs in New York. Then she experienced them again in 2009—twice in two different apartments. Because of those experiences, which were part of a widespread bed bug resurgence in the US, Borel, a science journalist, decided to explore why the bugs were back. This excerpt is one of many… » 4/27/15 11:00am 4/27/15 11:00am

From Metropolis To Ex Machina: Why Are So Many Robots Female?

The new movie Ex Machina has been pushing people’s buttons. It features a seemingly vulnerable robot named Ava, who’s as beautiful as she is mysterious. But Ava’s just the latest in a long line of artificial seductresses, girlfriends and mothers. Why are so many thinking machines female? » 4/21/15 4:25pm 4/21/15 4:25pm

On Game Of Thrones, Too Much Loyalty Can Be More Dangerous Than Betrayal

Game of Thrones keeps delving into murkier and murkier territory, as we sift through the ashes of war and the show adapts George R.R. Martin’s most morally ambiguous books. So maybe it’s not a surprise that too much loyalty poses as much danger as betrayal. Spoilers...
» 4/20/15 11:15am 4/20/15 11:15am

Is It Really Possible to Learn to Speed Read?

Ninety-five percent of college educated individuals read at a rate between 200-400 words per minute according to extensive research done by University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Dr. Keith Rayner. However, there exists a small, but rather vocal subset of people who insist that they can read several times faster… » 4/16/15 8:00am 4/16/15 8:00am

On Game Of Thrones, It Turns Out You Win AND You Die

Back in season one of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister told us that when you play the game of thrones, "you win or you die." But by now, it's become clear to Cersei (and everyone else) that this isn't an either/or proposition. You can win the game, and still be toast. Just ask Tywin Lannister. » 4/13/15 11:51am 4/13/15 11:51am

The Plan to Build an Undersea Cable Around the US—and Why We Need It

There’s a new undersea cable in the works, unlike any system that’s been built before. It is almost 10,000 miles long. It winds under the Arctic Ocean, from the United Kingdom, over Canada, and down to Japan, offering the fastest possible route between London and Tokyo. It stops on icy Canadian shores along the way,… » 4/08/15 10:45am 4/08/15 10:45am

The io9 Guide To Star Wars

Star Wars occupies a huge place in the history of science fiction and fantasy. The first movie, in 1977, changed the genre forever. And this year marks the first new Star Wars film in a decade, with revamped continuity. So now's the perfect time for a refresher course. Here's io9's easy-to-read guide to Star Wars. » 4/06/15 9:05pm 4/06/15 9:05pm

The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They're Only Political.

Last August, the Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy were swept by a younger group of women and people of color. At the time, we said "This was really a year that underscored that a younger generation of diverse writers are becoming central to the genre." So maybe it's not surprising that there was an… » 4/04/15 6:44pm 4/04/15 6:44pm

Here's A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction

The cities of the future are massive, sprawling, beautiful monsters, covering entire coastlines — and in some cases, entire continents. Whether it's Judge Dredd's Mega-Cities or William Gibson's "Sprawl," future cities always devour land. Here's a map of future megalopolises. » 4/03/15 4:38pm 4/03/15 4:38pm

That Monster Book of Monsters Replica Comes With a Real Textbook

Sideshow Collectibles has revealed that its Harry Potter Monsters Book of Monsters replica will be available sometime this summer for $295. That seems expensive, but the furry, tentacled tome also includes an accompanying book full of actual drawings, sketches, and info on all the creatures in the Harry Potter… » 4/01/15 4:39pm 4/01/15 4:39pm

10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George R.R. Martin


When George R.R. Martin released A Game of Thrones in 1996, he helped to change the game with his grounded approach to fantasy tropes. At the same time, people sometimes talk as though Martin was the first to bring realism to epic fantasy. So here are 10 other authors who were doing "gritty" fantasy before Martin. » 4/01/15 4:30pm 4/01/15 4:30pm

Man Plus Has The Kookiest And Therefore Greatest Plan To Colonize Mars

Between Mars One sounding fishy and Curiosity finding nitrogen, Mars is back in the news (if it ever really left). There's still an interest in colonizing "The Angry Red Planet," but that's still a long way off from happening. I can only presume that's because the folks at NASA and the other space exploration… » 3/28/15 3:24pm 3/28/15 3:24pm

Add Some Popular Novels to Your Kindle for $3-$4 Each, Today Only

Today only, Amazon's got a nice little collection of Kindle novels on sale for $3-$4. The most popular of the bunch are probably Private Down Under by James Patterson, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, but be sure to check out the full list if you need any new reading material. [Gold Box] » 3/28/15 8:45am 3/28/15 8:45am

Wow, Game Of Thrones Season 5 Is Even Darker Than We Expected

We kind of assumed this year on Game of Thrones was going to be as bitter and dark as graveyard-shift coffee. After all, it's based on the two ugliest books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons. But we saw the season premiere last night, and it's even nastier. Here are our spoiler-free impressions. » 3/24/15 5:09pm 3/24/15 5:09pm