Sidekicks. Always there to lend a helping hand, or sword, or wand, as the case may be. A hero is nothing without his or her sidekick, but these companions rarely get the recognition they deserve. A few second bananas may get the spotlight on occasion—your Robins, your Chewbaccas, your Igors—but they all originated in…
For eons, humankind has looked up to the sky and wondered if it was alone. While we still haven’t answered that question just yet, fiction has stepped in to show us what that moment of first contact might look like. Sometimes it has led to a golden age of human space exploration. Sometimes, it brings on death,…
You will never be able to enjoy the fun—and easy—question “What’s the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?” again. Not once you’ve seen Senator Ted Cruz start off the confirmation hearing of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, with it.
As Prince Charles understands, a towel has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can bring a stack of your own to Leicestershire’s…
Grab your towels, hoopy froods: BBC Radio Four has just commissioned a new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio drama based on the last novel of the ‘trilogy’, And Another Thing.
Great works of science fiction can help us become more aware of real science, and more curious about the wonders of the cosmos. But for some people, they can actually help inspire a career in the sciences. The Conversation asked scientists to name their favorite science-fiction stories, and the results are inspiring.…
Science fiction and fantasy contain lots of stories that bend the walls of reality—so it should come as no surprise that there are also tons of narrators who break the fourth wall or otherwise disrupt normal storytelling. But which story has the most delightfully sarcastic or witty narrator?
Asked what his favorite fictional spaceship is, in this new interview, SpaceX founder Elon Musk responds with the Heart of Gold from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. “The one that’s powered by the Improbability Drive,” he says. “It does the most unexpected things.”
With fictional worlds come fictional alcohol. But not just alcohol that's bad for you in the usual ways — bad for you in the "this will kill you if you drink it" kind of ways. These are drinks bartenders need hazmat suits to prepare and serve.
One of the most fascinating and memorable things about classic British science fiction is its eerie, jarring soundscape. And just like Doctor Who and other TV shows, a handful of British composers and sound designers did a lot to shape this aural phenomenon. A new BBC radio documentary will open your ears.
As Emily Dickinson famously said, there is nothing as frigging awesome as a book. And there's no better present than a cool-looking book, that can adorn someone's coffee table but also provide hours of mind-expanding entertainment. Here are 23 science fiction book gifts your friends will love.
Some heroes bare their souls in the midst of their epic adventures. And some heroes just bare, well, everything. Science fiction and fantasy is full of hilariously weird moments of naked truth — and here are the 19 funniest nude scenes of all time. It's work-safe!
Science fiction is full of stories in which extraterrestrials engineer life on Earth — it's one of the main ways we explain humanoid aliens, after all. But why would aliens want to create the human race? It seems to be a lot of trouble to go to. Here are the most outlandish reasons for aliens to put human beings here.
In a tradition dating back to the space shuttle era, NASA has created mock movie posters to promote its missions. Previous posters have included Reservoir Dogs and Pirates of the Caribbean. But, for ISS Expedition 42 — the answer to life, the universe and everything — there could only be one choice.
Speculative fiction is the literature of change and discovery. But every now and then, a book comes along that changes the rules of science fiction and fantasy for everybody. Certain great books inspire scores of authors to create something new. Here are 21 of the most influential science fiction and fantasy books.
A lot of people seem to think "funny" equals "light-weight." Like a comedy can't deal with important issues, or pack a huge emotional punch. But decades of science fiction and fantasy comedy prove otherwise. Which funny story actually hits you where it counts, more than most "serious" dramas do?
Douglas Adams' biographer is publishing a treasure trove of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author's previously unseen work—including a rough draft for a second season of the TV show, material cut from the first Hitchhiker's novel, and Adams' unpublished writings on alien sex.
There have been many versions of Douglas Adams' classic comic space opera, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy — but the original cast of the radio show, many of whom crossed over to the TV version, have a special place in our hearts. And now, they're back together again, and you can hear for yourself.