Here's my latest Space-Time Continuum column for Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
Writers love to write about writing, probably because writing about writing is a great way to avoid actually, you know, writing.
Sometimes writing about writing takes the form of a long essay or (ahem) column; sometimes it takes the form of a sage saw, witty aphorism, clever epigram, or wise maxim (another way to procrastinate is to spend several minutes poking around a thesaurus).
Science fiction and fantasy writers have coined a number of these over the years, only some of which relate to writing. Some are more general observations, such Arthur C. Clarke
’s Third Law, “Any sufficiently ...
This is my Space-Time Continuum column for the latest issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
. It's a modified version of a column I wrote ages ago as one of my newspaper science columns. It seemed appropriate to bring that old column back to life...bwah-ha-ha!
As I write this, it’s about three weeks until Hallowe’en, a time when people’s thoughts turn to monsters. While in this modern age there are a great many more monsters to choose from than there used to be, there’s no doubt that one of the most popular (which is an odd thing for a monster to be, perhaps, but still) is the ...
My "Space-Time Continuum" column for the August/September 2016 issue of Freelance, the newsletter of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
When I was growing up, in pre-Google days, my go-to book for anything I had a question about was the 1958 edition of Collier’s Encyclopedia, which my parents had bought before I was born.
One thing I couldn’t learn much about in Collier’s or any other encyclopedia, however, was science fiction. I had to rely on bits and pieces gleaned from the introductions to books and stories, and the occasional magazine article.
All that changed in 1979 with the publication of a massive reference work called The Encyclopedia of ...
My latest column for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild's newsletter, Freelance.
Whenever I lead a workshop about writing science fiction, I say it’s important to read widely and deeply in the field: that science fiction is like a long ongoing argumentative conversation, and jumping into it without being aware of what has already been said will irritate people at best and derail the conversation at worst.
Admittedly, it’s far harder to be keep up with the field now than when I was a kid. Back then, a dedicated fan could reasonably hope to read everything of note published every year. Today, there is far more science fiction and fantasy around, and the audience ...
Here's my Space-Time Continuum column from the December-January issue of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
's newsletter Freelance...
Literary awards are nice to get. They may or may not help book sales, and they may or may not come with a cash prize, but at the very least, they’re a form of validation for authors. (As Sally Fields put it when she won an Academy Award, “They like me, they really like me!”)
Canada's most prestigious literary science fiction awards are the Auroras, presented annually by the non-profit Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA)
, which also sponsors the French-language Prix Aurora Boréal. They were first given out in 1980 (when there ...
Here's my latest column from Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
Long before I ever subscribed, or even read, a copy of a professional science fiction magazine, I was reading—and even drawing illustrations for—science fiction fanzines.
In those pre-Internet days, fanzines filled the place today taken by Tumblr and Instagram and myriad other social media sites, allowing fans of science fiction in general, or particular genres (or sub-genres, or sub-sub-genres) of science fiction, to connect with the likewise-interested...likewise-interested who could be very hard to come across in, say, your average small-town (and sometimes small-minded) high school.
I began by reading Star Trek fanzines (probably because I’d read about them in ...
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
When Robert Frost wrote his famous poem “The Road Not Taken,” he clearly didn’t have in mind the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which postulates there is a very large—perhaps infinite—number of parallel universes, in which anything that could have happened in our past, but did not, in fact did.
Still, even shorn of its quantum-mechanical underpinnings, the idea of the choices we make today altering our future was hardly original with Frost. The story of Adam and Eve, to name one obvious example, is all about having a choice, and ...
[caption id="attachment_11717" align="alignleft" width="300"]
From left to right, Sheila Gilbert, me, and Betsy Wollheim.[/caption]
I'm jumping the gun a little bit here, since Freelance hasn't come out yet, but here's my upcoming "Space-Time Continuum" column for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
magazine--an interview with my editor and publisher, Sheila Gilbert, nominated once again this year for a Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long Form.
As a teenager looking for science fiction and fantasy, I was drawn to the distinctive yellow spines of paperbacks published by DAW Books—a name I found amusing because DAW are the initials of my brother, Dwight Arthur Willett.
In fact, those initials belonged to Donald A. Wollheim, ...
A "science column" I wrote several years ago, my science-writer's take on the famous poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," has had remarkable life. It appeared in the newspaper, of course, but it was originally written for for CBC Saskatchewan’s Afternoon Edition radio program, and first read at one of their Christmas open houses (a different one from the one at which I sang “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!“
), it’s been published or posted a few times since. A couple of years ago it got a lot of attention because it was noted by Ed Yong at Discover Magazine‘s website
. I recorded a podcast of it, which you can listen to here
. And now...ta da!...the ...
Here's the latest instalment of my regular column on writing science fiction and fantasy from Freelance, the newsletter of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild
“Space opera” is an odd-looking term: after all, as the marketers for the movie Alien might have (but fortunately didn’t) put it, in space, no one can hear a tenor scream a high C.
Early SF fan Wilson “Bob” Tucker coined the phrase, writing in his fanzine in 1941: “In these hectic days of phrase-coining, we offer one. Westerns are called ‘horse operas,’ the morning housewife tear-jerkers are called ‘soap operas.’ For the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn, or world-saving for that matter, we offer ...