Killing Your Audience Members Really Keeps Them Engaged

From Australian Sci-Fi to Music, Making Readers and Listeners Part of the Narrative Is an Underutilized Tool

One of the most common pieces of advice given to new writers is “Kill your darlings.” The Australian writers Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman have turned this advice on its head. They’re not interested in killing their darlings, but they have become very interested in killing their audience.

In 2015, Kaufman and Kristoff published Illuminae, a sci-fi novel they’d spent the past few years working on. If you haven’t read it, you really should. It’s possibly the most startling, innovative book released this century: an epistolary narrative told through transcripts …

More In: science fiction

Apple and the Demise of Cyberpunk

Without Cords and Jacks to Unplug, How Will Our Fictional Heroes Rebel Now?

Rightly or wrongly, we tend to speak of science fiction authors as prophets: We’re delighted to find that Philip K. Dick inveighed against the internet of things half a century …

Who Should Be Our Alien Liaison?

If Extraterrestrials Make Contact, Science Fiction Has Some Advice for Selecting Humanity’s Spokesperson

On May 25, 2015, a radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, picked up a signal coming from star HD164595 in the Hercules constellation. We don’t know much about this star located …

Novelist Neal Stephenson

Wanna Be a Writer? Write 10,000 Pages, Then Throw Them Away

Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic “The Baroque Cycle” and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. Before discussing the relationship between science …

io9 Editor-in-Chief Annalee Newitz

Extremely Unusual in Some Respects

Annalee Newitz is editor-in-chief of io9, a website that covers science and science fiction, and author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. Before moderating …

When Science and Science Fiction Collide

Lawrence M. Krauss and Neal Stephenson on Optimism, Inspiration, and the Problem with Human Space Travel

What happens when you bring together scientists and science fiction writers? Zócalo and the Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination brought physicist Lawrence M. Krauss and science …