Links and Resources

On this page, you will find links and resources to relevant, illuminating, or otherwise interesting material in the field of speculative fiction.

To submit a resource, email ad-astra@ku.edu


A collage of vintage science fiction magazine covers

Science Fiction Websites and Other Resources

Writers seeking to improve their craft in the genres used to have only a few choices, as many university programs did not appreciate speculative fiction - or, in some cases, even consider it a valid form of literature. In response, professional writers created private workshops to help writers develop. Thankfully, spec-fic's days of living in the ghetto are past, but the intensive, non-degree workshops are still a healthy concern. Here are a few of the best, plus some links to markets for your work.

Critiquing other people's work and getting yours critiqued in a workshop is valuable and allows you to see how well the various elements of your story work, and it shows you what kinds of things work well in others' stories, as well. But critiquing requires a special touch; check out James Gunn's essay on "How to Be a Good Critiquer and Still Remain Friends." I recommend it highly.

Whether or not you can make it to a formal writing workshop, we recommend that you read some books on the craft of writing. Here is a list of some great SF-writing books.

Looking for ideas or science & tech references? Here are some great sources:

    Science fiction scholarship and teaching go hand-in-hand. In that spirit, this section (and this page in general) includes a wide assortment of links to websites that will help you find the information you need in order to confidently teach the subject.

    • A Basic Science Fiction Library, which I've grown from 100 books to many times that over the last few decades. Librarians and teachers should start here when looking for important SF. Updated regularly, and includes links to online booksellers.
    • Audio interviews with science-fiction authors. A great way to hear interviews with your favorite authors, and a great resource for researchers.
    • Broad Universe, an international organization with the goal of promoting SF/F/H written by women.
    • The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies contains research copies of Bradbury's seven decades of correspondence as well as typescripts, galleys, and page proofs for most of Bradbury's major works, much of which has been compiled into a database.
    • Ad Astra-Hosted Courses
    • Cyrano de Bergerac, The Other World - this new translation by Donald Webb is intended to make Cyrano's novel Internet-accessible to the general public in modern English.
    • Extrapolation, an important scholarly journal, housed at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Founded in 1959, it was the first journal to publish academic work about SF.
    • Femspec is a feminist journal dedicated to interdisciplinary SF scholarship, housed at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University.
    • Foundation is the publication of the Science Fiction Foundation, founded in 1972.
    • The Heinlein Society places Heinlein's books in libraries, awards scholarships and grants to worthy young people, assists in disseminating translations, promotes scholarly research and overall discussion of his works, and much more. If you're a Heinlein fan or scholar or plan to teach Heinlein, check out their site!
    • LabLit.com - "The culture of science in fiction & fact." Great stuff!
    • The NASA Quest website provides" interactive explorations designed to engage students in authentic scientific and engineering processes. The solutions relate to issues encountered daily by NASA personnel." A particularly fun SFnal exercise is Design a Martian - neat NASA site for kids and teachers.
    • The New York Review of Science Fiction.
    • Science Fiction Research Association's website contains much useful information for teaching SF.
    • Science Fiction Studies, founded in 1973, is housed at DePauw University. One of the major scholarly journals in the field; their website has a great resource page with many links to scholarly works on the Web.
    • Science News for Kids.
    • Science Fiction Reading List for Kids.
    • The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database is an online index to more than 60,000 historical and critical articles, books, news reports, obituaries, motion picture reviews, and other material about science fiction, fantasy and horror. Compiled by Hal W. Hall.
    • The Speculative Literature Foundation's mission is "To promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."
    • Tangent Online, reviews of short and long SF.
    • Themes in science fiction, part of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls, and Graham Sleight. They have published the entire book online - check it out!
    • The Theodore Sturgeon Page contains a great deal of information about Theodore Sturgeon, including publications, reminiscences by friends and colleagues, a bio, photographs, and more.

    Fan, professional, and scholarly organizations the world around give many awards for speculative fiction each year. Here are a few of the top awards in the field.

    In addition to print, much speculative fiction is published on the Web - perhaps the majority. The number of original anthologies is also growing quickly; these are published by most large and small presses, with some small presses dedicated only to unique anthologies. Here's an abbreviated list of professional SF magazines with an online presence, plus links to sources with even more.

    Speculative fiction has been a field for serious study since the 1950s - earlier for some, still not recognized by others. Here are a few that live online; others, such as Extrapolation, still only exist in print.

    • Anima Solaris, a Japanese science fiction magazine.
    • Best SF, a website that "aims to assist those seeking the best in short Science Fiction, in both printed form and on the web." Has a big "Best SF Gateway" that links to the best SF available online, plus lots of short-SF reviews.
    • The Internet Review of Science Fiction: the first serious online SF journal remains one of the best. Founded in 2004.
    • Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, founded in 1989, this is the interdisciplinary publication of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.
    • Extrapolation, an important scholarly journal, housed at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Founded in 1959, it was the first journal to publish academic work about SF.
    • Foundation: the international review of science fiction, published by the Science Fiction Foundation.
    • Locus Online, website of Locus magazine. SF news, reviews, and resources.
    • The New York Review of Science Fiction, published by Dragon Press since 1988. Covers SF as a whole but draws its name from being housed in New York City and sponsoring local SF events.
    • SYFY, website of the cable television channel dedicated to SF.
    • SFRA Review, founded in 1970, is the publication of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), the oldest professional SF scholarly organization. Published out of the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
    • SFWA Bulletin, published by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the worldwide professional organization for speculative-fiction writers, editors, and others in the field.
    • SFRevu, a monthly fan/webzine which features reviews of books, films, and other media, interviews with top authors and notable newcomers, and columns with the latest releases in books, DVDs, comics, and upcoming films. SFRevu covers SF/F from around the world.
    • SF Site, self-described "home page for science fiction and fantasy." SF news, reviews, and resources.
    • Speculative Fiction Review is a publisher and bookseller hoping to promote new SF authors by offering free and low-cost downloads. Includes reviews and a discussion forum.
    • Tangent Online, the first and only short SF review magazine, now with long reviews, as well.
    • Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association.

    By no means is this an exhaustive list of science fiction anthologies or scholarly books. However, it provides a good slice of what's available. The books listed below should be on any serious SF scholar's shelves.

    Speculative-fiction fans have, since the early days (see First Fandom), gotten together to share thoughts and opinions about what's going on in the genre - often quite passionately. Naturally, the internet has facilitated this conversation in powerful ways. Here is just a sampling of popular fan-related sites.

    Most speculative-fiction authors blog at least occasionally, so there's no way to list them all here. However, the blogs listed below are destinations for thousands - or, in some cases, tens of thousands - of regular readers, full of interesting content by fine authors who serve their readers every single day.

    And here are some of the most-well-known SF blogs, very much worth following:

    Here is a small sampling of some of the most popular spec-fic artists; click the links to see some gorgeous galleries.

    Right now, somewhere in the world, SF professionals, scholars, and fans are gathering for a "con," an event celebrating the genre. Many are small or informal (regional conventions, local cons, media cons, "filk" cons, "relaxicons," and more), but major events take place somewhere every month. Many invite well-known writer, editor, artist, and fan guests of honor, plus entertaining toastmasters or emcees. Programming usually includes panels, presentations, and readings, plus art exhibits, booksellers, and much more. Larger, fan-oriented conventions usually include "filking" (fan music), gaming, author and actor signings, film screenings, a wide diversity of room parties, costuming and masquerades, dances, and much more. To truly understand the appeal of a con, you have to attend one. Here is a small selection of literary-focused cons; more to come! Click the links to visit the events' websites.

    • SF Site convention listing.
    • 1st Global Conference Artificial Intelligence: Exploring Critical Issues was in October 20-22, 2003, Vienna, Austria; this link details the project.
    • Campbell Conference & Awards. Lawrence, KS. Annual conference hosted by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. Includes scholarly discussions, readings, and the award ceremony for John Campbell Memorial Award (best SF novel) and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (best short SF).
    • ConQuesT. Memorial Day weekend each year in Kansas City, MO.
    • Eaton Conference. Riverside, CA. Annual scholarly conference hosted by the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside. Includes awards.
    • FantasyCon. Nottingham, UK. Annual con hosted by the British Fantasy Society. Includes British Fantasy Awards (best spec-fic in all categories).
    • International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Orlando, FL. Annual conference hosted by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, a scholarly organization "devoted to the study of the fantastic (broadly defined) as it appears in literature, film, and the other arts." Includes awards ceremony for Crawford Award (outstanding new spec-fic writer), Dell Magazines Award (undergraduate spec-fic), and other scholarly awards.
    • Nebula Awards Weekend. (Moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; moves around the world. Includes panels, the SFWA business meeting, and awards ceremony for the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award (lifetime achievement), Andre Norton Award (best YA spec-fic), Bradbury Award (best dramatic presentation), Solstice Award (significance to the field), plus honors for senior writers as Authors Emeriti. 
    • Norwescon. SeaTac, WA. Annual convention serving the Pacific Northwest. Major, fan-oriented event that includes all aspects of a con from costuming through literary awards; hosts the award ceremony for the Philip K. Dick Award (best paperback SF).
    • Readercon. Burlington, MA. Annual conference devoted to "'imaginative literature,' literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called 'slipstream.'" Includes award ceremony for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award (for a neglected author), the Rhysling Awards (SF poetry), and the Shirley Jackson Awards (for dark fantasy and psychological suspense).
    • Science Fiction Research Association Conference. (Moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction Research Association, dedicated to sharing research on spec-fic literature and film. Includes paper presentations, panels, and teacher "short courses," plus the awards ceremony for the Pilgrim Award (honors lifetime contributions to spec-fic scholarship), Thomas D. Clareson Award (outstanding service activities in SF), Student Paper Award, and Mary Kay Bray Award (best scholarly work in SFRA Review).
    • Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Show, Kansas City, MO.
    • Utopiales Festival International Science Fiction Festival, Nantes, France, November 4-7, 2004, marked the beginning of the Jules Verne death Centennial year's celebrations.
    • WisCon. Madison, WI. Annual feminist science fiction convention. Includes award ceremony for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award (for spec-fic that "expands or explores our understanding of gender").
    • World Fantasy Convention. (moves around the world each year). The largest annual fantasy-oriented con, World Fantasy has a strong professional and academic focus on the literature. Includes award ceremony for the World Fantasy Awards (best fantasy in all categories).
    • World Horror Convention. (moves around the world each year). Annual convention hosted by the Horror Writers of America. Includes awards ceremony for Bram Stoker Awards (best horror in all categories).
    • World Science Fiction Convention. (moves around the world each year). Perhaps the largest yearly event in the SF calendar, Worldcon attracts readers, writers, artists, and everyone else from around the world to gather for a weekend of panels and readings, business and conversation. Includes award ceremony for the Hugo Awards (best SF in all categories) plus John Campbell Award (best new spec-fic author).