John Scalzi’s Head On and the Potential of the Future

John Scalzi, Head On, cover

In 2014, John Scalzi’s Lock In introduced us to a world drastically changed by Haden Syndrome, a disease that strikes 1% of the population, causing them to become “locked in”: unable to move, but still fully aware of the world around them. The world in Scalzi’s imaginary future adapts to accommodate this population of people. They create programs and infrastructure to allow people with the disease—Hadens—to continue interacting with their family and friends while also creating Haden-specific spaces. The biggest change is the development of mobility robots, called threeps, that allow Hadens to move through the world like the able-bodied.

The main character of the series, Chris Shane, is a Haden as well as an FBI agent. Lock In introduces us to Chris as a brand new agent on a Haden-related murder case. Head On, the follow up to Lock In, brings in the Haden-specific sport Hilketa. Hadens ...

The Future We Imagine Is the Future We Get

Last fall, at a small SF con in Toronto, I was on a panel where the participants predicted the near-future of humanity. The panelists were two Baby Boomer men, two Millennial women (all four with PhDs), and me, a no-PhD from Generation X. I sat between these two pairs and was struck by the contrast in opinions. The Boomers saw only doom and gloom in the years ahead, but the Millennials saw many indications of progress and reasons for hope.

I don’t mention the panel’s demographics to be argumentative or to stir up gender or generational divisiveness. It was only one panel. But opinions split starkly along gender and age lines. I was amazed that the two Boomer men—the demographic who are the architects of the world we live in—were really quite scared of the future. I’d love to investigate this split further. I think it’s significant, because in a ...

Celebrate Retrofuturism with the Sci-Fi Art of the ’70s

As we prepare to step tentatively out into 2018, we find ourselves looking back to the weird, wonderful, and sometimes fantastical future of the 1970s. Specifically, the future that is being archived, tweeted, and tumbled by 70s Sci-Fi Art! The twitter feed highlights original art, movie stills, and even architectural designs from (or sometimes inspired by) the 1970s, and we love every single one of them.

Join us for a journey through the Future-Past, starting with a look at the suburbs of our great moon colony…


Artist unknown


Art by William Hartmann

Art by William Hartmann (1981)


Plenty of sci-fi art shows off the advanced spacecrafts of the future, but here artist Ed Emshwiller shows that sometimes classic modes of transport are the most reliable:

Art by Ed Emshwiller

Art by Ed Emshwiller


Art by Robert Burton

Art by Robert Burton



Covers for the Starblazer Comics Anthology


Artist Unknown, from The World of Tomorrow

Artist Unknown, from The World of Tomorrow


No ...

"Conquest of the Amazon" by John Russell Fearn
Art by Shelia Rose (1973)
Art by Leo and Diane Dillon
"Harvest Moon" by Gilbert Williams (1976)
Understanding Human Behavior Vol. #3
1969 Swimming Pool featured in W Magazine, October 14, 2014

Writing the Distant Future of Global Politics

What if citizenship wasn’t something we’re born with, but something we choose when we grow up? In the Terra Ignota future, giant nations called “Hives” are equally distributed all around the world, so every house on a block, and even every person in a house, gets to choose which laws to live by, and which government represents that individual’s views the most. It’s an extension into the future of the many diasporas which already characterize our present, since increasingly easy transportation and communication mean that families, school friends, social groups, ethnic groups, language groups, and political parties are already more often spread over large areas than residing all together. In this future each of those groups can be part of one self-governing nation, with laws that fit their values, even while all living spread over the same space.

Readers of Too Like the Lightning have enjoyed playing the “Which Hive ...