Category J. L. Hilton

Deck the halls with geekiness

Happy holidays! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, Hogmanay, New Year’s, Epiphany/Three Kings Day, Boxing Day or the birthdays of science fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick on December 16, it’s that time of year for festive foods and gift giving. We had a geeky yuletide at our house. Many […]

To boldly smooch where we haven’t smooched before

Speaking of sci-fi romance and anniversaries, we recently passed the 45th anniversary of the first scripted interracial kiss between a white man and a black woman on American television in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren.” The episode aired to U.S. audiences on November 22, 1968. The kiss between Uhura and Kirk wasn’t the first interracial […]

It’s all a bit silly… and that’s OK

Every single person reading this has a ridiculous skeleton somewhere in their closet. Whether it’s a complete collection of Batman Forever trading cards lovingly stored in plastic sleeves, an 8th-grade notebook of sincere but awful poetry that should be burned, or files of fanfic about you and Data. And Jayne Cobb. And Batman. At the […]

Joss Whedon’s Agents of F.I.R.E.F.L.Y.

While I’ve been a Browncoat, an avid fan of Joss Whedon’s space western TV show Firefly and movie Serenity, for the past decade, I’m not a long-time, hardcore “Joss is Boss” Whedon-ite. I loved his work on Toy Story back in the ’90s and I own Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog on DVD, but I couldn’t […]

Documentary summer: SF/F, geeks and fandom

When I wasn’t attending steampunk conventions, working on novels or earning my platinum trophy in Skyrim, I spent my summertime watching documentaries about SF/F and fandom. Here are a few of my favorites. TREK NATION (2011) is Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry’s touching journey of discovery about Star Trek and his father, who died when Rod was […]

Elysium and my jaded soul

I just saw Elysium, the new movie by Neill Blomkamp (District 9). And I loved it. From the first scene, it grabbed me and didn’t let go. I kept thinking, I hope this movie doesn’t disappoint me. Please, please don’t let it turn stupid and disappoint me. It didn’t. In a weird way that I […]

Why would aliens menace Earth?

To serve man. Resistance is futile. Mars needs women. If habitable planets and resources are abundant in the Milky Way, then why would aliens attack us? Last month, NBC News Science Editor Alan Boyle wrote this article featuring SETI Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak, who points out that any aliens who could make it to Earth […]

We live in the world we imagined

The Buzzfeed article “27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012” illustrates a point I’ve argued on this blog before: “The future is here.” This is one of the challenges of writing science fiction in the 21st century. When German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote Somnium in the 1600s, he offered a detailed […]

Is it “science fiction,” “sci-fi” or “SF”?

I still don’t grok the difference between “science fiction,” “sci-fi” and “SF.” Like religion, I’ve been warned to choose the right one, or else, but there’s a load of disagreement as to which one is right. I’ve been told that “science fiction” refers to the real stuff — science-based literature exploring the relationship between technology […]

Aliens who are what they eat

When creating aliens, I look for inspiration right here on Earth. I just celebrated my “Don’t Panic” birthday (42) this month, and I’m still discovering new and weird animals to inspire me. This isn’t a recent scientific article, but it’s new to me. The Elysia chlorotica is therein described as a “lurid green sea slug” […]