Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Feature Interviews

Nonfiction

Interview: Marc Laidlaw, creator of Half-Life

“Half-Life was conceived as horror first, and always intended to be scary above all else. The atmosphere shaded toward dark, dystopian SF in HL2, but in Half-Life 1 we treated the game as a Technological Gothic, with Black Mesa playing the role of the spooky old castle. The science fiction and horror elements set each other off nicely. At Valve, we are all about contrast. Unrelieved horror, like unrelieved anything, gets tedious, so we make sure our games are rarely flat: You’re either climbing toward a peak, plunging into a chasm, or approaching a dark corner. And when there’s no overt menace, you should be really nervous.”

Nonfiction

Interview: John Scalzi

“Before writing Old Man’s War, I went into a bookstore to see what kind of science fiction was selling; I saw more military SF than anything else, so I decided that’s what I should probably write if I wanted to sell a book. This sounds mercenary to some, but more charitably it was market research. I wanted to sell a book, so I was pretty dispassionate about what book that should be. Now, having chosen military science fiction to write, I made sure it was a book I myself would want to read—market research is fine and good but if you’re not writing something you’d actually want to read, then that book’s probably not going to be something anyone else would want to read either.”

Nonfiction

Interview: Robert J. Sawyer

“What intrigued me was that SF—especially in film and TV—had taken as a given that future AI will be malevolent, and that there’s no way for humanity to survive the advent of things more intelligent than we are. Well, SF is supposed to be about offering choices for tomorrow—and if we don’t have a positive blueprint, then the negative one becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Nonfiction

Interview: The Lisps

FUTURITY follows the wartime experience of aspiring science fiction writer and lowly Confederate solider Julian Munro. While surrounded by destruction, Julian strikes up a correspondence with real-life metaphysician Ada Lovelace, history’s first female computer programmer. Together, the idealistic pair imagine a utopian future defined by an omnipotent machine that will end war once and for all.