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Cosmic Stories Blog

This blog exists to explore conceptions and representations of science or science communication through the medium of fiction. A new blog entry is posted every two weeks. For updates follow me on Twitter @Tiylaya, or on Facebook at

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12 Mar

Gathering Clouds

Exploring the role and impact of astronomical clouds and nebulae in science fiction.

Tags: Space Travel
26 Feb

We are the Martians

Did humanity originate elsewhere? Why does Mars appear so prominently as the origin of the human race in science fiction?

12 Feb

Robot Dominated Societies

A recurring aspiration in visions of the future is the idea that machines, and particularly robots, will come to dominate key aspects of our lives and societies.

29 Jan

The Weather from the Sun

Exploring space weather - an important problem both in science fiction and in our contemporary world.

15 Jan

Error and Trial

Trial and error is an essential element of the scientific process, but it is seldom portrayed accurately in popular culture. Here we take a look at the relatively rare representations of less clear cut and more fallible scientific investigations.

01 Jan

Desert Worlds

One of the common uses of science fiction is to imagine the habitability of worlds very different from our own. Some famous science fiction narratives consider a desert as their setting, but how is human habitability envisaged in these worlds and how plausible are they?

18 Dec 2022

World Ships

World ships - planets which move under the deliberate control of their inhabitants or others - are a staple of science fiction. But how plausible are representations of world ships in SF, and why are they so popular?

04 Dec 2022

The Star

Published in 1955, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star is an unusual take on the relationship between science, religion and science fiction. In this blog, we take a look at this story in detail.

27 Nov 2022

Weather Control

The ability to control the weather has been one of the goals of science for decades - with limited success - and, inevitably, science fiction has explored its possibilities and possible consequences.

13 Nov 2022

Atomic Futures

In the science fiction of the 1940s, 50s and 60s atomic power is ubiquitous, to the extent that it permeates domestic as well as industrial and military settings. But just how common is this atomic future in science fiction, and what can we learn from its rise and fall?

30 Oct 2022

Unobtanium, Neutronium and Metallic Hydrogen

One of the key limitations in converting physics theories into practical technology is finding a material capable of taking the forces, temperatures or other physical requirements. Science fiction has, unsurprisingly, hypothesised a variety of such materials - with varying degrees of plausibility.

16 Oct 2022

Space Sweepers

The threat to space travel presented by space junk - the debris left behind by earlier human activity - has long been recognised. Naturally, science fiction has not failed to explore both the threat and the potential dangers of ignoring it.

02 Oct 2022

The Vermin of the Skies

The asteroid belt is a collection of small rocky worlds, ranging in size from pebbles to the dwarf planet Ceres at almost a thousand kilometres across. Located in orbit between Mars and Jupiter they have been an important site in the imagination of both SF writers and scientists alike.

18 Sep 2022

Appointment in Tomorrow

Exploring a 1950s short story and radio play which itself critiques the relationship between science and science fiction

04 Sep 2022

Thought Experiment Worlds

One important role of science fiction is to provide an arena for thought-experiments, letting writers explore physics that cannot be placed in a real-world setting.

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This blog exists to explore conceptions and representations of science or science communication through the medium of fiction. This includes, but is not limited to, science fiction in literature, film and television, as well as other adventure fiction and their various paratexts. I decided to create this space as a forum in which to present my own views and activities in this area, which are - inevitably - presented from the point of view of an active research astrophysicist, rather than a literary theorist or specialist in communications or media. Nonetheless, I choose to make these thoughts public in case they provide entertainment or interest to others, and in the hope of stimulating conversations in the interface between the realities of our Universe and the ways in which we choose to represent and explore it in fiction. A new blog entry is posted every two weeks. For updates follow me on Twitter @Tiylaya, or on Facebook at

Comments are very welcome, including those disagreeing with my views or conclusions, but should be phrased respectfully and will be moderated before posting.

The views and ideas expressed in this blog are my own and do not in any way represent the views of the University of Warwick.