43 posts tagged with scienceFiction and space.
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If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

...and then "some clown invented the printed circuit."

During the 1950's, Wernher von Braun served as technical adviser for three space-related television films produced by Disney: Man in Space, Man and the Moon and Mars and Beyond. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 24, 2013 - 40 comments

A giant leap for mankind.... It's more like a stumble in the dark.

On September 13, 1999, nuclear waste from Earth stored on the far side of the Moon exploded in a catastrophic accident. The explosion knocked the Moon out of orbit and sent it, and the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, hurtling uncontrollably into space. Their subsequent trials and adventures were chronicled... in Space: 1999. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 12, 2013 - 62 comments

Screen to Page

Five Great Comic Book Adaptations Of Movies (And One That’s Just Really Cool But Kind of Terrible)
posted by Artw on Oct 24, 2013 - 28 comments

Inverse Perspective

Syd Mead's Stanford Torus Illustrations for National Geographic got him the job, 40 years later, of designing Elysium for Neill Blomkamp. Mead calls the unique visual effect of these interior drawings, in which the horizon wraps up and over the viewpoint, 'inverse perspective'. This effect, and others like it, have been explored in the concept art for large, rotating, space habitats at least since the early 1960s. [more inside]
posted by sevensixfive on Aug 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Soviet Futurism

Tekhnika Molodezhi was the Popular Mechanics of the Soviet Union. The magazine, whose name means Technology for the Youth, had illustrations of everything from space stations, computerized farming, transport of the future, friendly robots, to more abstract images. If you don't want to hunt through the archive, Mythbuster's Tested website has a gallery of 201 great images from the magazine.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 15, 2013 - 24 comments

Terran Trade Authority - Spacecraft 2000-2100AD

Terran Trade Authority - Spacecraft 2000-2100AD
posted by Artw on Jul 11, 2013 - 51 comments

Imagine "Thunderbirds" with people instead of puppets

UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on May 31, 2013 - 44 comments

The Mothership Connection

Minister Faust explains the meaning of George Clinton's Mothership
posted by Artw on May 2, 2013 - 33 comments

Faster Than Light

Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL. The Opposite of Fail - The making of FTL (Previously)
posted by Artw on Mar 17, 2013 - 19 comments

There is always a last time for everything

Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
posted by Artw on Dec 19, 2012 - 84 comments

Space Oddity

The Man who Fell to Earth was Nicholas Roeg's Sci-fi classic featuring a fragile cocaine addicted David Bowie, between his Thin White Duke days and his Berlin trilogy, as a homesick alien falling into despair. Years later Duncan Jones - AKA Zowie Bowie, subject of a sentimental song on Hunky Dory - would make a Sci-Fi film of his own with similar themes of isolation.
posted by Artw on Dec 10, 2012 - 28 comments

Not to be confused with Dyson, the vacuum cleaner company.

Dark matter, or DYSON SPHERES? [more inside]
posted by fnerg on Oct 25, 2012 - 70 comments

Songs in the key of H

Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton discuss their books with fans (video). The Hydrogen Sonata, the 10th of Bank's Culture books, will be released October 12th, read the first chapter here. Meanwhile it's 20 years since Reynolds first started work on Revelation Space.
posted by Artw on Oct 7, 2012 - 94 comments

Atomic Rockets

Atomic Rockets is chock full of stuff to tickle the imagination of anyone who has enjoyed science fiction accounts of space travel. You can move your cursor over the "Show topic list" button in the top right corner of the page and start exploring.
posted by Egg Shen on Sep 29, 2012 - 8 comments

Our home food dispenser broke and I had to wait 20 seconds at the check out counter, such inefficiency.

50 years of The Jestons and Why the show still matters. It was September 23, 1962 when ABC aired the first episode of The Jetsons. This was ABC's first color program and while it only lasted a single season, its impact, influence, and popularity is still felt today. Many of the predictions portrayed in the series are coming true.
posted by 2manyusernames on Sep 21, 2012 - 60 comments

Snicker-snack

Boojum, a spacefaring Cthulhu Mythos story run through the filter of Lewis Carroll by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (Interview). A sequel in the same universe, Mongoose, Appeared in the Ellen Datlow edited anthology Lovecraft Unbound. An audio of Mongoose is available at the Drabblecast (part 1, part 2), as well as a further sequel, The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward (part 1, part 2)
posted by Artw on Sep 21, 2012 - 31 comments

A talk by writer Warren Ellis

How to See the Future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

Apollo 18

Is Newt Gingrich’s plan for a moon mine science fiction? The technology may be in place, but is there any reason to go?
posted by Artw on Jan 27, 2012 - 178 comments

In Soviet Russia, Mars travels to you

The utopian Mars fiction of Soviet Russia
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2012 - 8 comments

Big Dumb Objects

Chris Foss: The Joy of Starships (More Chris Foss here)
posted by Artw on Oct 1, 2011 - 35 comments

Bioshock

Scientist and Science Fiction author Joan Slonczewski, author of A Door Into The Ocean, guest blogs about science fictional and microbiology on Charles Stross's site: Salt Beings, Microbes grow the starship, Synthetic Babies
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2011 - 13 comments

Walt Disney's "The Black Hole"

To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
posted by Trurl on Sep 25, 2011 - 106 comments

Starship Schematics Database

Starship Schematics Database: dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (A.K.A. Star Blazers in the USA) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 12, 2011 - 35 comments

The Island

The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
posted by Artw on Sep 5, 2010 - 31 comments

A Soviet Space Odyssey

Road to the Stars (Doroga k Zvezdam, 1958) was a remarkable Soviet documentary about the future of space exploration, directed by the "Godfather of Star Wars" and still admired for its impressive miniature effects. Watch the entire film.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Aug 18, 2010 - 7 comments

"Eat SCRAD, rustbucket!!"

Spacegirl Comic by Travis Charest (via concept ships)
posted by Artw on Jul 24, 2010 - 31 comments

Roll for mutations

old School Science Fiction RPGs: Traveller, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World.
posted by Artw on May 27, 2010 - 99 comments

Talking squid in outer space

Margaret Atwood, Science Fiction writer
posted by Artw on Mar 8, 2010 - 251 comments

Designing Space Fighters & Marines

The Physics of Space Battles "I had a discussion recently with friends about the various depictions of space combat in science fiction movies, TV shows, and books. We have the fighter-plane engagements of Star Wars, the subdued, two-dimensional naval combat in Star Trek, the Newtonian planes of Battlestar Galactica, the staggeringly furious energy exchanges of the combat wasps in Peter Hamilton's books, and the use of antimatter rocket engines themselves as weapons in other sci-fi. But suppose we get out there, go terraform Mars, and the Martian colonists actually revolt. Or suppose we encounter hostile aliens. How would space combat actually go?"
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Dec 17, 2009 - 106 comments

1Q 100+, Blood Pressure normal, lungs clear, metabolism normal, adaptability good

Images from The Complete Book of Space Travel illustrated by Virgil Finlay, including an analysis of the space-crew candidate.
posted by Artw on May 7, 2009 - 30 comments

I was just a broken head. I stole the world that others punctured.

Vintage alien landscapes by Kazuaki Saito
posted by Artw on Apr 9, 2009 - 8 comments

Warp Drive

Putting the Warp into Warp Drive.
posted by homunculus on Jul 28, 2008 - 60 comments

Captain Kirks Alien Mysteries

With all the crystal skulls, nazca lines and such at the box office these days now might be the ideal time to reacquaint yourself with the theories of Erich von Däniken. What better way to do it than by watching William Shatners Mysteries of the Gods ( Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6, Pt. 7, Pt. 8, Pt. 9, Pt. 10)(MULTI LINK YOUTUBE SHATNERFEST)
posted by Artw on Jun 10, 2008 - 28 comments

The Science Fiction Artwork of John Harris

John Harris's science fiction artwork is stunning. Much of it attempts to capture scale and the hugeness of relative comparisons in the universe. From the book Mass that looks at his work: "From skyscapes to lost cities, planetary bodies to megalithic structures, Harris's concepts are truly colossal, conveying not just the sheer scale that the edifices of future-fantastical technology might attain, but also the awesome-ness, even terror, of their presence." His work has graced the covers of many science fiction books, which you may have recognized. Interestingly, there's no wikipedia article about him.
posted by SpacemanStix on Jan 8, 2008 - 25 comments

Retro space cowboys

For many kids, the space age made its TV debut years before Sputnik with 1950's TV space serials.
1950 - Space Patrol - The Hidden Treasure of Mars. (Part two)
1954 - Rocky Jones' Space, Space Ranger - Rocky's Odyssey. (Chapters two, three)
1954 - Flash Gordon - Deadline at Noon and Akim the Terrible. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 24, 2007 - 5 comments

Breaking: Science fiction is fiction

Ruining science fiction: Not only are the science fiction cliches humorously skewered in the Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy, but the science itself is wrong. For example, despite the best efforts of SF writers, interstellar trade will never work, unless wine costs $11 billion a bottle. Slower-than-light travel is much harder than you think, and warp drives are far away. Space battles, if they happen, won't have fighters and dramatic dogfights, but instead involve vast distances and maneuvers lasting years. And you can ruin a whole lot more science fiction with real science (and wonderful examples) at Atomic Rocket. Don't follow the links if you want to read Heinlein or watch Battlestar Galactica with a light heart.
posted by blahblahblah on May 8, 2007 - 185 comments

Pass the Future, please.

Tales of Future Past* — It's been a looong Monday. Do you want to get off the planet and out of the city to a place where you can really live? Well, here's some food for thought on the way home down life's highways. First, take a break from all this depressing war talk. Then empower yourself by giving yourself some space and maybe taking off for a few days. Drive just a bit slower, turn up the volume and imagine that your mechanic will say the tranny's OK after all. Once you're in the front door, take time to get slightly wired and forget all about politics. Get recharged for tomorrow: have a nice long bath, put your mind at ease, watch Ur Fave shOw, and listen to some soothing music. Now, don't things look a lot better? [*Note the 'Start the Tour' links at the bottom of each page.]
posted by cenoxo on Feb 12, 2007 - 10 comments

"We're space explorers, and we need space!"

Where did you want to live when you grew up? If you're like me, you read Clarke's SF classic, Rendezvous with Rama (soon to be a major motion picture?). Donald E. Davis took what we dreamed about and illustrated it, for NASA. His depictions of O'Neill Cylinders, Stanford Tori, and Bernal Spheres are in the public domain (and make excellent desktop wallpaper).
posted by Eideteker on Feb 2, 2007 - 24 comments

Prepare for the home-made invasion!

Robots, rockets, and rayguns, oh my!
posted by Robot Johnny on Apr 7, 2006 - 11 comments

Alien planet

Alien planet "The drama takes place on Darwin IV, a fictional planet 6.5 light-years from Earth, with two suns and 60 percent gravity. Having identified Darwin as a world that could support life, Earth sends a pilot mission consisting of the mothership and three probes." Discovery channel feature, Flash heavy site, via Pharyngula.
posted by dhruva on May 9, 2005 - 20 comments

Babes in Space

Babes in Space.
posted by greasy_skillet on Dec 29, 2004 - 14 comments

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