Between 1975 and 1977, Paramount and Gene Roddenberry planned to make a Star Trek movie, but it turned out to be anything but easy. What would it be about? Plot ideas included time travel, snake people, God, black holes and the titans of ancient Greek mythology. Writer after writer took a turn at coming up with a story, leaving behind a string of rejected screenplays. In March 1978, Paramount president Michael Eisner announced a film spin-off. The race to make Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. (Via) [more inside]
Sci-Fi Author (and Metafilter's own) Charlie Stross has an interesting thought experiment: Could you get to a technological society without the use of writing? And if so, what would that look like?
In May 1991, ABC launched a half-hour drama series called "My Life and Times." The premise: An 85 year old man living in a retirement community in 2035 looks back on his life and shares his experiences with friends and family. Framing sequences were set in 2035 while the bulk of the episodes featured flashbacks to the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s. The show begins on April 9, 2035. [more inside]
Never Give Up, Never Surrender: Cosplay After 40
My name is Phaedra Cook, I am 46 years old and I’m a cosplayer. That sounds like some kind of intro to a confession at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, doesn’t it? There are certain types of people who would like me to have a sense of shame about my hobby, but that’s not going to happen.[more inside]
Sifting through decades of publications, oral history and archival records, Michael Kmet sets the record straight on numerous aspects Star Trek: TOS production history lore. Was "Spock's Brain" originally conceived as a comedy episode? Did Roddenberry write the lyrics to the theme song as a cash grab? Which of the Mercury Seven did Roddenberry try to get as guest stars? [more inside]
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report. But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
"I'm in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle, to which I've traveled so that award-winning science fiction novelists can demonstrate how they could cut me in half if they felt like it." i09 Talks to Neal Stephenson about working on the multi-author IP-experiment *thing* The Mongoliad and sword fighting as a heart-healthy hobby.
Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It is an exhibition at the British Library exploring the origins of Science Fiction, running until September. China Mieville takes a look at the exhibition for the BBC. (Out Of This World postcards - images from the exhibition) [more inside]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
Captain Video and his Video Rangers was a television series that was staple of the DuMont Television Network. The series first aired in the middle of Golden Age of Science Fiction, and with an initial air date in 1949, it was the first science fiction television series in the United States, complete with futuristic gadgets. The series was aimed at children, with public service announcements for kids, the a special ring (or three). Recorded and broadcast live five to six days a week, the series had a run of thousands of episodes, though most are now considered lost. 24 episodes are in the UCLA Film and Television archive, and a few episodes have made their way into public domain compilations, and online (three random episodes episodes on Internet Archive; and same three episodes on YouTube). Continue in for more on the good Captain, and the network he called home. [more inside]
Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the movie's release, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back chronicles the complete tale—from pre-release to blockbuster success — of what’s become the fan favorite of the Star Wars series. Vanity Fair presents an excerpt from the book: rarely seen photographs from the Empire Strikes Back set, annotated with behind-the-scenes details. They also have interviews with the book’s author, J. W. Rinzler, and the man behind Boba Fett’s mask, actor Jeremy Bulloch." On a lighter note, how about a Wampa Throw Rug, new from the folks at ThinkGeek?
PopSci: Archive Gallery: From Chicago to Shanghai, 138 Visionary Years of World's Fairs [more inside]
If you wouldn't like living that way (in the lowest status slot in the pecking order), you're doing it wrong.
Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows. (via)