It’s that time of year, Labor Day is just around the corner signaling the end of summer, the kiddos are headed back to school, and we’re all going to have some extra afternoons free just for reading—right? *wink*Continue reading “Autumn Reads: 5 New Sci Fi Books in 2022”
Month: August 2022
NASA Reveals A Blackhole’s Sound And It’s Sci Fi Material
As a science fiction writer, I like to scroll through the news looking for weird scientific happenings or vague, unexplained phenomena that could easily be spun into a fantastical story.
Sometimes you get bamboozled by clickbait titles and half-baked articles with no research behind them. That’s the game you play.
But sometimes you get really lucky and find a piece that just clicks. And when NASA put out their video of the blackhole’s sound, it was like getting a whole nugget while panning for gold.
What Sound Does A Blackhole Make?
Now, one of the things I was taught as a kid was that there isn’t sound in space. That Star Wars was space fantasy, not science fiction, and laser beams and explosions in space don’t make cool noises. Space is a vacuum and sounds are pretty much sucked up into the void.
Well, whoever told me that, they lied. There ARE cool noises in space, and NASA just revealed an eerie sound coming from a blackhole. Take a listen:
Now, this wailing, windy sound isn’t what you’ll hear if you roll up to the blackhole in your spaceship. It’s taken scientists a long time to be able to parse out these sounds.
According to NASA, these sound waves were born out of data collected from the blackhole in the Perseus galaxy in 2003. Technically, the “pressure waves” sent out from the blackhole rippled through hot gasses and created these sound waves, but they weren’t on the spectrum of human comprehension.
A new sonification program just now made the sounds from this blackhole audible to human ears. In fact, the waves were raised by 57 octaves in order for us to hear them!
In NASA’s official press release, they said that they also were able to formulate sound data from another blackhole, commonly known as M87. That video is below:
Spinning Yarns with Blackhole Sound
For some reason, the first thing I thought about when I heard the Perseus blackhole sounds was the big singing sinkhole from Adventure Time. I’m not sure why, but something about sounds coming from large, dark spaces made my brain connect those two things.
But it got me thinking about the importance of music in SFF media. In Adventure Time, the song from the sinkhole is sweet, and helps Finn and Jake just enjoy the world around them.
What does the blackhole song mean? Could the sound waves be translated into some kind of code? Will the Fox Mulders of the world latch onto the audio clips and try to dissect messages from aliens?
Perhaps the sound is the hum of an ancient mothership that’s fighting to escape the clutches of the blackhole. Or maybe it’s a warning siren, and blackholes are like the beacons of Gondor, but from space.
New discoveries like this help drive the SFF collective braintrust, and I’m curious to hear what you all think the blackhole sounds might be.
Other Neat NASA Happenings
The blackhole sounds videos were just the most recent things NASA released, but they’ve been on a roll for the past few weeks. The James Webb Space Telescope has been snapping some awesome pictures since it replaced Hubble in December of 2021.
One of the most recent pictures was a stunning snapshot of Jupiter. The image was captured with the Webb telescope and infrared filters were applied to bring out the bright details of the planet’s atmosphere. The filters helped to pinpoint auroras and other hazes that are a part of Jupiter’s make-up.
This picture of Jupiter is mesmerizing because for so long, we’ve seen cloudy or indistinct images, but this one is so clear and crisp. It reminds me of the acrylic pouring videos or a glass marble. It’s beautiful.
Out of all of the Webb telescope images, this one is my favorite, aside from the Cosmic Cliffs image that was released in July.
If you’re a fan of space exploration and vintage Space Race literature, you should check out the interview we did with Alan Smale. His new book, Hot Moon, is an alternate history about the US and Soviet race to the moon.
From History to Fantasy
Powerful women have dotted the pages of our history books since humans began chiseling symbols into rocks. These ladies have stirred our imaginations and inspired our ire as tragic heroes and vile villains, with stories of their own to tell…Continue reading “From History to Fantasy”
Reading The Dresden Files Book 1 after 22 Years
Two years ago, it was the 20th anniversary of Storm Front, The Dresden Files book 1 by Jim Butcher. There was a special release of the book and all this stuff, and I was mildly interested.
I picked up a mass market paperback of Storm Front while I was traveling and started reading it on the plane. I got about 100 pages in and couldn’t handle it anymore.
Harry Dresden was kind of a snob, and the portrayal of women in the novel seemed to lean totally toward their physical appearances. I seem to recall I’d just come off a long stretch of reading pretty dense high-fantasy (The Grace of Kings, perhaps?) and The Dresden Files was a bit too watered down for me.
But, recently, I was stranded at my new apartment after my car broke down and only had a few books at my disposal. My paperback copy of Storm Front still had the bookmark in it from where I’d stopped before. So, I decided to give it another shot, and here’s what I thought about The Dresden Files book 1, twenty-two years after it was published.
Is Harry Dresden a Chauvinist Pig?
Like I mentioned, one of my biggest complaints with Storm Front was the portrayal of women, or at least, how Harry portrays women. His views usually revolve around their looks or their sultry voice, or something of that nature.
When I started my re-read, I paid close attention to these details because I knew they were what bothered me the first go around. But, what I came to notice was that I had pegged Jim Butcher as the one making the portrayals before, when in reality it’s Harry Dresden. The book feels like it could very easily be in third person narration–about Harry–and it’s because things happen so quickly that you might not necessarily be paying attention to the narration.
I remember distinctly at one point about halfway through the book, I read a part where “I” is used a few times in quick succession. I paused, flipped back through the few chapters I’d read, and thought, “wow, I can’t believe I didn’t realize it was first person.”
So that all leads up to the point that Harry Dresden is the one who is painting the outdated portrayals of women in the story, not Jim Butcher.
What I think really helped me accept Harry as this kind of character was his self-awareness. Near the end of the novel, he makes an observation about Karin Murphy’s soft, dainty hands, which he follows up with a thought about how she’d call him a chauvinist pig. So it’s clear that Harry knows he’s kind of a prick, and that makes the narration more palatable.
In my first read through, I hadn’t gotten far enough to see Harry’s self-awareness, and that’s why I only got 100 pages in.
No Sense of Time
One of the things I like to do when reading an older book is look for tells of the time period it was written in. Now, for Storm Front, that was only twenty years ago, so not much has really changed. Sure, technology is far better today than it was back then, but is it enough to make a difference?
After thinking about the tech of now versus the tech of the 2000, I realized there were no cellphones in Storm Front. Harry almost exclusively uses payphones, or the phone in his office. And I didn’t notice that detail until I was already finished with the book. I thought, “huh, he really likes his pay phones,” and it clicked that, duh, he had to use pay phones.
But there’s something about pay phones that added to the vibe of the story. It’s meant to be a noir-ish paranormal detective story, and pay phones have long been a part of noir or crime fiction.
Plus, one of Harry’s traits as a wizard is that all the technology he’s around starts to go haywire. Radios don’t work, cars stall out, elevators lose power–he’s a walking menace. That little detail was genius on Jim Butcher’s part. Not only does it create a reasonable explanation for Harry’s distrust or disuse of technology, it also helps to extend the life of the series. (Full disclaimer here, I’ve only read Storm Front, so I could be proven wrong by other books in the series).
There’s no need for Harry to get a smartphone or Bluetooth headphones or any of that stuff, because he can’t use it anyways. So whether you read Storm Front on day-one release or 50 years later, you’ll still be able to relate.
It’s Urgent – Always
A final point I want to make about Storm Front is the acute attention to urgency that Butcher has. The most important part of a mystery novel is the increasing sense of urgency. It drives the plot, it motivates the characters, it paves the way for the climax and the conclusion.
Harry’s whole journey in Storm Front happens within the span of three or four days, but it feels like it speeds by much quicker. For most of the novel, Harry’s running from place to place, uncovering clues about the case, and with each clue or realization, the stakes get higher. The mission becomes more impossible, but even more urgent.
All of it leads right up to the massive storm at the end of the novel, which I believe was intentional. The building storm motif was apparent throughout the book, and its a nice touch.
But the urgency in Storm Front really makes that climax hit home hard, and that’s the mark of a good detective novel, be it paranormal or not.
So, after reading The Dresden Files book 1 all the way through, what did I think? I thought it was pretty good all things considered. I had to curb my expectations and just let the story develop, and that was honestly the best thing I could have done. The characters are fun and interesting, the plot was action-packed, and the writing wasn’t watered down like I previously thought, instead it was fast, funny, and softly-detailed.
I’m excited to continue reading The Dresden Files, and I’ll certainly be at it for a while. With the 17th and 18th books slated for release very soon, I have a lot of catching up to do.
The Planets of Our Solar System
The Top Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
We live in a vast and wonderful solar system with planets and moons that orbit our star, the sun. But, how much do you know about each of our planets? Many of us may have learned the order of planets from Mercury to Pluto (now a dwarf planet), but each one has a unique composition and is full of facts that differ strongly from the earth. Let’s take a look at each one. At the end, let us know how much you already knew!
This planet is small with a diameter of 3,032 miles. It is gradually shrinking at a nearly imperceptible rate of 9 miles per 4 billion years. As the planet appears to be gradually cooling, its volume is reducing. Mercury does not have a strong atmosphere and it is susceptible to violent impacts from passing meteors, causing its surface to be riddled with craters. Temperatures on the planet can range from a staggering 800 degrees Fahrenheit down to -269 degrees Fahrenheit. Its lack of a strong atmosphere does not allow it to capture heat from the sun, so its nightly temperature drops drastically. Mercury does not have any moons because of its size and low gravitational pull.
Venus rotates on its axis slower than any of the other planets in the solar system. It takes 243 earth days to rotate one time. It is also full of carbon dioxide within its atmosphere, making it an expert at trapping heat, making it hotter than its neighbor Mercury. Temperatures on Venus are 863.6 degrees Fahrenheit! It spins in the opposite direction of the other planets. Each planet except for Venus spins counterclockwise on its axis. Venus also orbits the sun in the opposite direction of the planets. This is likely due to a collision that occurred an unknown number of millennia ago that essentially flipped the planet upside down. Venus is abnormally bright, being the second brightest planet or moon in the sky, after earth’s moon. This is due to the reflective nature of its sulphuric acid clouds. Because it is easier to see in the sky compared to the other planets, it makes sense that it is the first planet to be tracked across the sky. Many say this began in the second millennium BCE.
We live on its surface all of our lives and may think we know quite a bit about our planet. But, did you know scientists believe at one point in history that the earth may have looked purple instead of blue? This is because it is theorized that microbes relied on retinal instead of chlorophyll for survival. Retinal reflects back violet and red light. There is an estimated 60 tons of cosmic dust that falls into the earth from meteorites, comets, and other celestial bodies. This contributes to the sodium and iron in our atmosphere. There is a theory that Earth once had two moons that collided and left us with the current moon we see in the sky. Other planets aren’t the only places where temperatures can be extreme. On the East Antarctic Plateau, it can drop to -133.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Earth is not perfectly round. It is a bit more narrow at the poles and bulged at the equator. The largest living organism on earth is a fungus. You can find the honey fungus spanning almost two and a half miles in the state of Oregon.
A year on Mars is 687 Earth days because its orbit is further from the sun. It has two moons that are likely asteroids that were captured by Mars’ gravitational pull. They are named Deimos and Phobos. Mars’ axis tilts similarly to Earth’s axis tilt, giving it seasons. Its atmosphere is not dense and cannot trap heat from the sun. It averages -212 degrees Fahrenheit during its cold season and a pleasant 68 degrees Fahrenheit during its warmest season. Mars has its own volcano, Olympus Mons, which is dormant but is the largest volcano and the highest peak of any other in the solar system. It is approximately three times taller than Mount Everest. Mars has another distinguishing feature on its surface. It has a crater that covers 40% of it. It also has the largest canyon of any of the planets in the solar system that is 4 miles deep and extends for thousands of miles.
This planet has more moons than any other in the solar system. It is the largest planet in the solar system and is also the one that spins the fastest. It takes approximately 10 hours for Jupiter to complete a full spin on its axis. The planet has a strong magnetic field (about 14x stronger than Earth’s) and a vast amount of radiation around it. Jupiter has rings that can be divided into three layers. Winds near Jupiter’s center are estimated to be 400 miles an hour. Jupiter is sometimes credited with shielding Earth from passing objects by pulling them into itself with its strong magnetic field. Its mass is 318 times greater than Earth.
It is sometimes called “The Jewel of the Solar System” with its visible rings and large size, second only to Jupiter. The planet is made up of gases, mostly, and its rings are made up of rocks, ice, and dust. Wind speeds at Saturn’s equator can reach 1,118 miles per hour. A year on Saturn is about the same as 29 years on Earth but a day on Saturn is 10 hours and 14 minutes. At its widest, Saturn could fit Earth across itself 9 times. Saturn is the least dense planet in the solar system. It is said that when Galileo looked up to Saturn with an early version of the telescope in 1610, he thought its rings were two moons stuck to the sides of the planet.
This is the third largest planet and is made of gas and ice. As such, it is the coldest planet in the solar system with temperatures reaching -360 degrees Fahrenheit. Uranus is spinning on its side, like a bowling ball rolling toward the pins. Because of its unusual orientation to the sun, a summer on Uranus lasts 42 Earth years, as does a winter season, putting a year on Uranus to be the equivalent of 84 Earth years. Uranus has 13 rings, all made of dark particles that are extremely small. Winds on the planet can reach 560 miles per hour. The human eye can see Uranus in the night sky on Earth because the planet just meets the brightness scale needed for the human eye to see it.
It is made of water, methane, and ammonia around a core of rock. It has 5 primary rings and 4 arcs of rings that are clusters of dust and space debris. It has 14 moons. Because of Pluto’s strongly elliptical orbit, Neptune is occasionally the furthest planet from the Sun. Of the other gaseous planets in the solar system (Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter), Neptune is the smallest. It is said to have a similar gravitational pull as that on Earth at only 17% stronger, the closest gravitational pull to Earth of any other planet in the solar system. Its winds reach 1,304 miles per hours.
This dwarf planet (as of 2006) has been beloved by generations as part of the planets of the solar system. Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was named at the suggestion of a girl who was 11 years old. Pluto has a diameter of 1,473 miles, making it smaller than Earth’s moon which has a diameter of 2,160 miles. Pluto is part of the Kuiper Belt that orbits the Sun just outside of Neptune’s orbit. Pluto has five moons. It is one-third water and two-thirds rock. It has mountain ranges and craters on its surface.
The Future of Space Exploration
As we dive deeper into space through advancements like the James Webb telescope, we will continue to uncover details of other planets that will enhance our understanding of our solar system’s place in the vast expanses of space.
Top 5 Sci Fi Books With Creepy Crawlies
It’s very easy to combine science fiction with horror. Whether you’re working with sentient artificial intelligence that’s hell-bent on control, or if you’ve got some weird, terrifying landscape that messes with the character’s minds, there’s always some kind of sci-fi fright to be had.
But, perhaps one of the most terrifying things that authors can do with science fiction is include bugs. Spiders, wasps, slugs–you name it! Creepy crawlies scare the bejeezus out of millions of people, so it’s always been a perfect topic for sci-fi horror stories.
We’ve collected some of the zanier sci fi books with insects in them, so it’s up to you if you want to pick them up to read before bed, or put them on the DON’T EVER READ list.
The Bees by Laline Paull
This is one of the more interesting, conceptual books on this list. Laline Paull crafts a sci-fi microcosm of a bee hive, where the main character is a worker bee. That’s right, Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a drone responsible for cleaning up the walkways of the hive.
But, as her role starts to change, Flora 717 finds herself getting closer and closer to the Queen, and closer to uncovering dangerous hive secrets.
Paull’s book reads kind of like a story from Aliya Whiteley, but the unique take on the phrase “hive mind” makes this a fresh, interesting book. Not the conventional creepy crawlies you might have been expecting, but still worthy of a spot on this list.
Petal Storm by Paul Kidd
It’s quite possible that Laline Paull’s The Bees was a tip of the hat to Paul Kidd’s Petal Storm. While the hive metaphor isn’t as fleshed out, there’s still a distinct similarity in Petal Storm.
In this novel, the ancient civilization of The Hive is stumbling. They’re a warrior-class of bee-like humanoids, but their aging Queen will soon pass. Most of the novel revolves around this conflict, with court intrigue, skyborne battles, and assassinations. It’s a very inventive story, but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
We can’t have a list of books with creepy crawlies without including this classic. This book was one of the first jaunts into the insect-humanoid genre (is that a genre?). It’s been a staple of English literature classes across the world for years, and it’s profoundly an early work of science fiction.
If you haven’t read The Metamorphosis, you should! It’s a fast read, with an engaging plot. The main character, Gregor Samsa, awakens one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect, unable to communicate with his family. All sorts of madness ensues, and it’s a lesson in compassion if I’ve ever seen one.
Texas Chainsaw Mantis by Kevin Strange
This one had to be on the list simply because it’s so weird. Kevin Strange is known for writing, well, strange fiction.
Texas Chainsaw Mantis is a parody of the popular horror film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But, instead of people, the characters are all praying mantises. And if you know anything about the praying mantis, it’s that the females rip off the males’ heads after they are done mating with them.
The main character of this story is a mantis named Matthew, whose wife almost bites his head off and leaves him for dead. But Matthew brings himself out of the garden shed with his trusty chainsaw, intent on destruction.
It’s a bizarre premise, but a fun, quick read.
Slugs by Shaun Hutson
If you’ve ever seen the 1990 movie Arachnaphobia, then Slugs will be familiar. Published in 1982, Slugs follows a classic horror plot, with dozens of characters in a small town having different harrowing experiences with carnivorous slugs.
It takes the main character, Mike Brady, a good long time to figure out that these dangerous slugs are not only eating people, but poisoning them too. Slugs is a classic 80s horror novel, and definitely a throwback.
Interview with Author Mica Scotti Kole
An award-winning author, and a regular to the pages of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, writer and editor Mica Scotti Kole gave us the chance to peal back the pages and get a glimpse inside the life of a dreamer, artist, and someone who has followed her dreams straight into a reality …Continue reading “Interview with Author Mica Scotti Kole”
Earth’s Next Mass Extinction Might Be 400 Years Away
With all the stuff in the news about solar flares, rising sea levels, and asteroids zipping by Earth, a lot of people are probably getting pretty nervous about the end of times.
And there are certainly a lot of ways it could go down. A powerful geomagnetic storm could render our communications and electronics useless, leading to mass hysteria. Or, an asteroid could put us right next to the dinosaurs.
But the future doesn’t have to be all fire and brimstone. New studies have shown that the timeline for Earth’s next mass extinction is quite a long ways away, and contradicts some of the other climate crisis predictions.
This isn’t to say that we can slack off right now and continue on our path–we certainly can not–but it gives a bit more time to course correct.
Rising Temperatures Write Our Future
Climate scientists in Japan have come up with new data that suggests that Earth’s next mass extinction might not take place for another few centuries.
Kunio Kaiho, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Tohoku University, has been studying the events that led to the previous mass extinction events in Earth’s history in hopes of better understanding what the future holds.
His findings have suggested that for intense climate change events, temperatures had to drop by 7 degrees Celsius or rise by at least 9 degrees Celsius to spark an extinction-level event.
For context, the previously accepted average temperature rise to trigger a mass extinction was 5.2 degrees Celsius. Kaiho’s estimates certainly give us a much broader timeline than we previously thought.
But even though we might have a breath of fresh air for a few more years, that doesn’t mean we’re not quickly approaching the next big, worldwide natural disaster. Let’s take a look at the past extinction events so we can see what’s potentially in store:
Sixth One Is The Charm
In all of Earth’s history (or what we are able to assume about Earth’s history), there have been five major extinction events.
According to the American Museum of Natural History, the five mass extinctions can be identified as follows:
- Ordovician-silurian extinction – 440 million years ago
- Denovian extinction – 365 million years ago
- Permian-triassic extinction – 250 million years ago
- Triassic-jurassic extinction – 210 million years ago
- Cretaceous-tertiary extinction – 65 million years ago
The last extinction, which occurred more than 65 million years ago, is thought to have eradicated 50% of all plant and animal species that were alive at the time. And in total, all extinction events have destroyed upwards of 99% of all life, from plants and animals, to insects and single cell organisms.
Most of these extinctions were the result of a few things. Drastic changes in temperature caused sudden ice ages or sweltering heat waves. Other phenomena also played a part in a few mass extinctions, stuff like meteorite strikes or super-volcano eruptions.
Kaiho and his colleagues believe that the upcoming sixth extinction will be quite hot, with subsequent sea level changes due to melting ice caps. But, their estimation puts the 6th event sometime in 2500, which is far enough away that we’ll never live to see it.
Timelines Can Change
But, just because our children and grandchildren might not live to see the world end, doesn’t mean there won’t be a build up to the main event.
Loss of biodiversity is the first big indicator of upcoming extinctions. Data gathered from thousands of different sources suggests that there are more than 40,000 different species threatened with extinction right now, and another 900 that we’ve already lost since the 1500s.
Things that we grew up knowing and caring for, like Monarch butterflies, might be a thing of the past by the time our grandchildren are old enough to care.
Kaiho’s prediction of 2500 gives us less than 500 years to right our path, and far less than that if we stay on our current trajectory. In his study, he claimed that the Earth’s temperature is already set to increase more than 4 degrees Celsius by the end of 2100.
And isn’t that what climate scientists have been saying for years? That our Earth is at a saturation point with pollution, greenhouse gasses, and other human-made problems.
So even if Kaiho is right, and we have much more time than we thought we did, we can’t slack off now. The next few years are critical for the future. Humanity might survive until 2500, but what will those 470-some years look like? Hot, dry, and filled with plague?
We see so many science fiction stories that portray stark white, technologically god-like societies, or the opposite side, with bleak, dystopian politics and barren wastelands.
What we really need is a goal, concrete and attainable. Personally, I think Solarpunk presents that goal for now–and while it might not be the end-all-be-all, it’s certainly a start.
Science Fiction: The Evolution of a Genre
Science fiction as a genre has evolved and expanded over the decades, inviting innovative ideas from forward-thinking minds. Avid fans of the genre and its subgenres (some say there are over 30 subgenres!) probably can’t recall a time before there was an entire section in bookstores or online shopping platforms dedicated to science fiction. The genre is not the oldest (poetry claims that distinction) and its evolution is a stunning example of what human ingenuity can accomplish through a combination of imagination and a foundation of science.
Earliest Records of Science Fiction
Unsurprisingly, fiction aficionados do not quite agree on when Sci-Fi as a genre began. Many posit that it was during the 2nd century when Lucian of Samosata penned A True Story, the book that astounded readers with its descriptions of aliens, travel beyond earth, and war among the planets. Several genres in addition to science fiction have attempted to lay claim to this work and its accolades as belonging within their genre. This book, and many others up through the 13th century, do seem to contain themes and elements of Sci-Fi but do they have enough to qualify them fully? The debate continues…
Let’s look at the opinion of astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan. His belief was Somnium by Johannes Kepler is the first true Sci-Fi book. He may be right. After all, within those ancient pages the author describes what it could be like to view Earth from a vantage point on the Moon long before Neil Armstrong set foot upon its regolith-covered surface. Other early contenders include a personal favorite, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as well as Jules Verne’s epic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. With a genre whose stories are so rich with possibility and so embracing of the unknown it stands to reason that each of these and many more have directly impacted, shaped, and built the incredible genre that we know and love today.
How Sci-Fi Has Changed
The 1900s saw a huge push toward defining the genre and introducing stellar, new concepts to readers of literature. When Hugo Gernsback published the first American Sci-Fi magazine in 1926 called Amazing Stories, he unwittingly started a further boom for the genre as he put incredible works of fiction and art in the hands of thousands of people each month. One author in particular, E. E. Doc Smith with Lee Hawkins, is credited for writing the first notable space opera, The Skylark of Space, which was put in the magazine. A comic strip celebrating Sci-Fi was also born from the magazine as Philip Francis Nowlan introduced the nation to Buck Rogers with Armageddon 2419. Just over a decade later in 1937 a new editor took over a competing science fiction magazine called Astounding Science Fiction and ushered in what fans call the “Golden Age of Science Fiction.” Editor John Campbell focused on content that centered on real, scientific progress and advancements in technology. As a result, the genre blossomed as readers were both in awe of the advancements of the day as well as excited by the fictional elements of each story.
In the 1940s a Hugo Award was given to author Isaac Asimov for his book series entitled Foundation. The story presented the idea of galactic empires, a novel concept in the day. Throughout the 1950s Americans stayed riveted to new ideas including interstellar communities, human evolution of the future, military science fiction, and much more. The 1960s and 1970s saw further advancements in technology, prompting authors to write about themes that stretched the limits of our understanding at that time. Things like human psychology, physical and mental abilities of the human body and mind, and questions about concepts such as gender, feminism, and social constructs played into stories heavily during this time.
The onset of film opened an entirely new way for humans to see and interpret the world around them. One of the earliest known recordings that could be labeled as science fiction is the iconic silent film A Trip to the Moon directed by Georges Méliès in 1902. It was shot with a meager budget of 10,000 francs and was only 9 minutes long. A recent film entitled Hugo tells the true-to-life tale of the director and offers a glimpse into his creative mind. By 1927 a full-length science fiction film called Metropolis failed at the box office but has succeeded in the eyes of modern filmmakers for its innovative science fiction concepts. Fast forward to 1968 when 2001: A Space Odyssey and the original Planet of the Apes both came out and it’s easy to see how Sci-Fi enjoyed a burst of popularity as it garnered new fans while enchanting fans of old. The door was wide open for another quality, successful film when in 1977 George Lucas released what we know today as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. This, of course, sparked a global obsession with the series and expanded the reach of science fiction.
Science Fiction Today
From its humble beginnings, the genre has risen to include some of the bigger blockbuster hits in Hollywood and some of the more heavily read books in the nation. As writers and authors continue to push the limits and expand human awareness of what could exist beyond what we can see and experience today, readers are spoiled with a plethora of media options that range from classic to modern and encompass a variety of subgenres. Let us not forget, however, that once upon a time, not too long ago, a few brave writers put pen to paper and dreamed up worlds that no one had dared to capture in ink.