From Plato’s Stepchildren Into Darkness

Science Fiction and Racial Identity

The kiss scene in the ‘Plato’s Stepchildren’, the third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series first broadcast in 1968, is one of the most talked about in television history. Widely cited, albeit incorrectly, as the first interracial kiss on American television, when William Shatner deliberately ruined every other take of the scene to ensure that the footage of the kiss had to be used, he and co-star Nichelle Nichols created a small-screen legend. Of course, the original Trek was well known for the diversity of its cast. Even the choice to include a Russian character at the height of the Cold War was considered daring. (more…)

Douglas Adams vs Wikipedia

The Hitchhikers’ Guide in the Digital Age

Douglas Adams was undoubtedly one of the most popular science fiction writers of the twentieth century. His influence can be seen in everything from Doctor Who to the novels of Adam Roberts and Jasper Fforde. His ‘trilogy’ in five parts, the fantastic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, was initially dramatised on the radio before being published as novels, and later on filmed for television. There was even a video game at one point. (more…)

Review: Embassytown by China Mieville

Humanity has been described as the story-telling animal. Our society is shaped by history but our fictions, in many ways, have just as much power over us. From the stories that we share in literature and film, to the lies we tell ourselves and each other – fictions are essential to the way we view others, as well as ourselves. (more…)

Revolutionary…or just a shot in the dark?

A post-apocalyptic world, re-establishing itself in the aftermath of a global electricity blackout, forms the premise of new sci-fi drama Revolution. An interesting idea; current societal interest in new forms of energy, as a result of the persistent exhaustion of our natural resources, is high, the onset of global warming is also of prevalent concern at the moment, both of which lend themselves well to new dystopian, post-apocalyptic imaginings.

The first episode, however, leaves me wondering if that’s as far as it goes… an interesting idea that’s not too far outside the scope of the audience’s imagination, but no solid foundation. (more…)

One Small Step for Man… an Even Smaller Window for Science-Fiction

Like that iconic televised moment itself, the recent death of Neil Armstrong appears to have struck a chord within the science fiction community… over 40 years since the first moon landing and, to the untrained eye, we seem no closer to any innovations as big and bold as that first small step. But what does that mean for Science Fiction? The parallels between science and sci-fi have always been undeniable, but have the lack of grand, scientific gestures over the last few decades also been reflected in its popularity? (more…)

Science Fiction’s Next Generation: Improbable Heroes Made Possible

Science fiction, by definition, is a genre that deals with imaginary yet plausible ideas. Yet, as the human race advances and we make greater discoveries, it can often be self-prophesising. Ideas that would once be considered science ‘fiction’ are becoming actuality; our everyday lives are impregnated by technology that would have once been thought implausible. (more…)

Comic Science-Fiction and other Sci-fi Sub-genres

Modern Science Fiction has so many sub-genres to grab a hold of, that as a reader, you barely know where to start. But as all travellers do, we must start somewhere, and start we will at Hard Sci-fi, encapsulated by Greg Egan’s Orthogonal: The Clockwork Rocket (2011). Hard Sci-fi is characterised by its acute attention to accurate detail when it comes to quantitative sciences. In Egan’s universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. This is not Sci-fi for the faint hearted. (more…)