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Reader Challenge #5B – The Coolest Science Fiction Setting (TV/Film)

This is part B of this challenge, see the first part here. This time, please list your three favorite Science Fiction settings as seen on TV or on film. Rules are similar to the first part, but please limit yourself to those settings that were first seen in a visual medium. For instance, Star Wars is in, Dune the movie, not so much, in fact, no. And no fantasy. You have been warned.

At the end of this week, I’ll tally up the votes then we will have a poll (as soon as the poll is fixed) to see what is the SF Signal Reader’s Choice for coolest TV/Film setting. Then we’ll have a poll for coolest written setting, then the final smackdown between the two winners to decide what is the coolest SF setting overall. I can’t promise we’ll be speedy here, but I will promise it will happen, even if I have to kill John to do so…

My list:

  • Star Wars – yeah, I like SW. At least I don’t receive credit card offers addressed to ‘Star Wars Enthusiast’…
  • Babylon 5 – I’d love to work for IPX, as long as I don’t have to explore long dead Shadow worlds.
  • Star Trek – just about any of the eras, but later is probably better. Sign me up for the exploration part.

Ok, so they’re conventional picks, I agree. But I still like them. Now show me all the cool settings I missed (or forgot)!

About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

24 Comments on Reader Challenge #5B – The Coolest Science Fiction Setting (TV/Film)

  1. 1. The Fifth Element

    2. Firefly

    3. Star Wars

  2. Well now that JP took the “easy” way out, I will have to find some other ones:

    • The new Battlestar Galactica universe, assuming you are a cylon and can stand next to the cylon Boomer and the cylon Six – which is possible since there are bunch of them. mmmm Boomer
    • The Futurama universe since I think meeting Bender would be rather interesting, and not having Uranus to laugh at would be great.
  3. Hmmm….

    The Buck Rogers universe from the 1980s looked like a lot of fun.

  4. mmmm Erin Gray… Ah I remember those days… 😀

  5. How about:

    * Barbarella – just for fun

    * Forbidden Planet – love that space ship….

    * the Alien series…

  6. 1) Star Wars

    2) Firefly

    3) Robotech

  7. 1)The City from Logans Run (the movie, not the TV series)

    2)Olympus from Appleseed

    3)Tokyo from Ghost in the Shell

  8. Pretty much tied…

    1. Babylon 5

    2. Stargate

    3. Star Cops

    (Now…let’s see who recognizes #3!)

  9. 1. Star Trek – Next Generation for setting reasons only

    2. Star Wars – the original trilogy

    3. Exo-Squad – cartoons count, right?

  10. 1. Star Wars

    2. Star Trek

    3. The Fifth Element

  11. Just a few thoughts here.

    Cartoons (anime) do indeed count. We have Appleseed and Exo-Squad. I’m surprised there aren’t more.

    You can list those settings that someone else has already listed. Please do as the number of nominations will decide which ones make it to the poll, but please, no sockpuppetry. We can see the IP of commenters so no funny stuff!

  12. 1. The universe from Becoming Alien by Rebecca Ore

    2. Star Trek

    3. John Ringo’s “Into the Looking Glass”, simply for the possibilities.

  13. Firefly

    Battlestar Galactica


    Sorry, but for me Star Trek and Star Wars just aren’t cool anymore. They’ve jumped the shark!

  14. FANTASTIC VOYAGE — the setting is the interior of a human body.

    THE MATRIX — the setting is inside a computer-controlled mass hallucination.

    EURIKA — the setting is a small town peopled entirely by mad scientists and their families. This is a wonderful setting, and I am green with envy that I did not invent it myself.

  15. 1) Cowboy Bebop

    2) Tron

    3) Star Wars

  16. 1) Futurama – there is a planet for everything.

    2) The Fifth Element

    3) Weird Science

    Aren’t Star Wars/Trek far too conventional settings. I realize they are the gorillas in the room but please don’t make us vote for them in the upcoming poll.

    Star Trek – too military-industrial complex (Starfleet complex?)

    Star Wars – too darkside-lightside complex

  17. Star Wars


    Star Trek

  18. TOTAL GEEK ALERT. Don’t tell anyone, but I play role-playing games. I have noticed that in any game where the players can pick their surroundings, such as in an AMBER game, they gravitate toward STAR TREK. In a role-playing game, the players encounter the day-to-day advantages and miseries of the settings. You think about it differently if you are picking a place to settle down with your family.

    Why STAR TREK? Because it is user-friendly, and just plain friendlier than other SFF places. Let’s review:

    Middle-Earth of LORD OF THE RINGS. No flush toilets. If you are not a scion of Numenor or an Istari from beyond the sea, who are you, like a gardener, maybe? And how is a stranger going to fit in? If you, a Big Person, goes into the Green Dragon for an ale, the hobbits will stare and make comments behind your back.

    Mongo from FLASH GORDON. Not friendly to strangers. If you are a girl, you end up in the Imperial harem; a scientist, in the Imperial labs, and maybe getting brain-controlled unless you like the Beatles or something; if you’re a guy, you’re in the Imperial Arena fighting a space-dinosaur. There are winged space-Vikings and tree-swinging space-Merry Men, who seem picturesque, but all these guys are soldiers at war. On the positive side, the emperor’s evil but beautiful daughter might fall madly in love with you.

    Dune from DUNE. On the positive side, the Spice extends life and expands consciousness. On the negative side, if you are not a member of the aristocratic houses, the Spacing Guild, or a Bene Gesserit, being addicted to Spice means you will be longer-lived as a serf with an expanded consciousness, so you will notice how your life sucks more.

    Tellus from GALACTIC PATROL. Oh my, no. Merely stepping on any planet involved in the Civilization-Boskone war is a risk. Those bad boys throw planets and negaspheres and extra-dimensional suns around like marbles. Since all their space-opera weapons are inconceivably powerful, and unthinkably long-range, your chance of surviving is low, even supposing your solar system is not one of those swept into a hyperspatial tube.

    Any planet in the same sidereal universe or nearby fourth-dimensional spaces from SKYLARK OF SPACE. I am not going into no universe with Blackie DuQuense, nossir, no thank you, no way. He would teleport my sun through the fourth dimension with sixth-order rays in order to wipe out a galaxy full of chlorine breathers, and then where would I be?

    Earth from Larry Niven’s KNOWN SPACE. Crowded. Weapons illegal, as is knowing martial arts. They license having babies.

    STAR WARS. War, and more war. Also, planets get blown up a la GALACTIC PATROL. If you are not a Jedi, fugeddaboutit.

    Terminus or Trantor of FOUNDATION. If you like living under Imperial bureaucracy, living in a galactic Dark Ages, or living under the rule of psionic cliocrats (what DO you call rule by means of Psycho-history, anyway?), at least it might be peaceful. If you want your freedom, though, maybe not so nice.

    Any world invented by Jack Vance. If you are not eaten by a Dirdir, you will probably end up getting cluthe-poisoned by Howard Alan Treesong the Demon Prince who explains in elegant language that you have caused his nerves an exquisite thrill of displeasure, and therefore the Rule of Equipoise requires your excruciation. And you will never get the girl. No one in a Jack Vance book ever gets the girl. On the other hand, if you want to lean on the taffrail of your ketch and regard the magnificent melancholy sunset of Sirius from the Draschade Ocean, with the rose, cerise and gamboge light playing across the waters, while sipping a Rum Toddy, any world of his would be just the place to do it.

    Any world invented by Robert Heinlein. You’ll get a lot of liberated, good-looking women willing to hop in the sack, but most of his planets, come to think of it, are not that nice. RAH was worried about the future, and his worlds are worrisome: STARSHIP TROOPERS, war. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, police-state. TUNNEL IN THE SKY, overpopulation. CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY, slavery. MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, war, overpopulation, police-state and penal servitude.

    The Mars of Ray Bradbury. No thanks. Killed by Martians who shoot you with a bee-gun because your brain waves make him look like Jesus Christ or something.

    Anarres of Ursula K. LeGuin. At last! A utopia! Unfortunately, it is not a nice place to visit. You can neither buy mementoes nor own them, or even rent a hotel room. And it is not a nice place to raise kids, since you are not allowed to raise children; they are all raised by the non-state in communes. There names are assigned by computer.

    Compare that to STAR TREK. First, for you guys, there is Lt. Uhura in a miniskirt. Second, for you gals, Kirk with his shirt ripped off. His shirt is ripped from his manly frame as often as that of Doc Savage, I swear. Third, the universe is so kid-friendly that they let you raise your children aboard a warship, and, if your kid is a supergenius, they let him place with the matter-antimatter warp drive. Fourth, food from any replicator. Fifth, no traffic jams, because you can beam anywhere. Sixth, no racism, no pollution, no starvation, no poverty, and except for occasionally being possessed by the energy-ghost of Jack the Ripper, no crime. While there might be a war in your lifetime, chances are fifty-fifty that the Organians will simply put a stop to it.

  19. 1) Babylon 5

    2) Futurama

    3) Invader Zim

  20. So, I’m putting JCW down as Star Trek?

  21. Hmmmm, I think that you ought to get JCW to do that comment as a regular post.


  22. 1. Firefly

    2. Star Trek TNG

    3. Babylon 5

    Cause there’s no war in any of them.

  23. 1. Babylon 5 (if I could live on Minbar, preferably as DeLenn and get to be Mrs. Hottie Sheridan)

    2. Star Trek-TNG (Picard and all that great medical advancement Win/Win)

    3. TIE:

    Crusade (If I could be a techno-mage)

    The Jetsons (What? A cool up in the sky house with stylish sixties sensibility, a funky dog, and a car that flies. Works for me.)


  24. 1) Event Horizon – horror on a spaceship

    2) Battlestar Galactica – old and new

    3) TIE: 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Galaxy Rangers: No Guts, No Glory! Gotta love that frontier

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