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Ridley Scott’s ‘Prophets Of Science Fiction’ to Debut on Science Channel in November


Okay, Mr. Scott. I’ll consider this your apology

[via Science Fiction]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

4 Comments on Ridley Scott’s ‘Prophets Of Science Fiction’ to Debut on Science Channel in November

  1. Matte Lozenge // October 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm //

    The video showed four “billboards” that presumably name the highights of science fiction forecasting.

    1. Philip K Dick, Virtual Reality
    2. Isaac Asimov, Robotics
    3. H.G. Wells, Time Travel
    4. George Lucas, Energy Weapons

    The first two I can buy, although Dick was more about reality as a virtual construct. The nuts ‘n bolts idea of computerized virtual reality was popularized by Vernor Vinge and William Gibson.

    H.G. Wells – okay, yeah, The Time Machine is one of Wells’ better known stories. But we don’t have a time machine yet, so that story didn’t forecast anything except an entire subgenre of science fiction. Why even mention that when Well predicted nuclear fission 25 years before it was discovered and and atomic bombs 30 years before they were made?

    As for George Lucas – please. I don’t think Star Wars contained a single original science fictional idea, although it was a wonderful entertainment. And for the prediction of energy weapons, let’s go back to H.G. Wells and the heat ray in War of the Worlds.

    Better homework please, Science Channel. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is online now; knowledge is only a click away.

  2. Energy Weapons: NIKOLA TESLA, in the early 1900 (already thinking in terms of charged particle beams). And I don’t even think he fancied science fiction.

    In the SFnal sphere, however, my guess is that E.E. “Doc” Smith was among the first ones to tackle this in the 1920s. Lucas? Not at all.

  3. Agreed. E.E. Smith with both “Skylark” and “Lensman” series, may not have invented energy weapons, but certainly brought the concept to full fruition – including his own versions of the “Death Star” – long before Lucas was born.

    I like the Star War series (4-5-6 more than 1-2-3), but I don’t kid myself that most of the ideas aren’t found elsewhere. And I don’t kid myself that it is much more than an adventure fantasy series set in space with tech goodies as props than it is hard science fiction. Greatly entertaining, but don’t peel back the covers. I don’t recall anything prior like the lightsaber, though – so maybe Lucas gets credit for that.

    And Heinlein? I’ve seen other print news releases on this series. RAH gets a nod for “duty and patriotism” vs. “freedom and dignity” – as if there’s a contradiction in these concepts. What about all the other contributions to the genre – and thus society – he brought?

    Arthur C. Clarke gets a show, too. The news blurb on this “he invented the cornerstone of telecommunications industry – the satellite.” Hardly. Yes, the geosynchronous telecommunications satellite concept, he did, of course, but others forecast satellites and stations before him. Not too much before, he was a pioneer. His contributions are legion, as well, and all science-based. A discussion on the space elevator concept in the media would be interesting.

    As Han Solo once said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” I’m hoping the show won’t be a complete Hollywood mess with Michio Kaku’s involvement. Science-based science fiction in the media is getting to a pretty low point these days. Sigh.


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