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Sergei Bondarchuk directed an 8-hour film adaptation of War and Peace (1966-67), which ended up winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Picture. When he was in Los Angeles as a guest of honor at a party, Hollywood royalty like John Wayne, John Ford, Billy Wilder lined up to meet the Russian filmmaker. But the only person that Bondarchuk was truly excited to meet was Ray Bradbury. Bondarchuk introduced the author to the crowd of bemused A-listers as “your greatest genius, your greatest writer!”
Ray Bradbury spent a lifetime crafting stories about robots, Martians, space travel and nuclear doom and, in the process, turned the formerly disreputable genre of Sci-Fi/Fantasy into something respectable. He influenced legions of writers and filmmakers on both sides of the Atlantic from Stephen King to Neil Gaiman to Francois Truffaut, who adapted his most famous novel, Fahrenheit 451, into a movie.
Tag Archives | Science Fiction
It’s over thirty years since the writer’s death, but fascination for the work of Philip K. Dick continues to grow with more than ten major Hollywood movies based on his novels and short stories, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau. Peake’s new biography shines further light on the man himself, attempting to both sift the details of his complex personal life and penetrate the unique inner life that fuelled his work with something that may have been more than merely imagination.
“What I wanted to do was get into the man’s head,” said Peake. “His psychology is as interesting as his novels, [as is] his life itself.” A Life of Philip K. Dick: The Man Who Remembered the Future is the first biography to emerge following the publication of Dick’s Exegesis, the fabled million word late-night diary that was his attempt to fathom the bizarre visionary experiences of 1974, which he termed “2-3-74″ and described as “an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane.”
Anthony Peake seems an ideal investigator of Dick’s inner landscape with a back catalogue that includes such titles as The Infinite Mindfield: The Quest to Find the Gateway to Higher Consciousness and The Labyrinth of Time: The Illusion of Past, Present and Future, books unafraid to weave neuroscience, quantum physics and esoteric lore in an effort to engender insights into matter and mind.… Read the rest
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Speculative fiction author and podcaster Scott Sigler joins me for a wide-ranging discussion covering mutations, buddy films, aliens, artificial intelligence and much more.
This podcast is also available as a video interview:
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Every month, there seems to be news of some fabulous science fiction concept that is ever closer to becoming science fact. In just the past few months, we’ve seen concepts go public for medical tricorders, augmented reality glasses, smart watches (although how much we actually want them is up for debate) and Jurassic Park-style de-extinction. Now, enter levitation, which could very well be the next science fiction concept to hit it big.
If all goes as planned, it may soon be possible for pharmaceutical researchers to levitate molecules in mid-air and for city planners to build super-fast transportation networks filled with levitating vehicles.
Via Buzzfeed, in a 1977 essay in Vogue, the influential weirdo-futurist author predicted the existence of social media, in this spooky summation of where our lives seem to be headed:
Continuing Disinfo’s love affair with The Public Domain Review, this piece by Aaron Parrett on a 2nd century work of science fiction describing a surreal voyage to the moon:
With his Vera Historia, the 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the first detailed account of a trip to the moon in the Western tradition and, some argue, also one of the earliest science fiction narratives. Aaron Parrett explores how Lucian used this lunar vantage point to take a satirical look back at the philosophers of Earth and their ideas of “truth”.
The Greek-speaking rhetorician and writer Lucian of Samosata, born around 125 CE in what is now known as Syria, has had a somewhat mixed reception through the ages. Scholars agree that his contemporaries and successors viewed him with a great deal of respect. Early Christians were less admiring of Lucian and his pagan and vitriolic pen, though by the time of the renaissance, he had regained favor among learned people.… Read the rest
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After a while, most serialized webcomics start to look the same. Just about every series seems to strike a similar balance of influences from anime and western animation. But not Light Years Away, which draws inspiration from European sci-fi comics by artists like Moebius and Tanino Liberatore.
LYA is set in a world where many — perhaps most — people have cybernetic implants. But there’s a growing, violent anti-implant movement called the Puritans. The first story arc, Escape from Prison Planet, tells the story of Milo, a repeat offender doing time on an off-planet penal colony, where he ends up in the middle of a prison gang war between the Puritans and the implantees. Soon, however, he finds out there’s something bigger going on.
I talked with writer Ethan Ede and artist Adam Rosenlund — the Boise, Idaho based duo behind the series — about webcomics, the future of the series and other projects they have in the hopper.
Is environmental change poised to thrust us into new worlds? NPR writes:
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Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow is the latest in what seems to be an emerging literary genre. Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth’s systems are noticeably off-kilter. The genre has come to be called climate fiction — “cli-fi,” for short.
“I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality,” says Rich, “which is that we’re headed toward something terrifying and large and transformative. And it’s the novelist’s job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?” As far as Rich is concerned, climate change itself is a foregone conclusion. The story — the suspense, the romance — is in how we deal with it.
Of course, science fiction with an environmental bent has been around since the 1960s (think J.G.