Vintage articles and footage from the science fiction archives.
Rewatching... Star Trek: The Devil In The Dark
"I'm a doctor not a bricklayer" Thursday 9 March 1967 As far as boldly going and seeking out of new life and civilisations goes, mankind seems to have been doing a pretty good job of it already, judging by the number of Earth colonies we see in Star Trek. This week the Enterprise crew have been beaten to a 'new life' discovery by a colony of miners who've discovered something lurking in the caves they're working in.
Rewatching... Star Trek: Space Seed
Thursday 16 February 1967 The Enterprise encounters an old 1990s spaceship drifting and sending out a Morse code message. Apparently, in the mid 1990s we had our last World War, a “Eugenics War” where we tried to perfect our race with “selective breeding”. As Spock says, “a strange and violent period” in our history. Thank goodness those days are over, eh?
Re-watching... Doctor Who: The Moonbase – Part 1
Saturday 11 February 1967 The fish-based shenanigans in the Atlantis-set The Underwater Menacewere fun but not really my idea of Doctor Who. Now this is more like it. After the cliffhanger last week the out-of-control TARDIS is buffeted around before hovering above a familiar rocky, crater filled surface before landing. Polly’s all set to congratulate the Doctor for an accurate landing on Mars, except it’s not Mars. They’ve landed on the moon. The moon is a bit of a hot topic here in 1967. NASA has been sending out probes recently, searching for a suitable landing site for the first manned expedition. And just two weeks ago a launch rehearsal ended in tragedy when a cabin fire killed the three crew members of Apollo 1. Tonight though, the moon is positively bustling with activity, with no less than (spoiler alert) three parties at the same landing spot.
Re-watching... Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace – Part 4
Saturday 4 February 1967 “…my ultimate moment of triumph.” So, it's the last episode of this unusual story. It’s a race against time before the whole of the Earth blows up. The Doctor and Ben are separated from Jamie and Polly. The Doctor’s plan is to flood Atlantis but first they have to get past the guard and into the generating station. The Doctor’s confident they’ll get past the guard, Ben less so (“What, in those trousers?”).
28/1/1967: Re-watching... The Underwater Menace – Part 3
My ongoing mission: to watch classic television fifty years after first broadcast... One thing that really strikes me watching this story is the incidental music. Noticing that it sounds exactly like the music used during the Pertwee era (I know, a few years from now!) I hadn’t realised how early Dudley Simpson adopted this purely electronic style. There hasn’t been anything like it before this. I’m not saying it’s good, but it’s undoubtedly striking and unusual.
Vintage Technology Daydreams: Byte Magazine's Extraordinary Cover Illustrations
In the late-1970s, a computer’s place was almost exclusively in the corporate office. With the exception of a few hardcore hobbyists, most middle class North American consumers were intimidated by their cold logic and strange language.
21/1/1967: Re-watching... The Underwater Menace – Part 2
My ongoing mission: to watch classic television fifty years after first broadcast... Back here in 1967 televisions weren’t as reliable as they would become, so despite my repeated thumping on the box I’ve been unable to get a picture since last October. And would you believe it, that coincides with all the episodes of Doctor Who which are missing from the archives in 2017! Cah, typical! So it might not come as a great surprise to you that this week my TV screen has suddenly flickered into life. And look: it’s Patrick Troughton as the new Dr Who! And now I can see Jamie too! Seeing this episode after so many audio only episodes has made me realise how much I must have missed out on, as watching Troughton is a very different experience to hearing a few lines from him. There have not really been any lengthy chunks of dialogue or great speeches from the new Doctor so it’s not easy to get a solid impression of the man. But I’m pleased to say he’s a joy to watch. I should also mention that this is genuinely the first time I’ve seen this episode.
Artifacts A common trait that many Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy aficionados seem to share is the love of things. Figurines, statues, props, and day to day objects adorn with our obsessions. They clutter our shelves, walls, table tops, and really any surface that can hang, hold, or display these things. This is not an uncommon behavior for fans of any genre or domain. Sports fans have their stashes of trinkets and garb displaying their colors and love of the game. However, the proverbial geeks of Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy seem to take this to an extraordinary measure.
A big part of collecting science fiction novels is the thrill of the hunt. The fact that the books aren't always easy to find adds a game element to discovering and buying them. It can be quite satisfying, randomly stumbling upon a longed for publication, on sale for next to nothing. I still can't get over how books are practically given away these days. When I look at my bookshelves, sometimes I have to do a double take, because it's not just pages on those shelves, but authors' blood.
Classic Sci-Fi Robots
Automation and computation had dawned on the human mind even before computers were ever built. Classic sci-fi robots were the first inspiration for early computer engineers and programmers that inspired the technology we have today. These early classic robots were the first embodiments of the human imagination of a robotic being and companion. The technology we have today exists because of these robots. Even though these classic sci-fi robots aren't the same as what has come to exist in real life, the ideas for modern-day AI are rooted within them.
Still Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
Irrespective of Hollywood's perspective on the implications of alien contact, the dialogues that would inevitably follow an actual encounter are enormous, almost too staggering to conceive. Imagine the questions we could ask a visiting extraterrestrial: Do you have a cure for cancer? Is there life after death? Are the physical laws in your part of the universe the same as in ours? Is there a way to overcome the burden of gravity, prolong youth, exceed the speed of light...? Think of the things we could learn, among them, as Carl Sagan put it, how "possibly to avoid the dangers of the period of technological adolescence we are now passing through."
'Mad Max' Tracks on 'Fury Road'
The video editing team at OMNI was curious to see just how similar the 1979 Mad Max trailer was to the Mad Max: Fury Road trailer. Taking the trailer of George Miller's famous Mad Max, the team overlaid the audio track from his updated masterpiece, Fury Road. They then repeated in reverse. Once again, what happened was surprising. The two trailers seem like their audio can be swapped without any issues, confirming one of the purest re-imaginings by an iconic director.