Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, is something of a success story for self-published authors everywhere. Released by the author as an e-book in 2011, the book was picked up for broader distribution last year by Crown Publishing group, and is now well on its way to the big screen. The book itself is a labor of love for Weir, a well-researched and highly-realistic work of speculative fiction. It endeavors to answer a fairly straightforward question, how could a person survive on Mars if they were stranded there? This question requires knowledge of space travel, orbital physics, botany, and NASA bureaucracy to answer effectively, and Weir quickly establishes his expertise on all of the above. The resulting book is impressive for the amount of preparation it must have required before pen could be put to paper, and manages an engaging story to boot.
Science fiction films in the 1990s featured some of the most iconic women to appear on the big screen. Too often when people think "women in sci-fi" we think of what used to be called “scream queens,” that is, the actresses who appeared in scores of latter day B pictures running from extraterrestrials on earth or grappling with tentacled creatures on spaceships or what have you.
Animation is a fantastic medium to portray what are otherwise unrealistic action sequences and over the top effects. Science fiction anime is only limited by an artist's imagination. World War II Japan has become the poster child for turning science fiction into science reality. Logically, Japan has become the most important producer of top quality sci-fi anime. Often, sci-fi anime serves as a backdrop for opening a discussion on difficult topics, such as the nature of consciousness, "war," or "artificial intelligence." Beautifully crafted worlds explore daunting philosophical issues. Each selection on the list is a prime example of the best sci-fi anime TV shows and is sure to stir deliberation among fan pundits.
Marco Polo is a political drama soaked in blood and sex, but does Netflix's historic epic capture the historical truths of the famed explorer? The answer is vague. Marco Polo did travel to Mongolia, but whether he engaged in politics and combat is ambiguous. Polo wrote his works omitting any personal interactions, choosing to record accounts of the varying cultures and locations. However, lack of information did not stop the streaming service from delivering a show to rival shows on HBO and Starz, with engaging scenery and stunningly choreographed martial arts. Whether or not Marco Polo dabbled in political shenanigans is left to the imagination. Regardless, Bob Weinstein and Netflix have created an engaging series. For the sake of human curiosity, as most adventures begin, it is worth exploring the historical figure of Marco Polo.
James Randi is a skeptic, well known for challenges to paranormal claims, false invention, religious claims and the pseudosciences. Randi started as a magician stage named "The Amazing Randi", he retired to devote his time to investigating the occult, and other supernatural claims. Randi became famous in 1972 when he openly questioned the claims of Uri Geller. He said Geller used plain magic tricks to accomplish his allegedly supernatural feats. Randi wrote about his claims in The Truth About Uri Geller one of a number of great books on debunking charlatans.
Sci-fi anime films take you into a world unlike any other. The extreme graphic nature of many films on the list is what makes some of them the best sci-fi anime films. Blood flows freely and bodies snap seamlessly in half in the world of anime leading, in many cases, to some of the goriest anime deaths. Animation is a great format for creating expansive worlds and complex narratives that collide in a crescendo of action. From robotics to cyborgs and gangsters to crime fighters, sci-fi anime films are a unique genre with some of the most talented creatives working today. The list of films include extreme imagery for the film fanatics and cerebral warnings for futurists and the scientifically curious.