Trashonauts, a sci-fi vignette with a familiar soundtrack

Friday, 13 May, 2016

The Blue Danube, a waltz composed by Johann Strauss II, is synonymous with a certain favourite science fiction film of mine, but here it is as the soundtrack for another, not yet so well known, sci-fi vignette.

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Planet Nine, a captured exoplanet? How B-grade sci-fi is that idea?

Monday, 9 May, 2016

There has been much talk in recent months about Planet Nine, a would-be planetary body lurking on the extreme far reaches of the solar system. Now astronomers are trying to figure out its origins, with some believing it formed relatively close to the Sun, before being dispatched to the solar system’s outer reaches after a run-in with Jupiter.

Others however think Planet Nine is an exoplanet, a once rogue exoplanet possibly, that was captured by the Sun, after drifting too closely to our solar system.

The final scenario sounds like a plot line from a B-grade sci-fi movie, and it seems to be comparably unlikely. Planet Nine could be an extraterrestrial invader. “Planet 9 may be an exoplanet in our own solar system,” said Gongjie Li, another astronomer at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics whose recent modelling paper explores this very possibility, among others.

I’m not sure though I like that particular notion being described as “a plot line from a B-grade sci-fi movie”, since it’s an idea I’ve been kicking around, as if it were a cosmic soccer ball, so to speak, in one of my sci-fi writing projects.

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This station is made of bamboo… we are vulnerable

Friday, 6 May, 2016

Amazing, a model of the Death Star, from the original Star Wars film, built from bamboo by Frank Howarth. The video depicting its construction is just over ten minutes long, but it seems far shorter, so fascinating is the assembly process.

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Cutaway illustrations of Star Wars vehicles by Hans Jenssen

Wednesday, 27 April, 2016

Star Wars fans will doubtless enjoy Hans Jenssen’s series of cross section, or cutaway, and intricately detailed, illustrations of a number of vehicles and vessels featured in the sci-fi saga.

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We can rebuild Darth Vader, but at what cost?

Monday, 18 April, 2016

We can rebuild him, we have the technology… Darth Vader that is. I wonder if Emperor Palpatine realised the cost would total close to eighteen million dollars, all up, though? Short wonder Vader is never seen taking a holiday, or even a tea break for that matter. For that sort of money you’d want to be sure you were seeing a return on your investment.

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The trailer for Rogue One… a true stand alone Star Wars story then?

Monday, 11 April, 2016

The first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, due for release in Australian cinemas on 16 December, is set shortly before events of Episode IV, and tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance managed to acquire the design plans of the Death Star.

It looks promising. So far. Here’s hoping Rogue One is truly standalone, and only makes necessary references to other films in the series, rather than being some sort of… duplicate.

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The Force Awakens, a sequel, or a remake of A New Hope?

Monday, 4 April, 2016

There’s been much talk of the similarities between Star Wars films A New Hope, and The Force Awakens, and here you can see select scenes from both side by side. Stark, or what? While some of the comparisons were obvious, there’s a fair number of more subtle likenesses.

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On dying, and being reborn, every time Scotty beams me up

Wednesday, 9 March, 2016

There’s far more to having your atoms scrabbled, in Star Trek style, by being beamed up or down somewhere, than many of us might imagine. In fact, the whole process is quite the journey… into realms, frankly, you couldn’t possibly imagine.

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Bolaji Badejo, a little known actor who played the best known alien

Wednesday, 9 March, 2016

Once upon a time, the monsters, robots, animals, extraterrestrials, and the like, that featured in movies of a certain vintage, were often people dressed in costume, until the advent of CGI, for the most part, changed that.

When I first saw Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi chiller thriller however, Alien, I thought the creature, the “adult” one that is, was mechancial. In reality, it was the late Bolaji Badejo, a Nigerian actor, who portrayed the beast that tormented the crew of the space freighter Nostromo.

Director Ridley Scott and associate producer Ivor Powell had long been scratching their heads as to who could fill the not inconsiderable shoes of Alien. Peter Mayhew (known for playing Chewbacca in “Star Wars”) was considered, as were basketball players, mime artists and six-foot-three-inch” German model Veruschka von Lehndorff. But none were quite right for the otherworldly being created by Swiss surrealist artist, H.R. Giger.

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The Millennium Falcon may be a pirate ship, but that’s no name

Tuesday, 8 March, 2016

An extensive history of the creation, and evolution, of the Millennium Falcon, a story that includes a little bit of revolution… can you believe it, one of science fiction’s most iconic vessels might have had the name Pirate Ship?

The Millennium Falcon underwent a long and arduous number of conceptual iterations before its final iconic shape emerged; the one we now once again see blasting its way across the big screen. In fact it wasn’t even known by its famous name until well into production, having up until then gone under the much mundane moniker: Pirate Ship.

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