Jun 01 2012
by Ed Lee
Science fiction is the passion of millions of people around the world. As such, it deserves to be celebrated, and I’d like to draw your attention to the people, places, and events inspiring the ever-growing world of sci fi from this week.
Mankind continued to explore space on this day when, in 1964, the US launched the unmanned Apollo 2 Saturn rocket into Earth orbit. Seven years later in 1971, the USSR Mars 3 launched, eventually to become the first spacecraft to soft land on Mars. Lastly, the James Bond films have always been filled with scientific premises and gadgets aplenty, enough to keep the franchise alive for over forty years. On this day in 1908, the man who gave birth to James Bond – Ian Fleming – was born.
Sci-fi has always explored the theme of menacing overlords managing us from afar, and on this day in 1954 the Bilderbergers held their first annual conference. Auspicious birthdays include author T.H. White (1906), the author of “The Once and Future King,” and composer Danny Elfman (1953).
All the way back in 1896 on this date, technology rocked the world when Henry Wells hit a bicyclist with his car, giving mankind the first auto accident. In 1966, the US launched Surveyor 1 to check out our moon. And just this week comic book publisher IDW premiered the first issue of an epic ‘crossover’ event in sci-fi history: STAR TREK:TNG meets Doctor Who!
If life out there came down here, how would we be affected? The 1996 sci-fi thriller, “The Arrival,” pits radio astronomer Zane Zaminski (played by Charlie Sheen) against a secret force of aliens bent on terra-forming the Earth to fit their specific environmental needs. Auspicious May 31 birthdays include actress Lea Thompson (1961) and Colin Farrell (1976).
Sci-fi classics don’t get much better than “This Island Earth” which premiered theatrically on this day in 1955. The story involves Earth scientists being sent to the planet Metaluna in order to aid their planet’s civilization in a galactic war. Other memorable events: on this day in 1938, Superman Comics was launched
Two Fireflies and a Vulcan! (No, that’s not the name of a CBS sitcom.) On this day in history, Zachary Quinto – Spock from the 2009 version of “Star Trek” was born in 1979 – as well as two lovelies from the “Firefly” universe: Morena Baccarin was born in 1979 and Jewel Staite was born in 1982.
Not all aliens eat human flesh and bleed acid: in fact, some are downright cuddly. Melissa Mathison wrote the screenplay for “E.T. the Extra-terrestrial” featuring a lovable alien botanist who is befriended by a group of children after he’s left behind when his ship leaves Earth in a rush. Ms. Mathison was born on this day in 1950.
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