Look! Up in the sky! Is that a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s … well … it’s just the sky, but the sky’s the limit when we’re looking into the peoples, places, and events that make up yet one more week in the history of Science Fiction! Read on, brave traveler!
In the annals of sci-fi, there are “icons” and there are “Icons” with a capital I. Make no mistake: Arnold Schwarzenegger is an “Icon.” He faced down a vicious PREDATOR. He lost his memories and found new ones in TOTAL RECALL. And what would the TERMINATOR franchise look like without his massive contributions to it? When he told you he’d be back, you took it to the bank. Happy birthday, Arnold, born back in 1947. Politics’ loss is fandom’s gain. Other notable birthdays include BATMAN director & film wunderkind Christopher Nolan (1970) and THE MATRIX’s Laurence Fishburne (1961).
In 1971, Apollo astronauts took their first ‘moon ride’ in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV), which lasted 6 and ½ hours. The future is information, and who would know that more than Apple? They’ve been on the cutting edge of THE MATRIX for years. On this day in 2007, their iTunes Music Store reached the benchmark of having sold 2 million feature length films. Auspicious birthdays include author J.K. Rowling (1965) and THE TERMINATOR’s Michael Biehn (1956).
In 1958, the US atomic sub, the USS Nautilus, conducted the first dive beneath the North Pole; no word on whether or not THE THING was spotted. In 1981, MTV began its broadcast day in New York City. In 1993, Walter Koenig – better known as Mr. Chekov from STAR TREK – suffered a non-fatal but no doubt still painful heart attack. Auspicious birthdays include CONAN & GAME OF THRONES’ Jason Momoa (1979) and director Jose Padilha (1967) who’s currently prepping a ROBOCOP reboot.
Sci-fi loves its microscopic particles; back in 1932, Carl Anderson discovered the positron (the antiparticle of the electron). Neptune? Has moons? Who knew! In 1989, NASA confirmed that Voyager 2 discovered three additional moons orbiting the distant planet. In 2002, M. Night Shyamalan showed the world his SIGNS. Auspicious birthdays include genre-favorite Sam Worthington (1976), the first ‘John Connor’ Edward Furlong (1977), and BLADE RUNNER’s Joanna Cassidy (1945).
Sometime, somebody knew that thing called the computer was gonna be big! In 1977, the retailer Radio Shack issued a press release to announce their TRS-80 computer. At that time, only 25 existed. Within a few weeks, thousands were on order! Auspicious birthdays include one point of LOST’s many love triangles – Evangeline Lilly, born in 1979 – and film director John Landis (1950).
All the way back in 1181, mankind witnessed a dramatic first when a star in the constellation Cassiopeia went supernova. Centuries later, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed a bill creating the Department of Energy. Coincidence? I think not. In 2000, SPACE COWBOYS and HOLLOW MAN played on silver screens. Auspicious birthdays include long-time veteran character actor Don S. Davis (1942) of TWIN PEAKS and STARGATE fame, who passed away in 2008.
In 1969, the U.S. space probe Mariner 7 passed close to Mars, sending photographs and much scientific data back to Earth. On the same day forty-two years later (in 2011), NASA announced that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter transmitted photographic evidence of what appeared to be water on the red planet. Auspicious birthdays include B-movie regular John Saxon (1935).