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My God It's Full of Stars: Five Science Fiction (and Reality) Tidbits That'll Warp You Right Out of Your Wednesday

By Cindy Davis | Lists | June 19, 2013 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | June 19, 2013 |

Some of the news is good, and some of it is very, very, very bad…

1. BBC America Announced a Four Part Science Fiction Documentary.


“My God, It’s Full of Stars: A Journey to the Edge of Science Fiction” will tackle the history of space exploration, time travel, artificial intelligence and aliens as been depicted in our favorite books, television series and films. Each hour will feature actors, writers, filmmakers and artists discussing everything “…from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to The Terminator, from “Doctor Who” to Star Wars. Michael Poole (“Time Shift, Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss, A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss”) will executive produce this docu-series, currently in pre-production.

2. Acoustic Location Technology Can Give Humans and Computers Echolocation Superpowers, aka Mad Bat-Skilz.


I imagine being able to use sound reflection to assess one’s surroundings could be a supercool sensory addition for the sight-impaired, as well as a helpful police/military technology. Swiss researchers have been working on a form of echolocation (microphones combined with software) to map room interiors; in the future, acoustic location may be integrated with mobile and/or other personal devices, effectively giving humans our own extrasensory bat perception. Hanging upside-down optional?

3. Soon, Your Mind Will Be Transferred to Your Robotic Double (and Worse).


Listen people, I have repeatedly aired my misgivings about this forward march into robotics—they are nothing but trouble—and yet, no one seems to be listening. This is it. The downward spiral has begun; I hope you are packed. At the Global Future 2045 International Congress, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro introduced his robotic doppelgänger, the Geminoid. At this point in time, the Geminoid is remote controlled; though it was made to look like and have the mannerisms of its creator, it does not yet “think”. But Ishiguro and Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov have bigger plans, including eliminating the need for your human body. Itskov has the immortality bug and he’s got it good bad. His idea—Project Avatar—is a four-stage body replacement…therapy (if you will) that includes creating a robot that can be brain-controlled (such as Geminoid), transferring your brain to a synthetic body, uploading your mind (without the physical brain) to a synthetic body, and finally, replacing the need for a human body with a hologram. EVERYONE RUN RIGHT NOW. You’ll pry my body from my cold, dead, pretend hands.

4. Director and Special Effects Expert Douglas Trumbull Announced His Return.


After a thirty year break from directing following the drowning death of Natalie Wood , the effects master and inventor will take on two new science fiction features. Trumbull started out in special effects, working on 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner, as well as directing (Silent Running, Brainstorm). After actress Natalie Wood died under strange circumstances during the filming of Trumbull’s Brainstorm, the experience (including trying to finish the film) caused him to leave the industry, though he did continue working on movie production technology (Trumbull invented Showscan). The director has been working on a science fiction short called UFOTOG, based on his screenplay about “…a man’s attempt to photograph an alien spacecraft. He’s very smart, a serial entrepreneur, like Elon Musk. So he has the wherewithal to get a really good camera and build a system on a mountaintop.” The photographer is played by actor Ryan Winkles.” UFOTOG will be expanded into a feature; Trumbull also has a second “epic…that takes place about 200 years in the future.” He has been shooting UFOTOG with 3-D cameras, ultra high resolutions and frame rates (120 fps) and believes he is creating “a giant window onto reality,” rather than a movie.

5. Full (S)Team Ahead: Jurassic Park 4 Revealed a Logo and Prometheus 2 Gained a Writer.


We Have to Go Back! Well not really, but some people seem to think it’s necessary—so here we go. First up, this new banner (seen at the 2013 Licensing Expo) confirms Jurassic Park 4 will send us back to the island. Executive producer Steven Spielberg was said to be “in town and going over the script with writer/director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed).” Sequels find a way.

Speaking of which, Elizabeth Shaw just couldn’t take a hint, could she? No honey, it wasn’t an invitation; it was a disaster. And the people who created you didn’t want to have tea, they wanted to kill you. But go ahead and get back on your little spaceship with your little Michael Fassbender two-part android friend and chase those mo-fos down. I’m sure it will go better next time. All sarcasm aside, at least Lindelof won’t be writing the story. That job is going to Transcendence scriptwriter, Jack Paglen. And since nobody has seen that film yet, we have nothing much to go on. How bad could it be? Never mind; forget I asked that question.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is hiding out in an undisclosed location.

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