Happy Official Science Fiction Thursday! Where we most definitely do not assure you that there will be no math.
NASA has been giving interviews about Tomorrowland because it turns out they helped review the script to make sure that it was scientifically accurate. Says NASA’s multimedia liaison Bert Ulrich: “This film may very well spark [viewers’] curiosity in what entails real exploration.” How? By convincing them to build rockets to get the hell off of this planet and away from its crappy movies?
Interstellar gets a Cal Tech physicist on board as executive producer and nails the science well enough that even Neil deGrasse Tyson didn’t tear it apart. Tomorrowland got NASA to review the script and is a disaster. Somewhere a bunch of JPL engineers are listening to “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta” on repeat. You can click here to read the full interview if you feel like being annoyed.
Ah, I’m probably being unfair. Tomorrowland is not a very good movie, but it’s not the science that does it in (nor is it “creepy” in the least, the relationship between Clooney and twelve year old Raffey Cassidy is the best written and most interesting part of the movie, hands down), it’s the fact that overall it’s just badly written junk.
Next up is not exactly science fiction, but it’s exactly the sort of awesome that appeals to people who love science fiction. Trust me, I’m not the writer of this column, I’m a client. GIS and history nerds at Stanford got chocolate in each others’ peanut butter and created what amounts to Google Maps for making travel plans through the Roman Empire, complete with choices of types of transport, and estimates of costs for each league of the journey (including purchasing food for your donkey).
The project is called “Orbis” and you can spend the rest of your day at it here: http://orbis.stanford.edu/
Finally, this is technically comics news, but for the love of everything holy, how did no one tell me until now that Neil Gaiman was working on a prequel series for Sandman? And that it’s already got four issues out? Why do I know the names of at least three Kardashians, but I don’t know that this is a thing. Says Gaiman about the project, which is called Overture and is set to be a total of six issues:
“There were things that I’ve known, in some cases, for over 25 years, that just never got into Sandman because there wasn’t a place for them in the monthly comic. Overture is very odd. Despite the title, it’s not really meant to be read before reading Sandman. But it’s also meant to be read before reading Sandman again. In a perfect world, for me, people would read Sandman, then read Sandman: Endless Nights, then read Sandman: Overture, and then go back and read Sandman all over again, and it would change things that they read, things they’d taken for granted, things they thought they knew.”