Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Imaging the Unimaginable: Alien settings and Interstellar

Interstellar is coming in November! Here's a poster from the official website, and fans are coming up with more.

A standing challenge in SF games, graphic novels, and movies is to picture the unimaginable. If someone like Ellie Arroway dropped into an exo-solar civilization, what would she see? How to create visuals that are truly striking and uncanny, but also make enough sense to be processed by the brain? 

Stanley Kubrick's 2001 made an historic stab at it. One of the segments at the end, a fly-through of the Monolith, relies on color-negative aerial photography. Here's a link to Douglas Trumbull's description of the special effects used for the movie. 

Other alienated movies to check out are Solaris, Forbidden Planet, Prometheus, and the original Alien. The latter's spaceship interior (H.R. Giger, designer) still chills and impresses

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