The Science of Sci-Fi Cinema

Essays on the Art and Principles of Ten Films


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About the Book

Science fiction films present hypothetical futures, featuring imagined technological advancements—not yet realized but perhaps (more or less) plausible. Yet how much of what audiences see is within the bounds of possibility? Can we really envision what a black hole looks like? Can dinosaurs really be genetically re-engineered? Originating from an annual Science Fiction Film Series in Denver, Colorado, this volume of essays examines 10 films, with a focus on discerning the possible, the unlikely, and the purely science fictional. With essays by scientists in relevant fields, chapters provide analyses of the movies themselves, along with examination of the actual science (or lack thereof) in each film.

About the Author(s)

Vincent Piturro is a professor of film and media studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has published on Westerns, documentary film rhetoric and Jim Jarmusch.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Vincent Piturro

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info:30 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8330-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4123-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Vincent Piturro 1
Chapter 1: Arrival 11
The Science of Communicating with Aliens
Ka Chun Yu 16
Arrival from a Linguist’s Perspective
Andrew J. Pantos 23
Chapter 2: Interstellar 31
How Easy Is Interstellar Colonization?
Ka Chun Yu 39
Chapter 3: 2001: A Space Odyssey 49
Catching HAL
Ka Chun Yu 59
Chapter 4: Children of Men 73
Infertility and the Near-Future
Nicole L. Garneau 80
Chapter 5: Perfect Sense 84
All They Need to Know: Connectedness
Nicole L. Garneau 90
Chapter 6: Upstream Color 97
Parasites and Defying Explanation
Nicole L. Garneau 103
Chapter 7: Contact 110
The Sounds of Contact
Naomi Pequette 117
Chapter 8: Jurassic Park 123
Jurassic Park and the Dinosaur Renaissance
Joseph Sertich 131
Monstrous Life Finds a Way: Jurassic Park and Monstrosity
Charles Hoge 137
Chapter 9: King Kong 145
Gigantic Animals
Jeffrey T. Stephenson 152
Falling Off the Phallus of Civilization: On Max Steiner’s Soundtrack to King Kong
Roger K. Green 159
Chapter 10: The Martian 167
The Martian: Fact, Fiction or Fantasy? An Interview with Steven Lee
Ka Chun Yu 174
About the Contributors 187
Bibliography 189
Index 190