Viewing posts tagged Sensor Scans

Sensor Scan: Raumpatrouille Orion

Raumpatrouille Orion

In September of 1966 the landscape of pop culture changed forever with the debut of a groundbreaking new science fiction television show that would singlehandedly transform how the genre was thought of. Blending elements of pulp and Golden Age sci-fi with a critical deconstructive eye and unique fascination with the trappings of soap operas, this show dared us to follow the adventures of a ragtag group of Space Air Force pilots in a utopian future setting where nationalism had been abolished as they set out to explore the universe beyond the realm of human knowledge and experience. I am, of course, speaking about the legendary Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion.

Every once in awhile you stumble upon something so unbelievably serendipitous it really does force you to stop and muse for a time on synchronicity and the effect reoccurring patterns of time and place have on human beings. There is literally no other way to explain how two groups of people on opposite ends of the planet came up with two superficially identical science fiction shows in the exact same month other than a simultaneous tapping of the shared cultural zeitgeist. It's perhaps tempting to ...

Sensor Scan: Lost in Space

Lost in Space
If we're going to try to piece together the climate Star Trek was entering in the mid-1960s and the way it might have first been received, it would be beneficial to spend some time talking about its closest contemporary TV cousin. Star Trek was but one of many science fiction shows on the air during this period, but the one it's most frequently compared with is Lost in Space. There are a number of very good reasons for this: One, the two shows ran nearly concurrently, with their premiers and finales less than a year apart and two, both were voyaging starship shows loosely based around going to a new place every week and stumbling into adventure. Also, from a mid-1960s US perspective, Lost in Space would have been seen as “the other big space show” as while there were quite a few shows built in the adventure sci-fi model a great deal of them were German or British productions and would remain unknown to US audiences for decades.

The flipside of this is that for a long time Star Trek fans had a history of speaking derisively about Lost in Space, typically holding it ...

Sensor Scan: Foundation

It is a maxim among some writers that all science fiction, no matter how varied and diverse it may be, can ultimately trace its lineage back to the so-called “Golden Age” of science fiction literature. Despite this being far too reductive a statement for my personal taste, there is some genuine erudition to be gained by examining it as the era's signature works are indeed fundamental inspirations for a particular approach to writing science fiction that defines early Star Trek (or at least they way Star Trek is perceived) and the intellectual tradition it's a part of.

Some background: The Golden Age of Science Fiction, as it has come to be known, is a period (roughly spanning the years between 1938 and 1953) during which marked interest in futurism and the potential of scientific and technological breakthroughs influenced authors to craft stories set far into the future featuring, and often explicitly about, technology written to feel plausibly extrapolated from that of the time of writing. This approach, and the intellectual tradition that comes out of it, is often referred to as “Hard” sci-fi in an attempt to stress its focus on scientific realism and to distinguish it ...

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