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Arthur C. Clarke: A Birthday Retrospective

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Arthur ClarkeScience fiction great Arthur C. Clarke would have been 96 yesterday. Clarke lives on through his work and the revolutionary ideas he developed and championed with respect to science, particularly space. I wanted to take a minute to show Clarke some love. There’s never been anyone like him, and there never will be again — unless, that is, his spacebound DNA produces some interesting results.

Clarke was born in Britain in 1917, but no amount of pub food or soccer could keep him there. The man had wanderlust that makes mine seem like more of an itch. Space called to Clarke, much as it did to Ray Bradbury, and he joined the British Interplanetary Society when he was only 17. Later he became chair of the group — twice. At a young age he distinguished himself from other scientists with his writing, and he distinguished himself from other writers with his knowledge of science. The two blended together in his work. Many of the concepts Clarke wrote about, such as the space elevator he described in his 1979 novel The Fountains of Paradise, and his thoughts about replicators, have provided food for thought, if not specific goals, for space engineers. In 1945, Clarke wrote a paper advocating putting satellites in geostationary orbit. That’s right — you have Clarke to thank for your GPS systems and satellite TV. Eighteen years later, after America’s launch of the Syncom 2 satellite, Clarke won the Stuart Ballantine Medal, a science and engineering award, for the idea. Now most satellites hang out in an area called, appropriately, the Clarke Belt. In a nutshell, dude knew what was up, literally.

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2013 Black List/Hit List Selections Include Moon Landings, Memory Thieves, And Carl Sagan’s Love Life

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MoonIt’s a big day in the screenwriting world. The infamous Black List released its 2013 edition today, compiling a list of the “most liked” unproduced screenplays from the year, as voted on by film executives. The so-called “Hit List” is a newer creation, having only begun releasing a public version of the list in 2010. Its results are based on nominations and votes by a board of development execs, producers, writers, agents, managers, directors, and assistants. The Hit List also focuses specifically on spec scripts — scripts shopped around by writers unsolicited, rather than written as assignments. As such, the Hit List is all about celebrating fresh emerging talent.

Together, the two Lists provide a glimpse into many of the films that we’ll be seeing and hopefully celebrating in the years to come — and quite a few brilliant gems that, sadly, will never make it to the screen. There’s a ton of science fiction represented on the list, as well as “based on real events” looks at the lives of folks like 2001 director Stanley Kubrick and the legendary Carl Sagan. Here’s our guide to some of the science fiction movies just over the horizon.

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Teaser Image For The Aliens, Prometheus, And Predator Comics From Dark Horse

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Alien Prometheus PredatorHollywood is waist deep in reboots these days. Comic books were feeling a little bit left out, so Dark Horse Comics has decided to get in the game, rebooting their Aliens, Predator, and Alien vs. Predator titles. And what the hell, they’re going to throw Prometheus into the mix as well. News of these titles hit a little while back—except for Prometheus, that’s a new addition—but now they’ve released a new teaser for their upcoming remixes.

This faux-police line up, which plays like a scarier version of the one in The Usual Suspects, features a collection of humans, surrounding the Predator himself, all with their odds of survival. I don’t know what these odds makers know, but the 10 to 1 on Predator seems a bit off, especially when a normal looking dude is pulling 90 to 1. Then again, I don’t know any of these people, maybe he’s the ultimate space badass.

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The CW’s Tomorrow People Teeters On The Verge Of Cancellation

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The Tomorrow PeopleFor fans of the CW’s reboot of The Tomorrow People, and there must be some of you out there somewhere, though not as many as the network would like, we have a bit of potential bad news for you. It doesn’t look like the first year show is long for this world, and it sits teetering on the verge of cancellation.

The show hasn’t officially been cancelled, and will continue to air in its usual Wednesday night timeslot, for the moment, but the outlook for continued survival is not particularly good at this juncture. Now that we’re in the middle of the television season, where shows often take a hiatus or are superseded by season-specific specials, TV By the Numbers has done some looking at the ratings so far, and The Tomorrow People is in trouble. According to their approach—a formula that takes in ratings and other factors—The Tomorrow People only has a 20% chance of being renewed, and has been categorized “Cancelation Predicted.” Again, this is far from official, but TV By the Numbers has a pretty good track record with this sort of thing.

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Teases Teaser Trailer

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A new trend in Hollywood movie marketing is building anticipation for a film’s teaser trailer by releasing first-look images and a few seconds from a two-minute trailer. While some feel that this practice is a bit much when it comes to marketing, others love getting a chance to watch footage from a new film, regardless of how it’s presented. The first teaser trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set for release on December 18, so Twentieth Century Fox released some new footage from the sequel film via the film’s Instagram account.

While the footage is brief — we only hear Jason Clarke’s character say, “I need to speak to Caesar” — it does effectively get you excited to watch the new trailer. From the 13-second clip, we know that Caesar is an authority figure in this new post-apocalyptic world, where the humans are struggling just to survive. Although we don’t actually see Caesar in the clip, we can damn sure feel his presence.

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Helix Blows Your Mind With A New Poster

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Helix“Play God. Pay The Price.” In early 2014, we will be treated to new science fiction TV shows such as Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams’ Believe on NBC and Ronald D. Moore’s Helix on Syfy. To get viewers ready for the new sci-fi outbreak series, Syfy has released a new poster that hints at the strange creature/disease/whatever menacing the show’s characters.

The new poster features a faceless scientist looking into a microscope, only to have the series’ strange black gooey substance blast out the back of his head. It’s actually a pretty disturbing image.

Recently, Syfy also released new trailers to get new fans ready for Helix‘s series premiere. Everything we’ve seen surrounding Helix really makes it look like the TV version of John Carpenter’s The Thing. However, this time around it looks like the inky-black creature or substance might be man-made rather than an alien lifeform from elsewhere. It also appears that the new series will also have elements of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, so the series can keep its audience on its feet with its mystery and secrets. Nevertheless, the body count on Helix should be high considering the “monster movie” element of the TV series.