The Origins Of Demolition Man’s 3 Seashells Revealed

Demolition ManSylvester Stallone’s 1993 dystopian sci-fi actioner Demolition Man is one of my all time favorite movies. No joke, in grad school I wrote a lengthy paper about it. (And it predicted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political career. Sure, he didn’t become president, but governor of California is nothing to sneeze at.) It’s simultaneously futuristic, but also a definite artifact of the 1990s. One of the pieces of the film that most people seem to cling to involves the futuristic method of going to the bathroom. Instead of using squares of toilet paper to clean yourself up, like we do now, there are three seashells. How that works remains a mystery, but now we know how this peculiar piece of science fiction came to be.

As a quick refresher, Demolition Man follows the exploits of John Spartan (Stallone), a cop who, framed for murder by his nemesis, super criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes in awesome stripped spandex pants), is frozen cryogenically as punishment. When Phoenix escapes into a peaceful future ill equipped to cope with his particularly vicious brand of crime—no one swears, fights, swears, fucks, or, again, uses toilet paper—Sandra Bullock thaws Spartan and all hell breaks loose.


Isaac Asimov’s Robot Visions Is Truly Visionary

Robot VisionsMost people are familiar with Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, a collection of nine short stories first published together in 1950 (the individual stories themselves almost all came out separately in the 1940s). The stories include Asimov’s groundbreaking robot tales, as well as principles such as the three laws of robotics, which have influenced pretty much every robot story since. His book Robot Visions combines those stories with short works of nonfiction in which he reflects on everything from the feasibility of the three laws to his predictions about the roles of robots in the future. The combination of fiction and nonfiction provides a wonderful lens into Asimov’s mind, as well as important points and questions regarding robots that are becoming more and more pressing and relevant.

Asimov was highly influenced by R.U.R., the first work featuring robots—killer robots who overthrow humanity, to be specific. In a short essay called “Robots I Have Known,” Asimov references author Karal Capek’s work, and describes the idea of robots that emerged from the play and from other robot fiction as “a sinister form, large, metallic, vaguely human, moving like a machine and speaking with no emotion.” It’s this description that Asimov seeks to challenge, particularly with regard to his creation of the laws that constrain robots and thus protect humanity. First, a robot cannot harm or allow harm to come to a human (this was later broadened into the “zeroth” law, which substitutes the word “humanity” in for “human,” thus allowing robots to act on the behalf of the collective good, rather than simply the individual good). Secondly, a robot must obey orders given by humans (unless they violate law number one), and third, that a robot must act in self-preservation (so long as this doesn’t violate laws one or two).


Mark Hamill Talks Beards, Practical FX, And His Absence From The Force Awakens Trailer

HamillAs cool as it must be to be in a Star Wars, to be part of something so many people love and revere, the flip side is that no matter what you do, especially if you’re one of the key players, you’re always going to have to fend off related questions. Small price to pay, but still, after a few decades, it probably gets old. Such is the case with Mark Hamill when he sat down with Yahoo to talk about his role in an upcoming Elf musical special. We don’t care a whit about that, but lucky for us, Hamill is always game to talk about that far, far away galaxy, and discussed his experience on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


USA Picks Up Alien Abduction Drama The Terrestrial, Details Here

independence dayWe may be losing a couple of sci-fi shows before too long (both Continuum and Falling Skies have end dates in sight), but don’t worry, we’ve got more on the way. Syfy is developing an absurd slate of new shows and projects, with the likes of the miniseries Ascension kicking off next week and their adaptation of 12 Monkeys travelling back to next month, but they’re not the only ones. USA just picked up an alien abduction project from Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, The Conjuring) called The Terrestrial.

Deadline reports that the series follows a schizophrenic man who has to look into his own dark past for answers after his estranged teenage daughter goes missing. Turns out she was abducted, and as you probably already guessed, it involves aliens. But that’s not all, the hero happens to have his own trouble history with invaders from another world, as ten years ago he was abducted and believes the same gang may be responsible.


Watching This 12 Monkeys Featurette Is Your Fate

In just over a month, Syfy finally unveils their serialized adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel mind-bender 12 Monkeys, and though we’re still a ways out, the network is pushing their new series hard. Just the other day we saw a featurette that digs into the relationship between the two main characters, and now they’re back with another that explores the idea of fate, morality, sacrifice, and shows off a bunch of new footage.

On the surface, the series resembles Gilliam’s film, at least in the details. After a vicious plague wipes out most of the human population, James Cole (Aaron Stanford) is sent back in time from the year 2043 using an untested method of time travel to try to put a stop to this disaster. Once there, he enlists the help of Doctor Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) in his quest, and goes about trying to save humanity as well as redeem himself.


Andy Serkis’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens Role Is Creepy And Gross

Andy SerkisAs of the other day, we know the names of some of the characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We don’t know much else about them, but, for instance, we can stop referring to Daisy Ridley’s character as Kira and start calling her by her realm name, which is Rey, and John Boyega is not just a stormtrooper on the run, now he’s a stormtrooper on the run named Finn. Though we don’t know his name, we may now have some additional details about Andy Serkis’ character (or at least one of them?).

Don’t read on if you’re sensitive to possible SPOILERS about The Force Awakens or are just trying to go in cold. Also, don’t put too much stock in this rumor as that it all it is at this point, unsubstantiated hearsay from an unnamed source.