Time Loops, Martians, And Groot: Here’s The Sci-Fi We’re Most Thankful For in 2014

Here in the States most of us are winding down a day spent eating too much, drinking too much, and likely experiencing more than a little family-related drama. Far be it from us here at GFR to play humbugs, so, as we’ve done in previous years, we sat down to ponder what science fiction developments we were most thankful for this year. So before you collapse back into a turkey-induced coma, take a moment to look back at the things that put the biggest smiles on our faces in 2014. And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

EdgeEverything About Edge of Tomorrow
How is it that a movie involving an alien invasion and a weird form of time travel joined forces with polarizing megastar Tom Cruise and became one of the year’s most guiltlessly enjoyable movies? Whether the credit for the sci-fi magic goes to director Doug Liman, screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth and Christopher McQuarrie, or even Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt, the film’s sense of sheer fun and darkly comedic whimsy are undeniable.

Based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow could have easily crumbled beneath the weight of its time-looping narrative, but manages to steer clear of weary repetition. By sticking Cruise back into a learning recruit role instead of having him start the film as the almighty hero, Edge of Tomorrow gives its lead one of the weirdest character arcs in all of fiction, which can’t be derailed by the likes of co-stars Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson. By far the airiest, funniest, and most exciting blockbuster of the year, Edge of Tomorrow is arguably the only must-see tentpole film of the year for sci-fi fans. (That’s right, Godzilla and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I said it.) – Nick

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Interstellar’s Jonathan Nolan Is Bringing This Classic Isaac Asimov Series To HBO

FoundationThere have been rumblings about adaptations of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation for years now, but no one has quite gotten there. Last we heard, Roland Emmerich planned to develop it as a television series, and while the TV part of that still appears to be true, the players involved have changed. It is now being reported that Jonathan Nolan, screenwriter of Interstellar and frequent collaborator with his brother Christopher, is working to write and produce a series based on the books for HBO and Warner Bros. TV.

Given the scope, scale, and expansiveness of the narrative—which takes place over thousands of years, and tells the slow-burn story of how humanity falls into a barbaric state after the collapse of Galactic Empire—a movie would have never had done this justice. HBO has certainly shown that they’re not afraid to tell a sprawling, intricate story that’s a gradual build (just look at Game of Thrones), so this might be a perfect match.

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Scientists Reveal Their Favorite Works Of Science Fiction

Here at GFR we cover anything that fits under the umbrella of our twin loves: science and science fiction. And just as the bleeding edge of our scientific understanding is forever pushing the boundaries of our science fiction, SF is itself inspiring fans to take transform their love of starships, robots, and the like into careers in real scientific fields. So what are some of the science fiction movies, shows, and books that real-life scientists love best? The Huffington Post recently asked a handful of scientists precisely that.

PermutationCityDr. Max Tegmark is a cosmologist and physics professor at MIT, and the scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute, which provides grants to “catalyze, support, and disseminate research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology.” Tegmark cites Greg Egan’s 1994 science fiction novel Permutation City as his favorite, explaining that Egan’s “explorations of the ultimate nature of reality blew my mind and inspired my own research.”

Dr. Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, and the author of books including The Particle at the End of the Universe and From Eternity to Here. He lists another semi-obscure work you might want to add to your Kindle: Robert L. Forward’s Dragon’s Egg. Carroll says, “It’s a story about life on the surface of a neutron star, which would ordinarily be considered completely outlandish. A good reminder that ‘life’ might take on very different forms than we ordinarily imagine. Here’s the Dragon’s Egg synopsis from Amazon:

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Asimov’s Foundation May Come To The Small Screen Courtesy Of Roland Emmerich

Roland EmmerichAfter destroying the President of the United States’ home yet again in this summer’s White House Down, director Roland Emmerich has set his sights on revisiting the world of one of his earlier films, Independence Day. As many of you are aware, ID4 is one of the films where the White House famously buys the farm. There is, however, another sci-fi project that Emmerich has been working on for years that we’re curious about, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s legendary Foundation series. After struggling to come up with a suitable script, he may be moving forward in an unexpected way, with a television miniseries.

Emmerich bought the rights to the epic Foundation series four years ago, and it does seem like a strange pairing. Made up of seven novels, plus numerous other surrounding works, this is a sprawling work that revolves the rise and fall of galactic empires over thousands and thousands of years. When you think of Emmerich’s films…let’s just say that the man is not renowned for the subtlety of his filmmaking.

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Asimov’s Foundation Becoming A Movie

foundationIsaac Asimov is most often associated with robotics, for which he developed the three laws. But the sci-fi author’s real masterwork isn’t really focused on mechanoids, and if you haven’t, you should probably read Foundation. Or now, maybe you can just wait for the movie.

Sony Pictures has announced that they’re turning the first book in Asimov’s galaxy-spanning Foundation series into a movie. They’ve hired a mostly unknown writer named Dante Harper to adapt it, and presumably will decide on whether or not to greenlight it based in part on what he comes up with.

For the uninitiated, Foundation’s premise involves a genius mathematician named Hari Seldon who develops a way to predict the future, based on the idea that the larger the mass of people involved the more predictable their future is. Using that knowledge he forsees the fall of the human race, and so sets a series of things in motion in an attempt to save humanity.

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