Director Andrew Stanton and production designer Nathan Crowley talk about Mars, John Carter, and building a 100-year-old science fiction universe
By Becky FerreiraPosted 03.16.2012 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments
John Carter is a movie that has that has taken exactly 100 years to reach theatres, and not for a lack of trying. Edgar Rice Burroughs first published A Princess of Mars--the book upon which the movie is based--in March 1912, as a serial in the pulp magazine All-Story. His ideas would soon come to influence so many major science fiction works of the 20th century that John Carter inevitably has to compete against the story's own offspring. We talked to director Andrew Stanton and production designer Nathan Crowley about the making of the film, and why science fiction is always invisibly handcuffed to society.
Predicting the future of technology is often a shot in the dark. But every once in awhile, the complex evolution of tech gives us something that actually fulfills the starry-eyed dreams of years or decades before. And as we look back at the incredible achievements of Steve Jobs, you quickly see that, more than any other single innovator, he was responsible for so many of today's real-life consummations of past predictions.
This summer there's an excellent line-up of films full of mind-blowing technology. A stealth aircraft makes an appearance in X-Men: First Class, while the Green Lantern will travel between worlds using a ring that can open up wormholes. Although some of these gadgets remain far beyond the realm of possibility (at least for now), here's the science behind Hollywood's awesome line-up of wrist lasers, vibranium shields and X-jets.
Click here for the summer movie science smackdown.
Science fiction writer David Brin (known for the Uplift Universe, if you're into that sort of thing), has proposed a way to simplify the notoriously complex and loophole-filled U.S. tax code while attempting to not infuriate anyone with the changes. Will it happen? Probably not. But is it a simple, clean, valid idea that someone in charge should seriously consider? Yep.
There's no escaping it: though the tractor beam is a staple of sci-fi space-faring scenarios, it's also extremely counter-intuitive. How does one pull something in via an outward propagating beam? Now a few Chinese researchers think they've found the answer via a theoretical method that should generate a backward pulling force from a forward traveling stream of photons.
If the RoboCop saga has any lasting lessons, maybe it's that politicians shouldn't mess around with Twitter.
What started out as a joke on the social media site has mushroomed into a nationwide effort to build a statue of RoboCop in the beleaguered city of Detroit. Earlier this week, someone in Massachusetts sent a tweet to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, suggesting RoboCop would be a great mascot for the city. Philadelphia has a Rocky statue, and RoboCop would "kick Rocky's butt," he pointed out.
A real-life sonic screwdriver could use ultrasonic waves to apply forces to objects, according to researchers in the UK. Bruce Drinkwater, the professor who proposes this idea, says that in theory, ultrasonic waves can be rotated at high speeds to create force fields that would act like a real screwdriver.
The future of reading might also be the future of writing, if author Neal Stephenson's new experiment is any indication.
Stephenson, author of the best-selling Cryptonomicon among other science fiction and historical fiction works, has unveiled a new digital-novel platform called PULP that incorporates glossaries, images, music and video into an open-source-style book. The story is written by a "cabal" of authors, and readers can contribute feedback and ideas as the story unfolds.
Stephenson's new company, Subutai, published the first chapter of its first book this week, called The Mongoliad, a medieval epic set in 1241 as Mongol invaders take over Europe.
Here at PopSci, we love looking back on our previous dreams of the future.
So we get really excited about artists like Shigeru Komatsuzaki, a prolific Japanese illustrator who spent 50 years drawing his own unique vision of the future. In magazines, model packages and even films, he imagined a world filled with things like rocket-launching robots, car boats and solar cities. If only things turned out like Komatsuzaki dreamed.