Sci-Fi

CIA: 10 Tips When Investigating a Flying Saucer (cia.gov) 54

coondoggie writes: You may not associate the Central Intelligence Agency with historical UFO investigations, but the agency did have a big role in such investigations many years ago. This week the agency posted an article called 'How to investigate a flying saucer." The release is part of a series of old documents dredged up as a nod to the return of The X-Files to TV this weekend.
Data Storage

Gene Roddenberry's Floppy Disks Recovered (pcworld.com) 277

Press2ToContinue writes: When Gene Roddenberry's computer died, it took with it the only method of accessing some 200 floppy disks of his unpublished work. To make matters worse, about 30 of the disks were damaged, with deep gouges in the magnetic surface. "Cobb said a few of the disks were formatted in DOS, but most of them were from an older operating system called CP/M. CP/M, or Control Program for Microcomputers, was a popular operating system of the 1970s and early 1980s that ultimately lost out to Microsoft's DOS. In the 1970s and 1980s it was the wild west of disk formats and track layouts, Cobb said. The DOS recoveries were easy once a drive was located, but the CP/M disks were far more work. " So what was actually on the disks? Lost episodes of Star Trek? The secret script for a new show? Or as Popular Science once speculated, a patent for a transporter?

Unfortunately, we still don't know. The Roddenberry estate hasn't commented yet, and the data recovery agency is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

Sci-Fi

What the Future Fiction of 2015 Revealed About Humans Today (vice.com) 179

An anonymous reader writes: There were a lot of stories told about the future in 2015. More than usual, maybe. Big budget blockbusters, hefty, idea-rich novels, and epic, dystopian video games—there was complex, stirring speculative fiction dripping from every media faucet we've got. And it spoke volumes about our anxieties about the present. In 2015, those anxieties are, apparently, concern the rise of science denial, climate change, total collapse.
Sci-Fi

Paramount and CBS File Lawsuit Against Crowdfunded, Indie Star Trek Movie (hollywoodreporter.com) 228

An anonymous reader writes: Back in August, an Indiegogo campaign raised $566,023 to produce Axanar, a Star Trek movie in development by an independent group of fans, who also happen to be film professionals. Now, unfortunately but predictably, Paramount and CBS have filed a lawsuit in California federal court claiming their intellectual property is being infringed upon. They are "demanding an injunction as well as damages for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement." The guy running the crowdfunded film is a lawyer, and he said, "We've certainly been prepared for this and we certainly will defend this lawsuit. There are a lot of issues surrounding a fan film. These fan films have been around for 30 years, and others have raised a lot of money." He said CBS/Paramount weren't willing to provide guidelines on what types of fan productions would be tolerated (unlike Lucasfilm with Star Wars), because they worry about setting precedent.
Movies

Sci-Fi Screenwriter and Author George Clayton Johnson Dead At 86 21

George Clayton Johnson, writer of the first-aired episode of Star Trek, and co-author of Logan's Run, died on Christmas Day of cancer, at the age of 86. Johnson was a prolific television writer, penning several episodes of The Twilight Zone, and writing for several series as well; he was also a nominee for both the Nebula and Hugo awards. His first-published story, Oceans 11, was turned into a movie, and then revived as a the kernel for a film franchise. Johnson wrote comics as well as screenplays, short stories, and novels; he was originally slated to appear at the upcoming San Diego Comic Fest.
Books

Andy Weir, Author of 'The Martian,' Is Writing a Novel Set On the Moon (huffingtonpost.com) 73

MarkWhittington writes: Readers wondering where Andy Weir, whose book The Martian featured a NASA astronaut stranded on Mars, will take us next need wonder no longer. According to a story in the Huffington Post, Weir's next novel will feature a woman living in a city on the moon. The novel is due to be out in late 2016 or early 2017.

Weir, naturally, is cagey about plot details. But it's likely he will pay as strict attention to the science in his new story as he did in The Martian. There's no word yet about possible movie deal, but considering the success of The Martian, it's a safe bet someone will want to bring Weir's lunar adventure to the big screen.

Television

Spike TV Is Turning Red Mars Into a TV Series (arstechnica.com) 39

An anonymous reader writes: Kim Stanley Robinson's popular trilogy Red/Green/Blue Mars is going to see its first book turn into a TV series produced by Spike TV and is slated for release in 2017. The episodes will be an hour long, and their writing will be led by J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon-5. According to Variety, "the series will follow the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet, all of whom have competed to be a part of the mission."
Sci-Fi

Science-Fictional Shibboleths (antipope.org) 508

An anonymous reader writes: SF author Charlie Stross has put together a short list of what he considers to be shibboleths for implausible science fiction. (If you're unfamiliar with the term, read the Wikipedia entry first.) So, what tops his list? "Asteroidal gravel banging against the hull of a spaceship. Alternatively: spaceships sheltering from detection behind an asteroid, or dodging asteroids, or pretty much anything else involving asteroids that don't look like [a pock-marked potato]." Another big red flag for Stross is when authors fail to appreciate Newton's second law, having their characters undergo impacts or accelerations that would turn them into a thin, reddish paste on their starship's hull. Some interesting examples from commenters include: futuristic yet manually-aimed weapons, technobabble as a plot device, and science officers with Ph.D. levels of expertise in dozens of fields. One of mine: entire races or planets full of people who behave the same, often based on some keyword. What are yours? Stross's focus is on books, but feel free to bring up movies and TV shows as well.
Sci-Fi

MST3K Kickstarter Poised To Break Kickstarter Record (kickstarter.com) 104

New submitter the_Bionic_lemming writes: Recently Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science 3000 -- which had a successful run of over 197 shows -- has after 15 years launched a kickstarter to relaunch the series. In just over two weeks Joel has been wildly successful in not only having over 25000 fans contribute, but actually scoring the second-highest show kickstarter on record — he has just under two weeks to shoot past the Number 1 kickstarter, Veronica Mars.
Sci-Fi

Netflix Remaking Lost In Space (ew.com) 169

An anonymous reader writes: Classic sci-fi show Lost in Space is making a comeback. Netflix is developing a new version of the series, according to Kevin Burns, the executive producer in charge of the project. "The original series, which lasted three seasons and 83 episodes, is set in a futuristic 1997 and follows the Robinson family's space exploration. After the villainous Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) sabotages the navigation system, they become helpless and, yes, lost. (The robot tasked with protecting the youngest child, the precocious Will, utters "Danger, Will Robinson!" — a phrase that still tortures this reporter.)" Burns has been trying to bring the series back for more than 15 years, and it looks likely he'll finally get his chance.
Sci-Fi

MST3K Successfully Crowdsources Its Comeback (thenewstack.io) 53

An anonymous reader writes: At least three new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be filmed, thanks to over $2 million in online contributions from fans. Responding to a Kickstarter plea by series creator Joel Hodgson, fans contributed over $1.5 million within just two days, and after five more they'd push Hodgson over the first $2 million threshold. "We've got movie sign," Hodgson posted on Twitter, noting that for each additional $1.1 million raised over the next 20 days, three more new episodes would be filmed. And this Thursday he'll be hosting a grateful online marathon of classic episodes on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition which dates back nearly 25 years, when "Mystery Science Theater 3000" first began its 8-year run on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi channel.
Sci-Fi

Star Trek: Renegades Working On Episodes 2 and 3 (kickstarter.com) 35

JoSch1337 writes: The last time Star Trek: Renegades was on Slashdot was in 2013. It's an independent, canon-faithful Trek series with high production values and some of the actors from the TV shows. Since their original campaign, the team has produced an amazing pilot episode 1 and is now gathering support to produce episode 2, and even episode 3 if they reach their stretch goal. From the Kickstarter page: "Star Trek Renegades is an independent, fan-funded and supported Internet television series, executive produced by Sky Conway. Renegades features a combination of familiar Star Trek character and actors, plus a collection of hot, new rising actors. Set a decade after Voyager's return from Delta Quadrant, ST: Renegades focuses on a team of fugitives, who are on the run from the Federation while secretly working for the head of Starfleet intelligence, Admiral Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Tuvok (Tim Russ, who also directs) to root out internal corruption within the Federation as well as external threats."
Sci-Fi

New Star Trek TV Series Coming In 2017 (hollywoodreporter.com) 438

An anonymous reader writes: Star Trek is returning to television. In January, 2017, a new series will begin. The first episode will air on CBS, and subsequent episodes will appear on CBS's online platform, "All Access." "The new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966." The show will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who produced the two recent Star Trek films in 2009 and 2013. No details have been released regarding what the show will be about, or who will star in it. CBS is currently looking for a writer to helm the show.
Sci-Fi

Lawsuit Claims Buck Rogers Is In the Public Domain 207

An anonymous reader writes: As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a court will decide whether Buck Rogers is in the public domain. The Buck Rogers comic strip first appeared in 1929. Team Angry Filmmakers claim that Buck Rogers entered the public domain in the mid-1950s, and they want to make a Buck Rogers movie called Armageddon 2419 A.D. They filed a federal suit this year in Los Angeles against the trust claiming ownership of the name, and the trial has been moved to Pittsburgh.
Sci-Fi

Star Trek: New Voyages, The Fan-Based Star Trek Series (nytimes.com) 93

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times has published an article on Star Trek: New Voyages, a fan production that's based on TOS. “People come from all over the world to take part in this — Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and every state in the union,” said James Cawley, the show’s executive producer. “That’s the magic of Star Trek. It’s spawned this whole generation of fans who went on to professional careers — doctors, lawyers, engineers — who are now participating in that shared love here.” With TOS fans generally being less than enamored with the movie reboots, are fan produced web series the wave of the future?
United Kingdom

Tardis Wars: The BBC Strikes Back 72

New submitter Elixon writes: Czech trademark monitoring service IP Defender reported that The British Broadcasting Corporation applied for a figurative trademark on the "POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX" for wide range of goods and services like cinematographic and photographic films, printed publications, key chains, textile goods, toys, telecommunications and more. The Metropolitan Police was defeated by the BBC in the past while trying to monopolize the London police box; now it's the BBC's turn.
Sci-Fi

Edward SnowdenTalks Alien Communications With Neil deGrasse Tyson 142

An anonymous reader writes: Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked National Security Agency secrets publicly in 2013, is now getting attention for an odd subject: aliens. In a podcast interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snowden suggested that alien communications might be encrypted so well that humans trying to eavesdrop on extraterrestrials would have no idea they were hearing anything but noise. There's only a small window in the development of communication in which unencrypted messages are the norm, Snowden said.
Sci-Fi

Dr Who Detective Philip Morris Hints At More Rediscovered Episodes 79

BigBadBus writes: In late 2013, Philip Morris announced that he had found 9 missing episodes of 1960s Dr.Who, which completed the 1968 story "Enemy of the World" and most of "The Web of Fear." He has now gone on record to talk about the only episode of these stories that he didn't find — namely part 3 of "Web of Fear" and teases of more episode finds to come. Episodes keep trickling out of the past, it seems; we've mentioned a few small finds in 2004 and 2011, too.
Sci-Fi

The Effort To Create an 'Iron Man' Type Exoskeleton 52

Nerval's Lobster writes: Tony Stark, as played by Robert Downey, Jr., is the epitome of suave wit—but without his metal shell, he's just another engineer who's made good. The exoskeleton is a technology platform that, while young, is gaining traction in industrial, medical and military circles. For several years, the U.S. Special Operations Command has been working on a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or "TALOS," that would provide "provide [infantry with] comprehensive ballistic protection and peerless tactical capability," in the words of Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM's commander. Meanwhile, several companies—including Raytheon, Ekso Bionics and US Bionics—are working on products that could help the disabled become more mobile, or allow warehouse and other workers to handle physical tasks with greater efficiency and safety. That means people who specialize in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other areas have an increasing opportunity to get involved. According to Homayoon Kazerooni, president of Berkeley-based US Bionics and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, control and software engineers are the leads in developing these next-generation products. Although he can't estimate the ultimate size of the market for these intelligent exoskeletons, Kazerooni describes the industry as "fast-growing, but infant," with "very diverse uses" for the suits. Just don't expect the aforementioned suits to allow you to fly or blow anything up anytime soon.
Sci-Fi

Sci-Fi Author Joe Haldeman On the Future of War 241

merbs writes: Joe Haldeman wrote what is hailed by many as the best military science fiction novel ever written, 1974's The Forever War. In this interview, Haldeman discusses what's changed since he wrote his book, what hasn't, and what the future of war will really look like. Vice reports: "...The Vietnam War may have ended decades ago, but our military adventuring hasn’t. Our moment can somehow feel simultaneously like a crossroads for the technological future of combat and another arbitrary point on its dully predictable, incessantly conflict-laden trajectory. We’re relying more on drones and proxy soldiers to fight our far-off wars, in theaters far from the conscionable grasp of homelands, we’re automating robotics for the battlefield, and we’re moving our tactics online—so it seems like an opportune time to check in with science fiction’s most prescient author of military fiction."

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