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For this closing chapter we revisit Blade Runner. As a sci-fi fan and popular science writer, I usually assess the importance of a sci-fi film by its ability not only to engage in prediction and foresight, but also to portray plausible futures. Movies such as Alien are great for entertainment, but offer little in their exploration of man’s relationship to science and technology, and the risks and benefits they hold for the future. This is why Blade Runner could also be categorized as a future-realism movie. Today, given the potential for human engineering and cloning, Blade Runner has never been more relevant. Perhaps that’s why, in a poll conducted by the Guardian newspaper to find the best sci-fi movie of all time, Blade Runner was the runaway favourite.
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The poll, conducted in 2004, asked sixty leading scientists to rank their favorite sci-fi films. This group included evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, quantum physicist David Deutsch, and Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with SETI. In 2nd place was 2001: A Space Odyssey. 3rd (tie): Star Wars/ The Empire Strikes Back. 4th: Alien. 5th: Solaris.
The scene is in stark contrast with Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which Blade Runner was based on: In Dick’s novel, replicants exist on the emotional level of a vacuum cleaner.
In Alien and its sequel Aliens, crewmembers hypersleep their way to other planets. At the beginning of Aliens, Ripley has been in stasis for 57 years as she drifted in her “lifeboat” after the events of Alien. Another notable use of stasis is in the Red Dwarf television series, where a stasis chamber is used to preserve Dave Lister for 3 million years.
This device was envisioned by the Orion’s Arm Universe Project: www.orionsarm.com.
- Evolutionary Engineering
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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