May the Fourth be with You!

Happy Star Wars Day to everybody whose calendars are still on May 4.

Unfortunately, I missed it yesterday, as it’s already Cinco de Mayo where I live. But I did kinda celebrate May the Fourth by playing Portal 2 (post-fact).

I’m not a super huge fan of sci-fi, but I do appreciate a little sci-fi every now and then, so, to (belatedly) celebrate Star Wars Day, here’s my Top 10 List of favorite sci-fi movies, books, etc.

My Top 10 List of Everything and Anything Sci-Fi:

10. Robot Carnival – An anthology of  9 short anime films, released in 1987 featuring sci-fi-themed stories by different directors and storytellers.  Most of the stories are set to music and feature a lot of robot-human romance.

9. Contact – A novel by Carl Sagan published in 1985, later turned into a movie starring Jodie Foster. Interesting movie, but the book was much better.

8. Robotech – An Americanized Japanese anime first released in 1985. The anime series was divided into 3 main arcs: First Generation, Second Generation and Third Generation. Personally I liked the First and Third Generations best.

Apart from the 85-episode anime series and some animated movies, Robotech was also adapted into novels written by “Jack McKinney” published in the late 80′s. Jack McKinney is a pseudonym for two authors who wrote the series; James Luceno and Brian Daley.

7. Ender’s Game – A series by Orson Scott Card containing 11 novels and 10 short stories, the main novels of which are Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead,  Xenocide and Children of the Mind, published in the 1980′s and 90′s.

Ender’s Game tells the story of a talented boy soldier whose destiny (among other things) is to save the Earth from invading insect-like space aliens called Buggers. What’s not to like, right?

Honestly, I didn’t know there were so many books and stories in this series. I’ve only read three of the four  main novels, Ender’s Game, Speaker of the Dead and Xenocide.  I read these books back in high school, and I didn’t even know there was a 4th novel. 

6. Star Trek – Hey, what’s a sci-fi list without Star Trek, right? I’m not a trekkie, or as they say now, a “trekker,” but if I had to choose among the millions of Star Trek movies / series ever made, I’d go with J.J Abrams‘, 2009 Star Trek movie starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (more popularly known as Sylar from the now defunct tv show, Heroes.) I should mention that this is the only Star Trek movie I’ve watched in its entirety.

5. Halo – A first-person shooter game developed by Bungie exclusively for X-Box, released in 2001. There are several games in this franchise, but the only ones I’ve played and finished were Halo 3: ODST and the most recent one, Halo: Reach, released in 2010.

The great graphics and various game play situations in Halo are guaranteed to hook and draw you into the game, and the next thing you now, you’ve wasted 10 hours of your life  in front of your console.  It’s not like you had anything better to do anyway…

4. Fringe – A TV series created by J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (go figure), which premiered in 2008, and is about to end its 3rd season. The show, starring Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv is about agents from a special branch of the FBI known as Fringe Division who investigate and try to solve unexplained scientific (ahem) phenomenon.

Sound familiar? That’s because…..

3. The X-Files – Yes, I would say it’s a safe bet that this series inspired the creation of Fringe. The classic T.V. series which premiered in 1993 and aired until 2002, immortalized David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as their FBI characters, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

The T.V. series has spawned several movies since, but it’s the TV series that comes to mind when I reminisce about the 90’s. Because of this show, I do believe, that the truth is out there.

2. Firefly / Serenity – By far the BEST sci-fi series not being shown on television. The sci-fi/western series, created by Joss Whedon premiered and was cancelled in 2002, to the dismay of it’s many, many fans. Due to popular demand, the series was adapted into a movie, also directed by Joss Whedon: Serenity.

Firefly combines futuristic technology with good old-fashioned spaghetti-western gunslinging fun – seriously…how could a show like that go wrong?

1. Star Wars Trilogy – Of course! I’m only referring to the original trilogy made up of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, from the late 70’s and early 80’s. I won’t even describe Star Wars because if you are not familiar with it, then you are probably not from Earth and should return back to your planet. 

And for all those who first watched Episodes VI, V, and VI and went, “huh, where are Episodes I, II, and III?” – Shame on you!  I bet now you wish you had never asked.

Star Wars is not just a movie – it is a cultural icon. It has spawned countless sub-cultures and genres, and not just in sci-fi, throughout the years, and may have single-handedly transformed the movie industry. And though I’d like to think that the new Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes I-III) were just figments of my imagination, I’d have to give it credit for playing a part in revolutionizing CGI-technology and movie special FX, making the cinematic experience more special for moviegoers around the World.

Hey,  a little sci-fi never hurt anybody.  It stretches our imagination and challenges us to think beyond the ordinary; and who knows, maybe someday, science fiction will actually become science fact!

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