May 30, 2019 9:34 pm

Friday, Find Out What It Takes to Bring Science Fiction to Life

Science fiction is all around you. There’s probably more than you think. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with producer Gale Anne Hurd, whose credits include The Terminator trilogy, Aliens, Dante’s Peak, and The Walking Dead, just to name a few, to find out what it takes to make great science fiction. Neil is joined by comic co-host Chuck Nice, science fiction expert Jason Ellis, PhD, and volcanologist Janine Krippner, PhD.

Brandon Royal’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Gale Ann Hurd.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Gale Ann Hurd. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.

You’ll hear about the history of science fiction. I was surprised to learn how long it’s been around. Jason tells us why his love of science fiction began by not being able to see Star Wars when he was a kid. Gale also tells us how her early love of comic books and science fiction novels has shaped her career.

We also explore how science fiction has been used for social commentary. You’ll hear all about the famous kiss between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura on Star Trek. It was the first interracial kiss on television and you’ll discover how William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols intentionally flubbed takes where they weren’t kissing so the network had to use a take in which they were.

Next we move from Star Trek to Dante’s Peak as volcanologist Janine Krippnerstops by to grade the science portrayed in the film. You’ll learn why she thinks it’s the best volcano movie ever made, even with its flaws. Gale explains how the production team fought for scientific realism but were shut down by the studio. Neil also confronts Gale about Armageddon, another film she produced, because it breaks more laws of physics per minute than any other film.

We investigate the differences working in television and film, and ponder the perfect formula for good science fiction. Chuck shares his love for The Expanse and we discuss Interstellar. All that, plus, Jason tells us about the time he was criticizing Sunshine in front of director Danny Boyle’s family.

Please join us tomorrow night for Creating Science Fiction, with Gale Anne Hurd at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen