Enjoy this Top Gun Star Wars Mash-up and other fun scifi stuff for Sci-Friday. Watching this reminded me of many hours soaking in some of those 80s classics with my butt parked in a sagging, dusty movie theater seat. Music and movies are cultural communication devices that we use to express ourselves.
Fun fact about ‘Highway to the Danger Zone.’ Even though it was sung by Kenny Loggins, it was written by Giorgio Moroder and oddly enough, his car mechanic. Tom Whitlock started writing songs at 15, and after some false starts he moved to California in 1983 to advance his music career.
When Jerry Bruckheimer reached out to Moroder for a song on Top Gun, his usual lyrical collaborators (Keith Forsey and Pete Bellote) weren’t around. Whitlock was still in the neighborhood, running errands and sleeping on the floor. His previous songwriting experience made him a natural for this pop classic. With the lyrics in place, Moroder and Bruckheimer called around to see who could sing the track and Kenny Loggins’ name came up. The rest is history.
One thing I took from the video is how music videos are mostly about editing. Jackson McKay took footage from seven different Star Wars’ movies (Episodes 4-9 and Rogue One) and cut action pieces together to create sequences and lets your brain fill in the blanks. Nice work! I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!
We made it through the week! Time for more fun scifi stuff – today we’ll pay tribute to an undersung hero of Star Wars: All Hail Gonk! Gonk droids, according to StarWars.Fandom were GNK power droids, an Industrial Automaton knockoff of the successful EG-6 power droid. The GNK power droid derives its name from the “gonk” sound it makes in Episode IV. The droid was originally called simply a “power droid,” but a newsgroup posting in 1993 led to the now-official name becoming quickly popular.
That’s the lore, but here’s the reality. Gonk was nothing more than two storage bins and some human legs hidden by dryer vent hose. The costume is so low-tech that you can build a Gonk with materials lying around the house. In real life, Gonk was played by two actors. Rusty Goffeis an English actor who played several characters in A New Hope, including Kabe, a Jawa, and a gonk droid. Before Star Wars, he was an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. After Star Wars, he appeared as a Dwarf in Flash Gordon. He also later worked with George Lucas on the 1988 film Willow, in which he had an uncredited role as a Nelwyn villager.
Gonk’s other actor was Jack Purvis, the only actor to be credited in all three of the original Star Wars films as a different character each time: In Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), he played the Chief Jawa; in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), he played Chief Ugnaught; and in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), he played Teebo. When he wasn’t acting in Star Wars movies, Purvis was in movies like Willow, Labyrinth, and Brazil.
I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!
Today’s Sci-Friday isn’t about a specific movie or TV show. Rather, let’s look at something cool and Solarpunk: The Ocean Cleanup is an IRL way that people are undoing the damage to our precious home, Earth.
The Ocean Cleanup aims to clean up what is already polluting our oceans through means of a passive fleet of systems in the ocean gyres. They’re also working on a system to stop riverine plastic on its way to the ocean. The extracted ocean plastic is shipped to shore for recycling into durable products, with the aim of funding future cleanup. Watch the video below to understand how it works.
As previously discussed, Solarpunk is an offshoot of cyberpunk sci-fi, a genre that says both here’s what our future needs to look like and here’s how we can get there. Now, more than ever, w need this. we need more ideas that live within the summit of our knowledge and beyond the pit of our fears. We need affirmations of human aspiration, instead of alienation.
There are other benefits to looking at the world with hope, instead of fear. We’ll talk about that later, but in the meantime please enjoy this project and feel welcomed to look into other ways people are making the world better right now. No matter what, I hope you have a great weekend!
Most people equate ‘The Black Hole’ with the Disney cult classic from 1979 but that’s not what I’m showing you today. Rather, I want you to enjoy this short about a man who discovers a real-life portal a la Wile E Coyote and it ends with a darkly comic twist. Watch!
There are many Dust films and I can’t vouch for all their content – I do watch the ones I post here and if they’re okay for kids to watch then I’ll include them. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!
Here’s why you want to know more about the visual effects in Back to the Future. You might have asked yourself: how did they get the hoverboards to hover? Did they use CGI to make a DeLorean to fly? How many people were involved in helping Doc Brown achieve temporal displacement? Kick back and watch this Part 1 of 2 episode where VFXCool breaks down the visual effects used in making the Back to the Future trilogy.
This of course is near to my heart – I spent several teenage years as an utter BTTF nerd. I stopped counting how many times I’d re-watched the movies and re-read the silly novelizations. I still have an OUTATIME license plate somewhere in my closet and pictures of me next to the production DeLorean from Universal Studios. Robert Zemeckis is a genius storyteller, and he re-wrote the scifi genre in 1985 when he produced a silly movie about a lonely kid, a mad scientist and a funny looking car that only needed to reach 88Mph to take us to a new universe.
The deeper you go into the VFX history of Back to the Future, the more you learn. For example, Michael Fink was a small contributor to BTTF, but made a huge impact. “I was in the art department one day in a conversation with Robert Zemeckis, Larry Paull, and Todd Hallowell — who was an art director at that time, and we were talking about the Flux Capacitor — where would it go, how big, and what would be best for the story. Robert said ‘I just need a better name for this prop. An actor’s got to be able to say it, an actor can’t say these words and sell it. It needs a better name.’
“I had worked on China Syndrome which is about a nuclear reactor melting down, and I had learned a little about nuclear energy. I said, ‘In a nuclear reactor, there is a term called ‘neutron flux’. It could be…’ I got that far, and Robert and I both said at the same time, ‘flux capacitor.’ Robert said, ‘That’s it… flux capacitor!’ So that is how it got its name — Robert blending neutron flux and temporal field capacitor into ‘Flux Capacitor’. It got named through that conversation about that device in the art department.”
So even though this Sci-Friday is about the visual effects in Back to the Future, something bears repeating. Scifi makes the right kids feel heard, and seen. That’s important for young people that feel like no one understands them. I’ll talk more about that later. In the meantime, have a great weekend, and watch out for that Biff Tannen. I hear he’s trouble.
Look, I get it – you’re still mad about Star Wars: the Last Jedi. But rather than discussing what I think is good about the movie, let’s have some fun on this Sci-Friday. Kick back, and enjoy a blooper reel from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Come for Daisy Ridley, stay for Mark Hamill’s ‘Grandpa Simpson’ impression:
In case you’re wondering, yes – I loved TLJ. Not a great film, but a perfect movie. Hit a lot of great storytelling notes and should be appreciated for what it is in the context of our toxic scifi fandom. I hope you enjoy this Sci-Friday and dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend!
I had some fun last week on Twitter with the release of a new Dune movie trailer. What would a bad fan theory of Dune be? I did a round-up of bad Dune fan theories on Twitter and collected them for Sci-Friday. Please enjoy these and feel free to add your own.
The worm dies at the end
For the ‘pain box’ scene, @RealChalamet researched mental torment by watching all five seasons of Mama June: From Not to Hot.
The butler did it.
Frodo and Bilbo have The Ring and they need to throw into Mt. Dune.
They needed someone to act like a sexual predator for the role of the Baron, so they originally offered the role to Harvey Weinstein
Dune’s promotional tie-ins include LASIK surgery renaming itself to lasgun surgery.
Dune has a breakfast cereal coming out called Arrakis Flakes
The original Dune script had Will Smith recording the title song at the end.
Dune is really The Love Boat but in the desert
To promote Dune, @RealChalamet will feel true spice agony during his appearance on Hot Ones #Dune #BadDuneFanTheories
When we first meet Princess Irulan, she’s wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Atreides in the streets, Harkonnen in the sheets.’
On Arakis, they play hockey but instead of ice all they have is sand and the worms eat everyone who tries to play.
The Dune action figure playset comes with 100 lbs of sand you can bury your friends in!
Will include ‘Scooby Doo’ guest appearances including the cast of Friends, BTS, and Ellen DeGeneres
Cinnamon rebranded as ‘Melange,’ Starbucks quickly rebrands PSP drinks as ‘Arrkis Spice Lattes’
Bene Gesserit is an anagram for ‘beer signer’ – use it to get 10% off your movie ticket purchase
So there you have it, a round-up of bad Dune fan theories that we can use to celebrate this classic scifi tale releasing into a larger movie epic. Will fans love it, or hate it? If they hate it, you may wish to make use of an emotional scifi crisis plan I originally created for the Rise of Skywalker. I hope you enjoy this dump of fun scifi stuff and take some time over the long holiday weekend to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
Some Fantasy / Sci-fi artwork for your Sci-Friday. No major themes or ideas, just good clean fun science fiction stuff. Words communicate ideas, but art communicates emotions. You’ll probably catch a few while looking at these:
In the immortal words of Bob Ross, I tell people, ‘You can do this.’ And they write back and say, ‘You were right. I can do this. And now I believe I can do anything.’ If you’re learning how to make clouds, or write a story, or just build your life instead of watching it collapse, you’re my kind of people. This Fantasy / Sci-fi artwork is just part of the fun Science Fiction stuff we like to share at Inkican. I hope you enjoy this collection, and also that you have a great weekend. <3
Now, for this Sci-Friday, please enjoy a collection of Princess Bride Reaction GIFs for your social media/email/texting pleasure. As a fantasy movie, The Princess Bride is one of those beautiful ‘blurred lines’ movies that contains many things to enjoy: the sword fights, the dialogue, the drama, and the comedy. I’ll talk more about ‘blurred lines’ movies later, but this is something I think a lot about while working on novels like Mesh.
Enough talk, it’s time to dig into these Princess Bride Reaction GIFs. Have fun!
In fact, here are some fun facts about The Princess Bride you may have forgotten:
In order to create the Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin trained for months with Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson (who also choreographed Star Wars). Every spare moment on set was spent practicing. Eventually, when they showed Rob Reiner the swordfight for the movie, he was underwhelmed and requested that it be at least three minutes long rather than the current one minute. They added steps to the set, watched more swashbuckling movies for inspiration, re-choreographed the scene, and ended up with a three minute and 10 second fight which took the better part of a week to film from all angles.
William Goldman came up with the title of the novel based on what his daughters requested in terms of ideas for his next novel, one suggested he write his next book about a princess while the other suggested a book about a bride. He then coined the title “The Princess Bride” for the novel.
The video baseball game the Grandson is playing during the first scene is “Hardball” produced by Accolade, Inc., in 1985. It was widely available in the mid-1980s for the Commodore 64 computer system. It was a one or two-player game. The sound was not from the actual game, but later added.
The film tested better than every other movie of that year other than Back to the Future (1985). Consequently, there seems to be some bitterness on William Goldman’s part that it didn’t make more money. He blames the studio for not knowing how to sell it.
Will we ever see another Reaction Gif collection this good? Inconceivable! You can, however, dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.
Not sure if you heard or not, Dune’s release date has been pushed back to October 22, 2021. That’s disappointing, but it gives me a chance to finish reading Dune before the movie comes out so I can say ‘the book was better.’ To honor the movie and scifi in general calls for some fun scifi stuff, so the Dune memes must flow!
What’s Dune about, you ask? Originally, Dune was ‘a 1965 science-fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. Dune is set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which various noble houses control planetary fiefs. It tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. While the planet is an inhospitable and sparsely populated desert wasteland, it is the only source of melange, or “the spice,” a drug that extends life and enhances mental abilities. Melange is also necessary for space navigation, which requires a kind of multidimensional awareness and foresight that only the drug provides. As melange can only be produced on Arrakis, control of the planet is thus a coveted and dangerous undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.
I’ll talk more about this later, but I’m struck by how modern the writing of Dune is. Great pacing, minimal exposition. Like Jules Verne before him, Frank Herbert had the foresight to avoid bogging his readers down with details. Give me action, give me stuff happening. I try to do the same thing in my writing, and it’s inspired by great authors like Herbert and Verne.
So the Dune memes must flow! I hope you enjoy this dump of fun scifi stuff and take some time over the long holiday weekend to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years.