This is a list of the 11 inspirational science fiction novels, movies, books, comic books, music albums and animation – that have inspired me, Hal Hefner, the artist, writer and creator of Gates, an epic science fiction comic book. I’m a huge fan of science fiction and I tried to pick eleven of my favorite pieces of sc-fi entertainment, that maybe aren’t as commercially known as Star Wars or Dune or Watchmen.
As the creator of Gates an epic science fiction comic book, I have relied heavily on inspiration from many areas of the realm of science fiction. Robots, scientific experiments, war, apocalypse, animal human hybrids, politics, monsters, super computers, astronauts, the universe and oh so many things have crept in to my brain to inspire Gates.
So fasten your seat belts for a ride through the cosmos of creativity and if for some reason, not one thing on this list excites you, then you might be a zombie. And yes, as you can probably guess…no zombies made this list.
11. The Island of Doctor Moreau: A Science Fiction Novel By HG Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau has gotten a bad rap in recent years because of the awful movie adaptations attempted by Hollywood. The last disastrous try starred a fat, bloated Marlan Brando and Val Kilmer in a poorly written screenplay with special affects that were definitely not helped by that screenplay. The original book was a groundbreaking piece of writing that clearly relates to modern times. The book follows the story of Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man rescued by a passing boat. He washes up on the exotic island home of Doctor Moreau, a “mad scientist”, who creates sentient humanoid beings from live animals (via vivisection). The book deals with a number of philosophical themes that face humanity in the 21st century on large levels like pain and cruelty, the meaning of compassion, human vs. animal existence, human interference with nature and the repercussions of unchecked scientific experiments.
This was one of my favorite new titles to pop onto the scene in 2010. It’s a well drawn, spectacularly colored piece of art. Artist Joe Benitiz and Colorist Peter Steigerwald are two of the most talented people in the comic business. They are actually, two very nice guys as well. Aspen has produced a wonderful steampunk science fiction comic.
“Lady Mechanika”, is a tale about the sole survivor of a serial killer’s rampage through England. The police found her locked in an abandoned lab that was filled with corpses and body parts. Her own limbs were amputated and replaced with mechanical components. Hence the name. This is her story as she strives to find the answers to her past. Lady Mechanika is a beautiful marriage of sci-fi and the supernatural, set in Victorian England.
Moon is a well written, wonderfully directed and brilliantly acted, 2009 British science fiction drama film. The film is about a man named Sam Bell, played by Sam Rockwell, who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary mission, mining helium-3 on the far side of the Earth’s moon. It was the feature film debut of director Duncan Jones, the son of David Bowie. Sam Rockwell is amazing in this emotional ride and Kevin Spacey voices his robot companion, GERTY. If you like the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, this is right up your alley and is loaded with deep philosophical questions about science vs. nature, big business, corporate greed and the effects all these things will have on the future of outer space colonization.
8. Kraftwerk , Computer World: A Science Fiction Album
Computer World is an album of epic ground breaking proportions. It is the eighth studio album by the German electronic band Kraftwerk and was released in May 1981 in German and English. When you listen to this album you have to keep reminding yourself that it was made in 1981. This really cool album that deals with the philosophical theme of the rise of computers within society and how they relate to each other and to us. Many music critics see this album as a peak in the career of Kraftwerk and a never ending inspirational album for hundreds of musicians for years to come.
Computer Love is one of my favorite songs on the Album Computer World. This is science fiction music from 1981 for your viewing and listening pleasure.
I Have No Mouth and I must Scream is a short story written by Harlan Ellison in 1968, that takes you on a dark psychological journey of science fiction and the macabre. This story is also very much in the feel of a Twilight Zone episode or Outer Limits episode, but goes much, much further into the uncomfortable side of science fiction. It’s a post apocalyptic tale focusing on the philosophical ramifications of war and the reliance on computers. The book takes place 109 years after the complete destruction of human civilization at the hands of greed and a world war. As the war progressed, the three warring nations (US, China, & Russia) each created a super-computer capable of running the war more efficiently than humans. The machines are each referred to as “AM,” which originally stood for “Allied Mastercomputer,”. One day, one of the three computers becomes sentient, and promptly cannibalizes the other two. Upon taking control of the entire war and the world, AM carries out campaigns of mass genocide against humanity, killing off all but four men and one woman that AM has trapped inside an endless, underground complex. AM, the master computer carries an immeasurable hatred for humanity and spends every available moment torturing them. AM has not only managed to keep the humans from taking their own lives, but has made them virtually immortal inside of his bunker of pain.
There is a version of the story someone posted online that you can read here for free, but I recommend getting the story in book form.
6. Twilight Zone : Episode 7, Season 5 THE OLD MAN IN THE CAVE – Science Fiction Television Show
Rod Serling was brilliant and the Twilight Zone was a wonderful science fiction television show that can never be topped for its groundbreaking messages, stories and thought provoking look at mankind. Serling had a fantastic way of making you think about the present while watching your future. This was exactly on display in the episode, Old Man in the Cave. It stars a young James Colburn as a hardened, and soulless man trying to bully his way to survive a nuclear apocalypse. It has one of those epic Twilight Zone, twist endings as well and is a hell of a ride that explores the stupidity of mankind and brings into question the human liability to follow blindly without questioning.
5. Lunapolis: A Conspiracy Theory Focused Science Fiction Movie (Mockumentary)
Lunapolis is awesomeness that is like taking all of the conspiracy theories that callers on the late night radio show, Coast to Coast AM, sit and stress over.
This movie focuses on two documentary filmmakers who find evidence of a hidden base on the moon. In a plot to uncover the truth, they quickly become entangled in finding a secret history of earth that was meant to be long forgotten. After they have a near deadly, threatening encounter with the dangerous and occultist ‘Church of Lunology’, they flee their lives only to encounter an enigmatic man named David James. When David unravels the truth behind almost every conspiracy theory known to man, from ufo’s and the occult to time travel, immortality and a secret base on the moon.
It’s a fun ride of ufology and exhilarating science fiction and a movie that’ll get you thinking and give you a Blair Witch Project kind of feel.
4. Children of Men: A Science Fiction Movie
Children of Men is a 2006 brilliantly written and directed science fiction film that was loosely adapted from P. D. James’s 1992 novel The Children of Men. The movie was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and at first I wasn’t that excited about seeing this film. Then I watched it, was blown away and couldn’t stop thinking about it. The film takes place in 2027,where two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of a doomsday like collapse. Illegal immigrants (normal people trying to live) seek sanctuary in England, where the last capably functioning world government resides…BUT imposes oppressive immigration laws on refugees. Clive Owen plays the hero, civil servant named Theo Faron, who must help a pregnant West African refugee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) escape the chaos, to deliver her baby and give birth to a new human race. Children of Men also stars Julianne Moore and Michael Caine, who both turn in tragically epic performances alongside Owen’s brilliance. This is a great movie and a wild ride on a very realistic future.
3. Pink Floyd, Animals: A Science Fiction Musical Masterpiece
Before their was goth, techno, new wave and industrial techno–there was only Pink Floyd. If you have never heard Pink Floyd, please stop what you are doing and do so. Below I have pasted a Youtube link for what is the entire album, Animals, played to the image of the iconic album cover. I first heard the entire Animals album in high school on a record in my friend Mike’s attic. I was mesmerized by the cover, an evil looking factory with a flying pig in the sky and from here on out, I was obsessed with the history, music and creative influences of Pink Floyd. Animals was dark, Dystopian musical concept of Roger Waters, loosely based on George Orwell’s political satire story, Animal Farm. The album lyrics describe various classes of society as dogs, pigs, and sheep and the music is menacing and powerful. Completed in December 1976, Animals is a masterpiece of science fiction music and social commentary. Apart from its harsh critique of society, the album was also in part a response to the punk rock movement, which in itself was a nihilistic statement against the prevailing social and political conditions. Animals is one of my favorite albums of all time both eloquent and disturbing all in one.
2. The Animatrix: An amazing animated science fiction movie anthology
The Animatrix is a series of animated vignettes, pieced together brilliantly to each tell a tale of back-story between the 2nd and 3rd and final installments of the Matrix trilogy film series. To me, the Animatrix is the best piece of entertainment to appear from the mythos of the trilogy. Each piece is drawn, directed and has the feel of the iconic creators uniquely used for the vignette. The 2003 The Animatrix was a 2003 direct-to-video anthology film that is a compilation of nine, very strong, animated short films. If you like the Matrix, you will LOVE the Animatrix as it doesn’t have the limitations that the film has and each story has a different style of Anime or computer enhancement that is extremely well done and inspiring to anyone who loves science fiction. While in Japan, the series’ writers and directors, the Wachowski brothers, visited some of the creators of the anime films that had been a strong influence on their work. They decided to collaborate with them on a very cool piece of Transmedia storytelling which is revered by animation buffs to this day still. Most of the project’s technical production was overseen by notable figures from the world of Japanese Anime. It was a great way to explain many facets of the Matrix that time didn’t allow the movies. I give two thumbs up to this anime anthology.
Deus Irae is a brilliantly written, extremly dark, post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny. The book was first published in 1976 and to mean is one of my favorite books of all time. Deus irae means God of wrath in Latin and the name is a play on another phrase, Dies Irae, meaning Day of Wrath or Judgment Day. The book was actually based on one of Dick’s short stories, The Great C.
Dick initally began the book but realized he didn’t know enough about Christianity to finish it so he teamed up with Roger Zelazny.
Deus Irae is about the years following World War III, in which a new and powerful faith has arisen from a scorched and toxic Earth. It is a faith that embraces the architect of world wide devastation and is based on old world religion. The religious sect, (SOW) Servants of Wrath, have deified Carlton Lufteufel and re-christened him the Deus Irae (God of Wrath). In this small war torn community of what is left of Charlottesville, Utah, our story takes place. Our hero, Tibor McMasters,is an artist, ironically born without arms or legs. Through an array of prostheses, Tibor has established a far-reaching reputation as an inspired painter and “Renaissance man”. Tibor is summoned when the church commissions a grand painting depicting the Deus Irae. It then falls upon Tibor, to make a treacherous journey to find the mythical man and capture his likeness for the church. Tibor then embarks on a treacherous journey filled with strange mutants, and cannibalistic computers. The novel calls into question many things philosophically with an emphasis on examining those things we treasure as religious artifacts and their authenticity.