Exploring Tomorrow: Meaningful Science Fiction and Life's Big Questions
By Mikel J. Wisler
Can science fiction save the world? Author and filmmaker, Mikel J. Wisler, explores the themes and ideas presented in a wide range of sci-fi movies and books from various time periods. Convinced that sci-fi is the most naturally philosophical genre, Wisler invites everyone from die-hard fans to casual observers to dive into meaningful conversations about how sci-fi helps us think about our future, brings up challenging scenarios, and forces us to ask big questions.
I light of the tragic collapse of the large radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory, I'm needing a bit of a pick-me-up. It can be quite difficult as a science fiction author to remain hopeful about human progress when we allow such an amazing tool for scientific discovery to literally fall apart. In this episode, I go digging for some suggestions on hopeful sci-fi books and movies to check out. Along the way, I notice an interesting trend.
Check out the Votary Films podcast I was a guest on, and which I mention in this episode: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0cAulft2lwn2cV2EAeweZ9?si=b61L_bfkSimc16v0UyJo9A
Read about the Arecibo Observatory Collapse here: https://www.wired.com/story/the-arecibo-observatory-is-more-than-just-a-telescope/
Grab a copy of one of my sci-fi novels or short stories here: https://www.mikelwisler.com/books-etc
When I first heard of Valerie Valdes' Latinx Space Opera novel, called Chilling Effect, I just had to check it out. Now that the sequel, Prime Deceptions, is out too, of course I had to dive in and continue soaking in Valdes' interstellar, off-beat, hilarious and yet heart-felt saga. Plus, there're psychic kittens. So there's that. In this episode, I explore what has drawn me into reading Valdes' sci-fi and why I think you should read her fantastic novels too. Learn more about Valerie Valdes by visiting her site http://candleinsunshine.com/
Wanna keep up with my latest news, check out some of my books and short stories? Stop by https://www.mikelwisler.com/
Why do Sci-Fi and Fantasy get lumped together? Should they be lumped together? In this episode, I bring an old friend and Fantasy expert Andrew Gilbert. From his work teaching humanities and philosophy at Colorado University to playing D&D on his podcast with Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Lost) Gilbert knows a thing or two about Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and how we become better people through creating narratives together.
Be sure to check out his D&D Podcast, Goats and Dragons.
On Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/goats-dragons-a-dungeons-dragons-podcast/id1459452748
On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6aD0o0OOHm9iUWqBf4VDIQ
Curious about my blog or books? Check out https://www.mikelwisler.com/
Why is The Martian a breath of fresh air to sci-fi? Is it really a love letter to science? Who's the bad guy in this story?
This novel and movie helped me survive one of the toughest seasons of my life. Why is that? Well, let me tell you all about it and why I keep coming back to the character of Mark Watney as a role model for perseverance and creative problem solving.
Adam Savage interviews Andy Weir: https://youtu.be/5SemyzKgaUU
Adam Savage, Astronaut Chris Hadfield, and Andy Weir Q&A: https://youtu.be/Wq3xtZ8AjPE
Let's dive into one of the best science fiction movies ever made, Arrival. It's parallel stories unfolding outside of linear time give us a lot to unpack as I reflect on why it meant so much to me to see this film the moment it came out and dive into why it remains utterly relevant in uncertain times. What will we let dictate our choices? Fear? Love? Let's discuss.
How can a novel written by a scientist during the Cold War still be so moving and incredible? How could it give birth to a lasting science fiction movie that has aged well? Let's dive into Carl Sagan's "Contant." This authentically rendered exploration of humans coming into contact with intelligent life from beyond our solar system was one of the first profoundly philosophical movies to make a lasting mark on my soul. Let's dig into why that is and why we need more stories like "Contact" in our current age of political and religious divisiveness. What can we learn from Sagan's exploration of humanity's quest for meaning and significance?
Read more about how "Contact" inspired me to write meaningful science fiction here: https://www.mikelwisler.com/single-post/2017/03/03/contact-conversations-across-ideoligical-divides
Let's explore the first two novels by Annalee Newitz. From a big-pharma-controlled futuristic world with autonomous robots to a twisted tale of time travel, Newitz is a fresh voice in science fiction literature that is worth check out. Whether addressing corporate greed, ethical questions around human-robot coexistence, or giving us a deep glimpse into a world reshaped by those who would subjugate and silence women, Newitz books are rich with themes worth exploring.
Read more at www.mikelwisler.com.