The Spectacular Now: Science and Technology

Can you imagine a life without your phone or your laptop; not getting to watch your favourite show after a long day of work or go out without your earphones?  It seems quite daunting to entertain the mere idea of being without our technological essentials these days. Technology has certainly come a long way, from the oldest computers taking approximately the space of a large room to sitting on top of our laps! People can now order food, access maps and routes, make their cars move with a click of a button without them sitting inside it, carry out various medical procedures, and do many other things which might have seemed bizarre fifty years ago.

It is worth noting that this fast paced development in science and technology has brought many benefits to society as a whole and has made lives easier.

We have all been drawn towards this new-age technology and its advances continue to fascinate us each day! There have been many attempts to mull over the extent of technology through sci-fi books, movies and shows which range from stories of space battles and its exploits to contemplating future scenarios of AI domination. With their futuristic set up which give us delusions of technological grandeur, these features have come to make a name for themselves.

Here we provide a curated list of such movies, shows and books for our fellow sci-fi junkies:

1. Frankenstein (1823)

One of the first novels to test the waters of science fiction in an era as early as the nineteenth century by Mary Shelley, mulls over the line between Man and his creation. The story traces the life of a crazed scientist, who pushes the boundaries of experimentation to create a monster made with unorthodox procedures of body parts taken from those who are already dead. The book then explores how the scientist’s creation haunts him throughout the course of the novel and questions the boundaries of scientific experimentation.

2. Dune (1965)

A novel by Frank Herbert, Dune tells the story of an interstellar society which is feudal in nature and houses various planetary fiefs controlled by other planets. When the family of Paul Atreides accepts the feudal services and stewardship of the planet Arrakis, things get intensely volatile as it is the only planet that can produce the drug, mélange, which extends life and enhances mental abilities. The book follows the tale of the struggle that ensues in the bid to control Arrakis.

3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The movie traces the journey of mankind from the earliest humans on earth in the African desert to the space mission developments in the year 2001. In the year 2001, Man is shown to be surviving by being co-dependent on computers and machines. From mission to the Moon to Jupiter, the movie envisions the technological space advancements in 2001.

4. Blade Runner (1982)

Depicting the future, the movie highlights the year 2019 where mankind has mastered genetic manufactured beings called replicants that were banned from Earth following a mutiny comprised of violence and mass casualty. These replicants are physically similar to humans however lack emotions and empathy, and a unit of specialist police units – blade runners – are given the task to eliminate these escaped replicants from Earth.

5. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix traces a futuristic dystopian reality in which humanity is trapped inside a “Matrix”, a simulated reality. This state of humanity’s doomed status is brought on by machines and artificial intelligence that are capable of thought. The movie and the sequels that follow its franchise maps the protagonist, Neo’s fight with these artificial intelligence systems in order to get mankind out of that artificial simulation.

6. The Martian (2011)

This book by Andy Weir set in the year 2035, is an outer space fictional story of an astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on the planet Mars after his crew leaves him on the planet thinking him to be dead. The story catalogues the journey of the astronaut as he plans to survive and sustain himself till the time a crew comes to rescue him.

7. Black Mirror (2011-2017)

A Modern British anthology, shows the many outcomes of the rapidly advancing technology and its consequences in the future. Addressing a new issue regarding technological developments in each of its episodes, the series vividly describes a world with high-tech systems and what it could mean for humanity.

8. Interstellar (2014)

Set in a future where Earth is slowly on the verge of becoming uninhabitable, the movie explores the concept of space travel in search of an alternate planet which can possibly sustain life. The movie explores the concepts of travelling through a wormhole and time-warp. One of the most well-received movies of the time, it contemplates on possible outer space exploits that could be in store for humanity.

9. Altered Carbon (2018)

A futuristic series based on the cyberpunk novel by Richard K. Morgan, the show depicts a time when interstellar travel is common. Set more than 300 years into the future, it explores the digitization of consciousness thereby, making the concept of death a redundant one. The story follows the revival of a prisoner in a different body to solve a murder mystery. 

10. Where Will Man Take Us?

This book by Atul Jalan garners a thorough study of the current technology in the world and also attempts to foresee the future with the relentless growth in the field of science. From advancements in the kind of pills that would extend one’s life span to pills for happiness, the book gives a comprehensive understanding of what the future holds for society and humanity as a whole. With a spectacular intersection of technology, scientific discoveries and its impacts on the present and the future, this work makes for an exceptional read for avid sci-fi readers!