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Contributed by skip on January 14th, 2002

Science Fiction

"I regard science fiction as the entry drug into the psychedelic world. If by nine, ten, eleven or twelve, you're reading science fiction, then you're probably lost to normality."
-Terence McKenna

The hippy generation was the first to grow up aware of the awesome power unleashed upon this planet by our scientists and politicians. We learned the wonders of science had a downside too. So science fiction became our guide to the endless possible scenarios that we could create for ourselves.

From mutant monsters to alien warnings to intergalactic expeditions to robotic civilizations, sci-fi explores what could be, how we would handle it and what that reveals about us. It answers the most intriguing question; What if? Hippies raised with the Star Trek meme know that there is a better future out there, we just have to make it happen.

Science Fiction Books

Science Fiction Movies
Many science fiction movies echo hippie themes, and perhaps influenced the movement.
    • Invaders from Mars - The original was frightening in the 50's. Imagine: Your parents are under alien control and they don't love you anymore and you're next! Was this a premonition of the "alienation" our generation was soon to feel? Real creepy scenes underground with aliens. The remake sucks.
    • The Day the Earth Stood Still - Michael Rennie as the alien ambassador, Patricia Neal as the woman who utters the fateful words "Gort, Klaatu Barada Nicto", and saves the earth. Aliens want us to stop our nuclear weapons programs (sound familiar?), and threaten our annihilation if we don't. Excellent film, well acted, good screenplay, and Gort is scary. Christ analogy with Rennie as Jesus and Gort, as ... you guessed it an avenging God.
    • Forbidden Planet - This fabulous telling of the Tempest story starring Leslie Nielsen and Walter Pidgeon holds up well today. The story of a great civilization undermined by it's animal desires. Great effects, futuristic sets and a cool robot make this a classic. O.K., I'm ready for that brain boost now!
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey - You must be a hippie if you saw this more than once with appropriate enhancement. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrik combined to make a stunning portrait of man in space. Can we trust a machine capable of thought? Good effects for its day. It still plays well for the 59th time.
    • Silent Running - Starring Bruce Dern as the caretaker of the only remaining forests in domes on a spacecraft. Given orders to destroy the domes, he makes the ultimate sacrifice. Ecologically timely for 1971. Music by Joan Baez.
    • Star Trek Series - The movies like the TV shows present a set of values to which every good hippie can aspire. themes include peace, tolerance, non-violence (only use those photon torpedos when you have to!), interracial and interspecies cooperation, responsibility for all life and even economic equality. They focus on the good uses for science. Travel to brave new worlds, meet other weird life forms, and if they don't kill you or eat you, you can befriend them. But remember the prime directive!
Science Fiction TV Shows Rod Serling's screenplays (and others) run the gamut from amusing aliens to terrifying children to fascism. Well written and acted these stories influenced young minds to ponder situations that could only exist in that place slightly removed from reality - the Twilight Zone. With the assistance of substances organic and inorganic, hippies were soon to explore such realms far removed from the everyday. Lots of social commentary.
Outer Limits - A bit more out there than the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits focused less on social commentary, with more emphasis on cheap special effects and the truly bizarre.
Star Trek - The TV series which spawned a cult. Are trekkies hippies? The shows evolved from the fisticuffs of Captain Kirk to the tolerant diplomatic ways of Captain Piccard.
X-Files - Another cult series. Very suspenseful and weird. The theme of government conspiracies and cover-ups is standard hippie fare. Bizarre creatures and aliens add interest. Mulder's willingness to put his life on the line in his quest for truth is inspiring.

Babylon 5- This show also has a cult following. The ongoing intricate plot is very absorbing. Strong alien characters make the show, along with excellent special effects.
MST3K - Mystery Science Theater 3000. An off-the-wall spoof of old scifi and horror movies. Mike and his android friends provide obscure commentary that will have you laughing your ass off.

The Sci-Fi Channel - In addition to showing some of the best Sci-Fi movies and TV series, the Sci-Fi Channel now has several new series worth checking out.



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