Classic SF - The SF Trivia Archive - Answers 2

(16) MAYBE ONLY HIS HAIRDRESSER KNOWS FOR SURE

This is a question that's long been debated about the film, and the answer is that there is no answer. As director Ridley Scott has noted on many occasions, the film was meant to be ambiguous on this point. In the original theatrical release, there are few details that suggest Deckard was indeed a replicant. (One detail: Deckard's eyes glow faintly red in several scenes.) In the director's cut version, a scene in which Deckard dreams of a unicorn was reinserted by director Scott. Many fans believe this scene proves Deckard was a replicant.

(17) ELECTRIC SHEEP

Blade Runner was based on the Phillip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? The screenplay was written in various stages by several individuals before and during production but is officially credited to Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. The film differs dramatically from the original story and inspired two sequel novels--The Edge Of Human and Replicant Night, both written by K. W. Jeter. The novels were deservedly panned by most critics and fans. Westwood Studios released a very good Blade Runner game for the PC in 1997.

Check out the official Web site at http://www.westwood.com/games/bladerunner/index.html

(18) TITAN

Titan A.E.

(19) WHEN YOUR KIDS ARE FUNNIER THAN YOU

Kristen Gore kept a low profile during the 2000 presidential campaign of her father Al, occasionally providing him material in an attempt to dispel Pop's image as a dud. After graduating Harvard, she headed for the land of opportunity and porn capital of the known world, Los Angeles, and started scribbling scripts, eventually landing work on the latest Matt Groening animated series, "Futurama." Not surprisingly, an animated Al showed up in last year's season finale of "Futurama," along with Gary Gygax and Stephen Hawking.

(20) KEEPING THE DICE ROLLING FOR OVER 25 YEARS
Those distinctions all belong to the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, which is in the midst of a sort of renaissance. The release of updated manuals--the heart of this fantasy role-playing game--have led to back problems and whining amongst Amazon.com book pickers, and the anticipation surrounding the upcoming "Dungeons and Dragons" film (starring Jeremy Irons) borders on frightening. All this to the chagrin of Orthodox religious types who are against the glorification of violence and the occult.
(21) CANADIANS ARE PEOPLE TOO

Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," a reproductive rights dystopia, tells the story of young Offred the Handmaid, one of the few remaining women with their fertility undamaged by pollution and radiation. The success of Atwood's story inspired a less successful 1990 film version starring Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall.

(22) NOT MR. FURIOUS, BUT CLOSE
When we stumbled across the name "Captain Nice," we knew we were on to something ("Captain Nice" was NBC's offering, surprisingly coming from the mind of Buck Henry). "Mr. Terrific," from CBS, featured a superhero whose powers derived from a pill that allowed him one hour per day of crime fighting vim. Surprisingly, today's pill-soaked culture believes that a pill-popping superhero provides a bad role model for the kids, leaving "Mr. Terrific" banned from syndication.
(23) REMEMBER THE GARBAGE BARGE
Being the scion of one of science fiction's royalty (Frank Herbert), Brian Herbert thought it was a good idea to cloak his first science fiction novel in satire. 1983's "Sidney's Comet" is a comical look at a future Earth where unemployment is solved by a division of labor taken to ludicrous degrees. The action of the story is propelled by the threat from a comet made of human garbage that disgruntled aliens have amassed from the plentiful trash humans have launched into space in their brilliant "out of sight, out of mind" waste management policy.
(24) SEEING GREATNESS BEFORE IT SLAPS YOU UPSIDE THE HEAD
In 1966, Williams launched the first U.S. magazine dedicated to the coverage of rock and roll, titled "Crawdaddy." He was also one of first to appreciate the genius of Philip K. Dick, leading him to a position in the P. K. Dick Society. After Dick's untimely death, Williams became the literary executor of Dick's estate, releasing a book titled "Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick," which aimed at providing a framework for understanding Dick's work during his last decade.
(25) EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD
Last time we asked you to name the world-famous author whose 1966 science fiction novel, "The Waltz Invention," was outside his typical oeuvre. Russian-born Vladimir Nabokov gained the world's ear with his 1955 novel of man/child love, "Lolita," taking a perfectly good girl's name and making it a metaphor for "temptress." "The Waltz Invention" was one of his few science fiction titles (though there was a vein of his writing that tended toward fantasy) in which the protagonist invents an atomic device that he naturally uses to threaten apocalypse.
(26) SKINNING CATS ON MULTIPLE LEVELS
In case that wasn't enough, we added that "Hegira" was his first novel. Greg Bear has really burrowed himself into the fabric of American science fiction through technologically sound writing and well-placed proposals. Bear has tackled everything from end-of-the-world scenarios ("The Forge of God") to societies imbedded with the science of nanotechnology ("Queen of Angels"), to list just two of his many achievements.
(27) UP THERE WITH THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE
Here is the multiple-choice question from last time--"The Philadelphia Experiment" was: A) the U.S. military's introduction of the beret to the standard uniform, B) a 1943 naval experiment into Einstein's Unified Field Theory, C) a formulaic 1984 movie about time travel, or D) the term used when referring to Will Smith's career. Both B and C were correct. The "real" Philadelphia Experiment involved the Navy's attempt (successful by many accounts) to render a battleship invisible using techniques derived from Einstein's U.F.T. The story was kept alive by Bermuda Triangle "authority" Charles Berlitz, whose book, "The Philadelphia Experiment," is the most well-known account, a compelling piece of science fiction pawned off as government cover-up. Or is it? Okay, it isn't.
(28) JOHN GALT IS SMARTER THAN YOU
"Atlas Shrugged" is about 800 pages of escalating drama, the sole purpose of which is to convince readers that the world would be much better off if everyone would just quit worrying about those without brains enough to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. We have to admit that we dug this book when we read it as impressionable twenty-somethings. She weaves her Objectivist philosophy deeply into this story of scrupulous scientific genius versus sneaky bureaucratic mediocrity. She's undoubtedly turning in Bill Gates' grave.
(29) TOXIC AVENGERS
This one might surprise you--it was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." At the time, this was the most successful independently produced film in history. The film--which used live action and puppetry (provided by the Jim Henson Workshop)--succeeded because it was actually all right. All we have to say is, what happened to those radioactively transformed amphibians? We could use some junk-food eating, superhero butt kicking here in these difficult days of the 21st century.
(30) RUSSIAN STYLE
"Solaris" was billed as the Soviet answer to Kubrick/Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey," a bit of marketing coattail riding more than an insightful review. There are similarities--both deal with the subject of man's encounters with alien intelligence--but each film winds up in a very different place. Tarkovsky's film--an unusually faithful translation of Lem's novel--is a triumph when you consider the circumstances artists faced while working during the twilight of the Soviet Union.