Author Archives: robertappleton

Sci-Fi and the Sense of Wonder

It’s a vast, empty desert vista. A binary sunset bleeds twilight colours onto a lonely moisture farm. Enter young Luke Skywalker, on the threshhold of adulthood, unfulfilled, yearning for a life of adventure in the stars. He knows he’s destined to be out there, but duty’s holding him back. Most of his friends have gone. […]

Salvage This

So the other day I was watching Danny Boyle’s SF disaster movie ‘Sunshine’ for the umpteenth time—not because it’s great, though it does have great moments—and I realised why I have such a love/hate relationship with this film (and others like it). It starts off brilliantly. The multicultural crew of the Icarus II is en […]

Borderline – Free SF Novella on Kindle

Because there’s nothing like a blast of SF adrenaline to get an author’s creative juices flowing. I pretty much ground to a halt last year, toiling away on a hugely complicated steampunk project that sapped my stamina to nought. So I decided to take a month off to write something just for fun—a stripped-down, hell-for-leather getaway chase across an […]

Hi-Octane for Breakfast: The SFR of Nathalie Gray

When you hear the words ‘Science Fiction Romance’, what type of scene automatically springs to mind? Is it two lovers floating in zero-g, with or without sparkly bedclothes, for a well-earned HEA? Is it a pair of doomed friends-turned-lovers aiming their cripped flier into the munitions hold of an enemy base ship? Is it a […]

Sci-Fi Quiz: Movie Couples

From budding teen romances to epic love sagas that cross light-years and even alien species, the pairing of science fiction movie couples has kept us enthralled, nauseous, captivated, and eye-rollingly amused for decades now. Some take centre stage, while others bubble away in the background. The best are for the ages; the worst can suck even the most promising premise into […]

Alienation in Science Fiction

Let’s face it, the final frontier is pretty lonely. The closer we get to the stars, the father we get from home. The more “plugged in” to our technology we become, the more isolated we feel. The more answers we find, the more questions we raise. It’s the ultimate alienation, which is one of the […]

Catching Fire – The Odds in its Favor

Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Constantine) is currently shooting the sequel to one of 2012’s most anticipated, most scrutinised, and ultimately most applauded blockbuster releases—The Hunger Games, based on the worldwide bestseller by Suzanne Collins. Lawrence stepped into the science fiction franchise on the heels of Gary Ross, the veteran writer-director of film one, […]

Back to Verne

A century and a half later, Jules Verne’s enthusiasm for adventure remains infectious. I suspect it always will. From daring hot air balloon escapades to dazzling submarine odysseys, his speculative stories are some of the purest I’ve ever read in terms of science, curiosity, and imagination. His didactic approach to any subject he tackles fascinates […]

On Artificial Intelligence

You could say it all started with Frankenstein. Man creates lifeform using science. Lifeform yearns to be like man. Realises it can never be. Seeks to punish man. Man becomes trapped by his own creation. It’s one of the staple themes of science fiction, and one of the most popular: the revenge of technology on […]

Movie Review: Looper

Genre: Science Fiction, Action/Thriller, Time Travel Director: Rian Johnson Stars: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo In the latter half of the 21st Century, time travel is invented but is instantly made illegal. The only practitioners are criminal syndicates who send their victims back through time to be assassinated, where no record of […]