H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man 1933

One of the most common fantasy powers to have – arguably right up there with flying and super strength – is the power of invisibility. Long before Harry Potter got his invisibility cloak or Susan Storm was given the ability to make herself invisible, H.G. Wells introduced modern popular culture to the double-sided coin this power could hold. Years after Wells wrote his book “The Invisible Man,” Universal Studios adapted the story into a film with Claude Rains, which spawned several inferior sequels. Throughout the years, our fascination with invisibility continued to show, in modern versions of the story by John Carpenter (Memoirs of an Invisible Man) and Paul Verhoeven (Hollow Man) as well as elements of other films like the goofy sci-fi invisible Aston Martin in Die Another Day. In fact, invisibility shows up so much in movies that it got me thinking about it more than I ever did walking past the girls’ shower room while I was in high school. Could a person really ever become invisible?

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War of the Worlds 2005

With Ebola ravaging West Africa, and flu season quickly approaching, I can’t help but think about infectious diseases and how I will survive. In troubled times like these, I turn to movies for reassurance. No, I’m not talking about watching Outbreak and realizing that saving the world from an airborne Ebola-like pandemic is as simple as catching a monkey in the suburbs, or watching Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and realizing that bats and pigs (and Gwyneth Paltrow) are the worst biological enemies known to man. Instead, I look to more traditional science fiction and realize that while diseases lay waste to large segments of the human population, they may also be our saving grace from alien invasion. After all, that’s the plan that H.G. Wells laid out in “War of the Worlds,” which was adapted into films in 1953 and 2005. While Wells (along with George Pal and later Steven Spielberg) warned us of potential dangers from life on other planets, he also assured us that our own microbes might keep us safe from atmospheric intruders. After all, it was these microscopic organisms that disabled and eventually wiped out the invading Martians. And that got me thinking: Could the microbes here on Earth save us from an alien invasion?

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Vasconcelos Library Doc

This month’s issue of “Wired” magazine features a very lengthy, in-depth article by Stephen Levy in which the author interviews Google’s Larry Page. It covers all of the massive projects the company is undertaking, from a car that drives itself to the Google Books project, which still aims to scan every book in existence and create a repository of human knowledge that is indexed, searchable, and portable. But as benevolent as that may seem on surface value, Ben Lewis’s Google and the World Brain takes a hard look at the Books project itself, the ideas behind it, and the proponents and opponents the company faces in the battle over digitalization of the printed world. The “World Brain” part of the title comes from a collection of essays H.G. Wells wrote in the late 1930s where he described a World Encyclopedia that would be free to everyone and full of all information.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Is this the human race of the future? If so, why do they keep getting tricked into an underground cavern to be eaten by other humanoids? H.G. Wells’s classic tale about traveling into the past and future gets a powerful adaptation, and that adaptation gets a deep-throatedly narrated trailer. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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Hopefully 2009 prepared you for brilliant science fiction. Back in 1936, it’s Christmas in Everytown, and there’s talk of war coming to their doorsteps.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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