Prophets of Science Fiction

The Science Channel has another great new series that should delight speculative fiction fans -- Prophets of Science Fiction.  As their Web site describes, "Each episode of the upcoming series...will focus on how the great minds of Science Fiction imagined our future for us, and how some, in turn, made their fantasies real."

The first episode looks at how the teenaged Mary Shelley "invented" the genre with her groundbreaking novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus.  It explores the scientific experimentation of her day that inspired her and the storytelling contest that motivated her, as well as the romantic and ghost-fantasy-horror tales that were her foundation.  With dramatic re-enactments and crisp computer-generated imagery, the series looks stellar.  The commentary by host and producer Ridley Scott and a long list of notable guests, including Kim Stanley Robinson and Michio Kaku, brings great insight to the already fascinating look at how these imaginative dreamers came up with their ideas that not only speculated on the future, but also held a mirror up to our past and present.

Upcoming episodes will explore other great science fiction creators: Philip K. Dick, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein, and George Lucas.  I look forward to even more episodes that will hopefully examine the work of Gene Roddenberry, William Gibson, and others.

The subject matter is fascinating for long-time fans like me and a great introduction to the masters of science fiction for newbies who hopefully will seek out their work and become fans themselves.