5 Cool Things Mars Edition

5 Cool Things – October 2015

Every month we bring you five things that we think are cool. Because that’s how we roll. You may also have this opinion once you check them out. Are you aware of cool things yourself? Let us know below!

 1. Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) By Georges Méliès

Chris: The Netflix recommendation algorithm offered up an interesting suggestion to me a few nights ago. In 1902, quirky film maker Georges Méliès created what is often touted as the first sci-fi film ever made. Its colour version – hand painted, frame by frame – was thought lost until the mid-nineties when it was found, revived, and put to a contemporary soundtrack.

The result: the kind of thing that would make an acid trip turn bad. Well-heeled geriatric explorers are shot in a bullet directly into the eye of the moon (it seems to bleed tomato sauce). Umbrellas turn into mushrooms and kill aliens in a plume of smoke. The entire experience feels like being inside Terry Gilliam’s head.

At all of fifteen minutes long, it’s worth seeing this piece of cinematic history.

And if you want to see Thomas Edison steal the idea eight years later, you can also watch A Trip to Mars.

2. Encryption

Tom: I’m really digging the new takes on alien contact that go beyond the well-trodden Fermi paradox. This includes the notion found in The Three Body Problem of whether we would to contact aliens, or that organisms would be deadly to us, like those found in Aurora. Here’s Edward Snowden talking about what he knows best: encryption and secrets. Basically, there’s a good chance that even if we were receiving communications, there’s a possibility that an advanced civilization would simply have encoded them. How frustrating!

3. EarthTV

David: My cool thing is EarthTV. This is a hub for well placed web cameras where you can watch footage from all around the world live. It also has nice time lapses. Why do I think it’s cool? Web cams have been around for ages but having a one stop hub like this means if the apocalypse comes I can watch it from the comfort of my own home.

4. The Knights of Sidonia

Mark: It’s been a few years since I delved into Japanese mech manga and anime – humans piloting giant robots to fight giant space monsters. As a kid I watched Robotech, as a uni student I devoured Neon Genesis Evangelion, now, approaching being middle aged, I’ve found the Knights of Sidonia. This is hard-sci fi meets space-adventure – cloning, genetic mutation, first contact, human photosynthesis, gravity bending, gender swapping, immortality chasing – centred around a young male fighter pilot hero (of course) and the usual struggles of making friends, keeping them alive and saving humanity from extinction. You can check it out either as the 13 volume manga or the Netflix-produced two-season anime.

5. Limetown and the The Black Tapes

Lucy: We all like Serial. Now we will collectively decide to like Limetown and The Black Tapes, both of which are essentially The War of the Worlds radio broadcast for the current age, taking style influence from creative non-fiction storytelling techniques and adapting them to the horror and science fiction genre. Not as abstract as Welcome to Night Vale and much better than Bizarre States (which still can’t seem to get its act together), The Black Tapes follows a journalist into the world of paranormal investigation, while Limetown reports on the mysterious disappearance of 300 people from the small town of Limetown, Tennessee, hinting at government conspiracy and corruption. Both are well made and include fantastic voice actors and sound production able to trick the mind into thinking it is listening to regular innocent public radio. Both are worth a listen, and don’t worry, Serial will be back soon.


That’s all for October, meet us back here in November for more of the links you need!