"Once considered niche, science fiction is now all around us. The genre explores the mysteries of what is still to be discovered, and the power of human ingenuity to unravel them. Whilst doing so, it has created a rich iconography within the pages of novels and comic books and on the big screen, uncovering countless worlds, and revealing the hopes and threats of what lies just beyond our reach. This ever-elusive horizon and the will to approach it lies at the core of science-fiction.
"Depending on the period, the journeys taken by science-fiction can transport us to mysterious lands, cosmic expanses, megacities, virtual universes and within ourselves. As the real world seems to become smaller, science fiction fills in the blanks of the maps, looking for the next boundary to cross, and unveiling hidden dimensions. Today, science fiction's ever-growing corpus, wide-ranging in its themes and ambition, sometimes stills wears – ironically enough – its 20th century attire: lost lands filled with dinosaurs; swashbuckling space exploits to rescue princesses; spandex costumes to disguise the perpetrator of impossible but heroic deeds.
"As we begin to recognise the long-lasting influence of science fiction upon contemporary culture, it feels to be – alongside us – on the cusp of taking a bold leap into the 21st century, encouraging us to embark on a journey that is truly into the unknown."
So says the accompanying blurb to the Barbican's current exhibition on science fiction.
Yesterday, during a rare day off, while his older brother was at school, I took my two-year-old boy to see all the robots, spaceships and terrifying space alien props that make up much of this exhibit. It's jam-packed with models, drawings, films and books from over 100 years of science fiction – much of which would be easily recognisable to even a casual fan.
Here are some of the photos I was able to take in between cuddling my son and telling him that everything was going to be okay.
|Some original Ray Harryhausen maquettes|
|Masks from Enemy Mine, Close Encounters and Species|
|Harvester bio suit from Independence Day|
|A Harkonnen chair by H.R. Giger for Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealised Dune project|
|And a close-up of the headrest (for fans of servo-skulls)|
|Starfighter from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century|
|Spock's space suit from the first Star Trek film|
|Twiki from Buck Rogers|
|Sonny from the movie iRobot and, behind him, Robot B-9 from 1960s TV show Lost in Space|
Of course, these photos hardly do the exhibition justice. There were plenty of other interesting props and costumes throughout the exhibition, not to mention all the films, books and artists' installations dotted around the place. So if you're interested and you want to see it for yourself you could start by checking out the Barbican website here.