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Shades of Beige

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This is a fairly neutral fractal, which actually makes for a really good wallpaper.  Something interesting, without getting in the way of the readability of your desktop icons.

So, I’m skimming through my RSS feeds, and I catch an article on Nat Geo about using asteroids for space travel. Without getting into the merits of the science behind the idea (pretty darned dubious, IMHO), the thing that caught my attention was the article’s oblique reference to a legendary bit of science fiction.  Namely, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

For the two people in the English speaking world who might be unfamiliar, HGttG was originally a BBC radio play, was then novelized, then turned into a BBC TV series, and eventually became a (really bad) American movie.

It has become so ubiquitous in our culture, that a Nat Geo article can reference the Vogon Constructor Fleet, and mostly just assume that it’s readership will know what they’re talking about.  And they’re probably correct in that assumption – because if you’re the type of person interested enough in science to read the Nat Geo news feed, you’re also probably the kind of person who has at least a passing familiarity with either the books, or the TV series (far fewer have actually heard the radio plays or seen the movie).

That, is a true sign of success, to be so embedded in the popular mindset that even scientists, who can be ever so pedantic in their explanations of things, use a pop culture reference in their explanation.

If you are one of the two people unfamiliar with HGttG, then stop what you’re doing right now and go out and get at least the first book in the series, or pick up a boxed set of the TV series.  Skip the movie.  It relates to the series in much the same way as the tea created by the food dispenser relates to proper English tea.  (While there will be no prize for explaining that last reference, you get bragging rights if you’re the first commenter to do so.)

2 Responses to “How to know you’ve made it as a great work of Sci-Fi…”

    Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike it? 😉

    Ding-Ding!!! Shen-wei wins the prize. And I only had to bully him into reading the post in the first place 😉

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