A new book from BFI publishing called 100 Science Fiction Films is out at the end of June. Writing it was both a challenge and a pleasure. On the one hand, I welcomed the chance to write a book like this as I have always been interested in the genre, ever since growing up with the numerous science fiction movies that seemed to show every weekend at the local cinemas in the 1950s. On the other, limiting the choice of films to include in the book to only 100 titles, while maintaining the kind of broad representation I wanted, was difficult.
With due allowance to the dominance of Hollywood in the production of science fiction, I sought to maintain a historical spread through every decade of film history, from Georges Méliès’s 1902 A Trip to the Moon to the present, at the same time as maintaining wide geographical coverage, with films from at least ten other countries, including the UK. And I aimed also to include examples of the different types of science fiction films – alien invasion, space opera, utopian extrapolation, and so on.
In the end, the films I discuss include ones that are indisputably canonical, such as Metropolis, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, and others that will be surprising, like Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, an assemblage of found footage, and Cabin in the Woods, more commonly seen as horror. The films range from art cinema to animation, experimental to exploitation film, but all of them share a speculative approach to their fictional worlds that make them science fiction.
Although I think I have succeeded in providing an acceptably broad representation, inevitably I have left out numerous personal and quirky favourites, as well as films that readers will feel strongly should have been included. I am interested in hearing readers’ views – perhaps there will be a sequel in the future?
So, is your favourite genre film included? If it's not in the full list here, tell us what you would include and why in the comments below.