Science Fiction

Space, the final frontier. This is the Sci-Fi list of the starship SLO County Library. Its mission: to enable you to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before. [start the theremin music here]

2001: A Space Odyssey

A science fiction film which moves from the pre-historic birth of intelligence toward the emergence of man as pure thought somewhere in the future. At least that’s one interpretation. There are dozens of other ways to interpret this Stanley Kubrick classic.


Terror begins when the crew of a spaceship investigates a transmission from a desolate planet and discovers a life form that is perfectly evolved to annihilate mankind. But the Alien has never met Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) before. Followed by several sequels, though the second one – Aliens - is every bit as good as the first.

Back to the Future

Marty McFly is your average 17-year-old slacker who happens to be friends with an inventor, Doc Brown. Doc's latest invention is a time machine that ends up transporting Marty back to 1955 where he must bring his parents together so that he will exist when he gets back to his own time. This movie is the main reason the DeLorean is still remembered today. Check out the two sequels as well.

Blade Runner

In the year 2019 in Los Angeles, replicants, genetically engineered human beings of superior strength and intelligence, commandeer a space shuttle to Earth. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a police officer who hunts down and terminates replicants is coerced into exterminating the replicants.


A bureaucratic, Orwellian dystopia where renegade plumbers do undocumented ductwork fixes and where a typo can cause the state sponsored murder of the wrong person. One man tries to make sense of it all, but in the end, it might all be just a confusing nightmare.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) witnesses the arrival of flying saucer from an alien world. Thus begins an incredible series of events, including mashed potato sculpting, and culminating in the ultimate encounter with other-worlders as Neary crashes a meeting with government scientists who are communicating with the alien Mothership.

E.T. the Extraterrestrial

Steven Spielberg's masterpiece about a boy and his special bond with an alien from another planet. Another case of aliens in a Spielberg movie landing in a forest and losing, then regaining passengers. See also, Close Encounters and War of the Worlds.


Corporate espionage has run amok. Corporate secrets can be stolen by a group of skilled thieves who invade their target’s dreams. But now they have to implant a false memory in someone who seems to know their every move is trying to stop them. This is a movie you’ll want to watch a few times to try to figure it out.


In the near future the earth is devastated by drought and famine. Humanity is facing extinction unless a former astronaut (Matthew McConaughey) and his crew can find a planet that can sustain human life. That is the basic premise, but how director Christopher Nolan takes you on the ride through a wormhole to the conclusion is another matter.

Jurassic Park

A wealthy entrepreneur invites a top paleontologist, a paleobotanist, a mathematician/theorist, and his two eager grandchildren to visit his secret island theme park featuring living dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. What could possibly go wrong? Followed by The Lost World, Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World.

The Matrix

In an anti-utopian future, the real world as we know it is nothing more than a computer construct, created by an all-powerful artificial intelligence. A small group of humans has found a way out of the construct, and is now fighting for the future of the human race. Followed by two sequels that continue the story.


The granddaddy of science fiction films. In Fritz Lang’s silent epic, rich boy, Freder, falls in love with poor girl Maria, sees the sorry state of the working class who run the machinery of Metropolis and determines he must change things. Meanwhile, an evil scientist tries to get back at Freder’s father by creating an evil cyborg that looks like Maria, setting her loose to destroy both the workers who live underground and the rich playboys who live above ground, thereby destroying the utopian city of Metropolis.

The Planet of the Apes Series

In the classic series, astronauts travel into the future and find talking apes have taken over the earth. In the new series, apes develop the ability to speak and the humans succumb to a deadly virus. In both series, there is a thin line between ape and human behavior. The less said about the Tim Burton version the better.

The Classic Series:
  • The Planet of the Apes
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes
  • Escape From the Planet of the Apes
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
  • Battle for the Planet of the Apes
The Reboot Series:
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Star Trek Film Series

While they are hit and miss, in terms of quality, they are all grand “space opera” with a core of altruism and morality fighting against all of the evil in the universe. It’s all quite logical.

The Classic Cast
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
The New Generation Cast
  • Star Trek Generations
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • Star Trek: Insurrection
  • Star Trek: Nemesis
Reboot Cast (the new series)
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Wars Film Series

A long time ago (the 1970s), in a galaxy far, far away, this was the gold standard of spacey science fiction. Lately, not so much. Though they are consistently spectacles everyone should experience. Hopefully the third trilogy of films will live up to the original trilogy’s standards.

  • Star Wars
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Terminator

This is what happens when robots are allowed to run amok. They go back in time and try to eliminate the future of humanity. Somebody should have thought about that possibility. Did we learn nothing from Metropolis?

Terminator 2

He’s back! But this time the Terminator is trying to save the future of humanity against another Terminator. Terminators can be so wishy-washy sometimes. The first 2 movies are the best in the series.

The Thing from Another World (1951)

Arctic researchers discover a huge, frozen alien inside a crash-landed UFO. The shape-shifting alien is accidentally defrosted from his icy captivity to terrorize the humans. This movie was remade as The Thing in 1982, starring Kurt Russell. Both are worth seeing.

War of the Worlds (1953) & (2005)

H.G. Wells’ masterpiece of sci-fi horror comes alive in this tale that never fails to scare the pants off you. The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming… to get you!!


After hundreds of lonely years, a waste management robot finds a new purpose in life. With only a cockroach for a friend, he finds true love in another robot sent on a mission to Earth to see if it is safe for human life.