Battlestar Galactica and the art of the future

I’m a little late to the Battlestar Galactica craze having only in the past few weeks got around to getting series one of Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. And I must say we are all hooked. I love the way that the 70s series has been re-worked in the mid-noughties.

The ships and the space special effects are updated to appeal to an audience used to high-quality fabrication. But I love the way the essentials of the social fabric and the more mundane technology – writing implements, telephones, food and drink etc – have been frozen as they were imagined in the 70s. (The one thing that seems to have changed out of all recognition, for some inexplicable reason, is the playing cards.)

As a consequence they say as much about the 70s as they do about the future – more actually. So, smoking is a common pastime, drinks are served in glass and people are contacted by being called across to old-fashioned telephone handsets (mobile phones were nowhere to be seen in the 70s). And paper and pencils are still very much state of the art.

I was reminded of the presentation at d.construct this year by Nathan Shedroff and Chris Noessel which argued that design in Sci-Fi was absolutely conditioned by the norms of the time it was written. If they ever wanted proof of their theory – this is it.

Of course, not everybody believes even the star ship version of the future – consider this for a well-reasoned argument against the Battlestar Galactica premise.

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