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Science Fiction New for Old

The Lost World to Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds to Independence Day and Battlestar Galactica remake

Science fiction continues to innovate at the same time as harking back to old themes.

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In 1912 Conan Doyle wrote Lost World, where dinosaurs live on. In 1990 Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs are re-created. Steven Spielberg snapped up the film rights before the book even hit the shelves. The film in 1993 looked like a nature film at first, it was so realistic. Spielberg abandoned animated models in favour of new computer-generated creatures.

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Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin wrote Independence Day (1996) which had huge ships destroying major landmarks. The aliens were defeated by a computer virus. The writers read War of the Worlds for inspiration, where the aliens were destroyed by a human virus. This became the first film to gross $100 million in less than a week, and went on to become one of the most financially successful films of all time.

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The Battlestar Galactica (1978) TV series was about a fleet of spaceships looking for a new home, carrying refugees after their home was destroyed by the Cylons. Writer Glen A Larson, a Mormon, wrote it to echo the Mormon pioneers who searched for a new home in the American West. The series was reborn in 2003 as an irresistibly dark military epic steeped in the anxieties of 20th century America after the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at