“Step into the transfer shuttle” was the instruction obeyed by 25 members of the OAS at the start of their journey into the Science Museum’s Science Fiction exhibition. A very realistic module, equipped with sliding airlocks and an alien tour guide, who appeared on a large monitor, saw us into the exhibition proper.
The exhibition was equipped with life-sized replicas of space travellers, including Lieutenant Ohura from Star Trek, the Alien from Alien and of course a full sized Dalek. Everywhere there were extracts from science fiction films and series – Metropolis being the earliest. The Museum hadn’t missed the chance to be didactic. Many of the exhibits and graphics linked science fiction ideas with modern developments and scientific principles, including Bone’s tricorder and the life-sized hibernation modules seen in Solaris.
The graphics and displays were impressive, and the static displays were full of hints and references for the cognoscenti. As we passed into the later stages, there was an increasing emphasis on the need for mankind to be aware of the demands of sustainability if we are to survive long enough to become routine space travellers. It ended on a positive note, suggesting that our ability to imagine would see us through.
If I had one criticism, it was that the heavy emphasis on the visual and the cinematic meant that there was little about the literary origins of science fiction or any reference to the leading authors of today.
A selection of photographs from the visit can be seen in the gallery, in the “Society Events” folder.