Archaeology in Science Fiction, Part 2

Forbidden Planet

What can I say about this? If you haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for? It is the foundation that some of the best science fiction of the late 20th century was based on, from Star Trek to Babylon 5. How can you say no to Shakespeare’s Tempest in space?

The story follows a starship on a mission to Altair IV to discover the fate of a science vessel, the Bellerophon. Only an archaeologist and his daughter survived, and what they found is amazing. The effects are still great sixty years later, and the story and acting are fantastic.

Star Trek

Gene Roddenberry was definitely inspired by Forbidden Planet, and that is not a bad thing. Star Trek, from the original series through The Next Generation, has themes of ancient races and ruins on planets. “The City on the Edge of Forever” written by Harlan Ellison is one of the best of the series, and great science fiction also. Seriously, if you don’t like Star Trek, why are you reading my blog?

Babylon 5

Yes, I love Babylon 5 and Star Trek. I love Star Wars too, get over it. Babylon 5 owes a lot to Forbidden Planet (seeing a trend?) J. Michael Straczynski even wrote a planet very much like Altair IV into the story for his series.

The visuals are exactly the same as Forbidden Planet, as an homage. There are a lot of themes of archaeology in this series. It is also why I will not dig on Mars, and I will NOT go to Za’ha’dum!

Doctor Who has had archaeology as a theme many times of the last sixty-odd years. Of course, in recent years they had a archaeologist character, in the form of Dr. River Song.

What kind of archaeologist caries a gun?

Bad example.


Stargate: SG1

I’m going to make this about mainly about the series Stargate: SG1. Since the movie and series actually has an archaeologist, Dr. Daniel Jackson (who also carries a gun) as a primary character, I feel it is an important bit of science fiction for this list. There is a real effort throughout to keep the science in there. Ancient ruins and artifacts are key to the whole thing. The translation of ancient and alien languages an ongoing problem. I really love this show.

Right? Right!

Mass Effect: Andromeda

This is the only video game to make the list. It is a new beginning for the series and a lot of fun. The entire theme of this game revolves around archaeology. There is even a “Rogue Academic” character. How fun is that?

The game is a typical science fiction shooter in many ways, an action RPG as they are called nowadays. Much of the game is spent trying to figure out ancient alien technology and deal with alien races, not just with a gun either. There is a lot of science hidden in this game, and it looks amazing as you play.