From time-loops and Groundhog Day to the Ramayana; from Flash Gordon to the weird, fantastically imagined world of India in 2047; from Ray Bradbury to Neal Stephenson and Jayant Narlikar — our weekly column on science fiction encompassed many, many worlds in the 25 weeks or so of its 2016 run. Ace ad-man Gautham Shenoy (@Thebekku on Twitter) created a remarkable repository of geekery on the web with his meticulously researched, lovingly written pieces on science fiction through the ages, and its impact on our lives.
As he said in one of his earliest columns, it’s not a big leap from science fiction to science fact — it is, in fact, an entirely logical leap.
So here are some of the most popular #NWWonFD posts. Here’s looking forward to more in 2017:
1. With the Man in the High Castle, the speculative history show on Amazon Prime based on Philip K Dick’s eponymous book, everyone’s talking about the legendary author today, but NWW featured him way back in July.
Reality is a bubble: The sci-fi of Philip K Dick, the fictionalising philosopher
2. “Earth Abides is a classic of the post-apocalyptic subgenre of science fiction, which concerns itself with the question, ‘What would happen if the world and civilization as we know it no longer existed?’”
Men go and come, but Earth Abides: Science fiction’s most poignant post-apocalyptic story
3. Jayant Narlikar. Scientist. World-renowned astrophysicist. Champion of models alternative to the Big Bang theory. And like his mentor, Fred Hoyle, a writer of science fiction.
Science and fiction meet in India: The scientifiction of Jayant Narlikar
4. Our columnist confesses that he is just a little obsessed with time travel. Actually, we don’t really know when he is from.
A paradox of time travel featuring Bootstraps, Beethoven and Black Sabbath
Groundhogs, kalachakras, and dying, only to live again: Welcome to the Time Loop
5. Will scientists stop really big innovation when science fiction writers stop imagining really big things? Neal Stephenson set out to correct this.
Innovation starvation, Hieroglyph, and stories to Get Big Stuff Done
6. An open letter to Kurt Vonnegut Jr: “Clicking on ‘People also search for’ after a Google search for ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ is quite revealing. Assorted relatives apart, the link throws up Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, as also Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller and Thomas Pynchon. You made it halfway out of the drawer, Mr. Vonnegut.”
God bless you, Kurt Vonnegut, and happy birthday. Also, can you stop being unstuck in time?