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Science Fiction

Science fiction has always been a staple of Geek Culture, from the early writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, to the pulp magazines of the Twentieth Century, to modern day films and television shows. Pittsburgh has been featured in many of those narratives, starting with the original Buck Rogers and the 25th Century comic strip in 1929, and numerous TV shows—including Quantum Leap and The X-Files—have used the Steel City as the setting for a small handful of their episodes. The region has likewise produced a number of successful sci-fi novels, including Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy and Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, and many local filmmakers have created independent films that contain elements of classic science fiction. Various fan organizations and book clubs likewise dot the region, meanwhile, adding to the overall enjoyment of the genre for their members.

 

Science Fiction and Pittsburgh

The 1960 World Science Fiction Convention The 18th Worldcon, also known as Pittcon, was held in Pittsburgh during September 1960, with some of the greatest authors of the sci-fi medium in attendance.

Exploring Science Through Science Fiction Carnegie Mellon University’s Barry Luokkala uses science fiction to teach science, both in the classroom and through a paperback textbook available to the public.

 

Pittsburgh Within the Realms of Science Fiction

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century The comic strip began in 1929 with the title character being trapped in a coal mine outside Pittsburgh, rendering him into a state of suspended animation for 500 years.

Cities in Flight, Pittsburgh on Mars Although primarily focusing on New York, the Steel City is still mentioned within the sci-fi narrative of James Blish, who was honored in Pittsburgh at the 1960 Worldcon.

Enterprise: The Day a Vulcan Came to Pittsburgh The television series Star Trek: Enterpise suggests that Vulcans crash-landed in Western Pennsylania during the 1950s and briefly lived among humans.

The Final Quantum Leap In the series finale of the classic NBC time-travelling drama, Sam Beckett ends up in Cokeburg, Pennsylvania, in 1953, where he meets a bartender who is more than he seems.

The Lost Room The 2006 SciFi Channel miniseries was created by three Carnegie Mellon University graduates who put a Pittsburgh-spin on the story of a mysterious motel room and its supernatural objects.

Warehouse 13 and Joshua's Trumpet Federal Agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering visited Pittsburgh during the Syfy drama’s third season in order to recover a lost artifact responsible for numerous deaths.

The X-Files and the Steel City FBI Agents Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and John Doggett made a small handful of visits to the Pittsburgh region during their investigations into the supernatural and paranormal.

 

Pittsburgh Created Science Fiction

Hemlock Grove Review of the supernatural novel by Charleroi native Brian McGeevy, which spins classic horror narratives into a modern murder mystery involving a small town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes Review of Albert Wendland’s 2014 science fiction novel, in which the search for an alien technology by various individuals inevitably leads to both murder and mystery.

Meet Your Maker Review of the short film created by Pittsburgh cousins Justin and Pat Francart that serves as a homage to the classic television show The Twilight Zone as well as science fiction at its best.

The Mercury Men Review of the web series about a plot by invaders from the planet Mercury bent on destroying Earth and the unlikely duo tasked with stopping them that pays homage to sci-fi of the past.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow Review of Thomas Sweterlitsch’s first novel, a sci-fi mystery in which Pittsburgh has been destroyed by a nuclear bomb but still exists as a virtual reality known as the Archive.

 

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