Last year, the astrophysicist Adam Frank implored an audience at Google that we see climate change – and the newly baptised geological age of the Anthropocene – against this cosmological backdrop. The Anthropocene refers to the effects of humanity’s energy-intensive activities upon Earth. Could it be that we do not see evidence of space-faring galactic civilisations because, due to resource exhaustion and subsequent climate collapse, none of them ever get that far? If so, why should we be any different?

A few months after Frank’s talk, in October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s update on global warming caused a stir. It predicted a sombre future if we do not decarbonise. And in May, amid Extinction Rebellion’s protests, a new climate report upped the ante, warning: “Human life on earth may be on the way to extinction.”

… apocalyptic prophecies are designed to reveal the ultimate moral meaning of things. It’s in the name: apocalypse means revelation. Extinction, by direct contrast, reveals precisely nothing and this is because it instead predicts the end of meaning and morality itself – if there are no humans, there is nothing humanly meaningful left.

The end of the world: a history of how a silent cosmos led humans to fear the worst

1062 – Lifeforce (1985)

timespace coordinates: 1986 London / Halley’s Comet MV5BOWFhZGVhYTktOGI2ZC00YmUyLWFhMGUtMDZkYWJjMjUzYjU4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDUxNjc5NjY@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,702,1000_AL_Lifeforce is a 1985 British science fiction horror film directed by Tobe Hooper, written by Dan O’Bannon and Don Jakoby, and starring Steve RailsbackPeter FirthFrank FinlayMathilda May, and Patrick Stewart. Based on Colin Wilson‘s 1976 novel The Space Vampires, the film portrays the events that unfold after a trio of humanoids in a state of suspended animation are brought to Earth after being discovered in the hold of an alien space ship by the crew of a European space shuttle.

Horror and comic book writer C. J. Henderson praised the film: “Lifeforce is an incredible film, and may by be the most intelligent vampire movie ever made … [The ideas presented in Lifeforce] are beyond [others vampire movies] beyond all of them, light-years beyond … the story is what makes this movie hum…. Lifeforce is a true, thinking sci-fi fan’s film”. Andrew Migliore and John Strysik in their Lurker in the Lobby explain that Colin Wilson wrote The Space Vampires as a consequence of H.P. Lovecraft‘s publisher August Derleth challenging Wilson (who was critical of Lovecraft’s writing) to write a Lovecraftian novel himself (a challenge that resulted in three such novels, The Mind ParasitesThe Space Vampires, and The Philosopher’s Stone), and they continue, “[Lifeforce] is big, splashy, and … the scenes of an apocalyptic London are not to be missed. And the film, an obvious tribute to Nigel Kneale‘s Quatermass, has deep roots in Lovecraft’s mythos”. (wiki)



341 – Coherence (2013)

coherence-59c668cfcc38eCoherence is an American science fiction thriller film directed by James Ward Byrkit in his directorial debut.

Byrkit came up with the idea for Coherence after deciding that he wanted to test the idea of shooting a film “without a crew and without a script”. He chose to shoot in his own home and developed the film’s science fiction aspect out of necessity, as he wanted to “make a living room feel bigger than just a living room”. While Byrkit did have a specific idea for how the film would unfold, he selected improvisational actors and gave them the basic outline of their characters, motivations, and major plot points. coherenceByrkit told an interviewer, “For about a year, all I did was make charts and maps and drew diagrams of houses, arrows pointing where everyone was going, trying to keep track of different iterations. Months and months of tracking fractured realities, looking up what actual scientists believe about the nature of reality — Schrödinger’s cat and all that. It was research, but despite all the graphs and charts, I think our whole idea was that it has to be character-based. We want the logic of our internal rules to be sound, and we wanted it to be something people could watch 12 times and still discover a new layer.” (read more)