HAPPY NATIONAL SCIENCE FICTION DAY
National Science Fiction Day, observed annually on January 2nd, was first created by the Science Fiction Society of America. The day is intended to celebrate science fiction as a genre and authors who have written within this genre. Some ways people celebrate National Science Fiction Day are by watching science-fiction films or TV shows, reading books from famous sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov or Ray Bradbury, playing video games with futuristic themes such as Halo 3 or Mass Effect 2, dressing up in costumes based on popular sci-fi characters like Batman’s nemesis The Joker or Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, and even attending conventions that specialize in all things related to science fiction!
Something You May Don’t Know About National Science Fiction Day from TE3RUTO
What follows is a list of ten secrets you probably didn’t know about National Science Fiction Day (see what we did there?), but should share with your friends so they don’t look like complete dorks at their next convention:
10 – National Science Fiction Day was first observed on January 2nd, 1937 by a group of science fiction fans and writers who wanted to convince President Franklin D. Roosevelt to declare the day a holiday. When he found out they were just trying to make his day, President Roosevelt had the group arrested, but commuted their sentences in exchange for designing all United States’ currency prior to 1989.
9 – Thomas Jefferson was born on National Science Fiction Day (January 2nd) in 1743, making him one of our nation’s most famous science fiction authors. The third president of the United States is best known for his numerous works that formed much of the American mythos including Auguste Dupin and Frankenstein’s Monster.
8 – While Marvel Comics (specifically Dr. Strange ) celebrated this date as Stephen’s birthday in 1973, DC Comics has long celebrated it as Superman’s Kryptonian name day since 1958.
7 – National Science Fiction Day wasn’t officially recognized by the United States government until 1984 when Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making it an official day.
6 – In order to celebrate National Science Fiction Day, many large bookstores offer discounts on science fiction books and movies.
5 – January 2nd also marks the birthday of several other famous authors such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein.
4 – Some people believe that National Science Fiction Day was created to overshadow the popularity of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope which was released in theaters one day earlier on December 25th, 1977.
3 – While some people believe that science fiction is just about space ships and aliens, others believe that it is the literature of ideas and that it should be used to explore the future of humanity.
2 – Some well-known science fiction stories include The War of the Worlds, 1984, and Blade Runner.
1 – The first science fiction convention was held in New York City on July 2nd, 1939. This event is considered to have been the birth of organized science fiction fandom.
NATIONAL SCIENCE FICTION DAY TIMELINE
1700-1800s – THE AGE OF REASON
Widespread interest in scientific discovery fuels science fiction, including Johannes Kepler’s “Somnium” Voltaire’s “Microsmegas,” and Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”
1800s —> VERNES and WELLS
Jules Verne’s books, including “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and H.G. Wells’ stories, including “The Time Machine” and “The War of the Worlds.”
1818 —> THE VERY FIRST SCI-FI NOVEL
Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” considered by many to be the first sci-fi novel, is published
1902 —> THE FIRST SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE
Georges Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon,” widely considered the first sci-fi film, is released
“Sci-Fi” is Coined
“Science fiction” was first shortened to “sci-fi” in 1954, at the same time the term hi-fi appeared.
NATIONAL SCIENCE FICTION DAY ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS
- Raise a toast to one of the greatest science fiction writers, Isaac AsimovThe selection of January 2 as the annual date for National Science Fiction Day is no accident. That’s also the listed birthdate for famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. He wrote more than 400 science fiction works. (As a strange but true aside – and what other kind would there be for science fiction – Asimov’s actual birthdate is unknown, as his parents had to declare a birthdate for their son when they immigrated from Russia in 1923, and no one knows if the date they gave is accurate.)
- Eat some Reese’s PiecesIn one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, E.T. was lured into following a trail of Reese’s Pieces to meet up with Elliott. And the move made the candy famous, accounting for a nearly tripling of sales in the early 1980s.
- Visit a theme park with sci-fi rides and experiencesDisney World and Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando offer some great science fiction adventures. So consider a trip to a theme park on National Science Fiction Day. At Disney World you can rice Mission: Space or interact with Star Wars characters. And Universal Studios has Men In Black, Transformer, E.T., and Marvel super hero rides. Disney World even has a drive-in theater style restaurant, complete with sci-fi movie scenes playing on the big screen.
FACTS ABOUT “THE WAR OF THE WORLDS”
- What Happens Next? The novel was initially published in serial form in “Pearson’s Magazine” over the course of several months in 1897
- Fiction Becomes Reality (Almost)In October 1938, a radio broadcast of a dramatic adaptation of the novel aired; listeners mistook it for a real news broadcast and the panic that ensure became front-page news
- Fat CheckWells was paid 200 GBP for the initial manuscript
- Silver ScreenThere have been at least 6 feature films made of the story
- To the MoonRobert H. Goddard, who invented two rockets that resulted in the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, says he was inspired by the story
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL SCIENCE FICTION DAY
- It reminds us of the possibilities the imagination can sparkWithout science fiction, the imagination of what’s possible in the future just wouldn’t be the same. Certainly, what’s predicted in sci-fi doesn’t always come true. After all, if The Jetsons had been accurate, we’d all have robot maids and flying cars by now. But even if they aren’t accurate, science fiction stories spark the imaginations of people, helping inspire them to create inventions in the future.
- You can let your inner-nerd climb to the forefrontEveryone wants to be well-liked and seem cool to friends and family. But there are times where you have to let your inner-nerd take control, and National Science Fiction Day is the perfect time to allow yourself to be a nerd. Investigate UFO sightings. Get into an online debate about all the plot holes in Lost. Whatever you enjoy about the sci-fi genre that’s nerdy, National Science Fiction Day allows you to embrace it fully!
- It’s a great excuse to stream your favorite science fiction movie or TV showThere are so many great sci-fi movies and TV shows available, and everyone has a favorite. So National Science Fiction Day is the perfect excuse to pick the movie that appeals to you the most, find it online, and stream it. And don’t feel guilty that you’ve watched it enough times to be able to recite every line in the movie along with the actors. It’s your favorite sci-fi movie for a reason, right?