Rounding out our favorite exhibits at the EMP Museum was the Icons of Science Fiction. The Horror exhibit was centered around the types of monsters and evils in the horror stories. The Fantasy exhibit was centered around the archetypical characters of the genre. The Science Fiction exhibit was organized around big questions that science fiction asks.
Walking into the exhibit you go through rays of light like you’re going through hyperspace or going to warp speed. From there, unlike the dark and horrible sounds of the Horror exhibit, or like the muted tones and forest decor of the Fantasy exhibit, it’s stark white, with bright colors, and clean. The areas are collected around books and themes, with the books shown, and quotes as well. I loved it.
Great Questions of Science Fiction
Each of the areas was centered around a big question that science fiction tackles, like what happens if robots take over, or what if we had superpowers. The questions asked, and books highlighted, can be found on the exhibit website. But the quotes are there to be seen – and were just so good.
I felt like they were doing a good job with their references right up until I saw the GLaDOS quote for the section on robot takeover – then I knew they were doing great. They even have a screen showing a scene from Portal 2.
They did a great job of hitting some known and lesser known classics for the books, but hit big with the quotes – they showed they knew the genre and cared about it, and then the book functioned more as recommendations. Holly and I were taking down notes, adding to Amazon wishlists, or just snapping photos of the books – almost all of them. Give that list a look, if nothing else.
Artifacts from the Genre
Like the other exhibits, they had some great props and items from shows and movies. Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Matrix… the big hits, of course. But then there were even shows like Space: Above and Beyond.
When we weren’t busy snapping photos of books or quotes, we were oooing and awwwing over these items. They had Darth Vader’s lightsaber from Empire Strikes Back. It was good stuff.
However, as is often the case when there are high-profile or expected items like these, it’s the unexpected or the unknown that is the most interesting. For me, that was a little picture they had hanging on the wall, a sketch from the development on The Matrix. A different look they could have gone with for Neo.
Just thinking of how much the aesthetic from The Matrix impacted the world of movies that came after – what if his look had been as a gunslinger, instead of as a more monk-like look? It could have been awesome!
If you find yourself in Seattle, definitely check out this museum and these exhibits!