Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

My Love Affair with Space

On the eve of the final mis­sion of NASA’s – and the nation’s – 30-year-long space shut­tle pro­gram, I present to you a video love let­ter – my newest piece for Time Magazine’s web­site, wherein Tara and I jour­ney to Florida to wit­ness our first launch.  STS-133, in Feb­ru­ary, was the last mis­sion of space shut­tle Dis­cov­ery…

Click for big­ger ver­sion at

My Love Affair with Space on

Philip K. Dick at the Movies

My newest video for is about Philip K. Dick and all the movie adap­ta­tions of his books and sto­ries, the lat­est of which is The Adjust­ment Bureau, based on the story “Adjust­ment Team” writ­ten in 1953.  It’s fas­ci­nat­ing that Dick’s 50-year-old sto­ries are just now being brought to the big screen – and still seem mod­ern.  Tes­ta­ment to the strange­ness of his brain.

I do mis­tak­enly say that Blade Run­ner is one of ten PKD “books” that have been adapted, when I meant to say, “sto­ries.”  Only a few nov­els have, so far, pro­vided source mate­rial for films – Do Androids Dream of Elec­tric Sheep?, A Scan­ner Darkly, Con­fes­sions of a Crap ArtistRadio Free Albe­muth.  Most of the movies are based on short sto­ries (which do appear in books).

I pro­duced, wrote and edited the video along with pro­ducer Craig Duff, who shot and pro­vided addi­tional edit­ing:

The Movies, Philip K. Dick and You

Robots Attack! My new Singularity video on

I have a new video up on about the Sin­gu­lar­ity.  If you don’t know what it is…  find out here.  I wrote it.  Craig Duff shot and pro­duced it.  Jim Fields edited.

The video com­ple­ments Lev Grossman’s new Time Mag­a­zine fea­ture story on Ray Kurzweil.

When Robots Attack! Should We Fear a Sin­gu­lar­ity?

Bad Science in Star Wars has a short video of me per­form­ing at the recent Won­der­fest sci­ence fes­ti­val in Berke­ley.  I’m talk­ing about bad sci­ence in sci­ence fic­tion movies, and the exam­ple in the clip is a clas­sic moment from Star Wars…

Link to video on YouTube

Link to video on

Is Time Travel Possible?

With so many recent movies and TV shows about time travel – Star Trek, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Lost, Flash­For­ward, Heroes – I thought it might be fun to explore the sci­ence behind this sci­ence fic­tion device.  Our most recent video for asks, Is Time Travel Pos­si­ble?…

Ray Bradbury Commercial for Prunes

Found this great old com­mer­cial for prunes fea­tur­ing Ray Brad­bury:

Videos for Time Magazine

You can eas­ily access all the sci­ence videos I’ve made for Time Magazine’s web­site at this link – the results from a search on my name (Brian Malow) at

The Scientific Mind Behind FlashForward

Our most recent video for is about the new ABC series, “Flash­For­ward.”  The show is based on the 1999 novel by Cana­dian sci­ence fic­tion author Robert J. Sawyer, whom we met this sum­mer at the Launch Pad Astron­omy Work­shop.

Read the rest of this entry » Science Comedian Interview

Some­one I met via Twit­terDelia the Artist – just inter­viewed me for  Cur­rent has a shorter, edited ver­sion of the inter­view but Delia is host­ing the full inter­view on her own site.

And, oh look!  Here comes the full ver­sion now…

Where does science meet comedy?
Somewhere in Brian Malow’s universe. 

From museums to comedy clubs, Earth’s Premier Science Comedian brings the funny to the hilarious 5th installment of Science is Speaking!

Read the rest of this entry »

Astronomy in Science Fiction

When I attended the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, in Austin, back in the last cen­tury, I took a few astron­omy classes and the most inter­est­ing one was called “Astron­omy in Sci­ence Fic­tion.”

Through the fog of mem­ory that sits like inter­stel­lar dust between me and Total Recall, I can only say with a level of cer­tainty lim­ited by more than just Heisenberg’s equa­tions that we read at least one novel for the class – Tau Zero by Poul Ander­son – and numer­ous short sto­ries,Tau Zero by Poul Anderson includ­ing the clas­sic “Night­fall” by Isaac Asi­mov and a few Larry Niven sto­ries.  I’m pretty sure “There is a Tide” was one of them, and per­haps “The Hole Man.”  I rec­om­mend them all.

We read the sto­ries and then we dis­cussed the astron­omy and sci­ence con­cepts con­tained in them.  It was fun and edu­ca­tional, a great way to teach and learn sci­ence.

Mike Broth­er­ton had a sim­i­lar idea, which is not ter­ri­bly sur­pris­ing, con­sid­er­ing he’s both an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in the depart­ment of physics and astron­omy at the Uni­ver­sity of Wyoming, and a sci­ence fic­tion author him­self.  He’s writ­ten two hard-SF nov­els – Star Dragon and Spi­der Star – and some short sto­ries, one of which is fea­tured in his new anthol­ogy (one of the perks of being the edi­tor of a book is the increased odds of being included in it).

Dia­monds in the Sky is avail­able for free online and was funded with a grant from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion.  How cool is that?

Accord­ing to Mike’s web­site, its pur­pose is…

“to provide sto­ries with ample and accu­rate astron­omy span­ning a range of top­ics cov­ered in intro­duc­tory courses.  Instruc­tors in high school and col­lege may these sto­ries use­ful, as some stu­dents may learn con­cepts more eas­ily through story than from lec­ture.  Fans of sci­ence fic­tion with good sci­ence should also enjoy these sto­ries.  Con­tri­bu­tions include both orig­i­nal sto­ries and reprints from some of the top sci­ence fic­tion writ­ers work­ing today.”

One of the sto­ries, “Planet Killer,” is co-written by my friend, Kevin Gra­zier, who is a plan­e­tary sci­en­tist at JPL and the edi­tor of The Sci­ence of Michael Crich­ton, The Sci­ence of Dune, and the upcom­ing The Sci­ence of Bat­tlestar Galac­tica (he’s also sci­ence advi­sor to Bat­tlestar).

I men­tioned Dia­monds in the Sky in the new arti­cle about me at The Man­i­to­ban Q&A: Brian Malow, sci­ence come­dian.

Early in the inter­view, stu­dent jour­nal­ist Trevor Beko­lay asked about the role of sto­ry­telling in teach­ing sci­ence and we talked a bit about sci­ence fiction’s influ­ence.  It was cer­tainly a big influ­ence in my life – and con­tin­ues to be.  I credit Isaac Asi­mov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Larry Niven, in par­tic­u­lar, with cap­ti­vat­ing me early on with their cre­ative use of real sci­ence con­cepts in their sci­ence fic­tion.

It’s a great way to get acquainted with sci­ence – in the con­text of an engag­ing story.

Check out Dia­monds in the Sky for free online.

Dia­monds in the Sky

Q&A: Brian Malow, sci­ence come­dian

Related post: 
Sci­ence Come­dian in The Man­i­to­ban