Space Station 76 Is Bringing 1970s Futurism Back

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 22 2014 7:11 PM

Space Station 76 Is Bringing 1970s Futurism Back

spacestation76
Look familiar?

Image from Space Station 76.

Space Station 76 (trailer below) looks like tons of movies we’ve already seen. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars—you know the type. But it’s not a relic from another time. Space Station 76 is a current movie about what people in the past thought about the future, and what people today should think about what they thought. Phew.

The film, which stars Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, and Jerry O’Connell, is an R-rated comedy, but it looks like it also offers serious commentary about what future predictions say about the present they’re made in. In Space Station 76, people smoke, do yoga, and have alcoholic beverages brought to them by droids—it’s what life might have been like if the future that people imagined in the 1960s and ’70s actually came to fruition. Humans are still humans even if they live in space stations, and computers are still as fallible as the people who made them. (That’s a rule George Lucas respected—he has said that he wanted to make sure his alternate universe wasn’t sterile, or even clean.)

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Since I write for a blog called Future Tense, I think about the future a lot. And no matter how much cool research I learn about or how many awesome gadgets I cover, I try to keep in mind that people who take themselves too seriously in the present are the ones who get made fun of by people the future. And that seems to be the overarching message of Space Station 76. New ideas and progress are great, but beware, smartwatches have been teetering on the line between awesome and ridiculous since the days of Dick Tracy, and even decades later it’s still not clear which way they’re going to go.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

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