Cosmically Entertaining Books, Movies & More

Houston, we have suggestions. Though space is still a mystery in most ways, that hasn’t stopped humans from imagining a plethora of planets, creatures and adventures to occupy it. Cosmic interpretations of space-time stories have found their way into nearly every facet of our entertainment from books to movies to music and more. Below are a few quick lists for the everyday earthling looking to escape… at least for a little while.


STRANGE IN SPACE
Stunning panoramas of unknown worlds set against the dark abyss of outer space. Beautiful wonders juxtaposed with unsettling loneliness and isolation. The following list includes the often brilliant mixture of awe and apprehension invoked by the strangeness of space:

2001: Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (film & book)
Interstellar (film)
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino by Arctic Monkeys (music album)


FUNNY IN SPACE
Space isn’t all devastating black holes and dramatic sunscapes. Sometimes it’s dancing aliens and galactic adventure films gone awry. Here are a few hilarious, feel-good suggestions to lighten the cosmic-load of everyday life:

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (book & film)
Galaxy Quest (film)
Guardians of the Galaxy (film & soundtrack)


SMART IN SPACE
If we have learned anything through space-themed books and film, it’s that something will absolutely, without a doubt, go wrong when floating in the cosmic abyss. And when it does (because it will) it might be handy to know a thing or two about physics, biology, engineering, etc. Here are a few suggestions to show how space is all about the wonderful world of science:

Through the Wormhole (tv series)
The Martian by Andy Weir (book & film)
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (book)


WE’RE NOT ALONE IN SPACE
With more stars in the universe than grains of sand on earth, it raises the age old question; are we alone? The list below are stories that imagines the answer is “no”:

Dune by Frank Herbert (book & soon-to-be film)
Doctor Who (tv series)
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang (book & film renamed Arrival)


 

Written by Emily Sexton
Public Relations Specialist

5 Chilling Stories to Beat the Heat

For those times when the summer heat is too much to bear, try immersing yourself in a few dark and frozen stories. From polar shipwrecks to isolating snowstorms, these tales will cool you right down but BEWARE! While these books may take place in the ice and snow, they are anything but chill…


Terror by Dan Simmons

Book: The Terror by Dan Simmons
Audiobook: The Terror by Dan Simmons, narrated by Tom Sellwood
TV Show: The Terror, starring Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Ciaran Hinds

In search of the elusive Northwest Passage, the HMS Terror, along with one other ship, journeyed to the Arctic Circle but then oddly disappeared without a trace. The 1845 Franklin Expedition had long been one of history’s strangest mysteries until the shipwrecks were found in 2014 and 2016.

In the meantime, author Dan Simmons filled in the unknown story with a fictional tale of isolation and horror. While the ships were most likely frozen in the ice leading to the crew’s exposure, starvation, and the expedition’s ultimate demise, Simmons added the idea of something monstrous lurking on the surrounding ice. Delving into the struggles of the crew as rations dwindle, illness takes hold and something supernatural stalks them, the story begs the question, what happens when exploration leads you to the end of the world only to find an ice-cold terror?

In addition to the book, a television series has also been made. While the show doesn’t provide the amount of detail and backstory as the book, it is well done. It’s also worth mentioning that the audiobook is also available and has a fantastic narrator but buckle in. It is 28 hours long!


Book: Mousetrap by Agatha Christie

The Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie, wrote over 60 crime novels, 14 short stories and is well known for her distinctive detective characters such as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. But while readers may love her books, did you know she wrote the longest running play in history? Mousetrap has been on stage for 68 years and tells the story of a group isolated in a cabin during a raging snowstorm. As the snow falls so does suspicion when it becomes horrifyingly clear that there is a murderer among them!

It’s a classic Agatha Christie whodunit mystery but with an icy twist. Read the play but be sure to keep the ending to yourself!


Book: The Shining by Stephen King
Movie: The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

Heeeeere’s Johnny! If you’ve never read or watched the Shining, now’s your chance to put all of those pop culture references into context. As you probably know, the King of Horror, Stephen King, has a massive collection of haunting and gruesome tales with the Shining being one of his most well-known works. This story’s popularity is partly due to the cult following of the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. Taking place in a massive mountainside hotel during the off-season, Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy and their young son Danny are taking care of the hotel during the harsh winter. But as the snow piles up, the family is cut off from the world and the hotel begins to… have effects on its guests.

“Wendy. Darling. Light of my life,” if you give this weird and haunting story a try, you’ll never look at a tricycle the same way again.


TV Show: Fortitude, starring Richard Dormer, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci

Brace yourself for the cold and brutal world that is Fortitude. Now with two seasons, this television show takes place in a small Arctic town where unexplainable things begin to happen to its residents. The grim tale holds nothing back as the sheriff of the snowy town contends with polar bear attacks, infectious insects, hidden ancient histories, and murder, while the plot teeters somewhere between science fiction and supernatural.

While this show is not for the faint of heart, it is a chilling, edge of your seat horror-mystery that is highly binge-watch worthy!


Book: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

You might be thinking, “Another polar maritime shipwreck story?” but don’t fret! This tale stands all on its own because it’s REAL, making it even more chilling! Endurance is the true and amazing story of a 1914 Antarctic expedition gone awry. The book gives a historical account of the victories and hardships of the twenty-seven man crew lost on desolate Antarctica. After the ice encloses and sinks their ship the crew faces horrendous conditions and constant struggles as they try to find their way back to civilization. From violent sea leopard attacks, death-defying rock climbs and temperatures below 30 degrees, this nearly two-year tale of survival is truly astonishing!

We would love to hear some your chilling story suggestions! Be sure to comment below to share.


List created by Emily Sexton
Public Relations Specialist