A muddled itinerary


OPEN UNTIL 4 MAY Venue Science Museum, London

Befitting the venue, this ambitious exhibition aims to keep the real science in SF. It’s a worthy intent, but the exhibit strives to cover so many different bases that it’s stretched thin. It has lots of film props and costumes, and many educationa­l videos to watch, on subjects from ecological disaster to travelling faster than light. Everything is wrapped up in a theme park-style journey, where a friendly alien AI popping up on video screens leads you through the areas of a spaceship, with a side trip to a new world for a lightshow first encounter.

The experience is colourful but disjointed, and the science and the fiction never quite meet comfortabl­y, often getting in each other’s way. Certainly there are items to enjoy, from Boris Karloff’s Monster costume on a mannequin to a similarly outsized alien from The Fifth Element. Effort has clearly been made to go beyond just white creatives, with representa­tions of the fiction of Octavia E Butler and the work of singer/author Janelle Monae.

In an especially poignant juxtaposit­ion, an image of Mae Jemison, the first black astronaut, is placed beside a costume worn by one of her inspiratio­ns, Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols.

Ultimately, however, the exhibit doesn’t match the triumph of a previous SF exhibition at the

Barbican Centre in 2017, which was madly dense and more enjoyable. There’s a lingering sense that the need to justify the exhibition’s presence in an educationa­l institutio­n works against the fun – and, indeed, the education.

Andrew Osmond

The exhibition was designed by the visual effects studio Framestore, which also creates theme park attraction­s worldwide.

 ?? ?? Fortunatel­y, Daleks have bad peripheral vision.
Fortunatel­y, Daleks have bad peripheral vision.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia