• James Hewlett

Hard Sci-Fi

I am on my last night of seven and am very much looking forward to my three days off coming up. This many long over night shifts in a row hasn’t been as tough as I was expecting to be honest, but still when you’ve worked sixty four out of a hundred and twenty eight hours it is time for a break no matter how easy the work itself is.


Working so many night shifts has given me ample opportunity to dig into some new pieces of media and catch up on stuff I had been meaning to though, so I’m going to talk a little about some of them today.

They all fit into a theme too; they’re all set in either present day or near future versions of our planet, they’re all hard sci-fi meaning that the ideas and concepts and fantastical like Star Wars, they’re more grounded and often technology based.

I have one from each of the four forms of media I consume the most but I have only finished the movie so anything I say about the others comes from that perspective.



‘From Now’ is a narrative, audio drama podcast staring Richard Madden and Brian Cox amongst others. It is a full production with a score, sound effects and all the bells and whistles you could ask for. Fiction and narrative podcasts have been growing more and more popular in the last few years and it feels like they blew up even more in 2020 when a lot of actors weren’t able to shoot so they took on voice performance roles instead.

This is the first one I have listened to because I usually stick to straight up audiobooks for this kind of entertainment but the concept of this intrigued me.

Madden plays an astronaut thought lost thirty five years ago but re-emerges having seemingly not aged a day. The world he comes back to has changed considerably and the other members of the cast struggle to discover the truth as to what really happened.

It honestly feels like a movie or tv mini series script that didn’t get made and has been tweaked into an audio drama. I’m enjoying it a lot and might look into others from the some studio if they are all of this quality.

Closest comparison; the movie Arrival.



‘Anyone’ by Charles Soule is the book I started reading a few nights ago after loving the authors star wars novel recently. It is the story about a near future when the technology to ‘flash’ into another persons body and be in control of them has been invented, patented and marketed. It is legal and accessibly for anyone to hire their body out like it’s an Airbnb or to rent someone’s body like it’s a car. The technology and its many applications has changed the world like nothing since the invention of the telephone. Then there is the inevitable underbelly, the ‘darkshare’, where things aren’t monitored, regulated or legal.

Alternating chapters take place at different points of time, one side focusing on the discovery and creation of the tech and the other years later when it is prevalent and being used and misused for all sorts of reasons.



‘Predestination’ is a movie from a few years ago I had been meaning to check out. It is w lower budget time travel film starring Ethan Hawke and is available on Prime Video in the UK. Anything else I say about the plot will give too much away.

This isn’t a big flashy time travel story with tons of set pieces like Back to the Future. A good half of the movie involves a couple of characters having a conversation in a bar. But it is also not the complete head fuck hard to follow type of time travel like Primer.

The time travel, the consequential loops time travel creates reminded me of most of Twelve Monkey’s.

I don’t think this one will be for everyone but I really enjoyed it for what it was.



‘Devs’ is a tv show from FX that is available on the BBC iPlayer at the moment. I had heard enough buzz about the show and liked the leads enough for me to know I was in. I am glad I didn’t and still haven’t looked at what the actual plot is because after just one episode I’m captivated.

It comes from the mind of writer and director Alex Garland and feels like the natural progression from the guy who directed Annihilation and wrote and directed Ex Machina. Hyper stylistic, quiet, ominous and fascinating.

I have no idea what’s going on yet but I can’t wait to discover more. I hear the series really stays strong throughout.



So that’s it. That’s my hard sci-f recommendations based on stuff I’ve checked out just in the past week alone! It’s weird having the time to be able to, I like it!

I hope you understand if my posts are brief for the next couple of days while I have some time off.

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