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Sci Fi at Warp Speed [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Oct. 22, 1995

Do you “trust no one?”

If you are like millions of other kids around the country, you know that’s the slogan for Fox’s super-popular X-Files. Of course, the spooky X-Files isn’t the only science fiction TV show that’s taking over the imagination of the nation. There is also the X-Men, Star Trek: Voyager, Sliders, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Fox’s Space: Above and Beyond.

Ever since H.G.Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” books about an alien invasion, Americans have been fascinated by science fiction stories.

In fact, when War was read on the radio in 1938, millions of people believed it was true. In the late ’50s, the creepy Twilight Zone had folks glued to the tube. And again during the late-‘70s, thanks largely to the Star Wars movies, sci fi took off like the Millennium Falcon. There is a similar surge today. Why?

“There are no boundaries and no rules, so anything can happen,” says Barry Schulman, Sci-Fi Channel programming director. Kids have a slightly different take. “I just like to get freaked out sometimes,” says Samantha Bain, 14, of Keedysville, Md.

She’s in for a treat this fall, for producers like Schulman are planning for a sci fi invasion:

• X-Files’ Mulder and Scully have a new comic book out. And book-publishing company HarperCollins just released two X Files paperbacks for young readers called “X Marks the Spot,” and “Darkness Falls.” A spokesman for the publisher says kids can look for two new X-Files books to come out every four weeks in 1996. This title just came out: “X-Wing Rogue Squadron.”

• New versions of the Star Wars trilogy are now on video: Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. The videos feature new special effects. And the original Star Wars will be back in theaters in 1997 with new footage and more special effects. Director George Lucas also is in the process of making three more Star Wars movies about the early days of Darth Vader—but those films won’t be out for about eight years. Stay tuned.

Speaking of the future, starting on New Year’s Day the Sci-Fi Channel will run 24 hours of non-stop Star Trek episodes. Until then, there’s plenty of new and old sci-fi to keep you going.

That’s good news for Ronnie Hyatt, 13, of Merritt Island, Fla., who loves to watch Tales from the Crypt and Star Trek. But for a really good science fiction story, he turns to the pages of B. David Eddings.

“I just finished ‘Pawn of Prophecy,’” Hyatt says. “I like science fiction because you feel like you are there with the characters in this magical adventurous place.”


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Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.