by Gene Turnbow, Station Manager

Wanderers is an extraordinary short film by Erik Wernquist, and narrated by astronomer Carl Sagan. In a world where so many stories carry a post-apocalyptic theme, we need some reassurance that we perhaps haven’t entirely missed the point of being here. The message in Wanderers shines forth.

For best effect, turn out the lights, put on your best headphones, and watch Wanderers full screen.

Wanderers is a vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available. Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea of the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.

The text is from Carl Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot (a book you should read.)

For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game: none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few, drawn by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.

Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…”

Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds — promising untold opportunities — beckon.

Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.

Watch Wanderers and remember what it was that drew you to science fiction in the first place.

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