Experience the classic science fiction and notable films of the 1950s, all with your library card!

The Thing by John Carpenter

Twelve men are stationed at an Antarctic research station in utter isolation. Only it turns out they aren’t as alone as they thought, and soon they aren’t even certain of each other anymore.

The Thing is a remake of the 1950s film The Thing From Another World. It is filled to the brim with the kind of mistrust and paranoia characteristic of many classics of 50s sci-fi, and frequently cited as one of the best horror films of all time.

Dark City by Alex Proyas

A man wakes up in a hotel room with a dead body. He remembers nothing; he doesn’t remember how he got there, he doesn’t remember who the person was or what he did, he doesn’t remember his name.

And some very creepy people are after him.

Dark City is set in a gorgeous, noir-y 50s type world and is a very stylish, atmospheric film.

Ed Wood by Tim Burton

A man has a dream of becoming a filmmaker, by hook or by crook. The only problem? It turns out he’s godawful at it.

Ed Wood is a very stylized biopic about the real life creator of some of the most notorious bad movies of all time. It is a gorgeously shot, pitch perfect comedy about persevering in the face of crushing reality.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 by Joel Hodgson

A man is trapped on a satellite by mad scientists and shown terrible movies as an experiment, with only a couple of wise-cracking robots for company.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a long-running show that celebrates and mocks bad movies with equal measure. The movies themselves were made in many decades, but some of the very best episodes feature B movies from the 1950s, with the gang delivering one-liner after one-liner about the cheesy action onscreen.

Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa

There was an encounter in the forest between a samurai, his wife, a bandit, and a woodcutter. Only no one appears to agree on just what happened.

Rashomon launched the international career of renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa when it was submitted to the Venice Film Festival and won top prize in 1951. This surprised Kurosawa, since he had not been told it was being submitted to the Venice Film Festival or any foreign film festival for that matter.

Rashomon is routinely on lists of the best movies of all-time.

Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock

A photojournalist laid up in his apartment with a broken leg and going stir-crazy starts to suspect one of his neighbors of something nefarious.

Rear Window is one of acclaimed director Alfred Hitchcock’s most iconic thrillers, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. It’s a fun little suspense romp around a vibrant, technicolor backlot apartment complex and holds up well to this day.

Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder

A down on his luck screenwriter cons a forgotten silent film star into working as a script doctor for her comeback film, but finds himself being sucked deeper and deeper into her world.

Sunset Boulevard is one of the most iconic examples of dark movies about the movie business. It is described as dark comedy film noir, but has also been characterized as a monster movie, after a fashion.

Despite its acidic take on Hollywood, it was nominated for Best Picture in 1950.

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

How do you get away with killing someone in a society full of telepaths? There hasn’t been a murder committed in 70 years, but mogul Ben Reich is determined to do it, and get away with it.

The Demolished Man is a tense, cat and mouse game between Reich and the telepathic authorities. It is also a science fiction classic, winner of the 1953 Nebula award and cited as an influence by many of the biggest names in sci-fi.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Gully Foyle is the lone survivor of an attack on a merchant spaceship and stranded in space. For six months he manages to eek out an existence, one blackout away from death.

Then, after six months, a spaceship called the Vorga appears. Gully is ecstatic. He’s saved! He signals the Vorga.

The Vorga ignores him and passes right by.

And Gully Foyle goes insane.

He becomes utterly obsessed with one thing; revenge on whoever was on the Vorga.

The Stars My Destination is a bonafide sci-fi classic, cited by authors such as William Gibson and Michael Moorcock as their favorite work in the genre.

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Alien starships suddenly appear over all of Earth’s major cities. The aliens announce they are there to prevent humanity’s extinction, but are they really benevolent? Especially in light of what the aliens look like, once they finally reveal themselves?

Childhood’s End is one of the foremost examples of science fiction with a grand vision, a work that evokes a really sense of wonder. It spans a time period of over 100 years and spins out mysteries that actually have satisfying answers. It was Arthur C. Clarke’s first successful novel and is a classic.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

In the waning days of a galactic empire, a mathematician named Hari Seldon develops a theory of Psychohistory, which is a kind of mathematically based sociology. Specifically, he predicts the collapse of the empire, along with the stages and time scale of the emergence of a new empire, which will arise after a dark age in 30,000 years.

The stories of Foundation span this 30,000 years, providing glimpses into each predicted phase of redevelopment along the way. This provides Foundation with a grand scope and a really impressive vision of a future history of humanity among the stars.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Robots, and in particular robots that can think, are introduced into the world. For safety, they are given a 3 laws; A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Given that backdrop, I, Robot presents a series of stories that span the integration of these robots into society.

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