Favorite sci-fi book:
Everybody should read the young-adult novel Feed by M.T. Anderson. Like the best science fiction, it is speculative but plausible and essentially truthful. It's not anti-technology, but it critiques how advertising and social media collide to dumb us down.
Most underrated sci-fi film:
People seem to hate Cherry 2000, probably because it's cheap and goofy, and the putatively kickass postapocalyptic heroine is Melanie Griffith. But there's so much more to this story of an Orange County scumbag who short-circuits his sex-bot and travels through a desert wasteland – "the Zone" – to replace her, such as Tim Thomerson as the fascistic health-nut bad guy, Lester. The satire of sexual politics is surprisingly trenchant, and I'm always glad to hear Harry Carey Jr. say, "You can go take a shit in your hat."
At the risk of being a traitor to my generation, I've just never found the Star Wars movies very interesting on a subtextual level. And we had the Star Wars that was good.
The one that made you leave the night-light on as a kid:
When The Day After aired on ABC in 1983, our entire fifth-grade class stopped sleeping.
Sci-fi futuristic landscape you most wished you lived in and why:
I'd like to add the shopping scenes from Night of the Comet and a bartending El-Aurian Whoopi Goldberg from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Marge Piercy's novel Woman on the Edge of Time.
Favorite sci-fi gadgetry:
The socially responsible answer would be the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor from Back to the Future Part II, but my honest answer is the Orgasmatron from Sleeper. Hell, we need them both.
Marrit Ingman is a lapsed writer, the author of Inconsolable, and a regular performer in The Dick Monologues.