Tech in the News: Solar Eclipses Have Been a Science Fiction Theme for Thousands of Years

Lisa Yaszek, professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communications (Photo by Georgia Tech)

Posted August 18, 2017

External Article: Vox Media

LMC Professor Lisa Yaszek’s insights about solar eclipses in science, fiction, and culture were the focus of the article of “Solar Eclipses Have Been a Science Fiction Theme for Thousands of Years: How Storytellers throughout History Have Used the Phenomenon to Portray Terror, Emotional Stakes, and More” in Vox Media.

Excerpt:
 

As millions of Americans prepare to witness the first total solar eclipse in the U.S .in 38 years, I turned to Lisa Yaszek, a professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech University and former president of the Science Fiction Research Association, to discuss the history, meanings, and accuracy of eclipses in fiction. Here’s what I learned.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Fictional representations of solar eclipses are often used to underline a specific plot point.

Abbey White

What are the key scientific aspects of a solar eclipse that must be present for an accurate depiction?

Liza Yaszek

In the case of a solar eclipse on Earth, authors and directors want to make sure they get all the heavenly objects in question lined up, and that it’s clear the moon is between the sun and the Earth. They also want to make sure they’ve got a duration that makes sense. Solar eclipses usually last just a few minutes, while lunar eclipses can go on for hours.

Read full article