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Make It So

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Make It So, 9781933820989 (1933820985), Rosenfeld Media, 2012
This book has accomplished a feat that’s valuable and rare: it comprehends design and science fiction. Better yet, it’s found specific areas where they are of practical use to one another.

This is a design book, and meant for designers. It concerns itself with science fiction cinema. To my delight, it does this in a deft, thoughtful, and sympathetic way.

Make It So never asks science fiction to be “scientific.” More tactfully, it doesn’t even ask that science fiction be “fictional.” Instead, this book comprehends the benefits that science fiction can offer to designers. There aren’t a lot, but there are some. Those benefits are all about making the unthinkable thinkable. “Cognitive estrangement,” as we science fiction people call that in our trade.

Make It So teaches designers to use science fiction as a designer’s mood board. It’s science fiction as an estranging design tool, a conceptual approach, best suited for blue-sky brainstorming, for calling the everyday into question, and for making the exotic seem practical.

This approach allows designers to derive all kinds of exciting design benefits that science fiction never intended to bestow on designers. How do the authors do it? With a classic, people-centered design approach. They look and they listen. They are at ease with the creators of science fiction cinema, because they can enter into their worldview.

Consider Georges Méliès, that silent-film maestro of cinema’s earliest days, that French stage magician turned movie fantasist. For most of us, Méliès is a remote historical figure whose accented French name is hard to properly spell. He’s of real, immediate use to Shedroff and Noessel.

Even us science fiction writers—(I write novels, by the way)—we rarely derive any coherent inspiration from our remote spiritual ancestor, Georges Méliès.

But Shedroff and Noessel are able to enter into the Méliès conceptual universe with all the attentive consideration that designers commonly grant to users. So the authors of this book can see that the best-known film of Georges Méliès, A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune), has no interfaces.
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