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
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.