WORDS BY GAVIN ROTHERY

Ever since the likes of Verne, Gernsback and Wells put pen to paper and filled the page with stories of time travel, different dimensions and things from other worlds,  science fiction has broadened our minds to the endless possibilities of what could lie out there in the inky blue black of the night skies. It has also permeated our culture in a way no-one could have foreseen, spawning some of the most memorable movies and bona-fide cult classics of our age. 

So whether you’re planning a journey to the centre of the earth or simply dreaming of electric sheep, join us on a whirlwind ride through space and time as we take on sci-fi’s finest terrestrial attractions.  

Portmerion

52.9178° N, 4.0929° W

Created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976, this village is best known as the surreal location for the 60s classic sci-fi tv show The Prisoner. Located in Wales, visits are available to this isolated estuary estate as long as you left the dog at home. And please be careful with those large white inflatable balls on the beach.

The Bradbury Building

34.0505° N, 118.2479° W

This architectural landmark located at 304 Broadway at West 3rd Street in downtown LA served as the decrepit home of replicant designer and master toy builder J. F. Sebastian in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. Visits are possible, but don’t expect it to look much like it did in the film – this building is still very much in use and a beautiful example of the Renaissance Revival style circa 1890s.

Ajim

33.7167° N, 10.7500° E

A small sponge-fishing town near the Ile de Jerba in Tunisia, better known as Star Wars’  ‘hive of scum and villainy’ Mos Eisley. Also the location for Obi Wan’s remote desert home, parts of the original set from A New Hope can still be found here. Don’t be too tempted to pull out a bit of a moisture evaporator to take home as a memento though – people do actually live in these structures and don’t take too kindly to scruffy looking nerf-herders souvenir hunters.

Devil’s Tower

44.5905° N, 104.7155° W

This iconic igneous intrusion is better known as the landing area for the alien mothership from the 1977 Spielberg classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Located in Crook County, Wyoming, this National Monument is climbed by around 4000 people a year, using traditional climbing techniques. It’s the only way to get to the top, unless you manage to flag down a flying saucer.

The Giger Bar

46°35’03.0″N 7°04’57.0″E

Should you happen to find yourself in Chur, Switzerland and fancy a drink fuelled by nightmares, why not pop into the Giger bar and museum for a quick half? Themed and modelled by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger most famous for his work on the 1979 film Alien, fans of his work would be happy to die here. And then become part of the decor.

Little A’Le’Inn

37.6467° N, 115.7460° W

Featured in the 2011 sci-fi comedy road movie Paul, the Little A’Le’Inn is a small bar, restaurant and motel located in Rachel, Nevada on the aptly named Extraterrestrial Highway. Right next to the notorious Area 51, this fun establishment has served as a meeting place for aviation, UFO and conspiracy enthusiasts for over 25 years. Earthlings welcome.

Pripyat

51.4056° N, 30.0569° E

Most famous for being the ninth ‘Nuclear City’ in the Soviet Union, housing the infamous Chernobyl power plant. The town was abandoned since 1986 accident, and has been featured in numerous films and computer games. Fans of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games franchise in particular are likely to already know their way around the place with landmarks made famous by the series, such as the fairground bumper cars and Ferris wheel. Whilst perhaps not the most relaxed tourist destination at the moment, the Ukrainian authorities have started issuing tourist visas into the exclusion zone for those with an adventurous spirit.

23 Carleton Road

51°33’14.3″N 0°07’49.7″W

Better known as ‘23 Meteor Street’, this is the house that Tim and Daisy occupy in the 1999 UK Sitcom Spaced. Located in Tufnell Park, London, this building is privately owned so if you go to take a look, please bear in mind that Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes do not actually live there. Or so they say…

Wadi Rum

29.5765° N, 35.4199° E

These epic mountains in Jordan serve as the scenic backdrop to the planet LV223 in the 2012 film Prometheus and 2009’s Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen. This is also the actual real-life location where Lawrence of Arabia led the Bedouin people towards the Turkish army for a surprise attack. Fantasy and fiction in perfect harmony.

Ennis House

34.1162° N, 118.2929° W

Designed by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 and built by his son Lloyd Wright in 1924, this building is better known as Harrison Ford’s character Deckard’s house in Blade Runner (again). An actual residential dwelling in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, this house is constructed of 27000 concrete blocks. It may also be familiar to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as The Mansion occupied by Angelus, Spike and Drusilla.

The Space Needle

47.6204° N, 122.3491° W

Let’s face it; we always knew there was something suspicious about this iconic observation tower, originally built for the 1962 World Fair, and after New York’s own answer to this attraction were revealed to be UFOs in (not so great) disguise in 1997 blockbuster Men in Black, we felt absolutely certain the Needle would be next in line. But,  as one of the most prominent landmarks in its native Seattle, this structure has a long history in genre film, being featured in The Parallax View, Chronicle and even as Doctor Evil’s base of operations in Austin Powers 2. You can now even own your own  *slightly* smaller version of the tower in Lego, so at least we can still pretend to blast it back to the mysterious place from whence it came.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gavin Rothery is a writer, director and artist best known for his work on the 2009 science fiction film Moon. Currently working on his first directorial feature film Archive, his credits in the games industry include Grand Theft Auto 3, Star Citizen and Titanfall.

Site: www.gavinrothery.com

Twitter: @GavRov

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