Time Out Of Mind: Science Fiction Authors Explored

The TV series covering the major names from the final days of serious science fiction literature.

In 1979, BBC2 broadcast a series of documentaries almost unthinkable in today’s climate. Time Out Of Mind profiled and interviewed some of the heavyweights of science fiction writing – well-known figures like Arthur C Clarke and rather more niche writers such as Michael Moorcock and John Brunner – not exactly unknown within the field, but perhaps less recognisable to the general public. These peak time documentaries took a look at a form of science fiction that was already on its way out – the influence of Star Wars would increasingly outstrip serious and difficult genre writing over the 1980s. The one author profiled in the series who perhaps represented where things were heading was fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey, whose Dragonriders of Pern series would be a shoo-in for Hollywood treatment today if anyone remembered it.

These shows opened with a heavy, funky slice of Space Rock that Moorcock – the sometime Hawkwind associate – would doubtless approve of, and mix interviews with dramatised moments and film clips. It’s a rare examination by TV broadcasters of serious sci-fi and predictably failed to have either a second series or a re-run. Unexpectedly though, four episodes have survived in private collections and appeared online, and here they are.

Help support The Reprobate: