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Worth a thousand words

Bill Coffin | July 17, 2017

When Ridley Scott was directing the classic science fiction movie Alien, he wasn’t just creating a story of a group of space travelers trapped inside a huge ship with a hostile alien organism bent on hunting them down. He wanted to build an entire world around the story, inserting a level of detail into the setting that would make it so rich that one could imagine a hundred other stories taking place in it at the same time. This is a hallmark of good storytelling in general, and of science fiction and fantasy storytelling in particular, since their settings are imaginary and often must be created more or less from whole cloth. In Alien, the idea would be that if the world that felt lived in, relatable, and real, that, in turn, would the story work much better. To achieve this, Scott brought in renowned designer Ron Cobb to design the human technology seen in the film—the ships, the spacesuits, the tools, etc. And one of the things Cobb did was design a... To get the full story, subscribe now.