Odyssey 5's future & the Columbia incident


Save Angel!
Jun 13, 2001
I don't have any news, but I wonder if the recent Columbia accident might have any effect on the chances of this show finding a new network?

I just wonder because things like the Trailer for the new movie The Core have been pulled from cinemas as a direct result of the accident (read more here: http://www.ascifi.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16748 ), and an episode of the american series John Doe has been put on the back burner.
From www.scifi.com/scifiwire:
Fox Pulls Doe Episode

Fox will pull an episode of John Doe that deals with the death of an astronaut in light of the Columbia disaster, Zap2it reported. The episode, "Illegal Alien," was slated to air on Feb. 7 and begins with an astronaut falling out of the sky.

"It was very much of a mutual decision," executive producer Brandon Camp told the site. "We have this episode that revolves around this mysterious appearance of an astronaut in a forest outside of Seattle, and there are all these whispers of a connection between the astronaut and John Doe throughout the episode."

I hope you don't think me callous in asking this question, but I think it is relevant. I sympathise deeply with the families and friends of those that were lost in the accident, but it would be short-sighted not to acknowledge what possible effects the incident might have on the science fiction genre.

Odyssey 5, as we all know features a space shuttle crew, and many of the flashbacks and some new scenes are, and no doubt would continue to be set on the shuttle. Might a public sensitivity to such issues, or a desire not to offend play a part in ensuring Sony does not find a new home for this show? I certainly hope not, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts.


Shipper Queen
Jun 28, 2002
This may put off other networks that may by the show but I personally hope that this doesn't happen. (I don't mean to cause any offence as what happened was a terrible tragedy.)

Odyssey 5 has so much potential and the current season is fantastic, much better than some other sci-fi shows that I've been watching. If at least given another season so much more could be developed and questions answered. I don't think there will be a definate conclusion at the end of this season so it will be a shame if it isn't picked up.

RangerOne SG13 SOR

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2000
You have to remember the American nation is very sensitive to "national tragedy"

All the networks are so geared towards making money and viewer polls (affects advertisment) that they cannot take the risk of offending anyone (even though thier drama queen news casters turn things into a freak show)

Remember 9/11 the impact that had on the film industry etc. Anything that had an image or mention of the Twin towers was pulled. Arnie got his movie out ok (well it was a fireman taking on terrorists)

If the Columia tragedy had happened when Oddessey5 was about to air for the first time I bet it would not of been aired at all.

Just a sad fact of life.



Non Bio
Staff member
Jan 5, 2001
Way on Down South, London Town
I didn't answer before because to me the two things don't seem to be related. I am obviously very wrong as the following article proves...

from Scifi Wire
SF Authors Debate Columbia

SF scholar Gary Westfahl's Locus Online essay arguing that science fiction has misled the public about the advisability of manned space flight has drawn a torrent of negative reaction from SF writers and others. In the wake of the Columbia disaster, Westfahl—author or editor of 12 books about science fiction and fantasy—wrote, "What happened to the Columbia crushingly invalidates all the cozy dramas of science fiction's space adventures."

Westfahl added that SF literature has underplayed the risks of such endeavors and suggested that there was no good reason for such projects at this time. "The real reason why so many people feel this compulsion to carry on with space travel is simple enough," he wrote. "We must conquer space because science fiction has told us to. ... You've got to admire the astounding power of a form of literature that can keep inspiring people to do silly things. But you've also got to wonder, especially on the days when those things go horribly wrong, whether this is necessarily an admirable quality."

In response, SF writers Jerry Pournelle, Michael Swanwick, David Hartwell and many others blasted Westfahl in letters to Locus Online. The writers took issue with Westfahl's argument that SF has downplayed risks.

"As to why explore, some people like Westfahl have to ask," Pournelle wrote. "Some, like the crew of Columbia, don't need to ask that question. Like Scott at the South Pole, the Columbia crew knew the risks, and they chose to take them: as would many readers of science fiction, and many Americans, and all the astronauts and test pilots I have met. The star road takes a fearful toll: but it's one paid cheerfully."

You should know that Jerry Pournelle was a government adviser on manned spaceflight. He spent 15 years in the aerospace industry before turning to full-time writing. He is also a former Professor of History and Political Science and a political campaign manager, as well as being a past president of the Science Fiction Writers of America and a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. So he knows what he is talking about, but does have a personal agenda.

I also heard a radio phone in, and someone who used to work for NASA said that if Astronauts weren't Astronauts they would be mountain climbers, divers, go off-piste skiing or do some other equally dangerous sport. They are that kind of people.

Manned Spaceflight is expensive and it is dangerous, but there will always be people who want to go. While they were still in orbit Dave Brown, one of the Columbia crew, asked, jokingly, “do we really have to come back?â€

"Mission has to continue" -- Cincinnati Post, Guest column by Buzz Aldrin. http://www.cincypost.com/2003/02/04/guest020403.html

edit: There is a huge argument in progress now about this. Maybe we should alter the thread title and move this to General Discussions. It seems like the whole of SciFi is on trial.

Similar threads