Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who relies on science to survive on a hostile planet. Giles Keyte/EPKTV hide caption

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Best-selling author Liu Cixin's science fiction books are breaking new ground in China's literary world. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

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The 2011 film Another Earth, directed by Mike Cahill, explores very human questions against an improbable backdrop. Artists Public Domain/The Kobal Collection hide caption

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Author Richard Matheson's science fiction stories included The Shrinking Man, I Am Legend, and numerous other movie and TV scripts, including episodes of The Twilight Zone. Archive of American Television hide caption

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There's always a girl and there's always a gun: the Hero-Blaster used by Harrison Ford's character in the movie Blade Runner. The gun was up for auction in 2009. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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