In 1968, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey started a trend that eventually brought science fiction films from low-budget “B-movie” ratings to the big-budget status we now take for granted. As presented by Hollywood (and on television), science fiction today reaches far beyond mere respectability to real cultural and marketplace power. Its characters, settings, jargon, and fictional science have become recognized parts of popular culture the world over. Science fiction wields enormous commercial clout, too. Although James Cameron’s Avatar stands out as the highest grossing film ever at $2.6 billion, it’s not alone. At last count, 19 of the 50 all time top-grossing films – nearly 40% – are science fiction in one form or another.