The Science Fiction Fan’s Bucket List

© Jamie Wilson |
© Jamie Wilson | 

I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel a lot and do many things I’ve always wanted to do.  Some of my opportunities have been work related (e.g. using the Hubble Space Telescope, and helping to decide who else has gotten to use it).  Some have just been because I’ve taken the initiative and gone out and done something I really wanted to do.

This post is titled “Science Fiction Fan” but I will be inclusive here and use the term to encompass everything good and interesting about being a geek and fan of science, fantasy, horror, superheroes, and related topics.  This is a list of things I personally would like to do, or have done, to make this side of me happy.  I’d love other suggestions in the comments.

1. Attend Worldcon

2. Attend Dragoncon

3. Attend Comic-Con

4. Attend World Fantasy Con

5. Attend Fright Fest

6. Visit (and use) telescopes on the summit of Maunea Kea, Hawaii

7. Visit (and use) the VLA in New Mexico

8. Visit (and use) telescopes in Chile, California, Arizona, etc.

9. Use the Hubble Space Telescope

10. Visit Devil’s Tower (Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind)

11. Visit Stonehenge

12. Visit Loch Ness

13. Visit Bluff Creek, where the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film was made

14. See a UFO or cryptid animal that I can’t identify as something well understood

15. See the northern lights

16. See Dracula’s castle

17. Visit the Shire in New Zealand from the Lord of the Rings movies

18. Visit the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle

19. Publish a science fiction novel

20. Visit The Islands of Adventure theme park at Universal Studios, Orlando

21. See a space launch live (missed my shuttle opportunity)

22. See a comet in the sky with the naked eye

23. Ride on a hovercraft

24. Visit the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum

25. Visit the Catacombs under Paris.

26. Visit the Winchester Mystery House

27. See a meteor so bright it casts shadows

28. Visit the pyramids in Egypt

29. Visit the International Space Station or future equivalent

30. Ride into space

31. Vomit comet parabolic flight for at least the sensation of extended freefall

32. Visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center or Kennedy Space Center

33. Volunteer and help on a professional dinosaur dig

34. Halloween on the QE2

35. Visit Carlsbad Caverns

36. Fly over a volcano

37. Build a robot

38. Shop at Kevin Smith’s Red Bank comic book shop

39. Visit a particle collider facility like CERN or Fermilab

40. See Soundgarden play “Black Hole Sun” and Blue Oyster Cult play “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”

41. Go see for myself what that “Thing” roadside attraction is outside Tucson on I-10

42. See an Avengers vs. X-Men movie

43. See a Batman vs. Superman movie

44. Build a 2001 monolith for my front yard

45. Drive (a version of) the Batmobile

46. Win a best costume prize

47. See a short story or novel of mine made into a movie or TV show

48. Get a science fiction/fantasy/horror tattoo (I have a couple of stars already but want something more interesting)

49. Ride in a deep sea submarine/bathysphere

50. Talk with a non-human intelligence, whether that is alien or machine-based

I’ve done about half of these and will try to do most of the rest before I die.

What’s on your bucket list?  There must be a lot of cool things I don’t even know about in the world that I’d love to hear about.

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  2. RK's comment on being on a dino dig (33) not being all that it's cracked up to be…

    Ya know, I think this just depends on the individual. Some people are just wired so that they LOVE looking for needles in haystacks and can do that for hours happily. And other people, well, hate it. I for one, LOVED it every time I went to a quarry or a rocky hilltop or a road cut and spent hours and hours flipping over every rock, hoping to find some fossil that no human had ever seen – the shell of a gastropod that no one creature had laid eyes on for 450 million years. Or… When we were doing "document review," for different legal cases, which involved flipping through thousands of pages of documents looking for one that one smoking gun… wow, I happily did that for days and weeks. Or playing "Mass Effect 2," when you scanned planet after planet for precious metals. Best part of the game. But other people hated it, because it involved no shooting and ducking. And when I was on a dino dig? We were unearthing a diplodocus. And at lunch, I saw a small round rock and knew it was special – a lot of round rocks are formed around a fossil. And when I cracked it open, there inside was a brachiopod, a very common brachiopod, which was awesome, because that way they could date the dinosaur better. Toiling in the hot sun with a small brush and a tooth brush? Sounds like heaven.

    At least for me, maybe not for someone like RK.

    But then, I don't really like roller coasters, which other people think are awesomy awesome. To each his own.

  3. Maybe this isn't really a bucket list thing, but I would like to have a robot to mow my yard in the summer and shovel the snow from my drive in the winter.

    33 on your list is not what it's cracked up to be, at least for me. I worked in the Anthropology and Archeology department in college. Every summer they had digs that were more like labor camps. Toiling in the hot sun with a small brush like a tooth brush wiping away the dirt.

    Maybe I need a robot for that too.

    Great list. Thanks for the post.

    1. I imagine some of these things won't be as cool as I anticipate, but you never know for sure until you try them. I'm the kind of person who wants to try everything at least once. Living in Wyoming with my office a two-minute walk from a decent dinosaur museum, there are opportunities. I always wanted to find something cool myself.

  4. 18 out of 50. I've got some work to do. I've done: 1, 3, 4, 10, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 31 (if you count the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for freefall), 33, 35, 36, 39 (does SLAC count?), 45 (does sitting in the Batmobile but not driving count?), 46, 47, 50.

    1. I'm only at 19 out 50 myself. A few will require a lot of help (from Hollywood or aliens!), or certain technologies getting a lot cheaper.

      I've got a real life bucket list, too, with things on it like hang gliding and running a marathon, which I've done, and go to Australia, which I haven't.

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