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9 Essential Terms for DUST Passengers

Influenced by both theory and technological advances, science fiction introduces audiences to new ideas which often includes new terminology. Our team has compiled a list of important sci-fi words along with relevant DUST films relating to each topic.


1. Afrofuturism

A cultural movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture.

DUST’s original series Afrofutursim covers five influential characters in the Afrofuturist movement: Sun Ra, Star Trek’s Uhura, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, and Missy Elliott. The creators go into more detail about the subject in an interview here.

2. Android

A robot with a human appearance.

Robots are depicted in many forms but the difficulty in distinguishing Androids from Humans is what makes them so compelling. Similo explores the reality of what it’s like being in love with an Android while iMom serves as an example of how Androids could fill parental roles.

3. Clone

An organism or cell, or group of organisms or cells, produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical.

The belief that science could eventually create an exact replica of a person is an intriguing yet potentially terrifying idea. What would it mean have an identical replica of you walking around? Caleb examines how parents handle their son creating a clone of himself in a world where human cloning is illegal.

4. Cyborg

A person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.

If you think about it, we already live in a world with Cyborgs due to the advancement of medical science. People now have access to prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, and other devices that help humans survive and thrive when our body parts give out. What if you needed to replace your entire body to survive? The reality of that situation is reflected in the film We Only Attack Ourselves.

5. Eugenics

The science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.

Humans use “selective breeding” to develop particular characteristics in the offspring of plants and animals. While it’s socially acceptable to do this with plants and animals, the thought of controlling human “breeding” without love or desire is off-putting to say the least. Could you handle living in the world of Populace where Eugenics is practiced?

6. Extraterrestrial (E.T.)

A hypothetical or fictional being from outer space, especially an intelligent one. 

Often referred to as “Aliens”. It’s statistically probable that intelligent life exists on other planets in our solar system but what would happen if they traveled to Earth? How would humans react? Embers & Dust captures the terror a popular radio broadcast incites when listeners believe Earth is under attack from such beings. While in In the Pines, a girl believes that she has been visited by aliens and eagerly awaits their return to take her with them.

7. Parallel Universe

A world conceived of as coexisting with and having certain similiarities to the known world but different from it in some fundamental way.

Every choice you make has multiple outcomes. In another universe, you might be walking around with the love of your life or have your boss’s job. If parallel universes collided, what would happen? Doubles depicts a world where this is a reality. Would you be able to live with yourself?

8. Sentient

Able to perceive or feel things.

Sentience is what separates humans from robots since we have the ability to think for ourselves rather than being programmed to do things. What if robots are able to develop and become sentient? The films IRIS and ANA depict a darker side of sentient beings but do you think it’s possible for Humans and Robots to live in harmony?

9. Time Travel

The action of traveling through time into the past or the future.

The desire to experience life in another decade or century is littered through science-fiction. When would you travel to if you could move through time? Would you attempt to stop bad things from happening like the young boy in Time? Or would you try to be in a relationship with a young version of the old lady at a nursing home like Future Boyfriend?

Is there a term you think should be included? Comment with your suggestions. #getdusted