Iconic Science Fiction and Sound Design

by Saul Edmonds

“There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive. ”

(Philip K. Dick)

Sound and Suspension of Disbelief

Sci - fi directors rely on audio to make their movies work. The history of sci-fi cinema reveals a progressively innovative and sophisticated use of sound. Sound design developed as an art form portraying these future visions. Immersive and hyperreal cinematic worlds utilized the sonic landscape to come to life in new ways.

Effects need sound. Imagine a silent light saber in a silent world.

Sound as Subliminal language

Strong, memorable, creative. Iconic sci -fi movies consistently feature audio that is interwoven with reference and meaning. It functions to articulate both character and environment.

The sound designer has been an integral collaborator in the realisation of the fantastic. Moments of tension are syncopated with aural detail. Dramatic themes are infused with delicate biological and mechanical textures.

A spirit of experimentation is evident throughout.

New music for new movies

Listen carefully. The sound is alive

5 Icons of Sci Fi Cinema + Excerpts of Sonic Inspiration

2001: A Space Odyssey

A minimal score and spareness of script gave dramatic tension to the silent, scientific landscape.

The Spacewalk Scene

The Star Gate Scene


Alien features a menacingly beautiful orchestral score with an eclectic use of ambient noise. Silence, script and sound is used in a dynamic mix to build dramatic suspense and fear throughout the film. Of note is the innovative absence of spoken dialogue in the third act.

Original Trailer

Jonesy the Cat Scene

Blade Runner

The romance of film noir with futuristic synths.

Main Titles

Tears in the Rain Scene

Star Wars (Episode IV - A New Hope)

Innovation and a classical score. Every major character has a unique leifmotif

Princess Leia’s Theme

The mischevious R2D2.

Terminator 2

A hyperrealistic sound mix where everything is bigger than life. There is a careful rhythm between audio and action.

Biker Bar Scene

Cyberdyne Explosion

Let us know your favourite moments of sound design within sci -fi.

by Saul Edmonds