And we’re not just talking Star Trek’s Dr Leonard H ‘Bones’ McCoy! Magical and mythical, sci-fi and sciency, fantasy and fabulous – there are all sorts of things that don’t actually exist. But, oh, how we wish they did...
‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ The immortal words of Captain James T Kirk to engineer Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty. The transporter is Star Trek’s teleportation machine. It converts a person or object into an energy pattern, then ‘beams’ said person or object to a different location, to be reconverted into matter. Late for work and lost your bus pass? Home time, you’re tired and it’s raining again? Beam us up!
Wouldn’t it be nice to find all the jobs (that it’s always your turn for) done? Well, that’s what it’d be like to have a house elf! If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, you’ll be familiar with Dobby. This funny little creature with huge eyes and big, floppy, pointy ears is just fantastic – cooking, cleaning and being all-round useful. It’s said that even ancient and creepy house elf Kreacher could rustle up a great steak-and-kidney pie…
Apparently topping the most-wanted list for things that don’t exist but which we wished did… The time machine! From writer HG Wells’ sci-fi novel The Time Machine, to Big Bang Theory Leonard Hofstadter’s bargain-buy full scale (working, perhaps..?) model of the same, to Marty McFly’s Back To The Future DeLorean, seems it’s always been a winner of an item. But even though it’s fiction, don’t fret. We’re all time travellers to the future – at 60 minutes per hour…
While the mythical and magical unicorn isn’t particularly useful, you have to admit it’s a thing of beauty. A symbol of purity and grace, said only to be tameable by a maiden, its horn is reputed to have the power to make poisoned water drinkable and to heal sickness. And, well, it’d just be great to have one cantering around in the garden like a giant My Little Pony!
Who doesn’t want to zoom through the skies on the back of a dragon? (Oh, just us, is it?) Tales of dragons are found in almost all cultures – sometimes as bad guys (Smaug in The Hobbit) and sometimes as good guys (Y Ddraig Goch, the Red Dragon of Wales, and benevolent Japanese and Chinese beasties). Always popular in literature, dragons feature in tales such as that of St George and Beowulf, and get a modern update with Game of Thrones, Norbert from Harry Potter and the gorgeous Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon…
Ever wished you could rewind a moment? If you had a neuralizer, you could! This is an important item for Agents Jay and Kay, operatives of a secret organisation policing extraterrestrial affairs on Earth. In the 1997 movie Men in Black, the gadget zaps away the memories of those who stare at its flashing red light. Looking like a fat, silver pen with lights on, just point it at a person and, with the click of a button and a few soothing words, a memory can be wiped and replaced with something else. Who ate all the pies? What pies..?!
One for DIY-ers everywhere?! Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver can open all kinds of locks – from old, rusty padlocks to digital keypads (if it doesn’t work, just turn it off and turn it on again…). It can also reprogram computers and repair old wiring, plus operate machinery (including cash machines). At least one version of the screwdriver was able to use thoughts instead of settings. Although primarily a tool, the sonic screwdriver can also be used as a weapon. It’s just so versatile! But we don’t think it’ll be on the shelves at Homebase any time soon!
‘Under the sea, under the sea. Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me…’ So sings Sebastian the crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. And how fab it’d be if there really were such a creature as a mermaid. But seems we’re not the only ones to think so. Perhaps it’s a step – or butterfly stroke – too far, but the annual Merfest convention in the US draws over 300 men and women who dress up in the full monty to celebrate ‘being merpeople’. Yes, really.
Yes, we know there are ones that spray-paint cars, and those rather creepy, Japanese human-types… Still, imagine how useful it’d be to have your very own robot. And surely the most wantable one has to be Baymax, from the animation Big Hero 6. The ‘personal healthcare companion’ is a 10ft-tall, inflatable, huggable, adorable robot that looks like a mobile marshmallow, and is programmed to make people feel better. And when his owner Hiro builds Baymax rocket boots, he can fly, too. Caring, cuddly, cute – what a combo!
In the 1965 movie Thunderball, James Bond – Sean Connery – escapes the baddie by donning a jet pack and zooming off into the air. The concept actually emerged from sci-fi to become sci-fact – though, sadly, it seems we’ll not be coming to work on one quite yet… Another must-have gadget is Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit complete with assorted weapons, communications systems, jets in the boots – oh, what doesn’t it do?! And inside is Robert Downey Jr. Perfect.
Magical swords that can cut through nearly anything and can deflect blaster fire. Yay! We want a light saber! These gizmos first hit the big screen in the Star Wars movies waaaaay back (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..? Well, in 1977, if you’re being picky.) And they’ve been a must-have for budding Jedi knights (and those on the Dark Side) ever since. Oh, and they make that really cool voom-whoosh sound…
Ian Fleming’s tale of a vintage racing car rescued from the scrap heap by inventor Caractacus Potts is inspiring. Who wouldn’t want to have a car like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – which could transform into a power boat or, even better, sprout wings and propellers and fly? No more sitting in traffic jams, eh? Just as long as the car radio doesn’t play Dick Van Dyke on loop singing Truly Scrumptious and Me Ol’ Bamboo…
Which fictional things do you wish were real?