Honors Program

Midway Honors, Honors in English

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Matthew Holtmeier

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

Chelsea Wessels


Hard Science-fiction shares a close relationship with the element of spectacle. This is especially apparent in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014), a film based in realistic science and emotional appeal. Nolan makes use of creating a team comprised of creative minds with different backgrounds. This includes theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, co-writer Jonathan Nolan, and composer Hans Zimmer. Together, the four develop a film that focuses on three main facets of science: time dilation, black holes, and dimensions. Incorporating these elements based in the historical world gives Interstellar its classification as hard science-fiction, a genre based more solidly in realistic science than classical science-fiction. Thorne serves as an executive producer and advisor to all matters scientific, Zimmer composes the score to accompany and intensify the moments of spectacle, and the Nolan brothers serve to create the plot behind Interstellar. The film’s spectacle can be seen throughout, notably in the “Miller’s Planet” and “Gargantua” scenes. Nolan also incorporates Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” to exemplify the film’s theme of perseverance against increasing odds. It is through these elements that Interstellar serves itself as an exemplary film for showcasing the relationship between the nature of hard science-fiction and spectacle.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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