Put On Your Sci-Fi Shorts!


We’ve talked about Rabbit Wholing and Wikiphilia before, but we’re going to have to come up with an altogether new term for mining the trove of sci-fi shorts available on YouTube. In case you’ve never fallen down the drain of this particular timesink, you may be surprised to know there are literally hundreds (who knows, maybe THOUSANDS) of decent-quality science fiction shorts on YouTube. So many, in fact, that we might make this a regular column. It doesn’t appear that anyone is doing a decent job of “curating” the genre, so there’s no obvious cohesive center to the format. Some of the flicks are live action, some are completely CGI, and some are fairly polished hybrids. They vary in length from about five minutes to nearly feature-length, and the writing, visuals, sound, and overall production quality varies wildly from film to film. Even when they appear to be remarkably well put together, there will be some shortcoming – usually sound, acting, or editing – that actually lends some of the charm to this relatively uncharted genre. View numbers are no help either; some of the flicks with really high view numbers are clearly content that gamers like, and some really good shorts have really low view counts.

We have no desire to play the critic, so we’ll just try to select some interesting films, and share them with minimal commentary. We’ll try to always find the highest-resolution version available, so some times we’ll share the Vimeo version instead of the YouTube version. Here are a few to get things started. Feel free to share any decent shorts you know of as a comment.

The Nostalgist

The Nostalgist is based on a story by the author of the best seller Robopocalypse. It’s actually quite well scripted and acted, with reasonably solid production values.


Abe is a robot who’s programmed to love, but never gets loved back. In this short, he explores a solution to his problem. This is a live-action/CGI hybrid that’s well-assembled, with a minor shortcoming or two that are worth overlooking. It’s only eight minutes of your life!


Rise is actually not a short, strictly speaking. It’s a proof of concept by David Karlak. It’s a stylish exploration of some common sentient robot themes, but with a twist.

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