If you already know of this stuff, then by all means ignore and keep watching/reading/playing. Alternatives to Star Trek/Star Wars, and all have their own merits.
Dan Simmons four-book Hyperion series: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and The Rise of Enymion. So much happens I can’t summarise it, but its a great read, adventure and thought-provoking ideas. He creates a very coherent sci-fi universe which is entirely of his own making, and its a fantastic series.
Starcraft. Legendary game from 1997, and the first game of the trilogy of sequels is coming out soon, so now is great time to catch up on the storyline from the original game and the expansion pack. Its an RTS, (you don’t know what that means, I’m tempted to say ‘go look it up’, but I’ll won’t: It stands for Real Time Strategy. If you don’t like RTS, steer clear, but you’re missing out. The story of the game and the expansion pack (sort of a sequel) is cracking. One of the three playable races, the Zerg, smell of Borg to me, but they’re purely organic and different in colour palatte, feel, and history, so thats good. Not terribly original, but still great. The plot in itself is original, and has twists and turns. The other two playable races are the Terrans, (humans), and the Protoss are mega-powerful spritual aliens. Good game.
Dead Space: Survival third-person shooter. Jesus fucking Christ. The scariest game I have ever played. I can’t reveal to much about the plot without ruining it, but a deep space mining ship gets infected by ‘something’ after cracking open a planet. An alien artifact had been found on the surface, and everything goes to scary-as-fuck-hell after the planet crack. You play Issac Clarke, an engineer, not a space marine hard man, who ends up stranded on the vessel, called Ishimura, after he and his crew are sent to answer a distress call. Needless to say, the ship is blood-splattered and starting to malfunction, with very few human survivors, but plenty of new ‘inhabitants’ roaming the corridors menacingly. There are layers and layers of story to the game, you really have to pay attention to get the full enjoyment. Looks great, sounds great, plays great. Play it. Prepare to be terrified, freaked out, and scared out of your skin, and not necessarily in that order. Have a pair of new underwaer on stand-by. You want a taster, check out a level on YouTube. You want entertaining dialogue at the same time which slighty defuses the terror, watch Zaranyzerak’s walkthrough, as he and his partner play through the game and be scared, all for your viewing pleasure. Search ‘Zaranyzerak.’ Also check out the movie tie-in, Downfall, or the Animated Comic Parts 0-6, on EA’s YouTube channel. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. Here’s a creepy hint to freak you out: Dismember the dead bodies in the ship. It’ll make things just a little easier for you, if that’s the right word to use. I think not.
Mass Effect: Whoooooooo, Bioware game! The Masters of RPG! That means Role Playing Game, if you don’t know. And if you don’t, holy damn, by a gaming PC and join the fun! Again, hard to summarise without spoiling the plot, which is maddening, even if done by accident. You’re a human commander in a version of Earth’f future, an officer in the Alliance Fleet, and you get to go on adventures around a rich and exciting galaxy in a sleek ship with a band of fellow adventurers whom you meet along the way. (Yes, very Star Trek/Star Wars, and wonderful for it). You play Commander Sheperd, and you get to choose your character’s gender, first name, appearance, and, ultimately, their destiny. I recommend a female character, the female voice actor is far superior to the male one, she lends an authority, believibility, compassion and heart to Sheperd, and even an imperiousness to the character. The original point of this adventuring and exploring is to prove humanity, in this fiction a relative newcomer to the galactic scene, to the other more established alien races, whom at the early stages of the game do not really trust humanity after some earlier conflicts. But your overall mission changes after a few missions and becomes about so much more with the danger of a massive and encroaching threat which endangers the galaxy. Space epic at its best, and you don’t just sit back and watch! You decide what happens, and the story is not linear. Excellent, check it out. Mass Effect 2 is on the way, so now would be a good time to play if you haven’t. I’m on another playthrough of the game, and its as good as I remember.
Red Dwarf: British cult comedy hit. A Scouser space bum, a mechaniod originally conceived to clean toilets, a neurotic, cowardly holographic recreation of a dead man and a creature that evolved from a cat, cast about space together in the future after a million years in stasis, trying to find Earth, then trying to find their ship after they park it badly and loose it (the titular Red Dwarf), then finding it and trying to find Earth again., and getting into trouble all the way Its one of the funniest British comedies ever made, the writing is brilliant, the characters are unique, its ideas are fresh and different (usually, if anything is copied its usually for purposes of intentional parody), and its acted very well. I recommend Series 4, 5 and 6 the highest, but all of it is excellent.
Akira: Well-known anime film from Japan, made in the eighties, all about trascending to another level of existence and how this strains the relationship between the two main characters. Set after a nuclear war, sometime in the future. Well animated, well realised.
Any book by Iain M. Banks. Seriously. Read them. They’re brilliant.
One for the kids (and big kids): Galaxy Rangers. You can find it on YouTube. Its like the wild west, but in the future, with starships and lasers. A fond favourite from my childhood, and a rolicking ride. Rock ’em, sock ’em space cowboys! Goose is the best character, for the record.
Oh, just to mention the big names in sci-fi, and if you do like gaming, Star Trek Voyager Elite Force is the best Star Trek game made so far, and a fantastic game in itself. Graphically its aged quite a lot, it was released in 1999 after all, but the gameplay is brilliant and solid, and the story is pure Star Trek, and a real adventure. You get to fight alongside members of the crew at one point against the galaxy-threatening danger, which is awesome.