Friday, February 12, 2010
ABF Friday: Special Science Fiction Edition!
It’s so great to see that this guy has his very own blog. Though he should update it more often if he wants to become a real A-lister. I kept telling you that the giant enlightened insects were coming, but would you listen to me? Noooooo. Well, we’re all Multi-National United now.
Blogs are so 2005, though. And in the spirit of aught-five, I’d like to say a couple of things about the first season of Battlestar Galactica. The opening miniseries is very effective, and sheds new light (for me) on how much of the wingnut mentality depends on seeing apocalyptic threats everywhere, like that time when the inscrutable Cylon Soviet Mexican Islamists killed all but fifty thousand of us. And this household hearts Starbuck. Who wouldn’t?
But we have two complaints. One, the setting in the distant past. Yes, we understand that this will all be explained in the end, and the polytheistic humans and monotheistic Cylons will eventually be us, and the twelve colonies will become the twelve constellations, got it. But didn’t any of the writers see that this would pose a spot of trouble along the way when it came to accessories and backgrounds? Like, for instance, why is it that ancient humans had corded telephones and suits and neckties and stuff, and then lost them, and then got them back again? Take the victory celebration after Baltar’s election as vice-president: are you telling me that ancient humans danced to swing music, then forgot it, then invented it again in the twentieth century?
More important, the distant-past thing takes a lot of sand out of the bag, so to speak. I mean, I don’t know about you, but for me, nine-tenths of the fun and interest in science fiction is the depiction of a more-or-less plausible future. (See below for today’s Arbitrary game!) And I didn’t realize I felt this way until I started thinking for a while about the whole entire premise of BSG, so it’s not like I came to the series with a bad attitude.
Two, we hate the Number Six / Gaius Baltar plot. Hate it hate it hate it. And all its silly devices, too.
After we started season two last night, I asked Janet to remind me just why we were doing this anyway. Weren’t we going to catch up on Deadwood or something instead? She said that a friend and colleague told her that we absolutely had to see Battlestar Galactica first because, in the friend’s words, “it’s like The West Wing with sex.” When Janet told her that we’d never seen The West Wing, our friend did what all our academic friends do when we tell them we’ve never seen seen The West Wing: she fell out of her chair.
Apparently we were supposed to watch The West Wing.
Anyway, now that the enlightened insects are here and one of them has his own blog, which SF movie most plausibly depicts what the Earth will be like in the next few decades?
2001, except for the floating-fetus bit and, oh yeah, except for the whole “set-in-2001” bit.
Blade Runner, except for the flying cars.
Children of Men, except for the global-infertility epidemic.
I Am Legend 28 Days Later, except with extra zombies.
Independence Day, except that the First Lady survives the helicopter crash and becomes President of the Twelve Colonies.
Terminator series, except that after the terminator comes at us in a big truck carrying crude oil or liquid nitrogen or something, and we crush it in a drill press or maybe shoot it and shatter it into a million pieces, but then his metal forearm survives and provides scientists with the basis for creating a whole new kind of artificial intelligence, and then the liquid-metal terminator re-forms and we have to shoot it with one of those huge exploding bullets and make it fall backwards into a vat of molten steel, and then we send ourselves back into the past (that is, the present) to protect ourselves from the terminators who want to start a global thermonuclear war, but then it turns out that the war happens anyway, which is kind of complicated, because we thought we’d avoided it when we shot the liquid-metal terminator with the huge exploding bullet and he fell into the vat of molten steel, but then we win the war in the future and also there’s a sequel to the molten-vat part that’s also a prequel to the ... never mind, I meant to say “except for the part where the terminator becomes governor of California and turns the state into a barren, nightmarish landscape of twisted steel.” Because that’s from Demolition Man.
District 9, except for ... no, that one seems pretty much spot on.