The prognostic quality of science fiction…

b4c742a6-1789-4d88-b315-ae3b1d2b76d5-450-00000029e03345efI’m currently halfway through J.G. Ballards The Drowned World.

Today’s title was taken from a list of essay titles way back when I was studying for my bachelor’s degree and always stayed in my mind. I’m sure it was also followed by the usual imperative to ‘discuss!’.

But, it seems that the best sci-fi does indeed become prophecy; his description of the lagoons and overwhelming tropical fauna in a future London seem to be features that will just appear in a matter of time in light of recent events around the world.

We’re not looking at the far future, we’re looking at the near now…

Day of the dead…

So, George A. Romero and Martin Landau both gone within a day or so of each other: the former played a big part in my teenage years as a horror movie fan, with Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Creepshow among others. All were VHS staples in my house, and all were probably well worn out by the time I got to replace them on DVD.

The latter was a hero earlier in my childhood as Commander Koenig in my favourite childhood sci-fi TV show (apart from Doctor Who), Space 1999.

Landau of course, won an Oscar for his betrayal of another of my heroes, Bela Lugosi, in Ed Wood.

Zombies and sci-fi – there goes my youth!
😦

 

Enough already!

I saw the new Star Wars movie last week; it was a good fun waste of a couple of hours. But now I think it’s time for the whole media circus to move on (at least until the next movie!)

We’ve had the hype machine running full tilt for the last couple of months, we’ve been bombarded with the ads and some of the worst product tie-ins ever. And, now the film is in cinemas, we’re seeing the internet undertaking a collective postmortem: discussing the perceived plot holes, spotting the Easter eggs and the cameo appearances, and hand-wringing over the sexual politics and gender representation. It just seems endless – to the point where we’re not enjoying the franchise as a piece of science fiction escapism any more.

IMG_0039.PNG

Now, I’m a big time sci-fi fan, but the image above is from my Flipboard ‘Science Fiction’ feed, which has now turned almost exclusively into a ‘Star Wars’ feed.

And I’m sick of it.

Can we please all just take a deep breath and remember that it’s just a movie. And, despite the spectacle, it’s made lots of people undeservedly rich at a time when lots of ‘real’ people struggle to get by.

And yes, I do see the irony in writing about it…

Star Bores…

Not the phenomenon in the UK that it is in the US, we still get to watch SNL online over here. And, though it’s not the show it once was, it still occasionally hits the mark. Their recent Star Wars toy commercial had me wincing in recognition at myself a few years ago. I’d been collecting Star Wars action figures and had loads still in their packaging that no one was allowed to touch.

One day I woke up to myself when my young son asked to play with some of them and I realised that I was being completely unreasonable. I put the whole collection into a bag and gave them to him – told him to open them all up and play with them. The excitement in his face was far more of a reward than sitting on a collection that could never be touched.

I still have a few miniatures and figurines around the house, but that’s as far as it goes. Toys should be for kids, not for middle-aged men (and it is mostly men!) to hoard away in the hope of a good investment.