31 March 2008

Shape of Things to Come

I have been a fan of science fiction since I was a kid. Not just "Oh, I'm a kid and I love science fiction." No; rather: I want to learn what the world of science fiction has to offer the world of today. What are the great creative minds thinking about the way things are and they way they could be?

Will things be fun and interesting like "2001: A Space Odyssey"? Will they be oppressive like "Things to Come" (pictured)? Will they be boring and routine then, the way life is boring and routine now?

While I stopped reading science fiction a long time ago, I still watch as much science fiction as I can -- especially the good stuff. The original "Star Trek"? I grew up with it. "Space: 1999"? Not good, but interesting. (How wrong can you go with Barbara Bain?) "UFO"? Campy, but, again, interesting. "Doctor Who"? Could never get into it. "Torchwood"? Not really science fiction, per se, but it has some intriguing ideas, and an endless parade of cute guys. How bad can that be?

This brings me to a link featuring
The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever. It purports to list the films that best guessed what the future would be like. Well, okay; but I never looked at science fiction as trying to guess what the future would be like; rather, I always thought of it as the launching pad for way out ideas becoming real.

In other words, a science fiction novel featuring video telephones does not "prophesize" a future with video telephones, it provides an idea for someone to say: "Hey, wait: We have technology that could combine a telephone with a video monitor and create the same thing this science fiction novel is describing. Let's make one of those!"

All of these ray guns, robots and wall-sized televisions have become real because someone read about it or saw it in a movie and had the skill to make it real. It wasn't a guess, it was an inspiration.

Giant animated billboards covering the entire sides of buildings? We can do that. Cars that levitate? We can do that (I think). Food made out of people? We could do that, but let's not.

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