Sunday, October 16, 2005

Weekend Assignment #81: Favorite Sci-Fi Movies

Weekend Assignment #81: Favorite Sci-Fi Movies

So, my newest book, The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies, is now out in the stores (its official release date is next Monday, but it's already for sale on Amazon and at other fine outlets). The book catches up readers on the history of science fiction and science fiction film, looks at science fiction film all around the world, and picks 50 science fiction films for "The Canon" -- the sci-fi films you need to see if you're serious about science fiction film.

If you check out the book, you'll discover the sci-fi films I think you need to see, and naturally this dovetails into a perfect Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #81: Share one of your favorite science fiction movies. Note that this doesn't have to be the "best" science fiction film ever, or the most popular, or the most significant; it doesn't even have to be a good science fiction film. It just should be a science fiction film you enjoy watching over and over again -- the kind that always sucks you into the couch whenever it's on TV.

Extra Credit: Who is the coolest science fiction character ever? Note that this character doesn't have to be in the film you've selected as your favorite -- consider the entire genre.

Dear John,

Am drowning here. Plink! Plonk! Ploop!! All I can hear as the drops fill their various music containers and I run back and forth emptying them in the sink. At least it isn't snow ... with an average ratio of 1” rain::1' snow, they'd need D6 dozers to get in to recover our bodies.

I've been depressed by all the gloom and rain. Almost ten days without sun – it poked out one afternoon this past week but then disappeared. Leaves are at their peak, but it's too wet to drive anywhere. Most of the best roads for leaf-peeping are impassable due to flooding.

And then you go off an choose a topic that leaves me cold. I don't like the genre of Science Fiction films. My imagination does a much better job providing the visuals and most screen writers couldn't write themselves out of a corner, let alone actually plot a story. No, I am not thrilled with either Star Wars or Star Trek movies.

One s.f. movie comes to mind that fits the description “ you into the couch whenever it's on TV.” Enemy Mine, based on a book by another alcoholic Mainer, Barry B. Longyear. It was the last movie that my first wife and I attended together. It came out at the height of my battle with the bottle, although I had an autographed hard copy I'd received from my brother at home as it had appeared several years earlier. In 1980, it won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novella; it also won the Locus Poll for Best Novella and on the strength of this early promise the author also won the John W. Campbell Award that year.1 It was Barry's most successful work, although not his favorite (actually, it was the movie adaptation of the novella that raised his ire). And, to my mind, Lou Gosset's portrayal of the Drac, Jeriba Shigan, is the “coolest science fiction character ever.”

But what do I know? Life is gray, science fiction movies usually get a pass from me when they are on and obviously this topic didn't thrill me as much as many do. George Bush has taken complete leave of his senses with his nomination of ├╝ber virgin Harriet Miers to fill the open Supreme Court position. The earthquake in northeastern Pakistan and India has taken more lives than were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, combined ... and relief can't reach them. The Asian Avian Flu pandemic is heating up. As virii go, it won't be long until a virulent mutation begins sweeping the human world with a ferocity unseen since the Black Plague in Europe and the flu infestation of 1918 in the West. That last took the lives of many of my relatives. The disastrous potential is very real to me.

Look after your girls, John, so they will look after you.


1Source: “ "Enemy Mine, by Barry B. Longyear" Review by Nicholas Whyte

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