Mark Charan Newton has written an excellent recap of the firestorm of comment that followed his controversialist piece on why SF is dying, and fantasy kicks butt.
I’ve added my two penn’orth to this debate; and in a nutshell, I feel that great SF is being written at the moment, but for some reason it’s not at the cutting edge of that elusive thing called ‘zeitgeist’.
Maybe this will change very soon when Avatar hits the cinema screens, which is very soon now. This could be the SF movie that does what the movie of Lord of the Rings did. (I can still remember audibly gasping at the shot of Gandalf on the high tower – it felt as I’d stumbled up into a whole new level of cinematic intensity.)
Early reports suggest that Avatar is the cinematic experience of a lifetime; though the story isn’t as strong as it might be. And if that’s so, it’s a pity. But just on the basis of the trailers I’ve seen, this is a film that exhilaratingly makes the audience feel what it’s like to be an alien on an alien planet. And that in itself has to be worth the price of admission.
When I was out in LA about a year ago I was told by an exec in a company that was famous for doing big science fiction movies that SF was now ‘out’.
Since then, however, Roland Emmerich is now slated to direct a movie of Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, there’ s a whole slew of SF projects in development involving aliens in American high schools, and now we have Avatar.
A new dawn, or a minor blip? Let’s see…
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