So. 2020. The start of a new decade. That’s just a bit surreal for me. I can remember wondering if 1984 would turn out anything like the novel. The future did turn out a bit like Orwell’s vision — it just took until 2016 or so to get there. It isn’t so much that Big Brother is watching (although, that too), but how our government corrupts and perverts facts and truth.
Good fiction is insightful about the human condition; good science fiction is insightful about our future. Over time, as advertised, the prescient film Idiocracy goes from SF comedy to anthropological documentary. Many others went from fiction to fact. (Fortunately, at least so far, The Terminator has not.)
Suffice to say, this year will seem surreal in more ways than one.
I mentioned Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey recently. It’s actually one of my favorite films, although by “favorite” I mean it makes my Top 25 Best Films list (or it would if I ever made one). I consider it a major landmark in the cinema landscape.
I’m not sure it makes my Top 25 Favorite Films list, but that’s only because there are so many others I love for reasons beyond their mere quality. It would probably make the Top 50 list, and I’m sure it’s in my Top 100. Some find it opaque or pointless, but to me it’s a visual tone poem that’s as beautiful as it is technically accomplished.
When I say that last part, people sometimes ask me what a visual tone poem is.
What a thing to behold: 2014! I found it a bit startling to reach 2010; by now these high numbers seem almost normal. Some born in this millennium are already teenagers and aren’t far from voting age. For those of us born back in the fitties, it can be a little eerie.
When Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in April 1968, I was in seventh grade and already a hard-core science fiction fan. Back then, 2001 seemed so far off that anything was possible. We first walked on the moon just over a year later in July. (My beloved Star Trek had been on the air since September 1966!)
I even remember when George Orwell‘s 1984 seemed very far off!
Today I’m starting a brand new ancient tradition: Sci-Fi Saturday! It won’t mean a science fiction post every Saturday, but when I do post SF topics, it’ll be on Saturday. This new protocol has many precedents. Last August I posted four articles for Star Trek Saturday. The August before that, I posted two key Star Trek articles (one of them my favorite diatribe about the holodeck).
Turns out it was a Saturday I posted those videos with Captain Kirk and Princess Leia giving each other crap about which was better, Star Trek or Star Wars (duh, it’s Doctor Who). And there are other science fiction posts that fell on Saturday (I was surprised at how many — it seems the new tradition is foreordained). Plus, Saturday is named after Saturn, which is an extremely science fiction-y planet!
So welcome to Sci-Fi Saturday!
This is too good not to share:
I was a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey when it came out in 1968 (I was in high school at the time). I was already a science fiction fan by then, so it was a dream movie for a guy like me. Later, in college, I majored in film and television, so came to appreciate the artistry of the film on a whole new level: as a visual tone poem by Stanley Kubrick.
It remains one of my favorite films, perhaps more for the memories and early exposure than for it being a great film that stands the test of time (although I rather think it is and does). I still see it as a very beautiful film; the visual poetry remains. The soundtrack also is quite extraordinary, I think.
But I’m still waiting for those commercial TWA flights to the moonbase!
Anyway, enjoy the video. It’s a trailer for 2001 as if it were cut today (making the film a Thriller … in space).
Funniest thing I’ve seen all week, and I’m indebted to the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, for posting it! If you like space or astronomy (or science or cool things), this is a blog site you want to visit daily. One of the best out there, as far as I’m concerned.