Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Simon pegs it

by Rob - May 19th, 2015.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

If you actually read what Simon Pegg says in this Radio Times article — not just react in a knee-jerk fashion as you might when you think someone’s dissing your favorite things — there’s much truth in it.

In 1968, we had two great science-fiction films, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which terrifically captured the sense of wonder and was groundbreaking aesthetically, and Planet of the Apes, which was trenchant satire and social commentary about the two major front-page issues of its day, race relations and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

We didn’t get another truly big box-office smash SF film for eight years, when the first Star Wars film came out — and everything changed.

Yes, you — and I — can point to examples of thoughtful, intelligent, socially relevant SF films and TV shows scattered here and there amongst the spectacles that followed (FlashForward, based on my novel of the same name, included), and try to claim they’re the norm, but what Pegg says is worth reflecting on.

And, the bottom line, when the public says “science fiction,” they don’t mean those outlier examples: they mean mindless spectacle, pretty much with no science or anything in the way of sophisticated — subtle, emotionally truthful — fiction. (Indeed, the ABC press office barred us from referring to FlashForward as science fiction, because that would confuse the public.)

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