BEYOND SPACE WESTERNS
The Undecided Frontier
I like science fiction.
About 25 years ago I entered the second painting I had ever done into a science fiction contest for an upcoming exhibition. The entries were judged by Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction writers. Anyway, that painting was one of only 1.5% of all entries selected. So I was surprised after the person notoifying us, when we came in to pick up our photo’s, preped me for bad news since the judges were deemed so difficult. ‘You had one chosen!’; she beamed. I have more than a passing interest in theories of the future.
I like the Science Fiction Channel, but…
Science fiction plots are often highly repetitive. The whole usual space warfare scenarios depend more on art and computers for the usual stressed out narrative. Much advanced civilizations, if they are into conquering us; well, it would kinda be like man with rifles versus the Buffalo. No contest.
Which brings me to the technologies and how on so many movies and scifi shows, everyone, more or less, speaks English. One reason I was glad to see Babylon 5 for, was what it broke in convention of the easy road of low brow assumptions so prevalent otherwise. Look how the old Twilight Zone was so thoughtful and well done on such a low budget–mind over matter, uh, money.
BULLETS IN SPACE?
It is probably to appeal to our frames of reference instead of challenging our minds, but many of these space wars have ships shooting real close, so we can see the action apparently. Conveniently “shields” let the battle go on for excitement value, but rest assured, someones shield is going to fail for the the tension to build, or good guys get away. (I’m not even going to get into worm holes and projecting time-space portals.)
The sparks so often flying around in the middle of the heart of the ships control rooms would seem to spell certain instant doom, but rarely is that the case, except for whomever is not one of our movie star crew. Not being the regular cast member is a sure sign of immanent doom. Sparks convey, we are in trouble here folks, cant you see the sparks! Fire in space– bad in ship.
WEAPONS AND TECHNOLOGY
We already have heat seeking missiles and a bullet tracking devise that can shoot back to where the bullet came from, so all this machine gunning going on in spaceship inner combat, might as well be sword and knife fights. Heck, put ropes on the ceiling so full throttled swash buckling could occur.
Are we to believe that everyone is somehow equalized? Everyone apparently having some sort of universal translator instantly deciphering alien tongues (perhaps feasible), and guns so sophisticated at camouflage of fire that it might as well be reduce to common gunfights. No heat seeking bullets or ones with camera or other intelligence/intention initiative guidance, just stupid lead or radiation of some sort. No, that would be an escalation in weaponry that would tax the writers to explain how all the alien civilizations advancements are close to being magically in the same scientific boat come plot time for our stars to have a fair chance.
THE PEACEFUL FRONTIER? HOW FUN IS THAT?
I give this challenge to the usual monsters coming to eat us and use our planet cause theirs is ruined; what about a healthful scifi fantasy? Too spiritual, too out of our frame of fear and emergency? Is love that boring? Is trust and understanding of differing cultures, that threatening? Cant one visionary make a futuristic case of advancements for special effect, yet, not be grounded in; they are going to kill us?
I watch scifi, especially many SCIFI Channel series, because they base the subtext on care for one another, much tolerance and compassion for aliens who are on our side as well. That is what entertains me most about them, the love and friendship bonds, that and so much of the sets and special effects artist who work so well to make the fictional context seem at least remotely plausible, suspending scientific biases. Thanks folks.
A WONDERFUL NON PARANOID FUTURE?
I think we could be dazzled, Close Encounters hinted at a positive theme to space exploration. We still have issues that will come to haunt scientific advancements, especially aliens (robots) created by us that will pose, yes, I am afraid to suggest, quite a challenge as long as humankind stays so divided and overconfident.
But just as I travel here in cyberspace by myself in a way, one day you, or someone like you, will take off from your home and be at the moon or a spaceport park, at you whim in very few minutes. You might have your own ship, like a car, that has so much intelligence, that like the Internet, you will not crash into anyone doing the same thing. Potentially, this sort of space travel might be quite close, if it ever happens, given invention and social-cultural approval. There is nothing inherently wrong with this kind of individual or bus space travel, it might buy humankind and whatever we become, some more billions of years of fun and adventure.
IS KILLING BETTER THAN MAKING LOVE?
I am for our fantasy futures being fun, challenging and loving, instead of the eternal war.
Here is to a higher dream…
Kiss The Universe