Gravity just won 300 Oscars, and this confirms what I was already thinking. I think I was in denial about it for a long time, but I can finally admit. The 2000’s have been a huge boom for the science fiction genre. I truly believe that after Star Wars, people were afraid to touch the genre. That is like trying to paint something amazing after watching Matisse work. People knew they could not touch Star Wars and how it represented science fiction, so for a long time, they didn’t even try. But then something very strange and unexpected happened, which was also a result of Star Wars. People watched the prequels and thought to themselves: Wait a minute, I can do WAY better than that! I think this opened the door for a decade and a half of some really high quality science fiction we may not have otherwise gotten. Dare I call the era we are in a sci-fi renaissance? Yes, yes I do. Read on and allow me to tell you why.
Paul is definitely been a huge inspiration and help to me, and his amazing two books only triple that admiration.
For starers, look no further then the incredibly ambitious Editor in Chief of this site, Paul Tassi. Dude is on the second book in his Earthborn trilogy, and if you haven’t read it, you are missing out on a treat. (seriously, buy the first book here and start the journey yourself, you wont be sorry). But I think even Paul knew, the audience was there, and the genre was finally getting the love it deserved again. All he had to do is look at the traffic the science fiction pieces were getting. The massive Mass Effect debates and discussions spread all over the web. Yes, I do think Mass Effect had a much bigger impact on pop culture than even IT would give itself credit for. In many ways, minus that subpar ending, the series was the greatest space epic any of had gotten SINCE Star Wars. Don’t think the film companies didn’t pay close attention to that. They did, but the impact this has on science fiction could be two fold. I mean, don’t even get me started in the Michael Bay version of science fiction. That shit makes me want to gag. No, for this, I want to focus on the positive aspects. The souls who PROVE we are in a science fiction renaissance. Also, there wont be much talk of Gravity on here, as last night was enough of a circle jerk for that gorgeous (but shallow) film. Sorry I lured you in with that in the title. It was easy space-bait, kids.
I really feel that the movie Moon sort of changed the tone for how seriously science fiction was taken.
Brilliant young directors like Duncan Jones (Moon) and writers like Max Landis (Chronicle) were doing better justice to science fiction than anyone had since James Cameron made The Abyss. Yes, I just referenced The Abyss, and in a positive manner. You see, what is KEY to good science fiction is not what you think. It is not as much plot as it is passion. Honestly. Does the person (or people) who are making the project (whatever medium it is) adore the genre? Then, believe it or not, the rest of us who also have a passion for it can pick up on that. That passion becomes like its own entity we birthed, and it spreads wider and farther. Hell, even THAT could be the start of an interesting science fiction plot. Do you know why? Because my lack of paragraphs and rambling manner in which I speak of the subject belies an obvious passion. I love this shit. I always have.
But I am also incredibly grateful that other people who adore it are starting to come out of the woodwork. Hell, look at someone like Neill Blomkamp. District Nine came out of nowhere to pretty much whoop everyone’s ass. Do you know how he did that? By making it a short film first, and then letting his reputation build from that short film.
You can say what you want about Elysium, but the man has a keen eye for this stuff, and showing it to us in a way we have never really seen before. The beautiful thing is, there are so many of him now. So many young, ambitious film makers, writers, and programmers, who know that science fiction is an open well of limitless ideas. In the realm of science fiction, nothing is weird or impossible. There are no ceilings in sci-fi, and the best creators know that. They can keep going higher and higher.
This? Oh, it’s just a Primer cheat sheet. Trust me, it helps.
Now on the other extreme, take someone like Shane Carruth. You know, the guy who made Primer for like twelve bucks and blew all our minds? He is doing science fiction that is the opposite of the bigger budget stuff. He is making movies that deal with heavy science fiction themes, and he is doing it for pennies on the dollar. With Primer, how many more young film makers do you think were inspired to suddenly realize that making something was not impossible? I guess we will know in about five years time, when some of those people finally have some work to show us. Also, Upstream Color. Don’t even get me started on that mindf*ck of a beautiful journey.
To bring it back to “big budget” for a second. How about the fact that we are getting new Stars Wars movies, and we just got a full-on Star Trek reboot (oddly enough, with J.J Abrams at the helm of both)? Did you think that you would EVER get a new Star Wars movie? I know some haters want to say it is a cash grab (wake up, all movies are supposed to be just that, people), but if you are a TRUE science fiction nerd, like I know so many of you are, that fills you with one thought. They COULD be good. That is how you know you truly love the genre. Even after it has let you down many times, you NEVER turn your back on it. The beautiful thing about new Stars Wars movies is, the people who are making them are AWARE how bad the prequels were, and you can bet with every fiber of their being that they are going to do everything they can to ensure that doesn’t happen again. But man, if we get a dancing R2D2 or some shit, I will straight up murder people. Oh, and that is the other way you know you are a die hard science fiction fan. You may never abandon your genre, but my God, you definitely want to murder people who mishandle it.
Well, the movie would have been a lot shorter.
For now, though, why don’t we just sit back and bask in the simple fact that science fiction finally is (mostly) getting the love it deserves. The meek inherited the Earth, and it is exactly as awesome as we thought it would be.