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© Copyright 2002, Jim Loy
I checked out the new Time Machine movie. Not bad. Good visual effects, good story, and one glaring flaw, in my opinion. Good triumphs over evil, how? By jamming the time machine in a certain way, and destroying an entire species of evil near-humans, by supposedly wiping out their past. This man is so smart, and understands time so well, that he figured out how to do this. I don't buy it. Of course, he was smart enough to build the time machine. But his knowledge of time is limited, because he spends the whole movie trying to find out why he cannot change the past. And then in a blinding leap of logic he makes a massive change to the past and saves the human species. Wow, quite a guy.
All sorts of science fiction movies and books make similar leaps of logic. Dr. Who gets into a fix and just happens to have a miraculous device that disables the evil beings from wherever. That's part of the charm of Dr. Who. It's a big joke, which he does all the time. But it is one of the flaws of science fiction. People do not trust science fiction because authors can and do cheat. In Independence Day, the hero knows just how to upload a virus onto the alien computer. How does he know this, when he hardly knows anything about that computer? Because he's so damned smart. I do not enjoy stories like that. Independence Day was a big disappointment to me.
My brother once knew a lady who would not let her son read science fiction, because it was bad literature. Of course she was wrong. There have been some excellent, powerful science fiction stories. But the bad ones have ruined things for some potential science fiction fans.
In a way, science fiction can be superior to all other forms of literature, because the author can present controversial ideas from drastically different perspectives. Instead of looking at racial prejudice from a black or white perspective, the author may force it upon an alien race, or upon robots, or upon all humans. And that can make us think, rather than pre-judge.
Comment: Science fiction is often called Sci-Fi (pronounced Sigh-Figh, or something like that). "Sci-Fi" makes purists cringe, because where did we get a long "i" sound out of "fiction?" It is better to call it "science fiction" or even SF.
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