Monday, May 6, 2013

Good Sci-fi Films are Few and Far Between

Ben Bova: Good sci-fi films are few and far between (via Naples Daily News)
I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t read science fiction because of the dreadful “sci-fi” movies that the film industry makes. If what they’re watching on screen is science fiction, they reason, then they’re not interested in reading the stuff. Oh, sure, there’ve been some…


  1. Ben Bova can be wrong. He's not perfect. He's a science-fiction elitist. That does not mean that he is not a great writer. He is a great writer. But, clearly, Ben Bova did not actually watch ALIEN. First off, the Nostromo was not hauling cargo. The Nostromo ran automated ore and oil refineries between two solar systems (ours and 20 Reticuli). The design works in science-fiction when you think about colonization efforts. Build it in near Earth orbit and ship it to the other solar system. Why? Because you don't have any of the facilities to build the refineries in the target system. Contrary to the visual effects implications, the Nostromo itself only had three decks for lifeforms. The rest of the some 65,000 tons (smaller than an aircraft carrier) is fuel storage, cargo holds, and the ore and oil refineries. So, Ben Bova got that wrong. Now, let's look at the alien and how they dealt with it. Sure, the crew might have been able to suit up and open up the ship to suffocate the alien. Great idea, Ben! Except, it ignores life-support needs. But, let's ignore that and assume they took that chance. The end of the film clearly shows that the xenomorph did NOT need an atmosphere. Ripley did NOT kill the alien by opening an airlock and sucking it out into outer space. That did happen, but the alien did NOT die from that. It latched onto the escape ship and entered the engine pod. This is an exoskeleton alien xenomorph designed to live in any environment, even space. Ripley killed the alien by turning the engine on and essentially blowing the alien into deep space with the engine pod afterburner. So, Ben Bova is wrong. If he can be THAT wrong, then he needs to expand his view of science-fiction as a genre. And, he needs to pay attention to a film as he watches it.

    1. I agree. Bova is mistaken to dismiss Alien as not being science fiction. But he has a point about good science fiction movies being rare.