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Archive for the tag “science fiction”

The Night I Held Hands with Uncle Forry

Okay, technically I think it was mid to late afternoon but yes, he held my hand for a little bit while we sat in the back of a meeting room in a Baltimore hotel watching “The Body Snatchers.”   (I think it was a Fanex – but I’m a bit hazy as to the year – probably around 1996?) That same hand that held mine briefly had shaken the hand of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov.  I joked with a friend that I should have taken the opportunity to kiss his hand and a la Curly, from the Three Stooges and gnaw off his Scarab Ring (an original prop from Karloff’s The Mummy).  It was an honor to sit next to Forrest J. Ackerman.

 I also had the privilege of touring the Ackermansion many years ago when his collection was intact – I cannot begin to describe the amount of literary and cinematic history he had squirrelled away in every corner of his house.  Amazing.

I found out today that he had passed away.  If you don’t know who Forrest J. Ackerman was – please read this article:  Forrest Ackerman

He is the reason that “fandom” in its many forms from Dr. Who to Harry Potter to Firefly exists today.  Uncle Forry is the reason Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante and Stephen King are who they are.  We all owe him a deep debt of gratitude.  Thank goodness that  Amazing Stories popped off the news stand and told him “Take me home little boy.” 

We all will miss you Mr. Ackerman.

What next – a remake of Citizen Kane starring Will Ferrell?

Sacrilege! I just saw a preview for the remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”  I know I should reserve judgment until I  see the film but I’ve already formed an unfavorable opinion.  As far as I can tell, the original concept of The Day the Earth Stood Still (I’m going to abbreviate it to TDTESS just cause that’s a lot to keep typing and I’m lazy) has been bastardized.  The original movie was about peace, nonviolence and creating change without violence.  In the preview I saw, Keanu Reeves hurt more people than Michael Rennie did in all of the original TDTESS.  There was destruction when the saucer landed, destruction around Keanu, destruction of buildings, fire walls, trucks disintegrating, people scrambling, collapsing, etc.  Why are they calling it The Day the Earth Stood Still – it should have been called The Day We Used As Many Special Effects as We Could Get Our Hands On to Make As Much Money as We Could.  The point of the original was a quiet threat, a show of force that was awe-inspiring but hurt now one – the potential for destruction was there but it was restrained and Earth ultimately had to make the choice (I’m trying to be vague just in case there is someone who has not seen the movie in which case please see the original first).  And why choose Keanu Reeves to play the lead?  Peter Weller would have been such a better choice – he has that quietness with intelligence that is necessary for the role (not that I’m saying Mr. Reeves is not intelligent but he can come across as rather vacant-looking).  I shudder to think what they’ve done to Gort!  I know, I know – I’m jumping to conclusions without having seen the film but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to bring myself to see the film.  Poor Robert Wise must be spinning wherever he may be.

Is this what happened to the Krell?

Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

I assume everyone has heard about the experiment that was started up today in Switzerland — they’re trying to recreate the Big Bang in miniature form.   Its been on all the news programs and smiley faced anchors laugh it up about how this may be the end for all of us.  The switch was thrown on Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator in an effort to find/create Higgs boson, sometimes dubbed the “God particle” (that in and of itself sounds like the plot of a bad sci-fi movie).  Check this link out where the particles are explained Higgs Boson and this link that explains the Large Hadron Collider experiment –LHC.  According to the Wikipedia article one of the many questions they hope to find answers to with this experiment is  — Are there extra dimensions, as predicted by various models inspired by string theory, and can we “see” them.   WHAT?  What!!!  I’m having flashbacks to The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension.  Maybe Dr. Lizardo wasn’t wrong, monkey boy! (This is another movie you – whoever you maybe – should check out if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it.)

Well, as it turns out, there really is the hypothetical potential of creating mini black holes that could consume the earth from the inside out.  From what I’ve read it is just a very few physicists who say a tiny potential is there to destroy our planet and all of us along with it.  Uhm, EXCUSE ME, shouldn’t we have been consulted about this?  “We” being the people of the earth?   Now granted, it is a very small, tiny, wee, infintisimal possibility that an itsy-bitsy black hole will be created and suck us all into non-existence but, still in the future, I’d like to be consulted on things like this.  

I particularly like this quote from an article from March, 2008, by Dennis Overbye in the New York Times,

Dr. Arkani-Hamedsaidconcerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, “the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up.” 

Its nice to know scientists have a sense of whimsy about these things.

By the way, the title is yet another reference to Forbidden Planet, just in case you were wondering…  I just wish I could get that darn R.E.M. song out of my head…

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