SciFridays: The Future Is Now

Blade_Runner_spinner_flybyLast night, the hubs decided that he wanted to watch some classic movies, so since we are who we are, our version of a classic movie translated into watching Blade Runner,* a first time viewing for both of us.

Our verdict of the movie itself was kind of a toss up. Even though I enjoyed the atmospheric, neo-noir-ness of the movie, and of course, I loved that Los Angeles kind of reminded me of Fifth Element meets Serenity, we weren’t really fans of the ending.

That’s OK. Whatever fault we found in the ending, the movie more than made up for it with a warbly, Kenny G-like soundtrack that we were way too immature not to mock, and a random cameo of a galloping unicorn.

(That feeling of “what?” that you’re experiencing now…yeah, us too.)


I think the best part of the movie watching experience was seeing all the far out future-y things that 2019 will supposedly have for us and yelling at the TV every now and again:

Hey, where is my spaceship?

I want a synthetic owl!

How come I don’t have a robot servant that will ultimately malfunction and try to kill me yet??

Blade Runner is just the last movie in a line of science fiction movies** that we’ve either watched or re-watched recently that’s made us ask that question. I mean, come on, Back to The Future II?! I’ve wanted a hoverboard since rumors spread in my fifth grade class that Mattel was secretly developing the toy. So, tick-tock. 2015 is just around the corner. It’s about time you deliver.

(I would prefer my hoverboard in silver, but won’t complain if I get it in pink.)

So, how about you? Have you watched a movie recently that’s made you feel gypped about the future world that we’re supposedly living in? What techno gizmo do you want people to start inventing already??

*You were probably surprised it wasn’t Die Hard, but no need to call the Fringe division on us–we gorged on action movies last week for the hubs’s birthday. ^_^

**At least Dune has the decency to be set 30,000 years into the future, and Star Wars is set “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”


SciFridays: Dune

“And how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!”

To most people, that line will probably mean absolutely nothing. But, for this science fiction nerd, it was the best end-of-climactic-scene line uttered since “Luke, I am your father.”

I’m talking, of course, about David Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune.*

Back in the eighties, when HBO still played movies, I was riveted by the long voice over introduction that set up the story of Dune.**

A religious revolt against thinking machines? Space-folding Navigators? Bald, mind-controlling women? Genetic breeding programs? Spice??

The way this movie unfolded defined epic for me, and even to my seven-year-old mind I knew that EPIC=LARGE SCALE.

Multiple planets, set twenty thousand years into the future. Sweeping panoramic vistas. Centuries-old political conflicts. A spoiled boy prince maturing into a nation-saving messiah…riding gigantic sandworms.

Gigantic. Sandworms. Come on, if that’s not EPIC, I don’t know what is.

Ok, I know, theoretically, that the movie was far from being the best movie in the world. In fact, it’s often proclaimed as the worst movie of 1984. However, I hadn’t read the book yet, so I didn’t have a “story prejudice” when I watched it. And, quite frankly, I was barely able to follow the storyline anyway.

What fascinated me about the movie, and what has stayed with me, was the feeling I had while watching it: a ridiculous sense of AWE. What the film lacked in narrative art, it made up for in action movie eye candy (keep in mind, this was the eighties: the effects look silly now, and the soundtrack is a bit warped).

Anyway, the movie may have been a cinematic flop, but its most redeeming quality, at least to me, is that it made me want to read the book.

By the time I decided to read the book, I was eleven. I didn’t have any memory of the movie’s storyline at that point (thank goodness!); only the memory of the movie’s settings remained. My mind used those images as backdrops to bring to life the story Frank Herbert imagined, and through subsequent re-readings, they are still the images I see.

Dune will always be THE science fiction story to me. That EPIC SCOPE, that AWE fueled my imagination, and made me hungry for more. It awakened my young imagination, and permeated it with archetypes that will always be a part of my consciousness.

How about you? Do you have any stories that set the standard for your imagination?

*Most consider this movie a gigantic flop, and I’m not going to argue. I just want to point out that Frank Herbert was quoted as saying, “They’ve got it. It begins as Dune does. And I hear my dialogue all the way through. There are some interpretations and liberties, but you’re gonna come out knowing you’ve seen Dune.”

**I rewatched the beginning prologue that intrigued me so long ago, and nearly died of boredom from the long droning exposition.

2011. The Year of No Excuses

In 2010, I turned thirty.

For some people this may mean nothing more than another year of getting older. But, as a person who loves round numbers, and who doesn’t automatically attribute age with physical decay, “2010” and “30” came with their own sense of significance. Something important HAD to happen.

So, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I made sure that my thirtieth year was filled with noteworthy milestones. Eminent among those achievements were that I lost the 20 pounds that I gained when I was 29, becoming as lean as I ever was.  And, I finished a story.

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

I’ll never forget the night that I discovered that not only can I do chin ups, but that I could do five of them in a row. Me. A girl who never thought she could do one, so why bother trying. I was elated.  I was bursting with a desire to do more, fueled by the idea that I could accomplish anything with enough focus, determination, and pure grit-my-teeth effort.

In that moment, I saw another universe unfold, one in which I attained all the goals that I gave myself simply because I decided to pursue them.   I was giddy with this knowledge.

Standing there in the gym that night, I literally asked myself: what’s stopping me?

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

The Litany Against Fear, Dune, Frank Herbert

In my moment of clarity, I had to acknowledge that nothing was stopping me now, and if I thought about it, nothing was ever in my way to stop me from my life goals. Nothing but myself. I was the one stopping me from reaching my goals. By choosing not to act I made the choice not to pursue my dreams.

I was the one who decided that my goals were not attainable.  But, I was also the one who can make them attainable.

It was that point that I started to act. I simplified my life. I focused on finishing a novel. And, along the way, I found peace. Despite the challenges, I was content because I knew that I was finally pursuing a goal that I was passionate about.

Though my novel is not anywhere near presentable, it’s finished, a feat that I never thought I’d see.  Half a year from my gym moment, I’m affectionately calling my work in progress The Hot Mess. It should be ready for my alpha reader soon; I want to have it beta-ready by February.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

I had so many words to hold on to and encourage me through 2010.  Words like…




These words are still meaningful to me, and so I will carry them with me into this new year.  Because this time, they hold not only the promise of goals achieved, but also a reminder of the results that come from living without excuses.

That is what I claim for 2011. A whole year of no excuses as I press on toward my goals.  Let’s do this.