I think of 'understanding' as the development of ideas that bounce
through time like a pin-ball. So an idea flows and is interpreted
until it is modified or reconstructed into another. This is more
true of fact where literal observation and interpretation validate
any one idea. It gets a little more sketchy however in the realm
of fiction where an idea is of the imagination without any tangible
truth to back it up. It gets even more complex when the subject is
science fiction or as I prefer to call it science fantasy.
Over the centuries and decades of creative works based on the concepts
of science fiction, many of the constructs or prophesies about the
future have almost become a truth in their own right. Take the
adventures of Star Trek where many I am sure believe that the world
will eventually mimic Star Trek, and whilst there may not be Klingons
as such, we will adventure much as Captain Kirk did. This is a given
science fantasy fact and few seem to question it.
Therefore, as with historical fact it is possible to build a picture
of the development of science fantasy and establish significant
moments in our own time that colour our perception of just what
the future holds for mankind. For me I have my own timeline thus far
and share with you now what I believe have been the most significant
works to have changed my view of the science fiction.
1897 - War of the Worlds
1925 - Metropolis by Thea von Harbou
1934 - Flash Gordon
1956 - Forbidden Planet
1962 - Space Patrol
1963 - Dr Who
1965 - Dune by Frank Herbert
1966 - Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
1968 - 2001 Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick
1969 - Man lands on the moon [ fact or fiction ]
*1973 - Topographic Oceans Yes and Roger Dean
*1973 - Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd
1976 - Logans Run
1977 - Star Wars
1977 - Close Encounters
1979 - Alien
1982 - Tron
1982 - Blade Runner
*1982 - Vangelis
1984 - Terminator
1985 - Max Headroom 20 Minutes into the Future
1997 - Lexx
1997 - The Fifth Element
1999 - Matrix
2009 - Avatar
2011 - What if there is nothing.
Each has a science fantasy concept that became a science fiction
truth colouring future works. i.e. Star Wars and a 'Galaxy far away'.
I have included one or two works of music that stimulated science
fantasy works. i.e. The work of Roger Dean and Yes.
For me we have run dry of ideas when it comes to science fantasy.
I can trace all that is produced today on the ideas and concepts
held in this list. Imagery, concepts, art work, plot lines all
have their origins in the works listed above. There have been some
very good films and books not listed here, but for the most part
they do not give any original variant view of the genre that we
believe may exist ... in some form or another.
And so to just one name from the list and that is Alien. And why do
I think Alien is worthy of this list. Well.. purely on the work of
H.R.Giger. To be honest the shock horror flick never really interested
me. It's not even in my video collection. The film works on two
levels.. the first is the base shock horror concept of taking a
group of unprepared, relatively ignorant and sometimes stupid
people and then killing them in the most shocking way possible.
The other level is the one that interests me, the one of the backstory
of the concept art and the way the alien in this story is meant to
have evolved and existed. The story actually throws up more questions
than answers and fuels the imagination, seeking more clarity.
Alien became a cult movie , not because of the story or gruesome
special effects. It became cult because of the alien. The actual
world that we had been given a glimpse of was new and intriguing.
It was an untapped universe that made for fascinating cult
following. I recall in the day having long conversations with
fellow nerds on the origins of this science fantasy. The books
that were created around the ideas were breathtaking. For me
H.R.Giger is a genius and has somehow been able to tap into a
layer of future subconscious that permits him to create works
of believable futuristic fantasy.
Amiga users of the day playing the quite dreadful platform game
of the film Alien 3 may not have been made too aware of Giger,
albeit they no doubt had seen the movie. But in playing the
better game DarkSeed they would be left in no doubt of the genius
of this man and his imagination.
And for that reason I place Alien on the list.
As for the game... well that was crap. Much like the film for me.
I did test a couple of bootleg disks that I have and they worked
no problem. I'm amazed at how these guys promoted their efforts
to pirate games. DarksSeed is a way better game.
Sadly my original box for Alien is trapped below a deep pile of
tubs. If it ever gets out into the light I'll call in Ellen Riply
or better Dana Barrett even though she's a dog. [ cryptic ].