Tuesday 23 June 2009

Just a thought

With regard to the great science fiction movies, like Blade Runner and the Alien series - I don't recall ever seeing a building covered in solar panels, or great swathes of wind turbines. I do recall the cities being lit up with tonnes of neon - there seems to be no shortage of electric power in the future. How much juice does it take to make a car fly, such as in The Fifth Element? Not to mention space travel.

Given that many portray some sort of perfect society (Aeon Flux for instance), where is all the green power? Where do the robots in I, Robot get their power from? Not many seemed to have propellers sticking out of the top of their heads.

And the Death Stars were not clad in solar panels - they were covered in laser cannons instead. Ever tried destroying a planet with a wind powered death ray? Or firing a solar powered phaser at Klingons?

I know it's only fantasy, but good science fiction has some element of possibility about it. I remember when Blade Runner was released, and people gasped at the scene where Harrison Ford used a photo scanner to zoom in on bits of a photo using voice recognition. That movie came out in 1982, when digital photography was fantasy to the people watching that movie.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

TimT said...

Hollywood - with science fiction films it's usually Hollywood because of the special effects costs - are much more interested in the spectacle, not what causes it. Probably with good reason, too, because who wants to turn a duel between a woman and an alien, or a tale about a super futuristic assassin, or whatever, into an econometric anaysis of the sustainable infrastructure that is in use in a possible future? Not Hollywood.

On the other hand, science fiction authors, who are wonks and obsessives and scientists and just plain weirdos often do include this sort of thing in their texts. Albeit in a very different form: many of the golden age sf books rhapsodised at length about nuclear energy. The future was nuclear powered, because it was the most limitless, wonderful, clean, efficient energy source they could imagine - they were oblivious to the anxieties of current greenies about nuclear energy.