Science Fiction  

PassionFriend 44M
12 posts
2/24/2006 9:16 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Science Fiction

I just watched the new episode of Battlestar Galactica and I loved it. I have loved that series since it began with a miniseries over a year ago. It is by far the best show on television, and arguably one of the best ever. I know all you American Idol, Survivor and Apprentice fans have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's okay, you keep watching your silly unscripted crap and leave the intelligent television to the rest of us.

I used to thing the SciFi channel was a complete waste of space in a channel line-up. I remember thinking that it was a good idea when it was introduced and I tried to get into some of the wierd stuff that was on in the early years but there was never -- and I mean never -- anything on it that was worth watching. Then I was flipping through the programming guide on my digital cable one night, desperate for something entertaining and saw the title "Battlestar Galactica". I was a fan of the old show's reruns when I was young so I decided I'd check it out. Wow, was I surprised when I saw that I was watching an updated, or "reimagined" version of the old show. And double WOW when I was very impressed with the show's quality. The acting, design, mood, effects and everything was absolutely superb! I was immediately hooked.

If you haven't seen it I would love to tell you to check it out but at this point you wouldn't have a clue what is going on. The story is so incredibly complex that it just piles one amazing storyline onto another to the point that a new viewer would be completely lost. I know the mini-series and first season are available on dvd, so you might want to go that route. I won't even begin to explain what is happening, that's not the point to this entry in the first place.

I was talking to my mother recently about how much I enjoy the show and she commented how she thought it was strange that I have always liked sci-fi movies and television. It's true, I admit, I was a big fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, Buck Rogers (although that show was very cheesy) and anything else I could find. Frankly I didn't understand why that is so surprising to my mother, isn't every young boy fascinated with science fiction? I never got into comic books or horror flicks like others but space-aged stuff with strange creatures and space ships battling it out was the stuff I dreamed of. So that conversation with my mother got me thinking, what is it about science fiction that I find so enthralling? I think I have an answer.

In addition to being a fan of futuristic stories I am also a huge fan of historical stories. I love to read historical novels, non-fiction accounts of past empires, individuals, politics, wars, etc. I like to learn about what life was like for people of past eras and I take notice of daily life as well as what motivated people. What I find consistiently in my readings is that people now are the same as people always have been. People are still motivated by love, power, money and religion -- just as people always have been. It's no different in our current age and we see it everyday. Religious radicals populate our entire world, just as much in America as in other lands. People still make inhumane decisions that result in wealth with no regard for the fates of others. People still will lie, cheat and steal to attain positions of power. That is the same as it has always been, and I assure you, how it always will be.

That is the human experience -- and good science fiction shows it. Take Star Wars for example, a story with which almost all of us are familiar. That story is about family, love, power and greed, isn't it? It is a story of a man who misunderstood himself, lost what was precious to him and attempted to make up for the damage to his heart by turning to violence and hatred. I think I read a similar story in last week's news.

I once wanted to write a story about the human experience. I wanted to write a story about a group of friends who had grown up together and loved each other deeply. Their world was small to them until their lives were drastically changed by the natural courses of their lives, namely growing up and moving on. The story would have followed their attempts to remain close but their friendships disapated as each one developed new relationships, lost touch with old ones and distances between them became greater. Then the story would track thier triumphs and failures through adult life and eventually it would bring them all back home again and reunite them. The story would end with the friends together again as if it had been only one day since they last spoke and they would wonder together what it was all about Why did they go into the world to fail and succeed if what they really needed from life they already had when it started, the love of each other.

I imagined this story taking place on a distant planet in a galaxy with its own rules, elements, physics and logic. All would be virtually incomprehensible to us living in our world. But we would understand the message of the story, the one part that would have stayed the same -- the human experience.

Good science fiction shows us that no matter our surroundings we are all the same. We will always love and be loved, we will always be flawed, we will always strive to be better. It shows us that it doesn't matter where we live, how much money we have or what our race is. We all want the same things from life -- we always have and we always will.

Go ahead, watch the show, see if you don't agree.

-- Joe

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