M Alan Kazlev
Imagineer, pantheist, essayist, vegan, nerd. Work in progress Freehauler Alcione, a dystopian social satire meets metaphysics space opera.Also teahing myself Blender so I can create scifi art for my stories
The Guardians of the Galaxy - Superheroes or Space Opera?
Watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 leaves me in no doubt that this is a new space opera in the making. And if the sequel doesn't have the classic mythicmcguffin story arc of the first (where the infinity stone takes the place of Tolkien's One Ring as the cosmic artifact that can destroy the world/universe), it focuses more on character development, and revealing the Guardians as a classic team of oddballs that come together as a surrogate family just to get by (and, this being a blockbuster movie, save the galaxy).
The Matrix and Gnosticism
The Walchowski's Matrix Trilogy stands out as one of the classics of modern sci-fi storytelling. Not only does it powerfully present the hero's journey in a similar manner to other epic tales like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, but this incredibly complex series also incorporates various philosophical, Buddhist, Christian, and science fictional elements. Most of all, it serves as a modern re-visioning of the ancient religion of Gnosticism, an obscure theological-cosmological system that describes a dualistic cosmos, in which spiritual sparks have become trapped in matter but can be released through saving knowledge, or "Gnosis." Whether or not the Walchowskis were aware of the teachings of Gnosticism, they are basically telling a very similar story.
A Tale of Two Star Wars
The teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, slated for release on December this year, was quite underwhelming. A large part of the two minute trailer was either black screen or Lucas film logo, with Williams' lingering score pulling the nerd heartstrings in the background. There's a few lines of dialogue, a couple of action scenes, the obligatory Kylo Ren's red flaming crucifix lightsaber, some rather dull island scenes, and do we really need another pod race?
Science Fiction as Modern Myth-Telling
When I was a kid, I used to be enthralled by reruns of those Ray Harryhausen Sword and Sandal epics like Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad, which featured a fearless hero embarking on a quest and fighting terrifying monsters. A decade later, I was equally enthralled when George Lucas' Star Wars hit the big screen, for very much the same reason. And it seemed to me that, other than triremes being replaced by spaceships, and swords by blasters or light sabers, there really wasn't much of a difference between these two.
The Scale of Hardness in Science Fiction
Some years ago, I had the idea of grading science fiction according to the degree of scientific realism. It was very obvious to me that, for example, the Discovery One spaceship in 2001 A Space Odyssey was far more realistic than the Star Destroyers, X-Wings, and Tie-Fighters of Star Wars.