July 1, 2017

My favorite answer to the question "When was the Golden Age of SF?" is "The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve", because twelve is just about the perfect age to get hooked on the stuff.

For most of its history, SF was an unloved, outcast genre that was never intended to be prophetic. Penny-a-word pulp sold in to adventure magazines and other "juvenilia" outlets as fast as it came out of the typewriter.

But the basic job of the SF writers is to do -- for better or worse -- what no other genre writers do: take a long, hard looks at the the world and speculate logically and (usually) within the bounds of what is theoretically possible, "What If..."

What if time travel were a practical possibility? What if life exists on other worlds? What if Earth's human population grows beyond the planet's ability to sustain it?

And one side effect of smart, creative writers thinking long and hard about "What If..." is that quite often they guessed right about which way the future would jump.

Which brings us to tonight's feature, "Things To Come", which is based H. G. Wells' 1933 essay, "The Shape of Things to Come" was brought to the screen by Alexander Korda in striking style.

Parts of it are corny and sometimes The Message hangs over the proceedings far too heavily, but it is a genuine classic: a movie that takes the future seriously, uses a sweeping canvas, and is unsettlingly prescient about the world it sees coming over the horizon.


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