Friday, January 9, 2015

It's Déjà vu All Over Again

As the saying goes, it is obvious to the most casual observer that science fiction movies are doing well. Ever since 2001 kicked off the genre of great special effects and Star Wars followed up on that opening, we’ve seen blockbuster after blockbuster cash in on what was once the geeky genre of SciFi.

As anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written, heard anything I’ve ever said, or seen any of the books in my library can testify, I’m one SciFi geek. I’ve written before about the first science fiction book I read, “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel” by Robert A. Heinlein, and that I’ve been a huge fan of his speculative fiction ever since.

One of my favorite writers, Philip K. Dick, has had more than his share of movies based on his plots and ideas from Blade Runner ("Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep") to Total Recall ("We Can Remember It for You for Wholesale") to Minority Report ("Minority Report").

In the recent (out next week) movie based on Heinlein’s “All You Zombies,” my first author finds his simple book plot on the big screen. Called Predestination, and, regardless of some additional adventure writing to hold the audience spellbound, it holds pretty true to Heinlein’s story about a Time Cop named Ethan Hawke.

The original story was written in one day by Robert L. as an experiment in time travel and possible paradoxes. I don’t want to give away the story, as the movie is actually quite faithful to the book, so I’ll just give the hint that the “Temporal Corps” organization’s logo is a serpent eating its own tail.

If you examine the symbol for infinity you may notice it has no beginning or end. Now take that to the ultimate conclusion, especially with the possibility of time travel, and you’ll arrive at the same interesting twist that Heinlein used.

Written back in 1958, the story involves a number of paradoxes caused by time travel. Talk about lifting yourself by your bootstraps!.

The title of the story,  “—All You Zombies—“ which includes both the quotation marks and dashes, is actually a quote from a sentence near the end of the story itself (taken from the middle of the sentence, hence the dashes indicating edited text before and after the title). In this way it mirrors the life of the protagonist, whose life is a "quotation" from itself. If you’re really curious, he said, “I know where I came from—but where did all you zombies come from?”

So if you’re into time travel and paradoxes, Heinlein goes way beyond the idea of going back in time and killing your own grandpa. But I’ve said enough. I don’t want to spoil the ending.

Let me know how you liked Predestination. It will be playing at theaters near you … soon. Don’t miss it, or you’ll have to “go back” to see it … again??

I don’t think Heinlein felt this was his best work. It was just a fun play on words. I understand the movie even includes his Women's Hospitality Order Refortifying & Encouraging Spacemen, which probably wasn’t necessary. You don’t have to stick to the book every time. People will start thinking that we pimple faced sci-fi fans have nothing on our minds but Singularly Exceptional Xerox machines.

Just remember these simple rules of time travel and you too can be recruited into the Temporal Corps:

Never Do Yesterday What Should Be Done Tomorrow.
If at Last You Do Succeed, Never Try Again.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine Billion.
A Paradox May be Paradoctored.
It is Earlier When You Think.
Ancestors Are Just People.

No comments:

Post a Comment