SF Cinema

I’m sympathetic with this polemic by Damien Walter  on the generic badness of Hollywood science fiction cinema but also bothered that it levels differences between the different mediums and ignores non-English SF cinema. Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Chris Marker’s La jetée (one of J G Ballard’s favourites, incidentally) are as innovative and important as 2001 and Blade Runner. Most importantly, they do things that only cinema can do.

2001 is arguably a mediocre novel, but a great film due to Kubrick’s estranging montage of image and music. The cinema of David Cronenberg (above all,  Dead Ringers) has an implacable perversity that few SF writers – other than his inspirations, Ballard and Burroughs — have achieved. Elsewhere, in TV say, the new BSG had its speculative misfires, but was brilliant in depicting realistic characters addressing seemingly incommensurable political differences. Literary SF is rarely so character-driven, or so timely. But, hey, I’d queue for the Accelerando Flick, and let’s hear it too for the Gwyneth Jones Aleutian blockbuster!

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