Tuesday, June 16, 2015

More Pin Pricks in Space: A Sci-Fi Thriller that Fails Its Tragic Potential

Last night, while riveted to a film of mounting suspense, Europa Report, I had not felt this enthralled with science fiction in space since, as a kid, watching Destination Moon.  And I started imagining a great tragic story of human folly in the making: Space ship destined for Jupiter's moon ends up stranded in a hostile environment while coming upon evidence that there is, indeed, life out there — at least a blobby form of it lurking under ice.  And the entire crew, consumed by alien forces or its own misadventures, never returns.

The only evidence of the doomed mission would be visuals transmitted back to earth of a creepy creature bearing light bulb eyes and the physique of an octopus.

That would have been a powerful end.  But, no, it had to be another example of American — or should I merely say scientific? —  triumphalism. Look, see!  There are signs of life!  Frozen water!  We must keep probing!   Surely, we will ultimately find half-way hospitable landscapes to develop!  Ice Condos!  Even living things amenable to cross-planetary communication!  So, bring back NASA! 

Yes, bring back NASA and make a few more futile pin pricks in space. And bankrupt what's left of the U.S. economy.

Here on earth, the brainy brigades still dream of conquering a corner of the outer worlds, of laying claim to barren real estate and luring to it earthlings seeking escape from the mounting hells of war-torn Planet Earth.  And the same thing won't happen out there?

First of all, we would have to get out there. Please feel free to laugh -- or scream -- along with me as I ponder all the billions, if not trillions of dollars, it would cost to even bring off Stage One of such  a ridiculously esoteric adventure.

Pin pricks in space.

When real astronauts landed on the Moon in 1969, yes, I was as thrilled as everybody else.  But that was yesterday.   Today and tomorrow, have we not yet learned, should look much different, should they not?

All the tiny years later, I am no longer a space age dreamer.  Where will it get us?  How much will it cost?   How many infinities will it take to stake out claims, tame the land and build the protective bubbles to contain the doomed dreamers?

Pin heads in space.

Could have been a great movie.  Although, I’m not sure how it would have played on Jupiter's moon.

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