Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunshine

Watched this SF movie just a few minutes ago. It's called Sunshine. It's a hard SF movie and constantly reminded me of Solaris in look and feel. Story – the sun is going out. Seven years ago, an expedition, Icarus I, was sent to deliver a payload that would have reignited the sun. But Icarus I mysteriously disappeared. Icarus II was then sent, with a similar payload. Halfway through, they receive a distress signal from Icarus I. Reasoning that salvaging the older payload will increase their chances of succeeding, they decide to alter their course to rendezvous with Icarus I. A series of unfortunate events happen, they get haunted by a mutilated and insane captain of Icarus I but in the end manage to deliver the payload. End of story.

The movie has a hard SF feel to it. Like I said, it reminded me of Solaris and 2010 A Space Odyssey. The director seems to be enamored of majestic spaceship shots. He does create an eerie feel with long empty corridors and echoing voices. It is a gripping watch by otherwise a time pass movie at best. I think the only reason the director got away with it was because of a very tight script.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. One reason why I have never really been hooked to SF is because whenever I've casually come to know of a storyline for either a book or a movie, it hasn't been inspiring, like this one. I admit I haven't read much SF (no Asimov or Arthur C Clarke, for example) and there definitely are works that I'd like to read, SF has somehow sounded so much better in theory (where the other world is a reflection of the problems in the current world and how it generally tends to offer a solution for the same) than in practice.

    Nevertheless, I'm reading all the essays and interviews on the Samit Basu blog about Indian SFF.

    Let's see.

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  2. @ Swetank - the kind of SF that you're talking about is called soft or social SF and it is just one of the many kinds of SF that could be there. Of course, this one type is preferred by a particular professor of English literature that we happen to be acquianted with. If you want to read this kind of fiction then you need to look at Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. I personally prefer hi-concept space operas. The book that I'm reading currently is one such by Alastair Reynolds.

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  3. What's 'hi-concept space operas'?

    I know of 'soft/social SF' only because I talked to the said professor about SF and received such an explanation. Otherwise I wouldn't have known even that. The story that I had in mind while talking about it, though, was 'Hallucination' by Asimov.

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  4. @ Swetank - Asimov, I believe, is interesting in that he gives you social SF while maintaining the feel of hard SF. For example, take his robot stories. The setting - positronic brains, the three laws, corporations producing robots - is typically hard SF. However, what he is really giving us, in the form of his three laws, is an analysis of human morality. (After all, most modern day human ethics are based on the three laws - I will value other life above mine, I will value my 'duty' above my life and I will value my life above all else.)

    'Hi-concept' when applied to fiction refers to stories dealing with morality, philosophy and ethics at a higher level. Usually such stories deal with battles between the abstract good and evil. In SF stories may deal with the nature of physical laws, mathematical reality etc. The idea is that the ideological framework of the story should be 'universal' in some sense. So, LOTR is hi-concept fantasy and Alastair Reynold's work is hi-concept SF.

    Space of opera is the genre of SF which involves convenient space flight, often faster than light. Most of the story takes places in space. Themes generally deal with space exploration or battles in space.

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