Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts on Science Fiction

The other day Mike posted a review of sorts of the new Keanu Reeves movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. Actually, his review was more concerned with the need for potty breaks during long movies, which is resonating with me as I continue fighting off this $@#! stomach virus and having to run to the bathroom every ten minutes.

But back to The Day the Earth Stood Still.

The movie is, as you know by now, an update of the 1951 film of the same name, which starred Michael Rennie as Klaatu. That version, while looking pretty dated today, is a true sci-fi classic, and reflected the concerns of the time: in 1951 the Cold War was raging and nuclear destruction was everyone's concern...Klaatu and his robot Gort came to earth to tell humankind to cut it out, or they'd put a stop to us. The new version of the movie has Klaatu coming to earth to save the planet from humans who are destroying the environment.

Both movies are loosely based on a short story titled Farewell to the Master, by Harry Bates. I won't tell you much about that story, other than to say that the robot's name is Gnut (instead of Gort), and it offers a major twist in its last six words. If you can find the story in an anthology anywhere, I recommend you read it. Unfortunately, neither movie makes use of the final plot twist of the short story.

While I'm sitting here at home, I'm also catching up on some reading that's been piling up. One of my co-workers loaned me a collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke a while back so that I could read a particular story he thought I'd like. The story is titled The Star; it received a Hugo award in 1956 and was turned in to a TV play for Christmas in 1985. You can read it online here. This is another amazing story with a marvelous twist at the end...I recommend you take a few minutes and read it.

That's all for now. Gotta run to the bathroom. Maybe I'll post more later.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.



John A Hill said...

some people will do anything to keep from going to work!

Anonymous said...

You can find a public domain copy of the Bates' story, along with his biography at: http://thenostalgialeague.com/olmag/bates.html

Bilbo knows who.

Mike said...

John, your right. And I think that it's a bunch of s**t that he's getting away with it.

fiona said...

Bad Boys! Leave poor wee sick Bilbo alone! @Mike, it's a bunch of s**t he is dealing with! Your the potty guy, you should understand LOL

Bilbo said...

John - this is true.

Anonymous - thanks for that link...I tried to find one, but couldn't.

Mike - hey, I gotcher buncha s**t right here, buddy!

Fiona - 'tis a veritable Florence Nightengale you are!

Anonymous said...

The comments are cracking me up.

Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm going through a reading phase right now.

Anonymous said...


I missed last Friday at the studio, and Saturday, and Sunday because I was down with a cold and didn't want to spread my germs around--after all, how many of us wash our hands after each dance?
I hope you'll be OK by Friday. OK, selfish reason--I like dancing with you. I hope Agnes is feeling better too.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

How can you have a robot called Gnut?????

Bilbo said...

Twinkie - glad we could entertain you. If you read either of these stories, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of them.

Leslie - we should both be back to normal...or whatever passes for normal...by Friday. Save me some slots on your dance card!

Capt Picard - I suppose that if you're the author of the story, you can call the robot anything you want!

Mike said...

You do realize that this is one time when somebody says you're full of s**t, you can say "no I'm not and I can prove it!"

Bilbo said...

Mike - I can always count on you to look on the bright side...