Thanks to all who responded to my latest poll on science in science fiction. As some of you may have guessed the poll was driven by the (minor) controversy around "Gravity" which arose when a few science and SF notables publicly shared their nitpicks on the film's facts.
I'm usually the first one to nitpick an SF film, but after seeing "Gravity" that was not my first instinct. I think that may be due to the fact that those controversial shortcomings are in the details of specific of technologies (orbital altitudes of given objects, cycle rates of airlocks, space suit structural details, NASA standard procedures) and not so much with the actual physics or character motivations. So maybe this film taught me something about myself and how I measure SF cinema. I feel that "Gravity" is a great film, both in terms of entertainment and technical achievement.
I don't get to see my buddy Tom (Drell-7 drell-7.deviantart.com/ ) very often as he's half a continent away, but as luck would have it he had to make a road trip to the East Coast so we got to see it together. Before seeing the film I went into near total blackout mode in terms of detailed reviews and feedback. Tom – not so much, it seems… so he went in with things like deGrasse-Tyson's nitpicks www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24… in mind. Perhaps he'd have picked up on them anyway, but he came out of the movie primed to nitpick and reluctant to give it his stamp of approval without detailing his caveats. I just came out amazed at what I saw and blown away by the new standard of space realism the film set. So when Tom unloaded the nitpicks, it really kinda rained on my parade (sorry, bud...).
Now in all fairness I had my own set of nits…. but I was more inclined to overlook those in the face of a really great SF experience that had more solid science than almost anything since "2001". For me the film proved wrong the old adage that "accurate science in SF would just make it boring", and that's worthy of celebration! So yeah… some real world details were fudged, but in this case I just don't seem to care. Maybe it makes me a hypocrite? But I'm with Steve Burg (Steve-Burg steve-burg.deviantart.com/ ) in regarding this film as a new high bar for scientific accuracy and aerospace realism. Plus it's a delight to see a film like this pop up in the age of Hollywood over-caution and sequelmania.
On another subject – and more on the space operatic side of things – we're a little over a week out before Space Battleship Yamato 2199's final four episodes hit the Web. Can't wait. As I've said before the series has illustrated just how a series reboot of a classic should be done, respecting and tuning up the source material instead of just vomiting one's creative ego all over an established background. Yeah, "Galactica" did a pretty good job, but "Yamato 2199" gets to the same place without such a dramatic face lift. "2199" is an anime masterpiece, in my mind. Fun, exciting, neat tech, good (for space opera) science, and solidly entertaining. It just gets better with every episode.
If you missed it last time, these are the sites where you should be able to stream the series:
Pinoy Anime: www.pinoyanime.tv/space-battle…
Anime Flavor: animeflavor.com/index.php?q=no…