by Brenda W. Clough
Recent events have shown that probably there will not be commercial space flight for a while. I accept that I will probably never make it into space; even if it becomes available in my lifetime I won’t be able to afford a ticket. And my health will no longer stand the stresses — getting older really sucks. Sometimes a bucket list is just a list.
However! There are movies, and by gosh, with modern effects and an IMAX screen some movies are nearly as good as going into space yourself. And tons cheaper! Last year we had Gravity, which was superbly realistic. This year’s Interstellar is not quite that realistic, but has different pleasures. Like scientifically accurate depictions of time dilation, black holes and singularities.
And the movie itself is a honey, hitting all the tropes that we have been playing with since SF was a pup — dystopian environmental failure, wormholes, searching for habitable planets, alien intelligences. Many of us have mined the emotional costs inherent in FTL, but I haven’t seen it on the screen before. A true hard SF movie, how rare is that? This is a big, grand movie, generous in heart and scope, spanning the galaxy with big heaping spoonfuls of Sensawunda. For all the readers of Astounding, all the Asimov and Clarke fans, this is your movie.
Yes, both the plot and the science are as full of holes as Swiss cheese. NASA is ISO a pilot. So there’s one living in retirement just down the road and they don’t even ask? Are there no personnel records, isn’t he pulling pension? And let us not get into the traditional Heinlein TT paradox (if future humans send the data into the past to create the tech that allows them to exist then where does the data come from?).
But! It is so Heinlein, so Door Into Summer. The alien planets. The subwoofers making your heart shake as they take off. The glint of the Endeavor (an ill-starred name, folks — always Google these things! What next, the Titanic?) against the blackness of interstellar space, like a tiny Tiffany charm — it is the dream movie of the SF fan. Check your science and writer brains at the door, and let yourself go! And Christopher Nolan tips his hat at 2001 as well. That’s what this movie is the most like, with the same emotional and mystical wobble at the end. I’m certain that the third Hobbit will win the 2014 Hugo, but let’s hope Interstellar takes the film Nebula.
The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe. And it is available now in an audio book edition which is read by Bronson Pinchot!
My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.