Thursday, 25 March 2010


Finally got round to watching Moon on DVD. For those of you who haven't seen it, this is a pretty rare cinematic excursion into old-fashioned sci-fi and is hugely enjoyable. It is directed by David Bowie's son, who for understandable reasons has ditched the name Zowie Bowie in favour of Duncan Jones (Bowie's real name being Jones of course).

It is the story of a man - very well played by Sam Rockwell - who appears to be going a little mad as he reaches the end of his seven year stint on a mining station on the moon. There is an accident aboard one of the vehicles and he wakes up in the infirmary to discover that there now seems to be a slightly younger, fitter and angrier version of himself in the building. Any more information would ruin the movie for you.

It reminded me a little of John Carpenter's Dark Star, but with a little 2001 A Space Odyssey thrown in. Maybe there is also a little Alien in there too, with the outside shots and the sinister corporation. The computer at the lunar station certainly seemed like a cousin of HAL from 2001. And the computer was the only issue for me really. If they had the technology to make empathetic computers that could think imaginatively, then why have humans up there at all? Aren't they a bit messy and unpredictable?

But none of that spoils the movie. In fact it reminded me how much I enjoyed science fiction as teenager. I read 'hard' sci-fi with wonderful Chris Foss covers, and I read the more lyrical wing with writers like Bradbury and Le Guin. It is more than a genre really. It is rather like fantasy in the way that the name of the genre is just a signal for you to expect the unexpected. It superficially seems to have the future as its concern, but it is often a commentary on the present and almost always concerned about the human condition. Its scope is almost limitless.

Why is there not more sci-fi literature for children I wonder?

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