Paul Levinson posts another Locus 2002 article from Locus, Confessions of a Science Fiction Chauvinist. This one was in response to seeing Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers.
(Hey Paul, how come you’re not writing columns now that I’m a Locus subscriber?)
- What I most value in science fiction is its exploration of the human impact of scientifically plausible but not yet accomplished developments, or discovery of similarly plausible truths about the real, natural universe. Yes, I know there is much in time travel that is paradoxical — that’s actually why it’s so much fun — and faster-than-light travel violates Einstein’s proscriptions. Yet the very fact that we can talk about the relevance of Einstein’s theories to science fiction seemed to make it different from fiction that relies on spells and elves.
- My lack of interest in elves led me to forgo not only most fantasy novels, but even the lesser investment of time required for fantasy movies. The first part of [The Fellowship of the Ring] — which took place in the Shire — was barely enough to hold my attention. I think the physical resemblance between Gandalf and Jean-Luc Picard kept me interested more than anything else… But by the end of the movie, I felt very differently. I’ve now seen The Fellowship of the Ring, in one mode or another, perhaps a dozen times. And I just saw The Two Towers. I think they are masterpieces of movie-making, fantasy, and, as I will explain below, perhaps even of science fiction. (And, seen in the context of the unfolding story, The Shire section is now most enjoyable, too.)