Last week, I followed this link from New Advent to a really funny list titled "50 Things I Learned from the Movies." Some of the gems include:
That last had me in tears, because I always have something to say about people who can outrun flaming fireballs and not even be the tiniest bit crispy afterward--or, rather, about people who film that particular absurdity.
9. The more a man and a woman hate each other, the more likely they will fall in love.
10. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.
11. Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.
12. A cup of black coffee or a splash of cold water in the face is enough to render the most inebriated person stone cold sober.
13. If you try hard enough, you can outrun an explosion.
There were one or two science fiction related items on that list, but it occurred to me that the strange, interesting, fun, campy world of television and movie science fiction could really use its own list. I've been working on it, and here are my not-particularly-original observations in no special order:
20 Things I Learned from Sci-Fi TV and MoviesThose are just a few simple observations. Feel free to add your own list in the comment box or on your blog!
1. The internal clocks of every spaceship in any given galaxy/universe are always perfectly synchronized, such that you will never contact some other ship millions of miles away and inadvertently awaken the ship's captain in the middle of the night.
2. It is always possible for one ship to contact another that is millions of miles away; it is, however, frequently impossible for a ship to contact members of its own crew who are on the planet below them.
3. It is ordinarily acceptable for spaceships either never to need refueling or to run out of fuel at dramatically appropriate moments; it is not ordinarily acceptable for spaceships to need boring, routine refueling.
4. A spaceship the size of a small city will somehow carry enough water on board, or generate enough water, for all tens of thousands of crew members to shower daily. If waterless showers are ever brought up in conversation, nobody will like the idea.
5. Despite traveling many times the speed of light, spaceships will rarely arrive at their home port before they left it.
6. All time-travelers speak, read, and write modern English.
7. If one of a group of people is a time-traveler from the future sent back to prevent a catastrophe, this person will tell anybody else other than the person ultimately responsible for the catastrophe what they are doing there, until it is too late. There is never a good reason for this reticence.
8. By the time that time travel is possible, evolution has removed anybody who would think it would be fun or amusing to go back in time and mess things up just for the hell of it.
9. In any give group of people from the next century, it is more likely that one of them will secretly be a humanoid alien or robot than that one of them will--secretly or openly--be a Christian.
10. Futuristic energy weapons rarely if ever need recharging. The one exception will be when the hero or heroes are being pursued by villains and must hide because they can't fight.
11. Futuristic and/or space traveling heroes often have to hide from villains in places that shun technology or have not yet made contact with space and/or time travelers.
12. At least one person in the hiding place will turn out to be both extremely attractive and surprisingly good with technology, leading to and existential and/or romantic crisis.
13. Future science labs are staffed by two types of people: men who are geeky, nerdy, socially inept, yet somehow oddly charming, and women who could have (even if they didn't) supported their various doctoral careers while modeling, but who subdue their glamor under white lab coats, intimidatingly brilliant minds, and (frequently) unattractive glasses.
14. If one of those women is accidentally locked in the science lab with one of the nerds during a major crisis, her glasses will get broken, her lab coat will have to be used to block the toxic fumes or something from coming in under the door, and the oddly charming geek who is trapped with her will suddenly realize that she is a total babe.
15. Oddly charming science nerds have magical abilities when it comes to technology. They can overcome all issues of computer compatibility, password protection or data security, damage to the system including structural damage to the mainframe or servers, viruses and malicious attacks, insufficient power, and so on in a matter of seconds. They can also integrate a piece of unknown alien technology with their present operating systems in remarkably short lapses of time.
16. Despite their magical abilities, geeky computer guys will complain vociferously about being asked to do any of the above, leading viewers to wonder what their actual job involves other than hanging around accident prone labs with science babes.
17. No matter how brilliant the science nerds are, there will always be at least one instance where an ordinary person, possibly a military man, will know more than they do about some point of basic science--because people capable of dramatic feats of higher physics frequently forget everything they know about gravity, or thermodynamics, or simple chemical reactions.
18. In the future, the military teams that accompany science teams to fantastic planets will welcome having the chain of command repeatedly violated either by the scientists or by their civilian leaders--at least, they never seem to have a problem with it.
19. In a universe in which it is possible for artificial planets to be built, it is also still possible for weapons to jam or for spaceships' engines to overheat.
20. Despite the vacuum of space, dramatic visual fireworks, clouds of smoke, etc. are not only possible, but likely, during any major starship battle.