Tag Archives: Fifth Element

Should We Go See Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in Theaters?

So after seeing trailers, it’s probably not far wrong to say that Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was the movie that we were most intrigued and excited to go see this year, especially taken on its own merits. Okay, sure, there’s lots of continuing franchise films to see this year – Marvel, Star Wars, etc. But this one captured our imagination, and it’s Luc Besson, and it seemed like a sure hit. The new Fifth Element.

And then… people actually saw it.

We’ve now heard from family that has both said “skip it in theaters” and that has said that they liked it. So… just as split as the Rotten Tomatoes score makes it seem. That means, tossing it back to you, dear readers! Vote in the poll! And if you’ve seen it, comment or shoot us a message on social media, letting us know whether we should go or not go!

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Science Fiction Today – Food (Again)

Holly already wrote about Food for a Science Fiction Today post, but with trying to introduce solid foods to the Geek Baby, it’s a topic that’s certainly on our minds. Holly talked about how we might run into problems with the crops, like in Interstellar. Or else, how we might be able to artificially generate food – like in The Fifth Element.

I think to get to where I want to talk about those, we have to talk about where we are today with food. Which is to say, we’ve gotten pretty far away from the origins of food, the growing of food. Because of that, would we accept a food substitute like in the video? 

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Science Fiction Today – Overpopulation

OOverpopulation continues to be a point of discussion in the world at large and is usually a part of whatever future is being told in a Science Fiction story. The number of people in the world and in the universe makes a difference on resources and on survivability. Throughout history we have been able to increase the capacity for human survival. At the same time what does this look like in the potential futures?

There are a few different options that I have seen in stories. One, is the expansion of humans beyond the usual limits, whether that is building up or expanding beyond the Earth. Another option is a little more sinister and that is control over the population, whether that is the release of a virus to culling the population or laws around procreation. Both of these are methods for dealing with overpopulation.

Expanding Beyond

This kind of follows along with how humanity has dealt with overpopulation so far and that is to expand. One way this expansion is seen in Science Fiction is the increase in building and living space. In many stories the skyscrapers are taller and the living spaces smaller. Just think of the giant skyscraper apartment Bruce Willis lives in in the Fifth Element. The human population just keeps growing and we keep raising the limit for what can be handled.

When you make boats that fly, you know you're building tall! Found on http://metropolisoftomorrow.tumblr.com/post/687346140/fifth-element-by-pineapples101

When you make boats that fly, you know you’re building tall!
Found on Tumblr

The other expansion that is seen in stories is expansion into the stars and other planets. Many Science Fiction stories are about the way that humans have expanded into the stars and have populated a multitude of planets. All of this is about finding more living spaces and finding more resources in order for the human race to survive.

Control

The other direction that can be taken to solve overpopulation is to control the population in some ways. One form of control is through rules and law about procreation. This can be done through limiting the number of children that people are allowed to have – like in Ender’s Game. This can be difficult to enforce unless you figure out someway to basically make people unable to have kids unless they are approved or make it that everyone adopts and no one has kids naturally. This would be a way to limit the population, but would require controlling the population.

The other option that is often presented in stories is one where the powerful recognize there is a resource issue in the world and decide that the population needs to be culled. Usually this entails introducing some sort of virus or plague that either will not kill everyone or that some people have be immunized against. This brings down the population numbers and helps save vital resources at a huge cost. This is another form of control over the population partly because it is a few deciding the good for the many and who has the right to make that decision? 

Of course, control can backfire, like in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where the upper classes send away the lower classes from their planet – and then all die of a preventable disease because all the cleaning people are gone. But what stories are you thinking of?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Science Fiction Today – Justice System

JThe justice system is a complicated process and deals with not only finding the people who commit crimes, but also convicting and judging them. There are a lot of different areas that make up the entire justice system and in science fiction we see these areas dealt with in very different ways.

In some stories it is about compressing the process, in that way justice can happen more swiftly and not have to deal with the lengthy processes of trials or other things. Another option that can be found in science fiction is creating some sort of automated or surveillance-based system. The basic idea is that someone is always watching and keeping track. Both of these futures look to hasten the path to justice, but at a cost.

Cop, Judge, Jury

Karl Urban as Dredd in DreddThe obvious reference for a science fiction justice system are things such as Judge Dredd or Robocop. In these situations someone or something finds the criminals, decides their guilt, and passes the sentence. A lot of time this occurs because crime has risen to such a level that justice needs to happen swiftly in order to deal with the growing number of criminals that are out in society. This means that a person is trained to do every step of the process instead of having one person to arrest and investigate, another to decide to go to trial, and then a judge to pass sentencing. It narrows the process down to one person to speed up the process.

Automated Justice

In a few science fiction stories they look at justice as the need to watch things at all times. This can be seen in Minority Report (in a way) and in the surveillance system set up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now each of these stories add an additional level of judging a crime or criminal before it happens and basically convicting before a crime happens. At the same time the idea is still their that surveillance is used as the ultimate justice system.

The idea that we can track citizens at every moment could mean that we could track the actions and give tickets and sentencing based on those actions. Now imagine that it is not external surveillance, but something that gets imbedded underneath the skin of each individual. Something that could track you and automatically send a signal to the police or automatically take fines out of your bank account, points off your license, etc. Something like in Fifth Element when his car was deducting points from his license as he drove.

Obviously the extreme problem with all of this is can either of these solutions really be called justice? Both of them are quick to convict and not take the time to fully examine or look at a situation. It is about the swiftness of justice instead of the ethics or morals of justice. What do you think?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Science Fiction Today – Food

FFood has gone from something that we had to seek out, to something we cultivated, and now is becoming something we create. Continually questions get raised about where the food we eat actually comes from and whether we really recognize all the chemicals that we are adding to our food. There has even been discussion of being able to use 3D printers for food.

Food supply can often be either a main issue or a side issue in science fiction stories because food is a vital part of keeping a society alive. Some of the problems I can see is usually in the examples of the future either there is a food crisis or we have switched to entirely created food and “all natural” is a luxury.

Food Crisis

The food crisis scenarios are ones where the food sources that we have are either drying up or just not enough to support the growing population. This can be seen in movies such as Interstellar or books like The Wind Up Girl. In both of these situations an infection of our food source begins to destroy crops and the world cannot find a way to fix the problem.

An infection of the world’s food source is not the only potential problem that could happen – there is also the fact that the world population keeps growing beyond the real limits of what the food source can actually hold, but we keep finding a way to supplement it. In many of these situations it is just about finding a way to get people some kind of nutrition, but often it is not enough.

Created Food

When I talk about created food I am thinking of things such as the replicator in Star Trek or the scene in Fifth Element where they put in a small pill in a machine and out comes a whole chicken. This is a situation where there is no food crisis because we have figured out a way to generate food. The big problem I can see with this is that there would still be pockets of natural food, but it is either by people farming for themselves (like Picard’s family) or a luxury paid for by the rich.

There are a lot of people, even in today’s society, who talk about not wanting to put unnatural things into their body. I don’t know how people would react to food that just creates itself! There is a distrust of things that are viewed as artificial and I cannot imagine that generated food would not be completely artificial. But it does also contribute to the option of the population just continuing to grow.

There are trade-offs to being able to create a never-ending food supply and being able to just have the population keep growing. At the same time down the road will we discover that some of our choices about what we put into our food have actually created other complications?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!