>Antique Futures


Last month the Logan North Library had a SCI FI month to promote Speculative Fiction. It culminated in an open day — a 50 piece orchestra played tunes for the movies and people from the Star Trek, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings groups came in costume.

Earlier in the month local writers had run workshops on genre writing and been on panels. My friend Marianne de Pierres launched her latest book, ‘Chaos Space’, and a good time was had by all.

The kids were catered for with face painting and Star Wars finger puppets and face masks. No one, from grandmothers to five year-olds had any trouble identifying Storm Troopers or Darth Vader. Seen below checking out a copy of Dolly Magazine for teenage girls.

When I was a kid growing up in a sea-side town on the east coast of Australia, lots of houses still had out-side dunnies (toilets). My grandmother had a wood stove as well as her gas stove. I didn’t know there was such a genre as science fiction or fantasy, I only knew that I loved it when Disney showed magical cartoons, or World of the Future. I was 10 when I saw ‘Forbidden Planet’ I was blown away by the idea that a monster could come from the subconscious.

I was 11 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I thought by the time I was an adult, there’d a base on the moon and we’d all have our own personal jet packs. Like Marge Simpson, I wanted to grow up to be an Astronaut.

But we don’t have hover cars like in the Jetsons. The wonderful juvenile adventure stories that Heinlien wrote about settling Mars and the Asteroid Belt are no closer to coming true. And the Brave New World that science promised to bring hasn’t eventuated. Instead we have mobile phones hounding us with advertising text messages and reality TV that is more boring that real life.

The genre that I love is now common place. TV shows like Charmed, Stargate, Buffy and X Files bring concepts and ideas into everyone’s living rooms. They are doing a remake of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

Yet … I miss that sense of Wonder. I find it less and less now days but I’ll never stop looking.

Cheers, Rowena.


  1. >I think Antique Futures is the name of the shop in a short story called “The Robot is Running Away from the Trees” (or variations thereof) by Terry Dowling in his haunting Rynosseros books. I’m sure that’s where I read it… Maybe… :-)I always thought we’d be on Mars by now. Wrote about it in an essay once, called Eulogy for a Dream: about the space shuttle and the abandoned race to the stars. Saw the new “The Day the Earth Stood Still” movie and still prefer the original. The new one has some really good sequences, but the plot was vague, and the ending too too nebulous. If you changed the name of the movie and the characters, you’d still get something of an ambiguous mess. The spfx were pretty good, though. Not a bad effort overall, just not quite the focused intensity in the original movie. :-DI really, really wanted the Disney future of pointy rocket ships and jetpacks, too…Cheers,Marianne

  2. >”Yet … I miss that sense of Wonder. I find it less and less now days but I’ll never stop looking.”I’ve been thinking about your posting. Like you, I started reading science fiction some time ago, and I still look for that sense of wonder.But especially this season, I’m really aware of that sense of wonder in the kids. I get to play Santa Claus for a local group of kindergarten kids — and I swear most of them think I just flew in. This year when they started to ask questions, I asked for their names, and pulled out a small notebook and flipped through it — and said, “Okay, you’re in my list of good kids.” I heard from the teachers later that several of them were quite surprised that I had their names in my list! And those eyes as I hand them the little presents that I’ve brought are so wide and full of the sense of wonder.Not to belittle the sense of wonder, but I think it’s still alive and well. Every kid I know wants to find out what’s around the next corner, to peek into places they haven’t seen before, to get a surprise and see the world in a different way — and they laugh when it happens! They have fun with it, even if their parents prefer a nice, quiet routine.Sure, the mass media may be trying hard to coopt and smother the sense of wonder in knock-offs, but frankly, it won’t happen. If some of the concepts and ideas are starting to be commonplace, then . . . it’s time for us to push forward, beyond the Outer Limits, and go where TV and movies have never gone before.And we’ll probably find a little kid sitting there, with wide eyes, waiting for us to show them what’s around the next corner.Enjoy the wonder.Mike

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