This Is Science Fact

To celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, I’m breaking my own rule and publishing something that isn’t about science fiction. It turned out, fortunately, to be science fiction, but when it was written its factuality was unknown. I’m referring to the beautiful, chilling speech written for President Nixon in the event the astronauts became stranded on the Moon. To be delivered to the nation while the astronauts were still alive and awaiting death by suffocation, they would have listened to a long range transmission of the President delivering this, their eulogy, from another planet, while their lives and final hours were helplessly mourned from a quarter of a million miles away.

To put this into perspective, you need to understand that it was considered so likely that the astronauts wouldn’t return that a euphemism for how it would be handled was created. Having exhausted all options and determined that lift off was impossible, the stranded astronauts would “close down communications” with Mission Control in Houston and be left in silence, either to die slowly or, if they chose, to commit suicide. At no place is the inevitability of their deaths so hauntingly real as when the document details the President’s instructions for contacting the “widows-to-be.” Yet, despite the gravest of peril and the nearly infinite unknowns they faced, in the name of science and exploration, on behalf of all mankind these men lined up for the chance to risk being stranded on a cold, dead world beyond all hope of rescue. Just to see what we as a species could learn and achieve.

This is science. This is exploration. This is our shared American history. This is everything we, as human beings, can look to within ourselves when we need to know, to feel, to truly understand the definitions of ‘pride’ and ‘ dedication’ and ‘accomplishment.’ This article is a meager tribute; I’m not sure it’s possible for my small words, tucked away here in our little corner of the internet, to convey the thanks and admiration I feel for the brave men and women who have toiled, struggled, suffered and died to turn the science fiction I read into the science fact that every human being, in every corner of this Earth, now lives and shares. They have literally changed the way every human being will understand and live on this planet, forever. It’s humbling. All I can do is to extend, on behalf of myself and the rest of The Sci-Fi Guys, my deepest, most sincere gratitude for all their efforts and sacrifices. Thank you, all of you, for everything.

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Balthazar

The Dark Tower has collapsed. Universal Pictures ambitious film trilogy and TV series adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy western epic is no longer.

The writing was on the wall back in May when the project threatened to be scrapped over budgetary issues. Imagine Entertainment and the three key principals involved in the project – Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman – regrouped to bring the project down to a lower price point and to shoot at a later date.

A decision had to be made by Friday July 15th whether the studio would commit to the movies or not. Now its been confirmed they simply couldn’t make the financials work and would only commit to the first film – thus the project is dead until another backer is found, and that is likely a long way off if at all.

Howard himself has moved on and is prepping the Formula 1 racing feature Rush with Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.

quentin

If you were talking about any (most) other series, I’d agree. Studio’s are too intent on tentpole franchises rather than standalone great films.

And I realize how much this can sound like me just defending a storyline I love. Let me say that when I found out that they were shopping around the idea for a movie, I’d thought, “I’d like to see it, but they’re going to fuck it up.” When I heard that they were doing three movies and two series, I thought: “God damn, those fucking geniuses, they’ve GOT IT! Finally, someone knows how to handle the (any) epic storyline.

So what would the first movie in the Dark Tower series be about. A old grizzled guy rides into a town, shacks up with a bartender, rapes a preacher’s wife and kills everyone including the wench at the bar, then rides out of the town, meets a kid, fucks a demon, drops the kid into a chasm to finally catch the guy he’s been chasing and… falls asleep.

It’s not until the 2nd book that the world of Roland really starts to unfold – hell it’s not until the fifth book that the still-living world unfolds; everything until that point was the dying old world that had moved on.

By doing three movies and two series, you get to have all of the big-BLAM Michael-BOOM Bay-POWWW* battles and climaxes, while still getting the slow moving character development in between. Earlier, I’d have said that this series couldn’t have been done unless it were a miniseries like Deadwood, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones – but then you’d be limiting the audience. The movies+series idea is the best possible way to portray this. I don’t even mind changing the timeline up a bit for the theatrical version, much as it may chagrin the hardcore literature-devotees – go ahead and open the film up with Book Four, then have the series pick us up in the town of Tull.

I’m not going to say that the Dark Tower is the best thing that King’s ever written, but it’s one of the few of his books that I have read, and it was the reason I’d read other books he’d written.

  • “big-BLAM Michael-BOOM Bay-POWWW” is impossible to read without hearing it in Warpath’s voice.