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I Don't Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | December 30, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | December 30, 2010 |

In yesterday’s 2010 Science Fiction year in review there were some fantastic comments talking about what exactly makes science fiction what it is. So I couldn’t resist posting about Blastr’s poll in which they ask you to vote on what 2011 science fiction film you are looking forward to the most.

It starts badly, and goes downhill. The header image that made me shake my head in frustration is of four films: Green Lantern, Thor, Captain America, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Look, I love comic books and comic book movies, and the Pirates of the Caribbean films are entirely more fun than they have any right to be, but science fiction? Let alone the implication that those are the biggest science fiction films of 2011? If you’re being exceptionally loose with definitions and didn’t care if the story was comic book staple, you could shoe horn Green Lantern and maybe Captain America into the mold, but Thor? And Pirates?

Here’s the entire list of the upcoming year’s “science fiction”:

The Green Hornet (really? Is Kato a Jedi?)

I Am Number Four (okay fine, there are aliens. But the trailer smells like Twilight)

Battle: Los Angeles (legitimate alien invasion science fiction. And finally we get a sequel to Skyline)

Mars Needs Moms (does science fiction for kids count? I read Ender’s Game when I was 9. Animation makes me suspicious)

Sucker Punch (interesting concept, remarkable visuals, and straight up dark fantasy all the way not science fiction)

Thor (huh?)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Not unless they’re space pirates. Johnny Depp as a space pirate though could definitely work)

X-Men: First Class (what?)

Green Lantern (really?)

Caesar: Rise of the Apes (how have I not heard of this yet? Origin story of the creation and rebellion of the hyper intelligent apes. James Franco, Brian Cox, David Hewlett, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis. I’m there.)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Isn’t it sad that the giant robots alone make this more straight science fiction than three fourths of this list?)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (It’s a bloody simple litmus test. Are there wizards? Then it’s not fricking science fiction)

Captain America: The First Avenger (seriously?)

Cowboys & Aliens (it’s got aliens, that beats most of this list’s bonafides)

Conan the Barbarian (what?)

Reel Steel (robot boxing sounds like a SyFy Original Picture, and not the good kind with Tiffany and Debbie Gibson)

The Thing (definitely science fiction, but if the second time was the charm, what’s the point of the third?)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (I just … I just can’t even think of anything sarcastic to say. This film’s inclusion just breaks me)

Sherlock Holmes 2 (the only thing science fictional about this is that Robert Downey Jr.’s awesomeness can only be explained with nanotechnology)

The Adventures of Tintin (I don’t understand how this has Daniel Craig, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg attached, nor can I see how a funky looking guy having adventures with his dog have the slightest connection to science fiction, so I’ll just quote “Torchwood” here: “And he never had a girlfriend, did he? Just the dog, so I reckon he was actually shagging the dog.”)

So the final tally here is 20 films:

  • 5 of which are comic book movies

  • 4 of which are fantasy

  • 1 of which is kid’s animated

  • 3 of which are not even remotely science fiction

That leaves 7 actual science fiction films on the list, of which 3 are sequels or remakes.

I’ll be drinking now, and trolling the internet for some indie or low budget science fiction for 2011.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.