Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Man Who Mutters at Movie Screens

Hugo award-wining author Mike Resnick explains on novelspot why his wife won't sit next to him at science fiction movies. The trouble is that Hollywood keeps churning out "intellectually insulting" science fiction movies.
Second, when I speak of stupidities, I'm not talking about the nit-picking that goes on in outraged letter columns. If the math or science are wrong only in areas that scientists, mathematicians, or obsessive science fiction fans would find fault with, I'll ignore it. If George Lucas doesn't know what a parsec is, or Gene Roddenbury and his successors think you can hear a ship whiz by in space, I'm willing to forgive and forget.
Even so, biology boners don't escape his notice.
Then there were Speilberg's mega-grossing dinosaur movies, Jurassic Park and The Lost World. The former hypothesizes that if you stand perfectly still six inches from a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex he won't be able to tell you're there. I would like to see the screenwriter try that stunt with any hungry carnivore -- mammal or reptile -- that has ever lived on this planet. The latter film shows you in graphic detail (and with questionable intelligence) that a T. Rex can outrun an elevated train, but cannot catch a bunch of panicky Japanese tourists who are running away, on foot, in a straight line.
Read the whole rant. If you've ever watched a movie and thought "What the hell?" it'll make you smile and nod in recognition.

Here are a couple of Resnick's stories with biology-related themes:

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