SciFi Friday Part I: A Science Fiction Debate

SciFi Friday is a little late this week, which actually works out well as a couple of the stories include shows from Saturday night. Tonight I’ll also break SciFi Friday into two parts.

During last week’s debate in Ohio, Tim Russert went overboard with hypothetical questions leading me to comment that I half expected him to next ask Clinton a question such as, “What would you do if Cylons attacked Earth?” This got me thinking. There are already people pushing for a Science Debate. What if Tim Russert pursued some really hypothetical questions and hosted a Science Fiction Debate?

There are many potential hypothetical questions which Russert could ask. Star Trek fans would love to know how the candidates would handle the situation when Vulcans make first contact with humans. Terminator fans would want to hear how the candidates would prevent the building of Skynet. They would also be concerned about whether candidates are prepared to defend humanity against killer robots.

Wait a minute. This just might not be science fiction anymore. There were news reports last week of killer robots which might be used by terrorists. Fox News even compared them to Daleks out of Doctor Who.

So, the whole topic of killer robots might have to be moved from the Science Fiction debate to the Science Debate. We’ll move on to Planet of the Apes and question whether the candidates are prepared to handle the danger of intelligent apes taking control of the planet. That must might have to be moved to the Science Debate also in light of recent reports that chimpanzees might have a much greater capacity for language than earlier believed.

Even the upcoming Star Trek movie is making some attempts to keep the science as legitimate as possible. The Arizona Daily Star has an interview with Carolyn Porco, scientific consultant for the movie. Here’s a couple of the questions:

What will you work on?

“Not at all with warp drives and phasers. I’ll probably be working with them creating astronomical scenes, planetary scenes, whatever there’s going to be.”

Do you think you’ll have to shoot anything down?

“I doubt there will be very much shooting down (with) inane things like phasers. I’m going to be the planetary policewoman. That’s what I’ll try to be. I’ll be consulting, but in the end it’s Abrams’ decision what he takes and what he doesn’t of my advice. From what I can see, this is a sincere group of people trying to get it right. From what I’ve seen, the idea is to make this movie different. Of course, it’s still gonna be ‘Star Trek.’ “

I’ll look at some shows from the past week in Part II.

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