of Science Fiction


After watching La Jetée I was most struck by collapsed time.  Beginning with the images the protagonists sees when he is mentally transported to a future Paris, then zooming in on the grid of thousands of streets and the people of the future makes me think so much of how artists and writers use science fiction as a was to examine contemporary human anxieties. I am thinking particularly of Octavia E.Butler’s Parable series and Larry Niven’s A World Out of Time. Set in the future where government and country has all but collapsed, the Parables is a story about a young woman who has the genetic disability hyperempathy. She feels the pain (and sometimes pleasure) of others. How do humans survive in the destroyed future?  Hyperempathy  becomes almost like a transport, allowing the characters who have hyperempathy to exist in their body as well as others (those sometimes being captors). In La Jetée there is not only a loss of control over the body but one over memory as well. The mind is invaded and coopted to serve a larger purpose. Is this ultimately about a complete loss of control? The anxiety of rape?

FYI: Parable of the Sower has been adapted into a musical! It is being performed in Boston in March. I will be going!





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