The other day I ran across the film trailer for a movie that will be released soon called ‘Elysium‘. It is set around 140 years in the future where the few, very rich live very well on a luxurious satellite that orbits the Earth called ‘Elysium’ while the rest of humanity lives on an extremely overpopulated and desolate Earth suffering from a Malthusian catastrophe.
Today, it seems that most of our science fiction foretells of a future that is awful and horrible: feral zombies roaming the countryside to eat us, oppressive government, and/or going backwards in technology. (In fact, can anyone tell me a recent film that presents a bright future for humanity?) I believe much of that is a reflection on us because we are much more pessimistic about the future than we used to be. Man walked on the moon exactly 44 years ago on tomorrow (July 20, 1969). How many of you can imagine us going to the moon today? I just wonder how many people believe that some form of Elysium is what the future holds for us.
I thought about my youth and what a difference these films are from when I grew up. I loved science fiction as a child and I especially loved reading Star Trek novels. My little friends and I would pretend to be Starfleet Captains that explored the far reaches of the galaxy or Buck Rogers out in space defending the earth. We figured that in the future there would be flying cars, like on the Jetsons. Much of our science fiction reflected our belief that the future would be filled with wonder as humanity would continue to advance and invent all types of new gadgets, build moon bases, continue to discover new things, travel to the bottom of the sea and even to other parts of the solar system and beyond. Yes, there were some science fiction that was dystopian, but most of it was bright and I believe that reflected our attitudes at the time.