Saturday, 19 February 2011
Science fiction at its 'alternative' best - Fringe, Roger Zelazny
Fringe is SF tv at its best. You have seen me rave in the past about Fringe here, and here, and here. This season, we have been alternating (ha!) between the alternate world and this world, as Olivia as made her way back and the team has discovered what the alternate Walter wanted from our side. What is gripping me most about this show right now is how one man's actions have had repercussions in everything. One world, the alternate, is literally falling to pieces, breaking open to threatened vortexes. Last night we discovered that this world is beginning to show signs of the vortex spreading to here. We also discovered that Walter has been haunted by what he saw when he was in the Alternate Universe last season, the broken places of the world.
All because he took Peter to save his life, and didn't return him after. It is stunning storytelling, extremely powerful and moving, and we have no idea what comes next. So when I read the lines above from "24 Views", I thought that's what the writers of Fringe are doing. They are meditating on what Walter did. We are getting 24, 48, even 64 views of the 'Zero Event" (as the Alternate Universe calls it, the day Peter was taken, because everything started from then), of how one action is spreading ripples through that world, our world, and who knows how far beyond.
How many ways can we view what Walter did? As many ways as there are to explore the mysteries of the human heart. Because what Walter did was out of love and grief, this is a human-oriented science fiction story; no matter how unusual or fascinating the science, the exploration of faith, love, and loss, are at the heart of this show.
Roger Zelazny's story is wonderful, and while I don't describe it in SF terms, that was because I didn't want to give away a key plot point which is very SF. Fringe is fabulous (in both senses of the word) tv. Science fiction isn't just about rocket ships and space - though as you all know, I'm a Trekker through and through, I love my space stories! - it's about where humanity meets science and how we experience the world, the galaxy, the universe through the lens of our human heart. I don't read as much science fiction as I want to, and I'm grateful for Carl's Sci Fi experience for pushing me to read some science fiction now, and not later, like I always say. I will be reading the other award-winning story from the Frost and Fire collection, "Permafrost", and I picked up Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century edited by Orson Scott Card, from the library earlier this week. I might only have one week left in this challenge, but I am reading and enjoying some science fiction!
Are you, my Gentle Reader? have you discovered - or revisited - a favourite science fiction author or story for this 'experience'?