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November 2002
2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Editorial License: The Future...where nobody has really gone before - by Ernest Lilley - Editor/SFRevu

Someone once said that Science Fiction was just Fantasy with nuts and bolts painted on...which is a pretty reasonable statement from a certain point of view. On the other hand, if you look at from the the one change edict of legendary editor John Campbell, it's all alternate history, even fantasy.

Look at John Alan Gardner's Trapped, reviewed in this issue. Aliens visited Earth and when they left, or when they left us in quarantine, they left behind some bits of alien high-tech...ones that made ghosts, witchcraft and psionics possible. So, can Fantasy be SF with the nuts and bolts painted over? Sure, but really it's all the same story with your choice of choices for what to tweak.

Or how about all the books that Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy, Smallville and their ilk spawn? Since they rarely if ever seem to affect or follow the shows that spun them off, I think we should just conclude that they're from alternate universe versions. We're given the point of departure, whenever the book series starts, and that's the last time we get to worry about accuracy, at least going forward.

Which brings me to the subject of prequel series.

Prequels, like Enterprise and Smallville, are terribly constrained by the foreknowledge of what comes next. Superboy never marries Lana, Lex turns out to be rotten to the core, and Cloe...well I guess she gets erased from everyone's memory by an alien amnesia virus that will crop up in the billionth issue of Superman. Although the comics have actually already realized that there are multiple realities and have worked to reduce them back to a manageable number by having inter-dimensional war. At least I think that's what happened. Ask Daniel Dern, he's our comics guy.

But if only TV producers would catch on that the prequel shows only start out at a known point, that they don't have to follow some script laid down half a century ago. The future is always unknown, even when you're a time traveler and you've just been there. Maybe you can go home again, or maybe you can choose which future you want to go back to. I say we might as well make room for infinite presents and infinite futures...and enjoy the show.

Ernest Lilley
Editor SFRevu

sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes) 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
columns - events - features - booksmedia                    home  /  subscribe




2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu