Mar 2012 11

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Do you see that picture above? You’ll only get that caption if you like Sci-Fi. For some reason, there is a really quite substantial group of people who claim they don’t like it. I don’t want to alarm you, don’t make any sudden movements, but these people are everywhere. Perhaps your partner is one? Your friend? Or maybe a treasured family member? We’ve all been in the situation of wanting to watch a preferred film or TV show that just happens to be Sci-Fi, and the other person will block it. The (by now) familiar refrain of “I don’t like Sci-Fi” will pass their lips, and that’s that. End of discussion.

… Except it isn’t, is it? Since when has genre been the sole indicator of quality? If a story is strong, has interesting characters and is well made, does it matter if it’s set on Alderaan or Earth? Upon the DVD release of JJ Abram’s Star Trek a few years ago, I really wanted my girlfriend to watch it with me. This is a film that in sensibility and execution is as mainstream as they come, by a director who knows how to please a crowd. But because it is labelled Sci-Fi, it was an epic battle to get her to watch it, on par with any galactic conflict dreamt up by George Lucas. Once I got her to watch it, guess what? She loved it, even going so far as wanting to watch it all again immediately afterwards. “Aha!” I thought, “perhaps next time it won’t be so difficult!”.

How wrong I was.

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