Friday, December 9, 2011
BEAM ME UP, SANTA: WHY NOT AN SF CHRISTMAS STORY?
Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again. Time to deck the passageways, string up a few LED lights around the bridge and call it Hanukkahchristmaskwanzaa (or Ursplz if you hail from Terzon III, where the winter solstice comes once every three Earth years). Any excuse to celebrate, I always say.
Actually, I’m a huge fan of the holiday season. I go all out, bingeing on spirit (the nonalcoholic kind, usually) from Thanksgiving until Epiphany, when I’ll reluctantly take down the decorations and store them away for another year. Most years of my childhood, my single mom strove to make things bright, but we did have a few memorably tough holidays. I figure a person can have two responses to bad holiday memories. You can let them sour you forever on Christmas, or you can do what I’ve chosen to do. I’ve decided I’m in control now, so it’s a wonderful life at my house every year. So there.
I do think we are missing something important in the festivities, however. We need a good science fiction Christmas movie. That’s right, think about it. In all the vast library of cinematic SF, there is only one example of a plotline set around Christmas—1964’s SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. This is a movie widely acknowledged to be among the worst ever made. What a disgrace! Take two of my favorite things, put them together and what do you get? Garbage, that’s what!
Surely we can do better. I did search the Internet Movie Database (I lurrve me some Imdb!!) in hopes of finding out if someone had. My search yielded one other title: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS!! Okay, first of all, does this admittedly excellent Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp really qualify as SF? I suppose it does have some key scenes set at Christmas, but it’s not quite what I had in mind.
I was thinking more along the lines of this alien who crash-lands somewhere in the Arctic Circle. He has skills—telekinesis and control of time and some forms of energy. He adapts to his new environment, gets a sleigh and a herd of reindeer and, uh, improves them. Then he begins to see what a crazy, needy world he’s landed on. How can he help? He taps into a local legend and voila!
I’m thinking maybe J.J. Abrams and Stephen Spielberg might want to collaborate on this one again like they did on SUPER 8. I’m sure we could throw a kid in there somewhere. Maybe an Inuit girl discovers “Santa” testing out the new souped-up sleigh on the ice, and so on. She should have a dog. And a single mom—oooh, there’s the romance connection! Dang, this can’t lose!
See? All you need is a little Hanukkahchristmaskwanzaaursplz spirit and inspiration flows like eggnog! Here’s hoping you find lots of all three under your Christmas tree this season.
I think your costume is terrific, Laurie (and be brave—go for the peek-a-boo top under the vest!). I’ve seen it all at TREK cons, believe me, and this seems quite classy. I’m not a dress-up type at all, though it’s the first question I’m asked when people learn I used to go to TREK cons. I’d much rather see what others come up with and, like Kaye says, let people remember me for my book rather than my “look”. (Soon enough I’ll be air-brushing my photos, too—they won’t even recognize the “real” me at book signings!)