ATG Quirkies: Forward Into the Past

by | Aug 2, 2017 | 0 comments


Jurassic Park | Will Fisher | Flickr

If you think sci-fi is about the future, think again, at least, according to this post in Economist 1843 by Nicholas Barber, a film critic for The Economist, BBC Culture online and the Guardian. Paradoxically, his review of “Into the Unknown”, Barbican’s new science-fiction exhibition in London, “shows how much of science fiction is fueled by nostalgia.” Referencing examples as different as the “proto-sci-fi novels” of Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs and the films Jurassic Park and Alien, he argues that if you “poke around” the exhibition for any length of time “you start to see science fiction less as a means of envisaging a fabulous future, and more as an excuse to throw together every schoolchild’s favourite bygone eras.”

Mr. Barber sums up by positing that “maybe what we crave from science fiction isn’t a journey “Into the Unknown”, but into the known. Maybe we don’t want a trip “Back to the Future”, but forward to the past.”

(Thanks to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies)


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