I wrote this piece on May 4th last year and this morning I turned on the radio and the identical thing happened so of course I thought. “I should write something about Star Wars. ” Then “Wait a minute. I already did.” So here is a rerun of that piece.
I was laying in bed this morning listening to the radio when the announcer said “It’s May the fourth, International Star Wars Day.” and proceeded to play the theme from the first Star Wars movie.
I do love that piece of music and it immediately took me back to 1977. On May 4th 1977 I was just about to turn 20 and was still living at home. David and I were engaged and got married later that year. He and I went to see the movie at the cinema. We liked it. We liked all three of the original films but didn’t care for the next three so we rather moved away from the whole Star Wars franchise. We were really more Trekkies anyway although I’ve never felt that if you liked one you couldn’t like the other.
While on the subject of films I should mention that David loved “2001, A Space Odyssey”. That was one film that I could never get into. We did both like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” though.
I had read a bit of science fiction as a teenager but David was really into it. It was one of the first subjects outside of trains and photography that I recall us having conversations about. He already had a lot of SF books, paperbacks, and was eager for me to read them too. His favourite author was Isaac Asimov but he also had books by Robert Heinlen, Phillip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke and a lot of anthologies, particularly “New Writings in SF” edited by John Carnell. Over the years I read most of these books at least once. When I say that I sometimes feel that real life is becoming like a science fiction story it is often these books that I am thinking of.
Science fiction can sometimes be very grim. The authors that David liked were writing through the nineteen thirties, forties,fifties and sixties so that’s not surprising. They were probably influenced by the politics of the time, the Depression, World War II and the Cold War.
Luckily, there is also some funny science fiction. Isaac Asimov wrote some amusing short stories and the introductions he wrote to stories in his anthologies were always funny. We also liked “Where Were You Last Pluterday” by Paul van Herck who was a Dutch SF writer, and “The Technicolour Time Machine” by Harry Harrison. Both of these stories involved time travel but they were not as complicated as David’s favourite time travel story “The End of Eternity”, another Asimov book. No matter how many times he tried to explain it to me I could not get my head around the time travel in that book. Good story though.
Of course I can’t talk about funny science fiction without mentioning “The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams which we both loved.
I hope that Star Wars fans will forgive me for mentioning Star Trek on the Fourth. David and I were both fans of the original series so of course when the first Star Trek movie appeared in 1979 we went to see it. We both agreed that we didn’t think the plot was that great but we were so happy to see the Enterprise and its crew again that we didn’t care. Once Mr Spock arrived we were happy. After that we went to see each new film as it was released. Going with our friends Gillian and Bruce became a bit of a tradition until we moved to Tasmania and they moved to Canberra. David watched every one of the different Star Trek series on TV. I wonder what he he would have made of the latest offerings in film and TV. I find them very dark compared to the original and Next Gen which had a much more optimistic tone. Perhaps that says something about the state of the world in the past twenty years.
I don’t watch such a lot of SF now. Both Star Trek and Doctor Who have become very different series from the shows I used to love and I’m not sure I like the direction they are taking so I prefer to watch reruns. I check in now and again in the hope that they will recapture some of what I liked about them. I loved “Eurkeka” and “The Orville” perhaps because those shows did not take themselves too seriously. I read Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and two or three of Jodi Taylor’s time travel books, thanks to Marilyn of Serendipity for the recommendations. I think David would have liked those too.
As it is the Fourth, I’ll return to Star Wars to conclude. Maybe one day I will sit down and watch all the other films, they are readily available on TV if I want them. I did get a lot of enjoyment from the franchise anyway.The first three films, John Williams music and the many Star Wars jokes and parodies involving Darth Vader or Storm Troopers.
So now I have covered the major science fiction films and books that David and I liked I guess the only thing to say is “May the Force be with you.”