When I saw that Ridley Scott is committed to a new Blade Runner film I had the predictable reaction of feeling that nothing is sacred any more, followed by hoping, really hoping, that the film is not a sequel, prequel or remake, but merely further stories set in the Blade Runnerverse. There’s enough unused material in Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? to make that possible without much creative effort.
My predominant, non-reactionary thought however, was on the awkwardness of any new Blade Runner material being set in the original film’s timeframe of 2019, and the notion that it most assuredly won’t be.
Face it. We can’t imagine it being only a mere half decade until off-world colonies, human-like replicant robots and flying police cars are a real thing. The idea is as much a joke to us as the classic science fiction assumption that we’d all be sat around in foil suits by the year 2000.
Every generation pushes back the placement and expectations of their science fiction by another fifty or more years, and as time passes, new science fiction seems to be getting even further and further away from present day. Who’s to say that the new Blade Runner won’t be set in the 25th or 35th century, in a time so distant and unreal that the writers can do whatever the hell they want with settings and expectations?
Classic science fiction was never about finding a place for the impossible or the mythic, but rather the possible and seemingly achievable- the extraordinary made ordinary and how the human spirit deals with the challenges and developments of fantastical worlds and advancements. It was never about the unlikely or the ridiculous, but rather the predicted evolution of life, based on all human endeavour from the dawn of time right up to the point of writing.
If we keep pushing back the date of “The Future!” then we will stop expecting the future. Hidden as it is behind so many supposed great leaps forward, its eventual distance from us will make all chance of reaching it seem impossible, and cause us to doubt our personal and global potential, rendering us content to wallow in a present without goals, dreams, or ambition.
Give me a world-shattering science fiction paradigm set two days after tomorrow, and I’ll show you a clutch of eager readers inspired by the possibility of change and development.
Give me the stars and everything in them. Tomorrow.
Incidentally if the Blade Runner film -is- a remake, I am going to be fucking livid.
When does the future start for you?