We are coming to the end of my history of science fiction. We have discovered that science fiction often plays on people’s fears, particularly of technology and the future. Modern science fiction films continue to address serious questions, as it has always done.
The film Men in Black (1997) was based on a comic book series created and written by Lowell Cunningham, illustrated by Sandy Carruthers. This was a science fiction version of the American Immigration Service – there is even a scene where the Men in Black pose as IAS agents. Maybe the authorities are only trying to protect us.
The 1988 film Alien Nation deals with 300,000 aliens settling in Los Angeles and the racial tensions which arise. A racist human cop gets teamed up with an alien cop.
On the other side of the coin, the 2009 film District 9 shows unwanted alien visitors corralled into a camp in South Africa, which the authorities want cleared. This was inspired by a real incident from the apartheid era when District 6 was cleared.
Looper (2012) was about criminals using time travel to have people executed by a gunman. Then one day they try to close the loop by sending back the gunman's future self. Like the cinema audience the younger man – the gunman Joe – is seeking control of his life, but he eventually realises the only way to gain control is for the young Joe to end his own life.
[adapted from IMDB]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz