Dear Mr. Shadyac,
Have you ever thought about folks our age being literally “the children of the sixties”? Unlike any other generation before us, many of us grew up on the televised war in Vietnam, the televised Civil Rights struggle in the U.S. and the original Star Trek.
Some folks consider us the end of the Baby Boom, while others consider us the beginning of Gen X. I think of us as something else entirely. I think we are what Ben Franklin was to the other founding fathers or FDR was to the Greatest Generation, the slightly older inspiration to action. Look at how Barack Obama, who turned 50 in 2011, inspired the youth vote in 2008. You are doing it now as both a filmmaker and a professor, inspiring this amazing, up and coming millennial generation.
Have you ever thought about the legacy of Gene Roddenberry? I have from the time supermarket doors began opening themselves (like those on the Enterprise) to personal computers and flip phones (communicators).
Have you heard of William Shatner’s book “I’m Working on That”? He heard that phrase about Star Trek technology from inventive people for so many years he felt the need to write about it. Better still, have you seen the documentary “How William Shatner Changed the World”? He took a tongue in cheek look at how Gene Roddenberry actually changed the world.
As the fiftieth anniversary of the original Star Trek series approaches, I’ve been writing and waiting half that time for green sci fi. Yet, since Roddenberry, no one else has given us another vision of the future in which as Captain Kirk said “there is no money and no one wants for material things”.
Why not? Roddenberry created a franchise that may never die. I once found a quote from him online where he apparently acknowledged his belief that one reason for his success was the portrayal of a fictional future of universal peace and prosperity.
When “Avatar” broke all the box office records, I thought surely someone would recognize it as the rebirth of eco sci fi. But, ultimately, warning against the future we could create is really just more of the fear based model, which is not actually as effective as the advertising model of making people want something.
Starhawk, author of “The Fifth Sacred Thing” has begun raising funds on Kickstarter. Check it out! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fifthsacredthing/the-fifth-sacred-thing . It’s very exciting. I hope you can support her efforts.
Personally, I’ve been working on an update of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata… set in the year 2069, of course. “The Sex Strike” is a bawdy comedy, like the original, with a heaping spoonful of sex and laughs to make the anti-war medicine go down. If you’re interested in reading it, I would love to send it to you.
If not, please consider supporting Starhawk or some other fictional future. I can’t imagine anyone better suited than you, with your amazing skill sets, connections and heart, to make green sci fi happen. We human beings must first imagine anything we want to build. The world of peace and justice must be made visible and desirable.
Jennifer, who works at the TBI Resource Line and told me she hugged you at the Seattle showing of “I Am” in February 2011, encouraged me to write this to you. I suffered a traumatic brain injury in July 2011 when I crashed my bicycle. Now, I talk and think about green sci fi even more than ever before. I loved “I Am” and tell everyone to watch it. Thank you for making it and thanks for taking the time to read this.