Published in 1959, ” ‘— All You Zombies —’ ” is the classic science-fiction time travel paradox. Initially, the story seems mundane enough at first: it is set primarily in a bar as one character tells another his life story. But, as time travel stories tend to do, things are not quite what they seem and what begins as a simple, straightforward tale ends up bending through time and space (and the reader’s brain as they try to follow along).
The Faculty touches on a fear of conformity and assimilation into an inauthentic life. The film is set in a high school, perhaps the most appropriate setting for such themes. High school is widely recognized as the time in which adolescents begin exploring different groups in order to define themselves as individuals. Wrapped up in this phase is the fear of conformity, of succumbing to peer pressure and placing the will of the group over the individual. For The Faculty, this fear is symbolically reflected in the threat of assimilation by aliens.
If you recall my post from earlier this year, I am a big fan of the 1996 film Independence Day, or ID4 as it was stylized for its release. So, you can imagine my excitement now that the trailer for the new film is out. The sequel, titled Independence Day: Resurgence, or IDR, is set 20 years after the initial film—allowing for the aging of the original cast members—and focuses on the return of the alien threat.
Haven’t seen the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer yet? Let’s fix that:
No joke: I got a touch of goosebumps watching that the first time. I blame it on Whitmore’s speech. Really a nice touch to include the most iconic bit of the first film in this trailer.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s go through it and see what we can deduce.
The Fourth of July holiday has come and gone. While others spend their time with fireworks and grilling hamburgers, for me 1996 gave birth to a new Fourth of July tradition, a film that must be watched every year.
During undergrad, my film professor said that were she trapped on a desert island, the two films she would want to have with her were Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The woman had impeccable tastes and inspired in me a deep love for horror and the macabre. While I am not sure about films, I have often thought about the books I would want with me on a desert island. The following, in no particular order, are some of my essential desert island books.
I discovered Hyperion late in high school when I had just started to really read book with depth, and what depth this book has! Simmons weaves the structure of The Canterbury Tales and the poetry of John Keats into a masterful scifi epic. A book one can read over and over, each new visit to Hyperion reveals nuances and references previously missed. It is a scifi epic that has something for everyone: a father worried deeply for his daughter’s health, a military man battleworn and weary, a forlorn poet in search of his muse, a detective searching for the answer to a complicated mystery.
Even though each traveler’s tale is different than the last—sometimes moving into what seems to be an entirely different genre—the shifts never feel awkward or disjointed. Simmons’ skill in storytelling shines here as each character spins a separate tale which gradually interweave and coalesce into a complete, interconnected whole.