This blog has been on haitus since I started questioning the nature of it. But now I’m back. And I’m going to talk about something that terrified me as a child:
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick
When I was a kid, I was scared of regular scary things like monsters and things that didn’t look natural. There used to be a tree outside my window with branches that grew long enough to touch the house. One night, I was sitting in my room, minding my own business, probably lost in a writing project somewhere, when something tapped my window. I looked up and jumped because I saw something reaching towards my window. It bounced like it was a live. An adrenaline shot later, I realized it was the tree outside my window. I never really liked that tree. I thought it was an alien.
When I say I believe in aliens, I mean that I believe in the aliens you come across on Doctor Who, the kind of beings that leave Earth alone for the most part. They can live at the same time we’re living, and maybe hover in orbit from time to time, but I don’t believe in aliens abducting humans for their own experiments. I don’t see the point in that because we’re an advanced life form not so different than those guys in flying saucers. We’re just grounded for a bit.
But what if aliens helped to shape our current society and technology? What if they just had a hand in pushing us towards the right path of evolution? And what if they did it with slabs of rock holding an unknown nature? Of all the things that scared me as a child, those giant monoliths and HAL scared me most of all.
First off, those monoliths were accompanied by some creepy music. Giant slabs of rock or no, the right music to a generic something makes a world of a difference. Case in point:
Normal chipmunk, right? No! This little guy is dramatic!
Normal piece of rock? No. The music tells you otherwise.
The second thing that scared the living lights out of me was HAL 9000, supercomputer on board the space ship Discovery. What was so scary about him? He had a calming voice and interacted nicely with the crew. And then he started to go crazy, but he kept that calming voice. But you couldn’t trust the calming voice of the supercomputer. Nope. Can’t trust the system that runs the entire ship. A supercomputer goes crazy. Growing up where computers don’t even think for themselves, it’s a scary thought. [I continue to be frightened of this during The Matrix and iRobot, who explore robots taking over humanity further. Don’t ask me about The Animatrix, I never got through it.]
I managed an attempt to get over the fear of the movie by reading the book. It made sense if you could follow along. Now I think I’m ready to try watching the movie again after ten years of avoidance. Let’s hope I can still get to bed the same night.
Both Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick wrote the screenplay, but Arthur C. Clark wrote the novel as an explanation for the movie. I call this the first book/movie pair in history to have the movie before the book.
Other things that frighten me:
- rotating helicopter blades
- popping helium balloons
- being in the ER alone