Blog Recommendation: Moon in Gemini

Last year I recommended a number of blogs written by friends of mine. One of them was Moon in Gemini by Debbie Vega. It has continued to be consistently great -- in fact, it's so terrific I'm dedicating an entire post to recommend it again.

Essay after essay, Debbie presents insightful commentary and fascinating ideas on writing, pop culture, movies, television, and speculative fiction.  Her latest, "Gravity: Story Trumps Accuracy in Fiction" tackles the topic of scientific discrepencies in science fiction films.  The motion picture Gravity by director Alfonso Cuaron was been on top of the box office heap the past few weeks, generating mostly positive reviews. Some (most notably Neil deGrasse Tyson) made headlines by pointing out the inaccuracies. I agree with Debbie and many others who were annoyed by how vocal the criticisms were, since Gravity is one of the few films that tries hard to depict space as realistically as possible.

The mistakes in the movie don't come closs to equaling the "sound in space" example from Star Wars or the empty technobabble of Star Trek.  I understand Tyson's point about wanting to teach the public about science, but there's a reason "fiction" is also part of sci-fi.  Sometimes, storytellers choose to take creative liberties to make their tales work.  Gravity, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Empire Strikes Back, Prometheus, and countless other science fiction flicks are not meant to be documentaries, yet they celebrate the majesty of science in their own way, inspiring many to dedicate their lives to exploring the stars and uncovering the mysteries of our own planet and ourselves.

Maybe Tyson and the other critics were trying to showboat their knowledge in an effort to convince Hollywood that they should be hired as science consultants for their next space epics.  I only half jest.  I respect Neil deGrasse Tyson and I applaud filmmakers who endeavor to be as scientifically accurate as possible.  Nitpicking films like Gravity, however, is a disservice to their excellence.

Read Debbie's article for yourself and share your own two cents in the comments.