In this thread:http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=10199827&posted=1#post10199827
phouka suggested listing Moments of Awesomeness in Science Fiction. I submit that this would derail the thread, and that it would be better to put such a thread elsewhere. This seems a more appropriate form.
I’m at work now, but I’ll contribute later, unless someone else lists all my suggestions (or if this thread sinks like a stone).
In this thread:http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=10199827&posted=1#post10199827
Adama coming back to New Caprica to rescue the colonists.
Apollo coming back to New Caprica to rescue Adama.
HAL locking Dave out of the ship, and Dave realizing that HAL had flipped his mother board. Dave figuring out a way to get back into the ship, and going determinedly to yank HAL’s higher reasoning functions while HAL pleads with him to stop, in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Krelbs’ underground power station in Forbidden Planet.
Books as well? If so, then
Louis Wu standing on the top of the wall of the Ringworld and becoming hypnotized by his view of the infinite-feeling landscape stretching away for hundreds of thousands of miles. Louis’s hijacking of the mission and coercing the Hindmost to redirect his energies into saving the Ringworld, and the method they discovered and its deployment, in Ringworld Engineers.
Mal kicking the bad guy through Serenity’s engine. A classic cliche turned on it’s head, and a totally justifiable, but unexpected reaction when confronted with a badass that has just sworn to follow you to the edge of the 'verse to kill you.
Ringworld, the whole damn thing, was just awesome piled upon awesome. I had not read any of the other Known Space stories when I read it, so I was introduced to:
[li]Pierson’s Puppeteers[/li][li]Kzinti[/li][li]Teleportation booths and stepping disks[/li][li]boosterspice[/li][li]General Products hulls[/li][li]the Fleet of Worlds[/li][li]Slaver stasis fields[/li][/ul]
Then there’s the new stuff invented for the novel:
[li]the Ringworld itself[/li][li]the view of the Ringworld from “ground level”[/li][li]scrith[/li][li]shadow squares[/li][li]shadow square wire[/li][li]the Ringworld meteor protection system[/li][li]the consequences of the failure of said protection system[/li][li]rishathra[/li][li]and, or course, the Luck of Teela Brown[/li][/ul]
Major Mandella reading the 200-year-old letter from Marygay in The Forever War.
Han Solo diving out of the Yavin sun to take out Vader’s tie escort.
Well, I mentioned the “I am the Doctor” speech from Doctor Who.
In written science fiction, there’s Davy meeting NIckie in Davy. Terrific surprise.
In James Tiptree, Jr.'s “The Last Flight of Doctor Ain,” there’s one line that is perfectly ordinarly, yet one of the most chilling lines ever written.
"Birds, you know, are warm bloodedAnd, of course, from the same story:
“Have you ever thought about Bears?”
More Tiptree: “They were drinking Star’s Tears.”
“I have no mouth. And I must scream.” from Harlan Ellison. Also, “A boy loves his dog.”
The final line of Alfred Bester’s “Adam and No Eve,” a line so awesome that it impressed John Updike, who hates all things science fiction.
Chapter 21 of Ken Grimwood’s Replay, where it all comes together.
I dunno if it fits true “awesomeness” but I love Space-Time for Springers by Fritz Leiber. The moment with Sissy at the crib…
“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” - the goat and the toad.
I have a collection of s/f anthologies which I love. “The Marching Morons” comes to mind - chilling. The computer that wrote love poems with the ending. Oscar the fish who’s not a fish - the last line is a hoot. Wish I could remember more authors/titles.
I don’t care for much of Harlan Ellison’s work, but the DV and ADV anthologies had some darn interesting stuff in it - anyone else remember the early Piers Anthony “The Barn”?
The rescue of Pete the cat in The Door into Summer. Seldom has a book made me cheer out loud.
Well, of ciourse, my favorites got mentioned.
1.) The Krel lab in Forbidden Planet – actually, when the panel opens in Morbius’ study. It’s symbolically huge, indicating that we’ve had an expansion of scale, a Moment of Wonder, as some have termed it. We should have been suspicious of Morbius from the start, but people, especially now, after years of Star Trek and other space stuff have gotten too used to the Lone Scientist. Dammit, Morbius shiould raise more questions – he’s a man alone on an alien planet, living with his daughter. He should be distraught, dcratching out a bare living from his desert planet. But, like Propsero, his inspiration, he’s living he good life in a gorgeous home, with a robot servant far beyond terrestrial engineering. Morbius confronts the military men, intruding against his wishes, and shows off his magic world – it’s a moment that expands the scale and scope and where many things are possible. it mimics the moment and joy of scientific discovery and opens up the world. Science fiction at its best. There are too few moments like this, although it’s held to be a common thging.
The Krel lab was realized as best it could be at the time. Nowadays a lot of it just looks like cheap amnimation (Not really cheap, though. The got A. Arnold Gillespie and Joshua Meador and others from Disney and the big studios. This stuff was state-of-the-art). A lot of it still does stand up.
2.) One of the other Sense of Wonder moments – Neo/Mr. Anderson gets engulfed by the liquid metal/taken by the blue pill and wakes up in the pod, and you realize that reality is complAgain, it places you on a cusp pregnant with possibilities. A lot of the explanations were BS, as has been amply pointed out, but it doesn’t ruin the moment for me. I really do hink there’s more to the Matrix than the “bullet-time” effects and wirework.
3.) Robby at the door in Forbidden Planet – "emergency cancellation “Archimedes”. So much better han the usual idiocy in SF movies.
4.) Forbidden Planet, again. Commander J.J. Adams and “Doc” Ostrow talking after the attack on the ship, figuring out what happened. The mere fact that they CAN do this puts this scene light-years beyond other films.
5.) The Terminator – several moments – the film is suffused with a wonderful dark humor that shows up at several points, one of them being when the landlord complains about the smell (as the Terminator’s flesh shell starts decaying). “Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there?” The Terminator searches throuhgh possible rsponses and comes up with “Fuck You, Asshole!”. It wasn’t untl much later that I realized that this was one of the first lines spoken to the Terminator on his arrival, by Bill Paxton and the other Griffith Observatory rowdies. (“Your clothes. Give them to me” “Fuck, you, asshole!”) The Terminator is a Learning Macine, and this is a wonderfully dark and cynical way of demonstrating it. The rest of the series, even the Cameron-directed sequel, didn’t keep up the purity and vitality and generally non- sentimentality of this first offering (although even it had its moments) of the first film
6.) A book – even though ,most of it was pulp, and involved cliches of the sort I usually hate (Earthmen revolt against technologically superior aliens and beat them – that’s never convincing, although it IS rousing and fun.), F. W. Busby’s novel Cage a Man (and the short story “The Learning of Eeshta”) really stand out for hitting a significant chord. The premise of the novel is that Earth folk are abducted by aliens who want to spread civilization to us lesser types. As soon as we learn their language, though, our reward (really seen as such by the alien Demu, and not a cynical punishment) is to physically alter people to resemble the Demu. The crude 'plastic surgery" is devastating to the first humans who undergo this, and to non-terrestrial humanoids captured at the same time. The hero stubbornly refuses to learn, and literally saves his hide. Later, he’s able to escape, with some other captives, including an alien humanoid woman. They get back to Earth, and after debriefings they realize that terrestrial plastic surgery can restore, to a degree, the unfortunates wjho have been altered by the Demu. But they want to restore the humanoid as a terrestrial human, and it’s a revelation to the Earth guys that tyhey are essentially practicing the same thing that the alien Demu were, with as innocent an intent as they were. It lifts this book from its pedestrian story to flash a revelatory mirror at us. Unfortunately, the rest of the book (and its sequels) couldn’t keep it up.
Picard clutching his flute at the end of “The Inner Light”
One that gave me nightmares when I first read it as a child: the sea tanks’ attack on Escondida in The Kraken Wakes.
Jan Rodricks returns home to Earth in Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhoods End” and his first person narrative of the Planet’s final hours.
Wow, did you miss the point.
The sci-fi-heavy thread that started it all: http://boardstest.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=482245
So I am not the only person on the planet that read that book! The sense of impending doom was overwhelming at times. Thank heavens for ultra sound.
I read it, too, though I think it was under its US title Out of the Deeps. The attack is definitely one of the great scenes in science fiction.
Speaking of John Wyndham (its author), there’s also the scene in The Day of the Triffids where the little girl is describing how she tried to save her sister and failed.
I don’t know why he is so good at sad writing, but the lady from the city of the future explaining to the kids that their would be captors are gonna suffocate in those synthetic cocoons in Normality always got me. Those guys from that telepathic dreamland were as evil and intolerant as everyone else!
Best of All Time: The Adama Manuever, BSG. Pappa Adama jumped a battlestar into New Caprica’s upper atmosphere, launches vipers while free-falling, and jumps out.
2nd Best of All Time: From Babylon 5. “Head Kosh” to Sherridan, on Zaha’Dum: JUMP! (He does).
3rd Best of All Time: From ST:TNG
Borgified Picard: I am Locutus of Borg, blah blah…Number One.
Well, I was responding to phouka’s suggestion that we post awesome examples of SF (which I felt would’ve derailed that thread) – I wasn’t going back to the OP. And in light of the many responses here, it seems to have been justified.