I went to see the SF film Arrival not long after the election because I needed something positive in my life. I wasn't disappointed.
The film is based upon SF author, Ted Chiang's novella "Story of Your Life." Alas, I haven't read it yet, but I will sometime this week. (It's next in the cue after I finish Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.) Arrival is, obviously, a First Contact story. We've seen First Contact stories. They've been a staple of SF fare since H.G.Well's The War of the Worlds (1897.) So, it's been around for at least 100 years. Some amazing stories have resulted. (Like The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell for instance.) But only when the author strays from the stereotypical path. Ted Chiang's story does this with considerable mindfulness and empathy for his characters. I very much need to read the story before I can say much more about the film--one of the reasons I waited this long before saying anything, but I just can't wait any longer. I want to recommend the movie before it leaves theaters. You really should see it on the big screen. It's filmed in such a way that (while 3D would be overkill) a theater screen makes the experience more...overwhelming--as overwhelming as it would be. I love that. And there are so many things to adore about this story: the fact that a linguist is at the center of it, not Spaceman Spiff™ with his Trusty Laser Rifle™ and pocket-size copy of Heinlein. This is a story about what it means to be human while reaching out to alien. It's about the value of communication and a cool, logical mind. It's about being open to multiple interpretations because perception of reality isn't the same thing as reality or truth. Above all, it's about trust and faith in ourselves and others when neither of these things are easy to keep. If there's ever a message we need right now, this is the one.
 Yes, that's 1897. Not 1996, person I heard complaining about the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds remake in 2005. I shit you not. They actually complained that it ripped off the Will Smith movie. Look, I like a good Will Smith movie. I do. He's fun. And hey, I'll watch just about anything with Jeff Goldblum in it, but that film wasn't even remotely original.
 Just not The Fly.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.