Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Remember the Future: A Review

Michael Burstein's great strength as a writer always was his talent for combing classic science fiction themes with modern settings and real heart. This was apparent in the first of his stories I read back in the 1990s, "TeleAbsence," in the July 1995 issue of Analog (published just a few months after my first story in Analog, "The Way of Flesh").   And it shines in what may be his masterwork, "I Remember the Future," a story published in 2008 in an anthology of the same name brought out by Apex.   The short film directed by Klay Stainer and produced by Zané Pyper, under 30 minutes, does this story evocative justice.

In one sense, the story/movie is an anthology of attractive science fiction tropes - New Earth visited by some future anthropologists, cryogenic awakenings, a human family decamping Earth to live on Mars, time travel, all of those goodies and more.   But the narrative that ties these together is the real payoff: Abe, the pulp science fiction writer who wrote all of these stories, is old and may be slipping into dementia.  His daughter is worried about him, and he's worried about himself.  He repeatedly lapses into the science fiction scenarios that he wrote.   And ... [here's the big spoiler, don't read any further, if you'd like to be surprised in the movie] ... it turns out that these aliens and people from the future are real, because Abe's mind, connected to some sort of cosmic flux, quantum mechanically thought them into being.   The movie is thus not only an ultimate celebration of science fiction and the science fiction writer - how could I not love it, for that reason alone - but a happy ending pulled out of a fantastical hat for a protagonist who literally seems to be losing his mind.   The last line of the story and the movie - "I remember the future, and the future remembers me" - should be remembered for the ages.

The music by Ben Coe is beautiful.  Technically, I could complain about most of the accents in the movie - attempts at New York speak by Australian actors - but that's a minor quibble about a little movie that tells a soaring, triumphant story of the irrepressible human spirit.

The movie's currently on the science fiction convention circuit - next due to be shown at Arisia in Boston this coming Saturday (January 17) at 8pm.   More details about the movie are here - and check out the trailer here.   If you love science fiction, you owe it to yourself to see "I Remember the Future".

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