This weekend, I was visiting a friend of mine. We ended up watching a SyFy network’s show Continuum. Being a fantasy/paranormal writer, you would think I’d venture into the SyFy realm more often. Truth is, it’s only recently I realized this network hosts a lot of its own shows…and they are pretty good. The show is on its third season, but through the beauty of Netflix, I was able to watch the first two episodes.
The show takes place around 64 years into the future. This
seems like a lot, but I started thinking about the changes between now and
1950. Sure, fashion and cars have changed. Computer technology has certainly
changed dramatically. But it is arguable if our way of life has vastly changed.
I believe Back to the Future had us in flying cars by now. Instead, I
discovered that the show, while not set a long time into the future, held true
to a few must-haves when writing a futuristic piece.
1. the presence of space suits. I find this funny on a few
levels. First, everyone else was wearing normal business suits. The officers,
however wear this nifty gold suit that protects them from bullets and simultaneously
is a super-computer. But, I did ask my friend…why the skin-tight space suit?
Besides it being a hallmark of science fiction, I have to say I’m not sure.
But, the technology certainly was pretty cool.
2. questionable government control. I see futuristic dramas
go in one of two directions. The first is the big-brother avenue. I think we
are still leery of our freedoms being taken away by a dictator…even if that
dictator comes in the form of a group instead of one individual. Our fiction,
therefore, always warns us of this. This show, however, takes the second approach.
The world is now controlled by corporations. I don’t see this as much in
literature, but it is still an interesting concept. Our society…at least in the
US…is built on capitalism. There is even debate on how politically linked big corporations
are to our candidates. It isn’t a large leap to say corporations will take over…just
think what would have happened if Donald Trump would have run for president (or
3. the advancement of technology…which is cool and yet scary
at the same time. I think the appeal of science fiction is its believability.
And it is this believability that leads to the devices actually emerging years after
publication. A good example, I am currently reading Orson Scott Card’s book
Ender’s Game. In it, they reference “desks” that the kids take around to play
games and learn. At first, I was like “why don’t they just call it an Ipad?” Then
I realized the publication of this book is 1985. The internet wasn’t even
widespread back then, let alone handheld computers. That's pretty cool. What makes this technology
also scary is that it always references a robbery of freedom. For instance, the
show uses retina readers that make it almost impossible to commit a crime.
Sounds great until one thinks about what else the readers can discover…what
privacy is forfeited.
Science fiction is fun in the possibilities it presents…even
if it has to stick to the science fiction trademarks (which kind of goes back to the cliché discussion from earlier). And, while I am a few
seasons behind this show, I think this is a must-see for any Sci-Fi fan. Has
anyone seen more episodes (again I only watched two so far)? Is it worth me
checking out the seasons?