Accuracy And Science Fiction | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 1 | p. 5 | Letters
Issue Date: January 2, 2012

Accuracy And Science Fiction

Department: Letters

I once offered some science advice about a film script for a close relative. The script was in the science-fiction category, and I advised that science fiction does not have to be totally accurate (C&EN, Oct. 31, 2011, page 53). However, I do have a point where I “turn off” if the story diverges too far from scientific accuracy. This is an individual judgment.

“The Man in the White Suit” is one of my favorite films because it accurately portrays how a scientist can be so committed to his great idea that he can’t recognize its critical flaw. I never nit-picked the details of this movie. “Avatar” was a decent space western, though I couldn’t accept the physiologically unlikely flying horses.

Before I became a chemist, I was an infantry soldier in World War II. I judge war movies critically concerning their reality. I loved both the book and the film version of “Catch 22” because they show how unreal war can be. But I thought “The Thin Red Line,” which portrayed soldiers having deep philosophical thoughts when going into combat for the first time, was awful, even though it was well reviewed.

By Marvin Margoshes
Hastings on Hudson, NY

Chemical & Engineering News
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