A recent documentary about the making of the latest Philip K. Dick adaptation for the screen, The Adjustment Bureau managed to run a full twenty minutes without once mentioning the dreaded words “science fiction”. At no point did the director, members of the cast, or the screen writer actually utter “the SF word”. God forbid! Everyone said it was an unusual story, a great tale, cutting edge, out of the norm, a thriller with romantic elements and much, much more. All of which neatly sidestepped the film’s genre, which is, without a single doubt science fiction. However, half way through, one of the actors almost let it slip. He stumbled over a word beginning with the letter “s”, saying it was a great “s…..story!” Phew! Well caught, sir. You almost said “science fiction story”. Had you done so, the producers would probably have your banned from making another movie, like a Mcarthyite Communist.
Of course we’re also being treated to fantasy movies being called “historical fiction” – only they happen to have dragons and elves in them. I can only imagine audience members emerging from The Adjustment Bureau. Someone says, “But…wasn’t that a scifi movie?” Friend replies, “Not possible…I enjoyed the movie, and I hate science fiction.” In a similar way that lots of people who claim to detest horror fiction will quite happily read Stephen King. Because of course he couldn’t possibly be a horror writer…could he?