4/21/2011

R is for Revolution - The concept of resistance against a powerful enemy is a recurring theme in science fiction. That's because good sci-fi is almost always about metaphor, and a futuristic government or an alien race makes a good analogy for the real governments and organizations that oppress us. There have been some truly inspiring resistance movements in sci-fi, and this is our top ten.

10. V for Vendetta (2006) - Based on the graphic novel, the movie portrayed a fascist British government in the near future. One enigmatic man calling himself V leads the people to overthrow their government. The great thing about this movie is that there is no organized resistance around V - he is a one-man resistance movement who manages to destroy many key government buildings and figures, and ultimately rally the people all by himself. V's story is really about how one man can make a difference, and does it very well.

9. Red Dawn (1984) - This movie isn't typically thought of as science fiction, but it portrays a Cold War alternate reality where the Soviet Union conquers the United States. A group of high school students become freedom fighters, and lead a guerilla war against the Russians. The idea of a bunch of teenagers overcoming the might of the Soviet army may not be realistic, but it's pretty cool.

8. The Terminator (1984) - When a deranged supercomputer launches nuclear weapons and an army of robots to exterminate humankind, the survivors fight back. We succeed, but the computer sends a robot back in time kill the human's commander. In most of the series, we only saw glimpses of the human resistance until Terminator: Salvation. The idea of a war against a mechanized army taps into our fears of technology overwhelming us, but thankfully we won.

7. The Matrix (1999) - A computer hacker nicknamed Neo discovers that his world is just a computer simulation, and in the real world humans are enslaved by machines. Neo joins a group of humans who also escaped their virtual prison and fight to free the human race. We'd have to wait until the appropriately named Matrix: Revolutions to see the ultimate overthrow, but I prefer the way the first movie left it to our imagination.

6. Tron (1982) - When a computer programmer named Flynn gets digitized into his company's computer system, he finds a parallel world. Programs take the form of living, sentient people living in a brutal dictatorship led by the evil Master Control Program. Those who oppose the MCP are forced to fight in videogames where the loser dies. Flynn leads a group of programs to destroy the MCP, freeing the computer system from its tyranny. Who knew a bunch of zeroes and ones could be so exciting?

5. V (1983) - An alien race called the Visitors come to Earth, claiming to be on a mission of peace. In reality, the Visitors have come to enslave Mankind. A small group who know the truth embark on a war to expose the Visitors as the reptilian monsters they are, and undermine their attempts to conquer Earth. The original mini-series was a cautionary tale about fascism, and reminded us to always be vigilant against the erosion of civil liberties.

4. Babylon 5 (1993 - 1998) - In this epic sci-fi series, a lone space station called Babylon 5 becomes the staging ground for a war between an evil alien race called the Shadows and an enigmatic alien race called the Vorlons. Along the way, Babylon 5 is forced to secede from Earth's government, fighting off warships sent to bring them back in line. The battle to escape Earth's tyranny was one of the high points of the series, and left us all cheering for victory.

3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) - In this classic sci-fi novel, the Moon is a prison colonized by criminals and exiles. The colonists rise against Earth to turn the Moon into an independent nation. The main character is a simple repairman named Mannie who eventually brings one of the governors of the new government of the Moon. Of course, it helps that his best friend is Mike, the sentient computer that runs the entire planet. The victory is an open parallel to the efforts of American colonies freeing themselves from the British.

2. Dune (1965) - The original novel shows a distant future, where Paul Atreides is the son of a nobleman ruling Dune, a planet crucial for space travel. When a rival faction seizes control, Paul escapes to lead the natives of Dune in an uprising against the oppressive new government and regain his rightful throne. This is an epic story with Paul becoming a god-like figure to his new legions, who are able to turn the enormous sandworms against the government's armies. There's only one sci-fi story that could top it in terms of scope, and you probably already know what it is.

1. Star Wars (1977) - When it comes to revolt, they don't get much bigger than Star Wars. In the original movie trilogy, they weren't just fighting the government of a country or even a planet. The Rebellion was fighting an entire Galactic Empire. They blow up the Death Star, the main weapon and symbol of the Empire, but the Empire is so powerful that they have to destroy a second Death Star to finish the job. In Return if the Jedi, they also destroy the two highest ranking members of the government at the same time. That's how you do it.

Do you have a favorite revolution from this list? Which other revolutions in science fiction has inspired you?

This post is "R is for Revolution," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today and every day for the next month!

1 comments:

AlexJCavanaugh said...

Definitely Star Wars and The Matrix. I think Aliens also had an impact and eventually, so will Avatar. Maybe even Jurassic Park?

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