I can’t remember how old I was when I saw the sci-fi film, Silent Running. I only saw it once, but it had an effect on me that remains to this day. In this film all plant life on Earth has become extinct. A crew of scientists operate a number of huge geo-domes off Saturn, in which they are attempting to keep various plant species alive for a future re-seeding of Earth. The ending is kind of vague in my mind, but I do remember it all ended up quite badly, with only one geo-dome surviving, and it drifting off into space, unmanned and quite stunningly beautiful.
I think of this movie often. I’m an avid gardener, you see. Just today I was tying back a gorgeous heirloom tomato plant and thinking how terrible it would be if just this one strain of tomato was to die out. I tended it lovingly, feeding it some home-made compost and a good drenching in water. Its survival means more to me than just the delicious fruit I hope to harvest from it.
And I thought about Silent Running and the pure power of science fiction. Watching just one horrible vision of our future as a young girl planted a seed in me that continues to grow to this day. I don’t ever want that particular vision to come true. And in my little patch of land on this fine planet, I do what little I can to make sure it doesn’t.
Do you have sci-fi book or film that affected you this deeply?
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