Thursday, December 16, 2010

Contact Opening Scene Under the Knife

I am reading "Selected Stories of H.G Wells", edited and with an introduction by Ursula K. Le Guin.

The protagonist in the short story "Under the Knife" undergoes a surgery. During the operation he sees himself as being elevated and detached from his body. He then leaves the room, rising up, watching London in bird's eye view, then rapidly flying up over the British Isles, Europe, and so on. He eventually leaves the Earth, crosses the solar system even briefly going through the rings of Saturn as brilliantly depicted by Wells:

":..and then I saw that a bright spot of light, that shone a little to one side of my path, was growing very rapidly larger, and perceived that it was the planet Saturn rushing towards me. Larger and larger it grew, swallowing up the heavens behind it, and hiding every moment a fresh multitude of stars. I perceived its flattened, whirling body, its disc-lite belt, and seven of its satellites. It grew, and grew, till it towered enormous; and then I plunged amid a streaming multitude of clashing stones and dancing dust-particles and gas-eddies, and saw for a moment the mighty triple belt like three concentric arches of moonlight above me, its shadow black on the boiling tumult below.."

When I finished reading the story I couldn't help but think that Wells perhaps became an inspiration to 1997 movie Contact's opening scene (from Carl Sagan's novel of the same name):

Just watch this and make your own mind up:

No wonder they call him, H.G Wells, "The Father of Science Fiction".

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