atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7290: Science fiction

Just finished watching Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and thoroughly enjoyed it.

B&T is actual hard science fiction. Let's face it: a hard SF story usually starts from one deviation from what we'd call normal, and then examines the consequences of that deviation. With hard SF, you can usually get away with breaking one or two laws of physics, though it must be done carefully, and you need to follow the consequences of breaking that rule.

The question of time travel is still up in the air; most physics says it's impossible, but the rest of physics says it's not. We don't know; and to that we must add the fact that we don't know everything about the universe and there may be something lurking in the weeds that makes it possible to build a time machine in the shape of a phone booth. So, "What if a future civilization decided to send a time machine to the two guys whose music is foundational to their civilization, so they could ace a history report?" is a hard SF question.

The fact that the story is a comedy does not make it any less so. It's silly, and Bill Preston and Ted Logan are silly people, but the story hangs together, and the writers obeyed all the rules they set for themselves.

Where it really comes together is when their historical figures have been arrested, and the two of them need to get them out of jail. They need Ted's dad's keys, but "He lost them two days ago."

So the solution was to go back in time, two days ago, and take the keys before Ted's dad lost them--thus being the cause of Ted's dad losing his keys. But they don't have time to do it right now, so they simply decide that after their presentation is over, they'll go back two days, steal the keys, and leave them behind the police station sign for their earlier selves to find.

...which was f-ing brilliant, and further it was a trick I'd never seen done in a time travel story before. (Or, in fact, since!)

We can see why the music of Wyld Stallyns will become influential in how their final history report is presented. These guys can't play their instruments (yet) but they definitely know how to put on a show!

So, hard SF, definitely.

* * *

Of course, I'm told that in Bill and Ted Face the Music we learn that it's their daughters whose music is the foundation for the far future society; and if that's so, then sure, just take a massive dump over your canon so you can write a woke "grrl power" story. But I'm not sure of this, and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Still, the fact that it has such a high "Rotten Tomatoes" rating is telling, and the other sources I look at as contraindications for the quality of a movie are all saying it's good, which worries me significantly.

* * *

As for me, having finished the rough of Apocalyptic Visions I am finding myself with a hankering for writing more space battles. This is not a good thing when you don't have a story to hang them on.

Oh well.

* * *

I've been thinking, over the past few days, about a video I saw on YouTube. I didn't watch it, but saw the link for it, and it got me to thinking.

It was a video about the restoration of a 1980 Volkswagen Golf.

So, in 1985, I desperately wanted to keep my 1975 Impala on the road. I wanted to fix its problems, like the rust, and refine it until I had a really, really nice car. The problem was, I had zero money, and scarcely any more skills; by 1990 the car still ran like a swiss watch but the windshield leaked when it rained (rust) and the trunk leaked when it rained (rust) and the doors were in poor shape. From the firewall forward the car looked great, but lacking the tools, the skills, and the money to do anything about it, the car had to be allowed to pass from my hands.

I had talked with people about my dreams, though, and they'd all said, "You'd never get your money out of it." It was a waste of money to restore a car that's only 10 years old, or even just to fix it up.

When I had to say goodbye to it, I took the top off the carb and filled the float bowl with gasoline, then put a battery into the thing...and it started right up as if it had been driven within the past several days, rather than sitting in the back yard under a tree for the previous three years. The brakes did not work (lines rusted at the master cylinder) so I couldn't take it for one last drive, but I did get it out from under the tree and moved into the center of the yard.

Do you know what a restored 1975 Chevrolet Caprice coupe or sedan goes for in 2020? Two minutes on Google found me three examples with asking prices between $19,000 and $23,000.

$3,000 in 1985, and careful stewardship of the result, would have left me with a $20,000 car today.

Certainly, in 1985, I couldn't get $3,000 for the car. I didn't want to restore it to sell it; I wanted to restore it so I could keep it.


So on my way back from Menards on Friday, I got behind a pristine 1960s Ford Galaxie. I thought, "That's a restoration, definitely." In, say, 1975, would the owner of that Galaxie have been told, "You'll never get your money out of it?" So what had to happen was, that thing basically had to remain intact, somehow, through the intervening time, until someone decided to restore it after it was monetarily worthwhile. And I bet the restoration cost a shitton of money as a result.

This is the kind of thing that's driving my desire not to get rid of the Jeep. I like it; I don't want to get a newer vehicle. But the practical concerns...!

In 2020 it's worthwhile to restore an econobox built in 1980, forty years ago. Does that mean it'd be economically worthwhile to restore a 2000 car in 2040?

I get too attached to my damned machinery, that's for sure.

* * *

For cripes' sake, don't those people know that an antique is something that was made before I was born???

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