Themes in Lunatics – #4 “People Who Don’t Want to Be There Won’t Be”

Continuing with themes in the stories for Lunatics… Here’s number four:


Theme #4

People Who Don’t Want to Be There Won’t Be

Close on the heels of my previous complaint comes this one: In an effort to
drum up sympathy from audiences, some writers have portrayed characters
who are constantly whining about their “plight” on the frontier. This is
totally ridiculous.

Other SF movies have presented truly oppressive societies in space. The
mining colony in Outland, with its faux Western Town sensibilities comes
to mind. While this is more believable than the first conceit, it carries two
burdens for the story that I don’t like: one is that the story must be set much
further into the future to make the “working man in space” meme more plausible,
and the second is that that is a really pessimistic view of the future.
If that’s all space is good for, what do we need it for? Hardly the
ideas we want to explore.

The number of opportunities for people to become a space pioneer are so few
and the number of people who want to do it are so many that only those who
are highly motivated are likely to find themselves in a position to do it. If anything,
the natural selection effect will be to pick incredibly space-crazy people who will
do just about anything to get there. You know, “lunatics”.

In our story, the characters are people who’ve worked hard to get where they
are, and while the going may very well (well, honestly, is going to) get
very hard for them, they know they’ve chosen this life, and they are
mature enough to deal with it. That’s much more true to frontier
sensibilities.