dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,
dalekboy
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100 days of Love and Hate - Day 33

Aliens killed by water
I've always hated this conceit. I really hated it in the movie version of Day of the Triffids. The semi-religious, inspired by War of the Worlds ending where, thanks to God's wisdom and foresight, Earth happens to be three-quarters covered in sea-water which is lethal to the triffids. Blearh! I remember a seeing it in a 1980's sci-fi horror film and hating it then, and I've since seen it used once or twice more. I hate it in old films, too.

It's a crappy, stupid, pathetic, lazy idea. Now if the aliens weren't breathing oxygen and they were allergic to water, I'd be willing to tolerate it. If they just had a fit, collapsed on the ground in shock, and died, I'd be happy enough. But inevitably the monster or alien is wandering around breathing away and then the water hits and anyone would think they were hit with acid.

There are actually people in the world who are allergic to water. They even have to be careful not to get too hot, lest they sweat. The water is fine being ingested, it just mustn't touch bare skin. Extreme cases go into anaphylactic shock if they get too wet, and it doesn't take them much to become too wet. We're talking glass of water.

There is not a single recorded case of them melting or exploding.

That said I don't mind seawater-as-acid in the Alien Nation TV series (I didn't like it in the film, but forgive the TV series which actually did some clever things with it) and I don't mind it in Signs, (because the film's not about monsters, invasion or any of that stuff, it's about a man rediscovering his lost faith, so what kills the aliens is totally unimportant except in that it's a step towards the priest's redemption) but they are the only two exceptions.




Harry Harrison
I should have waited until I got to Canberra to write this one. There I could go over my book shelves and have reminders of some of my favourite books. But instead I'll go from memory. Given that I'm very tired, this will be a little rough.

The very first Harrison book I picked up was the Stainless Steel Rat. Fabulous stuff, all written in first person, entertaining, funny, clever... I love that Slippery Jim diGriz is so full of himself but also so wonderfully fallible. There's still a couple of the later Stainless Steel Rat books I haven't read, but generally I find even the worst of them a reasonable read.

From there I started in on some of Harrison's other books. Technicolor Time Machine, about using time travel to make movies; Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, a wonderful romp that sends up so many space operas and has an absolute ball doing it; Deathworld, fabulous concept, humans living on a planet that is totally hostile to human life. Bill the Galactic Hero is a personal favourite, taking the glory of war, galactic empire's, bureaucracy, etc. and giving it all a nasty, mocking, going over.

Then there's the West of Eden books, good solid sci-fi, set on an Earth where reptiles are the dominant lifeform. Wonderfully researched, brilliantly written, and plenty of good ideas.

I haven't read all Harrison's books, but I can honestly say that of what I have read, there have been no duds. Some may not appeal to your sense of humour, or be the style of SF you enjoy, but the writing is still good.

I was lucky enough to meet Harrison when he came to Melbourne in the early 80's. One of those authors where the adage 'you should never meet your heroes' doesn't count. A great public speaker and an excellent guest, he made my first convention experience a memorable one.

Somewhere in Melbourne, someone has a picture of Harry Harrison playing with my rubber chicken. The photo was taken as he compared it to the meal he had had a few nights before. Anyone ever comes across it, I want a copy.
Tags: love & hate, tv, videos/dvds
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