When the cold winter days are over, you start thinking about holidays in the sun. Numerous places come to mind and you still don' t know where to go. But it' s simple! The answer is: OUT THERE!
Probably all boys (and many girls too!) have dreamt of going to space. At first it was just mere curiosity of the dark sky filled with glittering stars and the shiningmoon. Then we wanted to go through great adventures like our favourite TV or film heroes. Most of us have long forgotten about those childhood fantasies. But some still wonder: what if...? What would it be like to go on a trip to the stars, if we only had the chance? See the Moon... Visit distant worlds... Meet new people (or should I say: creatures)... That' s why all those space-opera science-fiction films are so irresistibly attractive!
We admire extraordinary spacecraft and unbelievable new planets. The only problem is the heroes. They are not impressed with their new surroundings or the creatures they come accross. They are usually concentrating on some kind of mission and don' t think of leisure and holidays. Well, science-fiction films are mostly action movies, so we don' t expect Han Solo and Lea to spend a romantic weekend in the woods of Endor or Ripley to take a week off in a stellar holiday resort after wiping out another pack of aliens. However, there are certain exceptions.
Are you dreaming of a holiday at the bottom of the ocean? Do you want to visit the mountains of Mars? In Paul Verhoeven' s film Total Recall your dreams may come true. People say that Mars is dry, ugly and boring, but for just 899 credits you can have a great two-week trip. You' ll get a cabin on a spaceship, an apartment in the Hilton hotel; you' ll visit the mysterious Pyramid, the grand canals and Venusville - a 'red light' district. And that' s not all. You can choose the person you want to be! You can have great adventures as a businessman, playboy or secret agent. And you don' t even have to go there. The company Rekall provides you with the memory of your holidays. You can do whatever you want and there will be no adverse consequences because everything happens in virtual reality.
Of course, many people wouldn' t be satisfied with an artificial experience. They would rather go themselves to far-off places. In Aldous Huxley' s novel Brave New World Bernard Marx takes Lenina Crowne to New Mexico for a weekend trip which involves mountain trekking and a visit to a special reservation for savages. Most people, however, prefer to chill out in comfortable hotels (like the one at the North Pole) where they can enjoy synthetic music or play strange future sports (see the article " Spaceball 2096" in World of English No. 23 - 2/1996).
Luxury seems to be the obvious symbol of future leisure. Joe Haldeman in his book The Forever War describes a place called Skye. It is a kind of town of joy and fun on the planet Heaven.
Actually, it floats above the planet' s surface. Skye was constructed as a special entertainment resort for soldiers fighting in space with the mysterious Taurusians. You can find anything you want there - casinos, sophisticated food, crazy drinks and wild action sports. Space-troopers on their leave spend millions of dollars there.
If you think that Skye is extravagant, then you' d better try Fhloston Paradise in the Angel Galaxy. Corben Dallas, the hero of Luc Besson' s The Fifth Element who goes there on a special mission, enjoys everything this spaceship resort can offer. He meets Ruby Rhod - a famous radio DJ, Baby Ray - a famous actor, some ministers, and even attends a concert of Plavalaguna - a famous opera diva.
Promising future, isn' t it? Not really. Skye resembles ClubMed holiday resorts and Fhloston Paradise looks like a typical cruise ship. What else is left? Trekking the mountains and strange sports from Huxley' s visions or artificial computer-stimulated experience? Thank you, but I' d rather just have a cold beer in the Mediterranean sun and wait for something really innovative. So far science-fiction visionaries haven' t made up anything new or inspiring. All we can do is go back to our childhood fantasies.