There have always been clashes between science fiction purists and sci-fi fans. Some of the fiercest discussions have centered on the subject of film.In 1936, thirteen episodes of Flash Gordon were released, and their popularity was overwhelming. In their action-packed plots and characters, these two-reelers much resembled what was being published by the magazines and pulps of the time.But by the 1950s, the paths of print and film diverged. While science fiction writing was becoming more sophisticated and science-based, the decade of the monster movie had arrived. And some of the monsters looked pretty cut-rate.By 1977, Steven Spielberg was spending - and making - millions with Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. George Lucas hit it big with Star Wars. But many members of the science fiction-reading public thought that thesefilms were simply wish fulfillment or slam-bang space opera.One film that seemed to transcend all categories was 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film was directed by Stanley Kubrick, with a screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke. This 1968 film still retains the intellectual complexity and the visual joltthat it did thirty years ago. SF fans point to it as proof positive that film CAN capture the magic and challenge of science fiction.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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