Watching Gravity: Science fiction, Oscars & other discussions

One of the first things my friends and I argued after we saw the new film Gravity last night was whether or not it qualified as science fiction (and therefore should be up for a Hugo or Nebula award). Is it a thriller/adventure tale that takes place in space using today’s science but with no futuristic or speculative elements (well, mostly; apparently there are some things that really aren’t quite scientifically accurate, but hey! It’s a movie!)?

Or is it “science” fiction in the purest sense — fiction derived from current knowledge of science — and therefore absolutely admissible?

We never actually came to any conclusions — except that, whatever we decided, it was going to be nominated for a variety of awards, including both the Hugos and the Nebulas. We also debated what it’s chances were at being nominated and/or winning various Academy Awards (Best Actress? Best Supporting Actor? Special effects?)  which led in turn to a discussion about who would be nominated for 12 Years a Slave, a movie that we haven’t seen yet but fully intend to.

My point? Only that Gravity is a great film with two really good characters (I don’t know if Gravity’s Ryan Stone will replace Aliens‘ Ellen Ripley in my private pantheon of great science fiction film heroines, but she comes pretty close), fantastic special effects, and the kind of story that keeps you talking for hours after you’ve seen it.


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