Of all the films on this list, Looper might be the most intriguing. Due out on September 28, the Rian Johnson-directed film, based on early reports, reflects shades of Blade Runner in it’s science-fiction/film noir style.
Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. It is set in 2042 in a “gangland” dystopia, where the main character (Gordon-Levitt) works as a “looper,” an assassin who kills and disposes of those sent back in time from the year 2072 by certain gangs. However, he recognizes one of those sent back for him to kill as himself (Willis) and he lets the future version of himself escape, setting off the gangs who pay him.
The time-travel aspect of Looper is what makes it especially interesting, to me. One the one hand, he could go ahead and do his job, killing his future self, knowing for the rest of his life exactly how he will die, being sent back in time to be killed by his younger self. He could regret that for the last thirty years of his life. On the other hand, if he does not do his job, the gangs which serve as his employers could kill him right then and there. However, if that happens, he would not live to be sent back in time in thirty years, thus eliminating the issue that killed him in the first place in 2042. This is the time-travel paradox which, while in reality proves that time travel is not and never will be possible, makes an interesting film premise.
I will definitely be going to see Looper in theatres, but it’s release is quite a ways away. I am sure I will have more about this one before then, though.
- Director Rian Johnson Talks LOOPER Teaser Trailer, Grounded Sci-Fi Reality, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Make-Up and Filming Action Scenes with Bruce Willis (collider.com)
- First Look: Joseph Gordon Levitt as a Young Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ (slashfilm.com)
- Footage Revealed for Rian Johnson’s Sci-Fi Film LOOPER (geektyrant.com)
- /Film Video Interview: Rian Johnson Talks ‘Looper’ (slashfilm.com)
- ‘Looper’ trailer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt completes time-travel circle (herocomplex.latimes.com)
“The Ugly Little Boy,” much like “Nightfall,” is a very famous and well-anthologized story, and one that Asimov counted among his own favorites. It was published in Galaxy Science Fiction in September 1958 as “Lastborn,” and then anthologized in Nine Tomorrows in 1959 under the current title.
The story is about an experiment in time travel, in which a Neanderthal child is brought forward to our time, but must be kept in a single building which serves as a bridge between the two times. To bring him out would take enormous amounts of energy and would cause time paradoxes, so he must be kept there for study. To care for him the company hires a nanny, named Edith Fellowes. At first she is disgusted by the child (who she names Timmie), but eventually she comes to love him and treat him as her own.
However, the company that brought him to our time only sees him as an experiment and he is scheduled to be sent back to make way for another experiment. At first, Edith tries to smuggle Timmie out of the building, but is repulsed. In desperation, she returns to the past with the child.
The story was expanded into a full-length novel by Robert Silverberg in 1990.