What's the greatest science fiction film of all time?
If you didn't just go, "Oh, Blade Runner," I want you now to imagine me shooting you the bird as I walk away.
As I was re-watching it for the ump-teenth time the other afternoon, I couldn't help but get hungry when Deckard was eating at the noodle bar at the start of the film. The design of the set is so iconic, there's a local food truck, The Rice Box, which was inspired by it.
From Blade Runner's dystopian noodles to the weird little biscuits that Luke eats on Dagobah, culinary wonders abound in the realm of science fiction. One could plan a whole menu, a sci-fi chef's tasting menu, of futuristic foods.
To start off any meal, I like to stick with light fare and heavy drinks.
What meal is complete without a little taste?
I think I'd want to start off with the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, a drink which, according to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "...is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick."
Don't panic! The answer is 42.
For my next cocktail selection, I turn to the films that are closet to my heart -- and probably the hearts of most sci-fi fans: The Holy Trinity of The Original Trilogy are timeless. Or, they were timeless, until their original (used-to-be) genius creator decided to take them out behind the shed and give 'em a future body-image problem and exotic dancing career.
I love Star Wars. Did I see Episode I in 3-D, you ask? No, because that film is one of the worst movies ever made. Ever. I'd rather have an R.L. Stine novel read to me by Rosie Perez. I'd rather eat a cupcake filled with Christina Aguilera's naturally-produced body grease. Episode I makes Battlefield Earth look like Citizen Kane.
The originals, though, are hard to beat.
Personally, I'd love to have a drink in the place where "...you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Talking to the wrong guy in the Mos Eisley Cantina can get your arm light-sabered off.
At the very least, I'd want one of the dry-iced concoctions Luke orders from the bar while Obi-Wan makes acquaintance with Chewbacca, first mate of the Millennium Falcon, the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.
If a drink is good enough for a Jedi Knight, it's good enough for me.
I'd follow up the aperitif with a palate cleanser of dehydrated ice cream, what NASA astronauts eat.
Why? Because that's science-freggin-reality. We really do go into space. Into OUTER space. Too the moon, even. In a ship that we built. And then we return and land the ship. That's incredible. Incredible.
For my appetizer course, I'd want to sample a few of the pills that the Jetsons popped. A meal in a pill! What a wonderful concept! And it won't make you wreck your third Mercedes. How great would it be, to be able to get bacon and eggs in pill form? I can also jive with the idea of a robot server, because robotics is badass.
Sticking to the small-dish theme, my next course comes from the 1993 Stallone vehicle-cum-Wesley Snipes tour de force: Demolition Man.
Taco Bell, baby.
In the film, there is a paper-thin explanation of some sort of economic collapse, in which the only food purveyor to survive was the ever-resilient, Grade-3 meat-serving Taco Bell.
Apparently, in the future, Taco Bell dominates haute cuisine.
For my main entree course, I'd turn to Gene Roddenberry's cultural icon of modern television, Star Trek.
In The Next Generation, there is a machine known as a "Replicator," which, among other uses, can synthesize food.
It would be at this point in the meal that I would go, as they say, "Full-On Ryan's Steakhouse," and fill my plate with whatever my heart so desires. The options are limitless, unlike Bradley Cooper's acting range.
Finally, I like to close out my meals with a coffee and a sweet thing.
Dune is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi books. Frank Herbert's towering novel tells of the far-flung future, in which a sort of galactic feudal system exists, with warring family factions of the aristocracy battling for the reins of power, all of it dependent on melange, a spice which gives prescient knowledge to those gifted enough to receive it. The spice is created by giant sandworms on the desert planet Arrakis.
The book talks of the bold, cinnamon-tinged flavor of the melange-spiced coffees brewed by the natives of the planet. The natives, called Fremen, are modeled after nomadic Arabic tribes, so imagine thick, dark, spiced coffees served in small glasses.
If you've never read Dune, give it a shot. I'd stay away from the film, though. David Lynch had too much of his film cut by the studio, and it feels ill-paced and incomplete.
Finally, for dessert, I'd eat the baby at the end of Space Odyssey: 2001.
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