Those who know me, know I’m some kind of a scientist; those who know me better, know I’m a geneticist; but those who know me best, know that I am, in fact, a movie geek. However, it is fair to say that I wouldn’t have one without the other – the truth is out there, somewhere between science and fiction. And when you combine the two, you get this strange yet fascinating and more and more mainstream cultural phenomenon called science fiction!
Science fiction mostly deals with all aspects of the future, sometimes fascinating, sometimes bleak. (It also deals with alternate realities of the past and the present, but let’s leave that for now 😉 ). Fascinated by the future and inspired by such movie gems like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gattaca, Alien & all its sequels (yes, all of them), Dune, Star Trek, etc. etc., and still a teen, I ran around telling people that future is computers and genetics, and that I simply must dedicate my life to one of those two. Now, I was a bit afraid of computers back then – mind you, it was late 90’s in Serbia, and I barely even used one. But biology I dug, plus my mom was fighting breast cancer (and won) so I decided to get to the bottom of it all by decoding mysteries of DNA. And the rest is history!
Now, some of you fellow sci-fi nerds may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the Queen of all sci-fi, namely Star Wars! It is maybe because many still argue that Star Wars is in fact not science fiction, but merely a space opera, i.e. a telenovela in a galaxy far, far away. Maybe it is because it doesn’t deal with the future, but as the intro claims, with “a long, long time ago”?
Be that as it may, the franchise creator, George Lucas, in the first of the much criticized sequel-prequels, introduced a biological concept of midi-chlorians. A keen scientific eye and ear may catch that the word midi-chlorian looks and sounds like a hybrid of mitochondria and chloroplast – and it is exactly what it is! George Lucas decided to explain the Force, a power possessed by only highly skilled warriors in the universe, with midi-chlorians, symbiont microorganisms present in all living beings.
Midi-chlorians connect the being with the universe, but only a few can use that potential, and turn it either into good by becoming a jedi knight, or shift into the Dark Side, and becoming a sith. Many fans criticize this concept, saying that it stripped the Force of its mysticism, but from the biological standpoint it sounds kinda neat, right? And here we are now, walking around with these energy-pumping mitochondria, maybe not being aware that there’s more to them?
Regardless of its flaws, Star Wars is still amazing and fresh. And the most exciting part is yet to come: series of sequels, currently shrouded in mystery, set up to enter cinemas in the late 2015. Can’t wait! … but it’s not so much about the universe and Force and light sabers and robots, it’s more about the characters, it always is. Someone to connect with. So…
Those who know me may say I see myself as a jedi (someone who fights for a better future); those who know me better may say I often act like princess Leia (a tough damsel in distress).
But again, the truth is always in between. Those who know me best will say that I am actually Han Solo, an impulsive yet just, rebel for a cause. Or they may actually use a female version of the name, Hon Solo, or a pet name, Honey Solo. Because, in a best manner of word play, if you think about it, Han means ”he” in Swedish, and Solo means ”alone” in Italian.
And this, my first blog post ever, looks almost like an overview of my future entries: science/fiction, word plays/puns, origins of names, and every now and then, stories about fighting for a better future.
Lights, camera, and action! Stay tuned! And may the Force be with you!
To be continued…