my friend tim douglass (strapping young bloke, looks great in blazers) recently assigned our science-fiction bookclub robert heinlein's short story "all you zombies -". after reading this story twice today, detailing the margins with notes and doodles to help me follow the clusterscrew of heinlein's scattered chronology, i am utterly convinced - despite what james cameron might say - that this story by heinlein is the basis for the entire TERMINATOR saga.
listen up here, people, as i convincingly convince you all of my speculations.
according to james cameron, he got the idea for the TERMINATOR story from two episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS written by harlan ellison: "demon with a glass hand", and "soldier." however, one weird notion i've picked up about harlan ellison is that he's wicked paranoid of being plagiarized.(or, at least, he's way contentious). in fact, there's two stories floating around about whether or not cameron paid and credited ellison in advance for the TERMINATOR ideas, or if ellison had to sue cameron in court. i don't know, and, honestly, i don't really care.
regardless, i will boldly say that people usually fear sins in others that they are most susceptible of committing themselves. meaning, ellison wrote THE OUTER LIMITS episodes in the early '60s, a few years after heinlein's 1959 publication of "all you zombies-". now, i think all of you know that i would rather step on my own tongue with dirty football cleats than to say something falsely accusatory of another person, but, really, somethings just force you into the pausing corner for a little sitting spell. and i think that if one were to carefully read this here heinlein story, which i so graciously linked in its entirety above, one might find a few unmistakable connections between heinlein's "... zombies -" and cameron's TERMINATOR, namely:
- the time traveling protector
- the time traveling impregnator
- the cyclical timeline, as indicated by "The Worm Ouroboros" snake ring
- heinlein's mention of some catastrophic event in 1992, the same year as cameron's "judgement day"
- heinlein's lead "jane"; cameron's lead "john"
- the movement and protection of a boy that must be recruited at the right time in life for some crazy secretive special mission.
seriously, sister leia, i am a burgeoning young padawan to the science-fiction literature, and i plan to earn my readerly keep in due time. jumping to conclusions like this about the connections between stories and films simply because they feature similar trends, trends that stretch over major sci-fi landscapes, might get me kicked off the millenium falcon at the next fuel stop. but, i'm telling you, the connections here are too tight to be ignored.
if nothing else, heinlein's story, given through the hands of a trusted friend, offered me two really geeky hours in a coffee shop this afternoon. the story is linked above. please, do yourself a favor: print off the story, pour a big mug of joe, and sci-fi out for a bit. i'm sold.
as always, cameron's TERMINATOR gets five linda hamilton's out of five. and i'll give heinlein's story five bent jukeboxes out of five. in conjunction, these two blow the roof off our regular scales.
i also can't help but wonder if joss whedon named FIREFLY'S gunner male-macho "jayne" after heinlein's intersex hero/heroine "jane." just another tangent of a thought.