Talking of science fiction, tonight we watched Starship Troopers (the 1997 edition) – in Italian (that was the deal with N° 2 sprog – gore in return for language exposure). This is one of those films that is definitely not better than the book on which it is based. Nevertheless, it does strongly echo one of the book’s central themes, that, as Director Paul Verhoeven put it, ‘war makes fascists of us all’, a theme underlined by the satirical use of uniforms deliberately echoing Nazi dress. It is, of course, a recurring theme in science fiction literature – if we cannot even empathise with our fellow human beings, how could we possibly empathise with alien beings? To echo one of the scientific predictions in this morning’s post, would we even be able to understand them? That is the central story line of Solaris, which I would strongly recommend. Unlike Heinlein’s novel, Stanislaw Lem makes the point without a war; when we can’t understand things, we tend to attack them.