Not sure how I feel about the restored Metropolis “no longer being science fiction”. It seems to me that saying “It’s no longer a science-fiction film,” said Martin Koerber, a German film archivist and historian who supervised the latest restoration and the earlier one in 2001. “The balance of the story has been given back. It’s now a film that encompasses many genres, an epic about conflicts that are ages old. The science-fiction disguise is now very, very thin.” is a not-at-all-veiled repetition of the usual, hackneyed “nothing good can come of genre work” trope.
I hate that trope. And Metropolis is one of the examples I’ve always used of how genre media can, in fact, be great art, and great social commentary, and “worthy literature.”
As someone who’s personally staking a great deal on the power of speculative fiction and genre media, I find the automatic dismissal of genre lit insulting, to say the least.
Speculative fiction can absolutely be transformative; it gives us the space and freedom to explore concepts and make social comment without worrying about being politically correct, or having to craft perfect settings, or all the things that are attendant with literature set in the ordinary world. In fact, the very distance that speculative fiction creates from the ordinary world is what often makes it so powerful – reflection is easier when it’s at just a bit of a remove. You’re not as inclined to have a knee-jerk reaction to what is being presented when it’s presented in a context that isn’t immediately familiar.
This is why we need smaller publishers, publishers willing to take a risk on genre fiction and speculative fiction and things that don’t fit a niche – stries that have power in and of themselves, regardless of what little pigeonhole they fit into. Genre fiction has power. We just need to remind the world of that, and that it’s okay to be science fiction.
All that said, I want to see this restored version of Metropolis quite badly.