Themes in Lunatics - #3 "Fatalism versus Can-Do on the Frontier"
Continuing with themes in the stories for Lunatics... Here's number three:
Theme #3 Fatalism versus Can-Do on the Frontier
One of the unfortunate memes in movie science fiction -- especially European SF for some reason -- is the recurrence of the "nobel sacrifice of life" or of the triumph of hopelessness and fatalism. Some character inevitably concludes that it's all pointless and takes their helmet off to die in the "cold hard vacuum of space". I guess this is supposed to be symbolic of something or other, but I find it incredibly annoying. Real space pioneers just won't act like that. Being on a frontier really focuses you on basic survival needs.
Supposedly, Neil Armstrong was once asked what would happen if something went wrong with the ascent engine on the Apollo LM. How would he spend his last hours of life? Would he perform one last experiment? Would he send messages home to his loved ones? His reply, though, was short and pragmatic: "I imagine we'd be working on that engine." That's the kind of attitude that rings true for me (I believe this story was originally told by Walter Cronkite).