I grew up reading science fiction, thinking my beloved genre was all about the possibilities of the infinite: advanced civilizations inhabiting distant star systems; men with brains so large and hearts so beneficent they could barely be contained within their bodies; women with beauty so magnificent and intellect so stunning they would leave bystanders breathless.
And they I started watching movies and eventually realized it's all about death, destruction ... and more death.
This week's release of The Final Destination, which is obsessed with staging elaborate 'kill scenes,' got me thinking about memorable scenes of demise in science fiction films. Sci-fi is notably short of serial killers, but offers a wider range of death scenes, beyond simple murder and mayhem. Here's my list of the top 10 sci-fi deaths. (Of necessity, this list is nothing but spoilers, so you have been warned.)
1. The Emperor (Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
Everyone knows where they were when they saw the Emperor get what was coming to him. Me, I was in the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, opening night, second showing, near 5:00 a.m., shouting (and ultimately cheering and applauding) along with the rest of the sold-out auditorium as Luke looked between his father and the Emperor, in pain, agonizing, understanding that the man he had hated was being tortured by the man who should be hated. And then he made the right call. Goosebumps still raise up in the glory of the memory.