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They rounded the foot of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, and there was
the Message written in blazing letters along the crest of the Mountain. There
was a little observation vantage point with a rail built along the top of a
large rock facing it, from which you could get a good view. It had a little
pay-telescope for looking at the letters in detail, but no one would ever use it
because the letters burned with the divine brilliance of the heavens and would,
if seen through a telescope, have severely damaged the retina and optic nerve.

They gazed at God’s Final Message in wonderment, and were slowly and
ineffably filled with a great sense of peace, and of final and complete understanding.

Fenchurch sighed. “Yes,” she said, “that was it.”

They had been staring at it for fully ten minutes before they became aware
that Marvin, hanging between their shoulders, was in difficulties. The robot
could no longer lift his head, had not read the message. They lifted his head,
but he complained that his vision circuits had almost gone.

They found a coin and helped him to the telescope. He complained and insulted them, but they helped him look at each individual letter in turn, The first letter was a “w”, the second an “e”. Then there was a gap. An “a” followed, then a “p”, an “o” and an “l”. Marvin paused for a rest. After a few moments they resumed and let him see the “o”, the “g”, the “i”, the “s” and the “e”. The next two words were “for” and “the”. The last one was a long one, and Marvin needed another rest before he could tackle it.

It started with an “i”, then “n” then a “c”. Next came an “o” and an “n”, followed by a “v”, an “e”, another “n” and an “i”. After a final pause, Marvin gathered his strength for the last stretch. He read the “e”, the “n”, the “c” and at last the final “e”, and staggered back into their arms.

“I think,” he murmured at last, from deep within his corroding rattling thorax, “I feel good about it.”
The lights went out in his eyes for absolutely the very last time ever.

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Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste. Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously!

It is a kind of dumbing down in a way, because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about… whatever. Now we’re walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.

In the 18 years since we wrote Spaced, this extended adolescence has been cannily co-opted by market forces, who have identified this relatively new demographic as an incredibly lucrative wellspring of consumerist potential. Suddenly, here was an entire generation crying out for an evolved version of the things they were consuming as children. This demographic is now well and truly serviced in all facets of entertainment and the first and second childhoods have merged into a mainstream phenomenon[…]

Recent developments in popular culture were arguably predicted by the French philosopher and cultural theorist, Jean Baudrillard in his book, ‘America’, in which he talks about the infantilzation of society. Put simply, this is the idea that as a society, we are kept in a state of arrested development by dominant forces in order to keep us more pliant. We are made passionate about the things that occupied us as children as a means of drawing our attentions away from the things we really should be invested in, inequality, corruption, economic injustice etc. It makes sense that when faced with the awfulness of the world, the harsh realities that surround us, our instinct is to seek comfort, and where else were the majority of us most comfortable than our youth? A time when we were shielded from painful truths by our recreational passions, the toys we played with, the games we played, the comics we read. There was probably more discussion on Twitter about the The Force Awakens and the Batman vs Superman trailers than there was about the Nepalese earthquake or the British general election[…]

The point of all this is just to get my position clear. I’m not out of the fold, my passions and preoccupations remain. Sometimes it’s good to look at the state of the union and make sure we’re getting the best we can get. On one hand it’s a wonderful thing, having what used to be fringe concerns, suddenly ruling the mainstream but at the same time, these concerns have also been monetised and marketed and the things that made them precious to us, aren’t always the primary concern (right, Star Trek OST fans?)

Also, it’s good to ask why we like this stuff, what makes it so alluring, so discussed, so sacred. Do we channel our passion and indignation into ephemera, rather than reality? Not just science fiction and fantasy but gossip and talent shows and nostalgia and people’s arses. Is it right? Is it dangerous? Something to discuss over a game of 3D chess, perhaps. – Simon Pegg