BLOGBUSTERS Sci-Fi Sob Stories

What sci-fi or fantasy makes the SFX blogging team get all emotional?

Emotional response is what all good stories are based on. Good stories engage us emotionally, and really, really great stories reach out of the page or the screen, grab us by the lapels and refuse to let go. Those moments, where a story breaks across us like a storm, and the circuit between the fiction and the real connects, are ones we never forget, ones that still give us goosebumps years later. That’s the territory the Blogbusters are heading into this week as we ask:

What’s the single moment in geek fiction that gives

you the biggest emotional reaction, and why?

You can also check out our 31 Greatest SF Tearjerkers feature – it’s a bit old now, and most of the pictures have been eaten by the internet but it’s still a great read

But the biggest and most long-lasting emotional moment in sci-fi for me would have to be the death of Spock in The Wrath Of Kahn . Not the actual death scene, although that was very upsetting. It’s the scene afterwards at Spock’s funeral when Kirk’s voice breaks as he gives the eulogy – that’s the kicker.

I can still remember seeing it for the first time – I think I was 12 or 13. I was so shocked at the death of this iconic character. This amazing character who’d been there on my telly to whisk me away on fantastic adventures every weekend as I was growing up. And then came the funeral scene. The hurt and pain William Shatner put into his performance of Kirk in that scene really got to me. You really feel like you’re watching a man who’s lost his best friend in the world and is completely devastated by it. He’s trying to hold the hurt inside, but he just can’t stop it finding a way out. That single moment, of a tiny collapse and a moment taken to regroup says so much about the character of Kirk, his love for Spock and their relationship.

You can say what you like about William Shatner’s acting, but that day he definitely earned his money. Even now – even knowing that Spock comes back in the next film – that scene still gets me because it is so powerful and so well acted.

So what is it? It’s Serenity , and it’s probably not what you think. It’s not the movie itself or the deaths therein, though, like those above, they could be contenders. No. It’s Serenity herself. When she breaks atmo at the end of the big damn movie to Mal’s, “We'll pass through it soon enough,” she kills me every time – in a good way. I can’t help but be moved by the music, the sunlight shining down on her as she busts through the clouds, and the beauty of the sentiment. When I’m feeling sad, this scene never fails to cheer me, and when I’m happy it puts a thoughtful smile on my face.

Along the way the crazy drew Yorick and Agent 355 closer and closer together, only for Vaughan to shatter their revelatory emotional confessional in the most devastating of fashions. The final issue “flash forward” epilogue was stuffed full of such touching character moments and stick-them-on-your-all beautiful artistry that it left the final pages sodden from all the sobbing.

The second was instance was the final page of The Avengers #58 with Vision in tears, and the caption, “Even an android can cry.” I found it haunting. And that evocative, unfussy one-page image by John Buscema remains my single favourite piece of comic book art ever.

Michael Giacchino’s score for the scene is one of those pieces I genuinely can’t listen to, even now, without feeling my throat tighten, because it meshes so perfectly with the images and the final desperate seconds of George’s life. He gets a few seconds with his son, literally looking death in the face, and the fierce, absolute joy on Hemsworth’s face just gets me every time.

The other is old school Trek , specifically the end of Star Trek III . Now I know III gets ragged on in some quarters but I love it, both for the theft of the Enterprise sequence and the final moments. The crew have lost their ship and their careers, Kirk has lost his son and, battered and bruised, they wait on Vulcan for Spock’s Katra to be removed from Bones. Spock is led past them, looks at them, stops, turns and looks back at Kirk. He thinks for a second and says, “Jim... your name... is Jim.” And very distantly, and mournfully, the Star Trek fanfare plays and I’m actually tearing up just writing about it. I love that scene.

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So that’s Blogbusters for the week. Give us seven days to clear up the snotty tissues and wash our faces and we’ll be back next week when we answer this, oh so loaded, question:

Hollywood asks you which book you would make into a movie (which, obviously, hasn’t been adapted already). Name it and cast it.

Lights, camera, geek. We’ll see you next week.