“If you want to make your fiction universal, go small.”

Science fiction shows are traditionally about the gimmick or the gadget and tend to be emotionally cool to the touch. We thought, “We’re going to have these big, huge action moments, so, we need to have the quieter, more human moments to say what this is all about.” You can’t always relate to the big action things, but you can relate to small moments. I worked with James Cameron, a few years ago, on a remake of Forbidden Planet, which is still sitting at Warner Bros., and he said one of the smartest things I’ve ever heard about science fiction. He said, “I thought science fiction was about familiar characters in unfamiliar settings. It took me ten years to realize that was wrong. It’s about relationships and not settings.” Terminator 2 was a father-son relationship, even though it’s not. Aliens was a mother-daughter relationship, even though it’s not. You don’t buy into huge car chases or sensates or interstellar warfare, but you can buy into a loving relationship or a father-son relationship, and you can buy into the small humor. If you want to make your fiction universal, go small. That’s the best way to do it.

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