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Close encounters of the gooey kind

Two new films probe the existential angst of space travel and the alien other. They take their place in a well-established sci-fi school of philosophy

By Adam Mars-Jones   February 2017

Stuck in space: Jim (Chris Pratt) chats with bartender Arthur (Michael Sheen) in Passengers ©Sony Pictures Releasing

Science fiction is a genre doomed to profundity, unable to avoid banging its head or stubbing its toes against philosophical dilemmas as it goes about telling its stories. Though it doesn’t seem likely that well-thumbed copies of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness show up on the sets of many space operas, existentialism is always likely to…

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