Since my long-ago days, an incipient film artist on the staff of Millennium, I’ve been unable to make conventional films. “The Golden Age of Science Fiction, The Story of John W. Campbell, Jr.” is an documentary that rejects storytelling in favor of conversation, what are disdainfully called “talking heads.” A life is understood through the direct impressions of the subject’s peers, some of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Campbell was an editor whose Astounding Science Fiction magazine is still the foundational document for our culture’s view of what the future is. Because a man is no more fixed or definable than the future itself, this documentary rejects a fixed viewpoint. The film also contains within itself another documentary, the only surviving recording of the editor at work, “Lunch with John Campbell,” by James Gunn.
TRT: 90 min