Being born at the tag-end of the baby boom, I was destined (or doomed, depending on how you look at it) to fall in love with sci-fi. It was one of my first literary loves, as a matter of fact. Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov . . . these writers totally rocked my world. It was the perfect genre for the age: hopeful, exciting, visionary, full of promise and possibility. Then came Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. "Hey, we might not be alone" became "Hey! We're not alone!" or, more ominously, "Oh God, we're not alone."
Sci-Fi is the genre that explored both possibilities: the end of our existential crisis and the end of our existence. My novel, The 5th Wave, explores the latter scenario, because, frankly, I believe it represents the likeliest outcome of an extraterrestrial encounter. In short, if they're out there, we better hope they never find us. When civilizations collide, it usually isn't the more primitive one that prevails. And that raises the obvious question: what, if anything, will? What will endure after everything has been stripped away, including hope for another day? Great sci-fi has never shied from tackling the Big Questions, though really great sci-fi never forgets to entertain us along the way. Shock and awe applies to art, as well. So to celebrate the unique place this genre holds in our hearts, here are my top five shockers from films that have left indelible impressions upon our collective psyche.