In the Path of Totality
A scientist and his wife come to terms with the end of the world
Big budget science fiction: it gets more grandiose, every year. Guardians of the Galaxy. Interstellar. Jupiter Ascending…
But true SF buffs know the deal. Real science fiction isn’t about FX. It’s about people. Consequences. The impact of ideas and events on lives. That’s certainly true of classic SF novels, and some choice studio flicks as well. Millennial Man. AI. But where the heart of SF really beats is indie film. Primer. Moon. And scripts like Path of Totality.
With characters like Seema and Dr. Raj Kothapalli…
The story’s set in modern day; the Kothapalli’s home near the Marina. As the script opens, Seema watches her husband on TV, explaining astrophysics to a frightened world. The Sun’s been in the throes of a solar storm, you see; bathing the Earth in massive high energy flares. The ozone layer’s almost depleted. The magnetic field fading. But Raj downplays his interviewer’s concern. They really don’t know what to expect, he says. The Earth’s magnetic poles might just reverse – with no tragic side effects. Seema scowls, and shuts off the transmission. At this point, she knows her husband’s talking B.S.
She confronts Raj when he comes home. Lie to the public, she tells him. But don’t try to play games with me. The couple bicker – about the facts, and Earth’s pending fate. Cancer’s on the rise, due to the weakened atmosphere. The power grid’s failing as well. Seema argues it’s just a matter of time. She mentions the family boat – the Dharma – waiting for them at the dock. Why not just sail away? Enough what precious moments they have left?
But Raj refuses to face the truth. It’s not the end of the world, he insists. Not if he can have his way. That night, he heads to the bathroom… and finds Seema’s positive pregnancy test. It’s a wake up call, in more ways than one. But what can one man do to protect his family – when faced with the end of the world?
A sweet and very human script, Path of Totality is true science fiction. Yes, there’s talk of space, and science “things”. But underneath that… is a story of people. And family. Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke would be proud.
About the writer: I’m a one time advertising copywriter who has fallen in love with screenwriting. I’ve a written handful of features, one has been produced as a Role Playing Game (RPG) and made its debut at CarnageCon. I enjoy writing short scripts since it’s a fun exercise for sharpening my skills; so far one of my shorts has been produced as a student film project and I welcome the opportunity to have more of my worked produced via participation on Simply Scripts. Sylvia can be reached at sylviedahl “AT” AOL.
Budget: A bit of budget would be needed for the Dharma (boat). But the rest of the script is simple. Two very solid actors. And some small FX that can be done in post.
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