Anyway, it’s time for some guesswork about fictional science, and possibly more rude words than I’d like.
A capacitor is normally a simple part of a circuit that stores/interrupts electric charge. Flux is pretty much my favourite word. It just means change, flow, or variance over time or space. Fuck is the act of sex, reduced to an aggressive solid.
These are all gross simplifications, and liable to innaccuracy, so we’re already not on the best ground.
A flux capacitor is what you need to make time travel work, according to a seminal work of the eighties. Seminal probably doesn’t mean what I think it means.
Anyway, I’m going to try and jam this together to lose the alliteration and para-rhyme, whilst hopefully gaining a question I can answer.
How much sex could a prop from an eighties film change if a prop from an eighties film could change sex?
I don’t know if that helps.
I really should have just taken the opportunity to start rambling about what I like most about Back to the Future Part II. I’ve occasionally proclaimed it the pinnacle of civilisation, but really, it’s just an incredibly tightly scripted family film. I still love it. It’s a simple pleasure with intricate depths. I like that.
Anyway, as a cultural artefact, it’s powerful, and you can build tongue twisters around it. A plot needed a prop needed a name. The lighter end of science fiction is built almost entirely on nonsense words to make the impossible happen. A flux capacitor has that role in this film. It is a shiny metal light that makes time travel possible. It enables 1.2 gigawatts (approximately the power of a single pressurised water reactor at a nuclear plant, apparently) of electricty to be gathered and dispersed around the metal body of a delorean and allow some people to jump around in time and interact with various generations of their family and friends.
It’s a word plucked from the air in a script writing session.
So you’d think that it’s unreality would stop it from fluxing fucks, right?
Wrong. I bet the flux capacitor, as the narrative core of an incredibly popular film, has probably helped quite a lot of sex happen. Anyone involved in that film is probably able to cash in their cachet at some point, with somebody.
If I met a prop engineer, and they told me they’d built the flux capacitor, I’d probably go with that.
Then you’ve got to think (if only to avoid the mental image of me and a prop engineer, steamily fluxing) of all the people who have enjoyed that film. Think of the couples, the fumbled back rows of cinemas, the stoned gatherings at friends houses, the marathon ‘lets watch all three but get bored by the third one and end up fucking’ sessions.
I propose that a flux capacitor has already fluxed a lot of fucks.
Probably at least 1.2 gigwatts worth.
Illustration by Adam S