The time has come to talk about the worst science fiction writer in the history of the field. I'm not talking about any obscure pulp-era hacks, or nameless amateurs chronicling the exploits of Ensign Mary Sue. I'm talking about a writer whose ineptitude has been splashed across movie screens for everyone to see.
George McFly, the hapless father of Marty McFly in Back to the Future.
Consider the evidence: in 1955 he's an aspiring but unpublished science fiction writer, who lacks the confidence to submit any of his stories until he gets a midnight visit from a mysterious space-suited figure claiming to be "Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan." Convinced that his ideas about space exploration and aliens are real, George becomes a successful author.
What kind of a writer has to believe his fiction is true? I don't believe there are real Ilmatarans out there; I'm reasonably sure there are intelligent beings elsewhere in the Galaxy, but even if I didn't I could still write stories about them. I don't believe it's possible to travel faster than light but I can still use the magic wand of FTL to get reasonably contemporary humans into contact with aliens in distant star systems in my fiction. It's called imagination.
But that's not the worst of it. On top of his oddly literal imagination George McFly also shows a massive lack of intellectual curiosity. Eleven years after his mysterious midnight encounter with the man from "Vulcan" he could have turned on his TV and seen a science fiction show prominently featuring a character from the planet Vulcan — Star Trek. It's absolutely inconceivable that a science fiction fan in 1966 could have not been aware of that. Yet George McFly never seems to have wondered about the remarkable coincidence. He didn't contact Gene Roddenberry to ask if he had his own encounter with "Darth Vader" in the 1950s.
Now, maybe George saw Spock on Star Trek and chuckled over the use of the planet Vulcan as his home. After all, Vulcan as a fictional world pre-dates both George and Star Trek; Urbain LeVerrier proposed it as the name for a hypothetical infra-Mercurian planet in 1859.
But eleven years after that, the most popular science fiction film in history came out, featuring a character named Darth Vader. There's no way George McFly could have dismissed that as coincidence. The name was original. Did he think about it at all? Speculate about the possibility that he had visions of the future, or perhaps was visited by a time traveller? Did he ask local scientific expert Dr. Brown about it? Apparently not.
Even when his teenage son Marty grew into an exact duplicate of a teenager who befriended him back in 1955, and began hanging around with an eccentric local inventor, George didn't make the connection. (And for those of you making snide insinuations about the other possible explanation for a man's son looking like a boy his wife was infatuated with in her teens, recall that young Marty was born a good thirteen or fourteen years after his 1955 avatar vanished. Get your minds out of the gutter.)
Even if you assume George could somehow explain away the mystery, he's still a bad writer because he doesn't notice some great material staring him in the face! Regardless of whether or not he believes something strange happened to him in 1955, he could certainly weave those bizarre coincidences and unexplained events into a story — maybe even a screenplay. The fact that George McFly didn't write Back to the Future is proof that he's the worst science fiction writer ever.