Happy Presidents’ Day to all the lovely readers of ScienceFiction.com, and what better way to celebrate a holiday that only some of us get off than to go through a list of the best presidents to ever grace science fiction!
1. President Thomas J. Whitmore (‘Independence Day’)
He’s number one on this list because I dare anyone to listen to his speech in ‘Independence Day’ and not want to go and kick some alien ass, regardless of whether or not there is actually alien ass to kick.
What makes him the greatest president ever in science fiction (aside from the fact that this speech ends up on your Facebook page every 4th of July by your hipster friends)? It’s that he rallied the whole freakin’ world to fight for each other. You know… the world? The thing doesn’t get along on the best of terms with any of itself? That giant sphere floating isolated in space filled with people who hate each other on the basis of skin color, religion, and favorite TV show?
Seriously. Whitmore for President.
2. President FXJKHR (‘Futurama’)
Very rarely do we have presidents who make good on their promises, but President FXJKHR was one that certainly did… assuming his promises were to eat as many people as possible.
Actually very little is known about this president, but seeing as not only did he get elected, but he had a memorial of him seated about a pile of human skulls that was never torn down even after his death. He must have done a really good job.
3. President Hugo Allen Winkler (‘The Tercentary Incident’, by Issac Asimov)
Let me first preface this by saying that the actual President Winkler in this short story is a bit of a d-bag. He’s a womanizer and only made it into office by making false promises he really couldn’t keep. He was so unpopular in his first two years that it was pretty much accepted he would not win reelection, which likely meant his xenophobic opponents would win and intergalactic crises would ensue.
That is, until the president’s robot double decided the Laws of Robotics permitted him to kill the president and take his place in order to save more lives. And that’s why I think President Winkler is one of the greatest presidents in sci-fi: because he’s a robot. Or rather, because he averted a lot of intergalactic crises just by dying and getting replaced by a robot. Which, man… is totally awesome.
4. President Laura Roslin (‘Battlestar Galactica’)
Okay, I put her forth as a great president with a bit of timidity, namely because there is no way I would follow her religious mumbo-jumbo, and I would have ended up as a useless crewman on the Galactica. That being said, she did ultimately lead the human race from Caprica to its safe haven on “Earth”, almost all while being deathly ill.
But President Roslin is one of the greatest presidents of sci-fi on a more meta-level. Very rarely are presidents women in science fiction (the president from ‘Contact’ by Carl Sagan being one notable exception), and she was written beautifully. She had all the necessary steel one needed when being president during a time of war, but a lot of other qualities that didn’t make her feel like a man’s part with the pronouns changed. She was mercurial in all the ways a human being is, and was never constricted to be a flat stereotype of what most people would think a female president in the future would be, and I love her for that.
Superman Clark Kent (‘Superman’)
Okay, this technically didn’t happen because Waverider, a time traveling superhero, negated this universe in ‘Armageddon 2001′, but there used to be a reality where Clark Kent became president. Apparently, as president, he secured world peace, worked toward global disarmament, made solar power via satellite possible, made affordable housing out of old DC villains’ lairs, and created a coalition of superheroes called the World Peace League. So basically, only a little less than everything you’d expect of President Superman.
Remember how 2001 was a tumultuous year? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have Super-POTUS there? And now I’ve succeeded in making myself feel bitter about this because I apparently don’t separate fiction from reality very well.
Still, alternate reality it may be, he still makes one of the greatest Presidents in sci-fi, and all of this could have happened if Kent hadn’t remembered seeing his adoptive father crushed in a tractor accident after Waverider postcogged his future and decided to save his dad instead of letting the events that would lead to world peace happen. Okay, now I don’t know who to be annoyed with more: Waverider or Not-President Superman.
So Happy Presidents’ Day!
If I missed any presidents you think should have been included in this list, be sure to leave a comment. I’ll be disappointed if no one brings up President The Big Guy from ‘World War Z’ who only didn’t make the list because of Superman.