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Sci Fi....What's It Done For You?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Revoltingest, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Note:
    This "Literature" category includes books, movies, radio, games & anything else of that ilk.

    Sci Fi & fantasy have the primary advantage over other ordinary reality based works in that
    issues can be explored without all the baggage we carry, eg, race, gender, national.
    It can open our eyes a little wider in observing our own real world circumstances.

    I remember Star Trek episode 16 (season 1), "The Galileo Seven" because a shuttle crew
    was defending itself against primitive rock & spear throwing giant humanoids. To defend
    oneself with deadly force is reasonable, & they did just that. But I always remember this
    line from Spock.....
    "I am frequently appalled by the low regard you Earthmen have for life."
    His concern for his nominal enemy was striking.
     
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  2. OTPEuJill42

    OTPEuJill42 Member

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    I guess it goes to show that even when dealing with an enemy there needs to be a degree of decency.
     
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  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    And that is an easily overlooked value/goal in the heat of battle.
     
  4. OTPEuJill42

    OTPEuJill42 Member

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    That is sadly true.
     
  5. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    I was also effected by my personal favorite TOS episode, Balance of Terror, in which both Kirk and the Romulan captain are engaged in a submarine-chess battle, and it ends with them both feeling deeply regretful that they had to meet on the battlefield as enemies, both expressing to the other that they might have been good friends in other circumstances. The episode may contain tropes that are tired and poorly overused now (the "we could have been friends" line being commonly employed by hack writers), but here it's done powerfully and effectively. I genuinely agree with them: they really could have been friends. They were only enemies because both were loyal to powers greater than themselves which were both the others' Enemy.

    I'm reminded also of a line from the game Metal Gear Solid, in which the main character, Solid Snake, makes a comment about how he once had to face one of his best friends in a battle to the death: "...we were just two soldiers doing our jobs. It's like a sport." That line always stuck out at me. There's kind of a separation in modern popular wisdom that games are "not-real" and "not-serious", and so treating things that are "serious" like "games" is going to elicit rather harsh words from others who make that distinction. I wonder if those people really know just how seriously professional sports players and professional gamers take their jobs. They are games, yes, but they aren't "just" games. And when it comes to professional sports, it's not exactly unheard of for players to get debilitating injuries that would kill them were it not for all the safety nets.

    Of course, Metal Gear Solid takes a somewhat romanticized view of warfare. Sure, we're told that it's something very undesirable, but presented in a way that makes us think, "that is so COOL!" (That may not have been the intended effect, and may not have been how Japanese players interpreted it, but it's definitely how American players felt.) The Christmas Truce in WWI definitely showed that there's very much a difference between war (especially modernized, impersonal war) and sports. I've heard that after the Allied and German forces played games of football/soccer during the Truce, they didn't want to fight each other anymore once the Truce was over, and many had to be replaced.

    But I do have to wonder if simpler forms of warfare, such as those fought between smaller Tribes and involved "armies" that barely broke a hundred soldiers, were seen more like sports. I'm working on a low-magic fantasy world myself that depicts such Tribes, and they do view "warfare" closer to really-seriously-taken sports than what we think of as war; my intention being that if even the greatest warriors in these Tribes were transported to the modern world and saw war as it is today, they'd be just as horrified as we are.
     
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  6. jonathan180iq

    jonathan180iq Well-Known Member

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    This is why the Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate is so pointless.

    I'm a huge fan of the Star Wars Universe, but it pales in comparison to the depth of the often probing and reality-based questions posed by Star Trek episodes like the one you mentioned. There are dozens of others.

    That's my big critique of the modern Trek movies as well. They are flashy entertainment, and they are lacking the true moral dilemmas faced by the original characters.

    Good sci-fi simply offers a fantastic backdrop through which you question our own lives, and possible future outcomes. It's done loads for me.
     
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  7. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Complete agreement about ST & SW !!!
     
  8. Goddess_Ashtara

    Goddess_Ashtara NIN MOJAVE AK IMEN

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    Darth Revan in Star Wars revealed that one can simultaneously embrace and explore both the "Light" and the "Dark" sides of the Force... a practice neglected by the vast majority of Jedi and Sith. One can be the hero as well as the villain... the savior as well as the conqueror.


     
    #8 Goddess_Ashtara, Jun 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  9. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Isaac Asimov's series Foundation series gave me ideas about how he may have viewed religion and got me thinking about artificial intelligence. Star Trek introduced me to the concept of logic. Star Blazers was very cool and taught me absolutely nothing, as have most other action-ish science fiction stories. For example Battle to the Stars was stupid. Ice Pirates --> stupid. Buck Rogers --> stupid. Dune was cool and fun but also did not introduce me to any wider range of thought. CS Lewis Perelandra series did not introduce me to any mind-broadening information that I had not already encountered. I ought to have gotten more out of Tolkien's LOTR and THobbit, however I skipped most of the poetry and skimmed some of the material. "Sometimes you must already know things before you can access more things inside of things."--anonymous
     
  10. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    Where to start: Dan Simmons, Hyperion. ST and STNG, Asimov, Clarke, David Brin, Startide Rising and others. Herbert, Dune. Larry Niven. Vernor Vinge. Neal Stephenson. Neil Gaiman. I'm forgetting so many, so many ideas. Heinlein and the idea of grokking. That's just off the top of my head.
     
  11. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    My favorite TV series is Babylon 5 because it told a story where the characters were effected by what happened to them and that was reflected in succeeding episodes. I really thought JMS made a great point about the battle between chaos and order. And I enjoyed the good/bad transitions of G'Kar and Londo.

    For Star Trek, DS9 was my favorite for the same reason - a story arc where characters, especially Gul Dukat, moved between good and evil. Sadly with the new CBS/Paramount restrictions on fan fiction, I'm basically done with Trek - I can't support their effectively dumping dung on all the fans.

    Movies such as Dark Crystal have a great message along with relaxing entertainment.

    I also would note many of those @icehorse noted and add Cordwainer Smith and Zenna Henderson. I'm currently working my way through various L. E. Modesitt series.

    What they've done for me - great escapism, ideas that made me think, occasional humor filled stories that lightened my mood, stories that gave me hope for the future.
     
  12. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Caritas Christi Urget Nos
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    Films like the Matrix had a huge impact on my worldview. That was a huge mind-opener for me, ever since I saw it in the theaters when I was about 9, and its influence will always be with me. Other favorites are films like Mission to Mars, the Fountain, Gattaca, Dark City, the Fifth Element, the Terminator series, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, the Alien series (especially Prometheus), Avatar, Total Recall and the Mad Max series, to name a few. William Gibson, Isaac Asimov and John Shirley are authors I enjoys. The Halo series and Mass Effect series are some video games I enjoy.

    I think sci-fi is definitely one of the best genres to deeply explore religion, philosophical and socio-political themes.
     
    #12 Saint Frankenstein, Jun 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  13. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I started reading sci-fi in the 1960s, when it was still mostly written stories (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Bradbury, and the other early writers), a couple of really bad TV shows (My favorite Martian, anyone?), and a whole lot of mostly B-reel movies (Plan 9 from Outer Space; Them) and cartoons (Space Ghost, for example, long before he became a talk-show host), although some of them were pretty decent. I was at the time 1) a pre-teen, and 2) a geek for anything and everything about space and space travel, and was reading everything fact or fiction I could find that even tangentially related to the stars, planets, etc.

    Through my teen years, as I read and re-read all this stuff, and consumed more variety of scifi as it came out and expanded into more fantasy-based works, I wanted to become a writer of scifi and fantasy. As I tried my hand at it, I found that 1) while I was half-decent at describing things, I was 2) really bad at developing character and dialog.

    Even by the age of 9 or so, I had discovered that there is good writing and bad writing and average writing (and that frankly, most of what I was reading scifi-wise was crap), and that for me, average or bad wasn't good enough for what I wanted to do (I had read Across Five Aprils, a story of the US Civil War that was really well written; the school librarians then tried to develop my interest in the Civil War by recommending other award-winning books that, frankly, sucked...). My approach hasn't improved that much over the years, so although I have ideas for stories, they've always taken the back seat to more fact-based, work-related writing.

    Overall, though, aside from hours of entertainment and thought on a variety of issues, scifi taught me to consider the possibilities, to look deeper and beyond, and to appreciate what is now as well as the dreams of what might sometime or someplace be.
     
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  14. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    I learned that Bjork should find a better husband than Space Ghost.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Wu Wei

    Wu Wei ursus senum severiorum and ex-Bisy Backson

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    What Q said to Picard in Tapestry (Star Trek: The Next Generation - 1993) gave me cause to think

    "Au contraire. He's the person you wanted to be: one who was less arrogant and undisciplined in his youth, one who was less like me... The Jean-Luc Picard *you* wanted to be, the one who did *not* fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember. That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. He never led the away team on Milika III to save the Ambassador; or take charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed. And no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe - and he never, ever, got noticed by anyone."
     
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  16. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    In terms of fantasy, a lot of my unattainable ideals are influenced by those presented in Sailor Moon. XD
     
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  17. ShivaFan

    ShivaFan Satyameva Jayate
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    I am a fan of Science Fiction, but more also Science Fiction-Fantasy. But in terms of Science Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey both the film and book had a notable impact on me when I was young. Regarding the movie, I watched it in 1968 in a special domed cinema - I think it was the first one - in the South Bay (SF), and that had a dramatic impact on me. What a wonderful movie, and the book is of course great as well.

    I LOVE the entire Lord of the Rings episodes. But that of course is more fantasy. But in one way, Science Fiction sort of led the way to Fantasy in the 1950's.
     
  18. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Oryx and Crake made me ponder some pretty tough questions. I still don't feel like I've completely decided on my position on most of them.

    I won't go into the story of the novel as it's a book which I feel is best approached from a position of knowing nothing about it. However, it certainly made me question how we could/should use our resources and what responsibility we have towards our creations. Perhaps most disturbing is the question of whether or not humans have an intrinsic corrupting influence.

    I won't say anything more, other than that you should definitely read it.
     
  19. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    In an essay "On not reading science fiction", Ursula Le Guin wrote
    I think that says it all.
     
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