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Thread: Science Fiction is Not About Science

  1. #91
    Even the Awards system has continued that conflation, as fantasy work is now (and has been for a while) eligible for the Hugo, Campbell, PKD awards. That stems from del Rey books' original championing of such work as The Sword of Shannara and Lord Foul's Bane over work by veteran sf authors, whose sales were declining, largely due to encroaching scientific illiteracy but also to a lack of promotion by the main houses (del Rey nee Ballantine, Ace, Berkley) despite inroads into academia and the best-seller list.
    And don't get me started on litfic trope thieves, who don't re-invent the wheel, just steal it, claim it's new to them, and then proceed to cover it in layers of inane conversation and crappy plotting. Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to you, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, all of whom have decried their work being called science fiction because they don't want to live in the ghetto.
    Star Wars isn't science fiction. It's science fantasy...a combination of space opera, comic book trope-thieving, and handwavium.

    Illustrative:

    Back in the late 90s, I was involved in dreaming up scenarios for the text-rpg site Panhistoria. I created a 'novel' called Beyond the Stars, in which a Star Trek-like crew visited alien planets drawn from literature each episode.
    The eps included Fuzzy planet, a world with a Thing, and such.
    The writers killed the Fuzzies and decided that they would shoot the Thing, thereby creating thousands of molecule-sized Things. The planet had to be quarantined.
    I quit the novel in disgust. It's still ongoing but it's the most awful trite shite this side of Tattooine, more David Drake-lite than anything else.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  2. #92
    Good point. I write non-fiction due to my natural abilities; so if you can make fiction good for you i'm jelly no doubt. I think you pretty much outlined what science fiction is good for but I wouldn't say to explore the human species but to explore subjective experience of any species. Fiction is usually human though, I hope ... at the same time I would enjoy a good read of what it is like to be a dog ...

  3. #93
    Sometimes the old stuff just gets left behind, The Lensmen series spring to mind. I wouldn't mind having a crack at doing something inspired by ol' EE. With modern CGI and a damn good script writer I reckon it would make a new cinema franchise.

    Then there is the Fuzzies and Icerigger. If only I had soooo much money I could play with.

  4. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by bazz cargo View Post
    I have come across a Sci Fi western, a Sci Fi set during mediaeval times and lots of almost contemporary Sci Fi. Is there a place for a Kung Fu Sci Fi?

    What weird tales could we tell...
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    Sci-fi bodice ripper ? There is lots of children's sci-fi. Sci-fi travel guide? Take a towel. Sci-fi almanacs and calendars, diaries, biographies, rom. com. , where do you stop ? Sci-fi 'Home alone' ? Sci-fi Enid Blyton? 'Five go off into space'
    absolutely!
    250-650 words each.
    contact moderan and inquire about emag.
    voila!
    the world IS changed.
    do-it-yourself-fu.

  5. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Walsh View Post
    ... at the same time I would enjoy a good read of what it is like to be a dog ...
    Try 'Dogsbody' by Diana Wynne Jones. It's a kids book, but one of those ones adults can read.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  6. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by bazz cargo View Post
    Sometimes the old stuff just gets left behind, The Lensmen series spring to mind. I wouldn't mind having a crack at doing something inspired by ol' EE. With modern CGI and a damn good script writer I reckon it would make a new cinema franchise.

    Then there is the Fuzzies and Icerigger. If only I had soooo much money I could play with.
    John Scalzi did a Fuzzy novel, young-feller-me-lad. AD Foster isn't into people re-doing his works, or I'd do it. I had occasion to meet him once and that was one of my questions.
    That rpg wanted to do a Lensman feature but I quit before that happened. I wanted something Hainish.

    Quote Originally Posted by -xXx- View Post
    absolutely!
    250-650 words each.
    contact moderan and inquire about emag.
    voila!
    the world IS changed.
    do-it-yourself-fu.
    Make it 2500-10K and I add it to the kickstarter.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  7. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    And don't get me started on litfic trope thieves, who don't re-invent the wheel, just steal it, claim it's new to them, and then proceed to cover it in layers of inane conversation and crappy plotting. Yeah, that's right, I'm talking to you, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, all of whom have decried their work being called science fiction because they don't want to live in the ghetto.
    Star Wars isn't science fiction. It's science fantasy...a combination of space opera, comic book trope-thieving, and handwavium.
    Out of curiosity, mod, which Cormac McCarthy are you referring to? The Road I'm guessing? I haven't heard anybody call it sci-fi but I don't disbelieve it. I don't follow any awards whatsoever.

    Basically the whole genre of science fiction is an orgy of paper doll incest IMO and I'm surprised any decent authors (and readers) are still embracing a label that plainly means nothing of any value. I get it's a marketing thing...but so what? What good is a label that can essentially describe almost any kind of story without argument provided there's something a little *whistles X Files theme* going on?

    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    Star Wars isn't science fiction. It's science fantasy...a combination of space opera, comic book trope-thieving, and handwavium.
    Just to be clear - I don't think for a moment it is either. However it doesn't matter, because 'sci-fi' is where Blockbuster used to have it, and 'sci-fi' is where Wikipedia still does have it - space opera apparently being 'a genre of science-fiction'. What's more if one asked the average plummer to give examples of science fiction and I'd bet there's a better than average chance he/she will say 'Star Wars' and that is the problem. Because there is no science. Like none. At all. Ignorance is ignorance, but something like genre, whose sole purpose is to achieve some degree of common understanding and useful categorization, must largely, if not completely, be judged on 'what people think'.

    Science fiction isn't the only victim of this BTW. Horror seems to now be almost as meaningless as a genre. Fantasy too. Meanwhile every other day somebody or other's starting a thread about it.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  8. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    Make it 2500-10K and I add it to the kickstarter.
    *begins immediately*
    *stares at unoccupied agent chair*
    *stares at their calendar*
    *organizes working references*
    *snags photo file*
    *opens fizz*
    *gets jiggy-wid-it*


  9. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Out of curiosity, mod, which Cormac McCarthy are you referring to? The Road I'm guessing? I haven't heard anybody call it sci-fi but I don't disbelieve it. I don't follow any awards whatsoever.

    Basically the whole genre of science fiction is an orgy of paper doll incest IMO and I'm surprised any decent authors (and readers) are still embracing a label that plainly means nothing of any value. I get it's a marketing thing...but so what? What good is a label that can essentially describe almost any kind of story without argument provided there's something a little *whistles X Files theme* going on?
    Because that label now stands for ignorance of the sort you've just provided. It wasn't originally a marketing thing -- it was a description of content, but has fragmented, much as 'heavy metal' has fragmented, because more and more people wanted to be included, even if they didn't belong.
    And yeah, The Road...which is dystopian, and that is solidly science fiction. It is an extrapolation of current trends and mores into the future. Sociology is a science, y'know.



    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Just to be clear - I don't think for a moment it is either. However it doesn't matter, because 'sci-fi' is where Blockbuster used to have it, and 'sci-fi' is where Wikipedia still does have it - space opera apparently being 'a genre of science-fiction'. What's more if one asked the average plummer to give examples of science fiction and I'd bet there's a better than average chance he/she will say 'Star Wars' and that is the problem. Because there is no science. Like none. At all. Ignorance is ignorance, but something like genre, whose sole purpose is to achieve some degree of common understanding and useful categorization, must largely, if not completely, be judged on 'what people think'.

    Science fiction isn't the only victim of this BTW. Horror seems to now be almost as meaningless as a genre. Fantasy too. Meanwhile every other day somebody or other's starting a thread about it.
    Which is why there's the umbrella term 'weird fiction'. Fantasy has come to symbolize the castles and swords stuff. Everything has fragmented. SW is seen as science fiction because space and rockets and ray guns. It's squarely 'space opera' in that regard, in the pulpish sense, like the Gray Lensmen. The main villain was a portmanteau of Dr Doom and Darkseid, both of which were created by Jack Kirby, who mostly wrote and drew fantasy with a smattering of weird science. Hugo Gernsback would have recognized it instantly.
    Aficionados use the term 'sci-fi' as a pejorative. Godzilla is sci-fi. The Thing is science fiction.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  10. #100
    You met Fossie! I'm sooo jealous.
    I still think Icerigger would make a great movie, and Little Fuzzy.

    I will have a crack at a Kung Fu Sci Fi, but it will be a while, I'm trying to get a book published and it is eating nearly all my time. I only pop into WF for a break.
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    John Scalzi did a Fuzzy novel, young-feller-me-lad. AD Foster isn't into people re-doing his works, or I'd do it. I had occasion to meet him once and that was one of my questions.
    That rpg wanted to do a Lensman feature but I quit before that happened. I wanted something Hainish.



    Make it 2500-10K and I add it to the kickstarter.

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