Author Topic: Episode #651  (Read 4393 times)

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Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2018, 08:26:41 PM »
I know Trump was nominated for skeptical jackass last year, but I thought he still deserved another shoutout for 2017.

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2018, 09:35:36 AM »
Why do you have to have "gimmes" in sci-fi? Beyond what's unknown.

I don't like the idea of "you have to do this to make the story work", if the point is to be scientifically accurate. It shouldn't be "I want to make this happen", it's "could this happen? If so, how?", or "what would happen?" given the conditions.

I'll still watch shows that have some far out there plot devices, but I'd rather think of it as it being a universe with different laws of physics, than something where "well, it just has to be that way, even if doesn't make sense". And whatever the alternate laws, they have to be consistent, if the stories are supposed to be part of the same universe.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 09:38:36 AM by 2397 »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2018, 09:51:55 AM »
Why do you have to have "gimmes" in sci-fi? Beyond what's unknown.

I don't like the idea of "you have to do this to make the story work", if the point is to be scientifically accurate. It shouldn't be "I want to make this happen", it's "could this happen? If so, how?", or "what would happen?" given the conditions.

I'll still watch shows that have some far out there plot devices, but I'd rather think of it as it being a universe with different laws of physics, than something where "well, it just has to be that way, even if doesn't make sense". And whatever the alternate laws, they have to be consistent, if the stories are supposed to be part of the same universe.

Agree 100%! There's no science fiction any more. There's just space opera fantasy masquerading as sci-fi. As soon as you have FTL travel, it's not fiction, it's fantasy. The Martian is a fantasy story, even if it gives a nod to science by having it's character approach problems in a quasi-scientific manner.

I enjoy fantasy. I read and watch a lot of fantasy, and it's fun. I would just prefer it not be called science fiction when it violates known facts and/or laws of physics.

It is certainly possible to write science fiction that's actually science-based fiction, and not fantasy, but the popular demand seems to be for FTL travel and English-speaking humanoid space aliens. So that's what the mass media give us.

And I really wish that the SGU would stick with science and skepticism, and leave fantasy fiction alone, or move it all to their new show which I gather is about just that subject.
Daniel
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2018, 10:21:54 AM »
Daniel, what Sci fi have you ever enjoyed?

That being said, Star Wars is just fantasy in space, Star Trek, little less fantasy depending on the episode.


There have to be gimmies in Sci fi because otherwise you only have two or three stories to tell.  20 minutes into the future where the sci fi elements are barely necessary or just a McGuffin, first contact stories(even that is a bit of a gimme) and....IDK.

As to aliens speaking the language of the film maker, do you really want stories constantly bogged down by translations?  Most filmmakers(even outside the US) even have foreigners all speak the local language, very few people enjoy reading movies.  Side note this is why action movies are basically without dialogue anymore, give more appeal internationally with less reading/dubbing.  Its like complaining that all aliens on Star Trek TOS looked too human.  Sure, its silly but they only had human actors and couldn't afford better effects.

On the other hand I'm sympathetic because you are basically right.  As I've said, I have a few gimmes for sci fi, FTL, time travel(if the story is about time travel), accommodation for budget, and universal translators(because I want a story that doesn't involve endless translation or is just about learning another language.)

Have you checked out the expanse series?  They have magic alien tech as a McGuffin but their is lots of time devoted to living in space sucking because of human and technological limitations.

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2018, 12:57:16 PM »
As to aliens speaking the language of the film maker, do you really want stories constantly bogged down by translations?  Most filmmakers(even outside the US) even have foreigners all speak the local language, very few people enjoy reading movies.

Actually, yes! You can easily get used to subs. Everybody is used to them over here in NL. I know exactly zero people who are used to subtitles yet still prefer dubbing to subs. And except for cheesy 80s action movies, I dislike the English speaking alien/foreigner trope very much. This is one thing that, for example, the Stargate movie got very right. The alien Coptic/Ancient Egyptian dialect was awesome. I was immediately bitterly disappointed in the SG series when I heard the aliens starting to speak perfect English. It somehow made the whole thing a lot more cheesy. Star Trek at least has a throwaway universal translator explanation, and every once in a while it lets us hear some Klingon, so it (just barely) gets away with it. In Star Wars people and droids speak different languages at least part of the time (even if others then just respond in English), and I like that little bit of extra world-building effort. And the use of different languages in LOTR added a lot to the character of the different civilizations (imagine Sauron speaking English instead of the Black Speech - he just wouldn't be half as threatening).

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Its like complaining that all aliens on Star Trek TOS looked too human.  Sure, its silly but they only had human actors and couldn't afford better effects.

Which is another major reason why I feel like the Star Trek world building is not as rich and less immersive than that of Star Wars. I give it a pass because of the reasons you mention, but I still find it a little difficult (and boring) to buy the idea that there's so little non-humanoid-looking alien life out there.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2018, 02:28:44 PM »
Daniel, what Sci fi have you ever enjoyed?   <...snip...>

Are we talking my definition of (non-fantasy) sci-fi, or are we talking the stuff that passes for sci-fi today?

Of the former, when I was a kid I loved Asimov and Heinlein and all that crowd. I'm not aware of anything I would call real sci-fi (as opposed to fantasy) today. Of the later, I love Firefly and the movie sequel Serenity. I absolutely adore the original radio version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the book. I love Guardians of the Galaxy (the first one, the second was not as good) and I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending. I have read only the first few Discworld books so far but I like them a lot. I suppose that's not sci-fi even by today's standards. Gravity was okay, but mostly because I think Sandra Bullock is incredibly hot. I read and enjoy a lot of urban fantasy. The Jane Yellowrock series and the Touched by an Alien series are excellent examples. The former is pure fantasy, the latter would be considered sci-fi since it's space aliens. Anything with vampires and werewolves, if it's well-written. (I tend to root for the werewolves.) I am presently reading I am Bob because Dr. Pamela Gay recommended it. I'll withhold judgement until I've finished it. The reactionless drive puts it on the borderline between sci-fi and fantasy, but the instantaneous communication puts it into fantasy. Putting a human intelligence and consciousness into a computer does not violate any basic physics laws that I know of, but it's far-fetched enough that I regard the book as fantasy. The next book on my list is Matilda, the Roald Dahl book from which the movie with Danny DeVito was taken. That's a fantasy movie I loved. I imagine nobody would call that sci-fi since there are no space aliens or time travel in it. I think that nowadays time travel and space aliens are what define the sci-fi genre.

I didn't care for The Martian. It tried too hard to seem sciency while ignoring too much of reality. I did enjoy Arrival, except for
(click to show/hide)

I could go on and on. I just do not accept the label of "sci-fi" when the basic laws of physics are violated, or known facts are falsified. Just call it fantasy, and if it's well done and suits my preferences I like it.

Legitimate "gimmie's" IMO are technology that does not exist yet but does not violate any known laws of physics. If you need to violate the laws of physics, that's fine. Call it fantasy and we're good.

Have you checked out the expanse series? ...

I had to look that up to find out that it's a TV series on the Sci-Fi Network. I have never seen it. If I've heard of it in passing I don't recall anything about it.

Oops! Correction: I see the first season is on Amazon Prime, and apparently I watched the first episode, but didn't like it enough to watch the second. I don't remember anything about it.

... You can easily get used to subs. ...

Yep. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is in French. Being lazy, I started to watch the dubbed version. It drove me nuts. Within 5 minutes I started over from the beginning and watched the dubbed version. Much better to hear the actual actors' voices.
Daniel
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2018, 02:39:13 PM »
Quote
Sure, its silly but they only had human actors and couldn't afford better effects.

I have more tolerance for production limitations, than story limitations. The language thing is also one of the smaller problems. It's more of a social shortcut than a scientific issue. Particularly in the case of the Stargate series, where almost everyone is the same species (if sometimes genetically engineered or possessed), so all it takes is time.

I prefer it when they try to explain it, like in Farscape. Though somehow they managed to put a second first contact story immediately after that, where they ignored the language barrier and the solution to it. In a way that's worse. I don't like it when they introduce solutions that don't apply consistently. Or when they introduce technologies that could solve so many problems, but they only use it once, or very sparingly.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2018, 02:59:07 PM »
I am fascinated by this discussion.

@2397.  Farscape is pure fantasy, there's nothing sci fi about that.  Plant people, living ships, FTL, Humans running a space empire in some distant part of the galaxy?  Seriously, a human from earth is searched after because he's the only one with wormhole tech in a galaxy where everyone has tech centuries in advance of Earth?  Also, cross species hybrids always bug me, directly contradicts what we know about biology. 

At daniel.  I suspect Asimov and Heinlein would disappoint you if you re-read them, especially Heinlein.  They strayed far from what was possible.  I suppose you can give them a pass on account of how much less certain we were regarding FTL and what not at the time. Its also interesting that you loved GOTG, that really is fantasy with a veneer of Sci-fi.  But I think like me you probably give a pass to stuff if its entertaining enough.

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2018, 03:01:21 PM »
Oh sure, lots of other problems with Farscape. I was only referring to the language barrier.

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2018, 03:38:52 PM »
I could go on and on. I just do not accept the label of "sci-fi" when the basic laws of physics are violated, or known facts are falsified. Just call it fantasy, and if it's well done and suits my preferences I like it.

Legitimate "gimmie's" IMO are technology that does not exist yet but does not violate any known laws of physics. If you need to violate the laws of physics, that's fine. Call it fantasy and we're good.

I think you may be setting up an impossible standard because you're basically requiring scifi authors to know all of science. I don't think I have ever heard of anything that qualifies as hard sci-fi by this definition.

Online The Latinist

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2018, 04:30:45 PM »
Daniel, why not just accept that you no longer enjoy science fiction instead of seeking to define the genre out of existence?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2018, 04:46:53 PM »
Sci-Fi does have many sub-genres. Hard Sci-Fi is the only one that requires it to be 100% scientifically accurate.

Sci-Fi is more about the ideas. Ruling out time travel, FTL and everything else that doesn't comply with the Laws of Physics does restrict the story telling.

I will nit pick sci-fi movies like all science geeks, but I will give a lot of leeway if the story is good.

Agents of Shield's latest season has Earth destroyed with a huge portion of the planet just hanging broken in space surrounded by debris.
The science nerd in me is thinking "Impossible, gravity would not allow that". But it looks cool, so go for it  ;)

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2018, 04:52:36 PM »
Ah.hell: Why are you surprised that I loved GotG? I said I love fantasy!

werecow: See above.

The Latinist: See the above.

I enjoy fantasy. I just don't call it science fiction. And I'm far too much of a curmudgeon to give an inch on my definition. I enjoy a lot of the stuff you guys consider sci-fi. I just won't call it that.

Oh, Ah.hell may be right about Asimov and Heinlien. It's been so long that I don't remember them. We've known since Einstein that FTL travel is not possible. But I have not read those authors in so long that I didn't remember they used it. I remember a story where a generation ship sets out on a 200-year trip to colonize another planet (traveling slower than light). (How they knew it would be habitable I don't remember if the story said.) They arrived to find an entire human civilization. This seemed impossible: Humans on a distant planet! It turned out that 50 years after they had left Earth, another much faster (but still slower than light) ship had set out, passed them en route, taken only 50 years to make the trip, and arrived 100 years before the first ship, and established the civilization. This was science fiction: No FTL travel, nothing that broke the laws of physics.

I enjoy fantasy. When it's well done I love it. I expect to continue enjoying it. But I won't call it science when it breaks the laws of science. And when they have a magic box, I will not accept that it's science just because the author calls it that. One of the best things about Harry Potter is that they don't pretend that anything they're doing is science. It's magic and they call it that. Putting a space ship and an ET into a Harry Potter story would not make it science fiction.
Daniel
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2018, 05:00:32 PM »
... Ruling out time travel, FTL and everything else that doesn't comply with the Laws of Physics does restrict the story telling....

It doesn't restrict storytelling at all. I just put it on a different shelf. I still enjoy it when it's well done. I don't happen to feel that Star Trek or Star Wars are well done. But I do enjoy some of the stuff you guys consider sci-fi and that I consider fantasy. I've been watching some Doctor Who on Amazon Prime lately. I don't know how you guys would classify that, but I've been enjoying it. Especially the seasons with Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond. I think a lot of time travel fantasy is very poorly done. Doctor Who is very well done. Obviously, just my opinion.
Daniel
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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #651
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2018, 05:11:50 PM »
I've had this argument "many" times. I had one guy insist that all musicals are fantasy, as we don't break out into song in real life, mostly.

Almost all fictional stories (movies, books, TV, Comics etc) are Fantasy if you get pedantic about them.
But we have defined genres to best explain what the content is.

I get your points Daniel and if it works for you, great. I would concede most of the movies you don't call sci-fi could be classed as Science Fantasy, but never Fantasy. That is a distinct and separate genre.

Sci-Fi is about ideas that have a scientific angle (real or imagined) Only Hard Sci-Fi has to be grounded in hard science and what is plausibly possible.
Most sci-fi is soft sci-fi.

I would classify Star Wars as Fantasy because it has magical elements etc

 

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