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Thread: Are You Effing Kidding Me?

  1. #626
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Or for a better analogy - Alien is to sci-fi what Guardians of the Galaxy is to Fantasy (despite being space-based).

  2. #627
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I guess read the line I added to the post? They're ships. You need a method of getting around; in the context of the movies, they don't affect or address anything grand outside of logistical issues.

  3. #628
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    That's just being reductive though -- like blasters are just guns, holograms are just methods of communication etc. The same could be applied to fantasy -- fireballs are just offensive weapons, teleport spells are just means of transportation, etc.

  4. #629
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Eh, I'd nit-pick this to death if it weren't stupid. Read my post again maybe.

  5. #630
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The advanced technology is an integral part of the Star Wars world. The setting would not function without it. If you replaced lightsabers with swords, the Jedi would just look stupid going against blasters.

    Otherwise you could argue that any story about a hero rescuing a damsel in distress is really a fantasy story, because castles and dragons and evil wizards are just window dressing.

  6. #631
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I'm afraid you're missing the point. It's fine though, I don't think either of us need to elaborate any further on our personal viewpoints. We can move on now to more important things, like will Leia float back into Episode IX holding BB-8 like Mary Poppins with a robotic umbrella, and has all this chewing of the Star Wars fat given Piglick heartburn yet.

  7. #632
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It's not that I'm missing the point -- I just don't agree with you that the sci-fi elements of Star Wars are window dressing.

  8. #633
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Which is also missing the broader point I was making, again. And that's fine, if you want to focus on world elements that may or may not be technology to describe how sci-fi works for you, that's one way to look at it if you want to. Be my guest.

  9. #634
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Your entire broader point rests on this premise, though.

    Also, talking about points, you're ignoring my point that calling Star Wars science fantasy doesn't mean it's therefore not sci-fi.

    Also also, I'm not focusing on world elements. As I said, the world elements are just an indicator, nothing more.

  10. #635
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    You're going to have to explain both of those to me, but I guess that's better off in more of a freewheeling chat discussion than a series of forum posts.

    Again, if the difference you want to specify is that individual elements of Star Wars technology mark it out as sci-fi, that doesn't work because AFAIC sci-fi is more concerned about exploring technological implications. Star Wars' broad strokes from the original trilogy are: family is good, the bad guys favour red and black, fascism/war is bad, Ralph McQuarrie was a phenomenal visual artist, and The Hidden Fortress was a really good movie. Maybe the one defining attribute of Star Wars from a sci-fi angle is that technology lets people lose limbs, hair, and skin and still come back just fine with no psychological trauma because robotic prostheses.

  11. #636
    It's not an official definition or anything, but Science Fiction seems like it's almost always based on Earth, or rather a future Earth. Most of the technology is presented as an evolution/advancement of our current technological level of knowledge. To me, Star Wars was always just fantasy, because everything is made up and the laws of our science don't always apply. How do you explain The Force? Lucas tried to give it a sci fi type of definition with midichlorians, and everyone hated it. Nobody really cares how a lightsaber works, just that is looks cool and only the elite warriors know how to use them. Did anyone ever both to try to explain how a moisture farm works? No, because nobody cares about how realistic it is - it's all make believe.

    Look how much of Star Trek lore is spent on explaining how warp drives came into existence. In Star Wars, no one really cares about he origins of hyperspace, just that it works and lets you move from Tatooine to Alderaan in a couple of hours. A proverbial means to an end.

  12. #637
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Okay, first of all, it's not just individual elements that make Star Wars sci-fi, but the whole setting. It's not a fantasy world, it's a sci-fi world, with aliens, interstellar travel and advanced technology, such as robots and cloning and whatnot. Sure, it's pulp sci-fi instead of "serious sci-fi", but it's sci-fi nevertheless.

    Secondly, as far as I'm concerned, dealing with the impact of technological advances is not a requirement for something to be sci-fi. The Left Hand of Darkness is still sci-fi, even if it doesn't deal with the impact of technology, but instead uses its sci-fi setting to examine the implications of gender instead. So, why is using a sci-fi setting for adventure and intrigue not sci-fi? Farscape doesn't make a point about the impact of technology most of the time, so does it only become sci-fi at the very end, when it becomes about the destructive power of wormhole techonology? Is Star Wars not sci-fi because it uses its advanced technology in the "wrong way"? Is Mass Effect not sci-fi, because it has a focus on adventure instead of the impacts of technology?
    Last edited by Starker; 3rd Sep 2018 at 03:39.

  13. #638
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    The Left Hand of Darkness qualifies because it refracts the idea of human gender through the prism of an extraterrestrial culture (IIRC, it's been a while since I read it) - it's an examination of our attitudes through alien biology, which is not 'technology' (my error in narrowing it to that, I admit) but definitely the 'science' part of sci-fi, and essentially what 'serious' sci-fi is.

    Farscape fits firmly in the Star Wars category of pulp space opera (not least because it was pitched as Buck Rogers in space) because the underpinnings of its wormhole technology never go beyond nebulous and implausible, plus it doesn't really have anything to say except weave a very entertaining set of conflicts and stories around some great characters. Mass Effect is also pretty much Farscape with a different set of things going on (and subjectively not as great storytelling). So: space opera. If you want to include that under the banner of sci-fi, go ahead, but it's obvious the focus isn't the science so much as the fiction.

    Going back to the original point: Star Wars has people dying and coming back as force ghosts across the universe at will, people born with the ability to violate energy conservation laws, a 'force' that binds things together and can be manipulated at will that isn't gravity, immaculate conception, and a trade union becoming a fascistic galaxy-wide force. Beyond the last part being the least fantastical of these things (it's a joke, please take it as a joke), they co-exist with your ships and lasers and yadda yadda yadda as a mystical counterpoint to the 'science'. If that's not an interweaving of science and fantasy, then what is it?
    Last edited by Sulphur; 3rd Sep 2018 at 04:29.

  14. #639
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Indeed, for me, science fantasy, space opera, and cyberpunk is still science fiction, even if it's not all that serious and scientific.

    Also, a lot of science fiction contains things that are nebulous and implausible. Star Trek has entities like Q that can pretty much perform miracles, Left Hand of Darkness and Babylon 5 have telepathy, and Asimov's robots with mind control powers are really no more explained than that. Not to mention a lot of the things that go on in Dune and the way psychohistory in Foundation is used as a little more than a plot device. Really, what such criteria accomplish is the exclusion of a lot of works that most people recognise as science fiction.

  15. #640
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    As I said, the broader idea of what these things do is what I prefer to focus on, as opposed to one-off things we want to nit-pick, and we've reached an impasse if we're unwilling to concede that films like 2001 or Solaris set out to do very different things when compared to the makeup of Star Wars. It's not about being exclusionary, it's about defining the limits of where one thing ends and the other thing begins, and sure, there's always going to be sticky grey areas and subsets. Star Trek has Q, yes, and frankly the entire warp drive and impulse engines and a lot of the tech aren't terribly well-explained (it did help add the word 'technobabble' to our global culture after all) either if we want to pore over it in detail, but I'd say its ambitions aren't about making an action/drama romp that merely uses science as a prop.

    Well, except Star Trek: Discovery, which is... ugh. I'm perfectly willing to include it in a new category all its own: the 'space nopera'. And the recently rebooted Trek movies are going the way of full-bore Spock opera if you ask me.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 3rd Sep 2018 at 05:28.

  16. #641
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    And to me, it seems like an entirely arbitrary distinction to exclude things for no good reason. As far as I'm concerned, hard sci-fi is a subgenre of sci-fi, not the quintessential, "proper" sci-fi.

  17. #642
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Heh, hard sci-fi is an entire other discussion, Starker. We haven't even gone there yet! (It's definitely a subgenre tho'.) But I think I'll spare everyone and get some coffee and gripe about games instead.

  18. #643
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, it looked to me we were well on our way there, what with the "focus on science" and "scientific accuracy" and all.

    And leaving the strict criteria of hard sci-fi aside, Star Wars does have a veneer of plausibility in its setting. Just because it has fantastical elements doesn't mean its sci-fi elements are therefore null and void. It's a bit like saying that Spaceballs is not science fiction, because it's a science comedy (a science parody?). Or the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if you want a more... er... serious example.

  19. #644
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Nah, Spaceballs is actually a documentary. Science comedy is the first The Nutty Professor. The reboots don't rate because lips simply don't behave like that.

  20. #645
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I loved Spaceballs.

  21. #646
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: The Land of Make Believe
    Quote Originally Posted by Gingerbread Man View Post
    I have concerns about the inclusion of well-known actors like Richard E Grant. Okay, the other one is not-well-known actor Keri Russell. But I'm worried that what little suspension of disbelief / sense of wonder / nostalgia for 1979 will be destroyed by the sudden appearance of Simon Marchmont / Withnail -- I didn't like it when he showed up in Game of Thrones, I didn't like it when he showed up on Frasier. He's far too iconic an actor to make me confident that the illusion of "Long ago" and "Galaxy far away" will continue to uphold for me. Maybe I'm being silly. I probably am. (I mean, I CERTAINLY am in the Grand Scheme, but on my own personal level I don't know)

    Yes there are other Brand Names, but for me Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams... these are all people I associate first and foremost with their Star Wars characters, so it's not an issue. But Richard E Grant in particular is like having Christopher Walken in it.
    If Episode VIII could accommodate Eddie Hitler/Vyvyan Basterd, then Withnail in Episode IX shouldn't prove too jarring.

  22. #647
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    Well, that's a turn up. I hadn't noticed Ade Edmondson. Although I suspect that he's far less visually obvious to me, considering that I really only know him as Eddie / Vyvyan, and he was a whole lot younger then. Huh.

    (edit: also didn't know he was married to Jennifer Saunders... Wiki is teaching me many things this morning)


    (edit 2) Okay, you know what? I remember being irritated by Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro in Last Jedi, but I've totally forgotten about them, as well. Maybe this is part and parcel of me finding TLJ eminently forgettable in its entirety, I dunno.
    Last edited by Gingerbread Man; 3rd Sep 2018 at 16:08.

  23. #648
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Indeed, for me, science fantasy, space opera, and cyberpunk is still science fiction, even if it's not all that serious and scientific.

    Also, a lot of science fiction contains things that are nebulous and implausible. Star Trek has entities like Q that can pretty much perform miracles, Left Hand of Darkness and Babylon 5 have telepathy, and Asimov's robots with mind control powers are really no more explained than that. Not to mention a lot of the things that go on in Dune and the way psychohistory in Foundation is used as a little more than a plot device. Really, what such criteria accomplish is the exclusion of a lot of works that most people recognise as science fiction.
    To use specifically Babylon 5 as an example, that show used telepathy as a means of exploring aspects of society, from the creation of telepathic secret police to the notion of privacy becoming obsolete to the idea of a new class of superhumans and how they might get along with the 'mundanes'. It explicitly stated both how telepathy originates (heritable genetic traits) and provided consistent limits on what telepaths can do.

    It might be intrinsically implausible, but the show offers a consistent mechanism of action and then explores the consequences. It's essentially saying 'Assume telepathy is real, and has these rules- what happens next?'. That's the core of sci-fi to me, about using some form of technology or societal change (the plausibility of which determines whether we're talking 'hard' or 'soft' sci-fi) and then exploring the consequences in the form of a story. That was Star Trek's shtick, when it wasn't being contemporary social allegory.

    Star Wars never really uses technology this way. The technology and society in Star Wars are strictly in service to a Campbellian monomyth, and are never described beyond what is needed to advance the plot. I don't think there's anything wrong with that approach, but it's not the same. Whether you choose to differentiate by calling Star Wars 'space fantasy' or 'space opera' or something else is just a matter of semantics, but I think there's a significant difference in style that makes it similar to stuff like Firefly and different from what I could call soft sci-fi like Star Trek. It's not about being exclusionary, just descriptive and accurate.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that 'sci-fi' is typically treated more like an aesthetic description than a genre. You said yourself that robots = sci-fi, but I think it makes a huge difference whether those robots are being used to explore the nature of consciousness, or are just fancy costumes for ordinary characters. I can't think of any other mainstream genres that are so heavily defined by setting and appearance, except perhaps Westerns.

  24. #649
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    I agree with catbarf about the distinction between sci-fi and space operas. Merely exporting a common narrative theme to an exotic environment doesn't make it sci-fi any more than reworking a samurai movie into a western would.

    Firefly re-imagines a post Civil War USA on a galactic scale. The great plains become the "the Black". The settlers, bandits, evil sheriffs, hostile natives and whores with hearts of gold are more far flung. But the science just allows this expansion of the setting, it doesn't change the conflict. It is fantasy.

    "Real" sci-fi and speculative fiction explore the implications of changing a few parameters on our reality.

  25. #650
    Previously Important
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Caer Weasel, Uelekevu
    There's very little "sci" in Star Wars, especially when held up against the amount of "fantasy" -- spaceships and aliens do not sci-fi make, you're right.They may be typical elements of most mainstream sci-fi, but they are not codifiers by a long stretch.

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