SF survey

Any old topic will do, I suppose.

What do you think of first when you think of the term "SciFi," or "SF"

Books
12
75%
Movies
2
13%
TV
0
No votes
Games
0
No votes
Other (please specify)
2
13%
I'm actually into fantasy (please accept my condolences)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 16

SF survey

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:52 pm

I was wondering what you guys think of when you think of "SciFi." Are you interested in the genre for movies, or books, or games or for some other reason. What is it that got you into SF, what is is that keeps you into it, and what do you think of first when someone says "SciFi?"
Last edited by Omphalos on Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GamePlayer » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:16 pm

This is a pretty broad question. I'll take a shot.

I got into science fiction first because of movies. Science fiction television came next followed by literature last. When I think of sci-fi, I usually think "future". I find science fiction compelling because of the possibilities it explores. I've always been easily awed by provocative possibilities and sci-fi is one of the best forms of fiction for "wow" ideas :)

Sad as it is to admit, what initially got me into science fiction was spaceships, mecha and cool guns. I guess ADHD had stuck hard, but that was the reason, way back when I was little.

HOWEVER...in my defense, it was the strength of the stories that made the strongest impression upon me, even if I didn't realize it at the time. Movies like Alien (especially the sequel Aliens), The Terminator, The Road Warrior, Star Wars and anime like Super Dimension Fortress Macross were major influences on my formative years. They satisfied my taste for spaceships, mecha and guns, but ultimately it was the stories that held up and have continued to do so for all these years. I dumped most of the shit I watched as a child, but those examples above survived into my adulthood because they are great stories.

What keeps me into science fiction is still the strength of the stories. It's been harder at various times due to a lack of good material and good writers. The general failure of most sci-fi film and television during a significant period of the 1990s is what lead me to dive headlong into sci-fi literature and I'm really glad I did. I went through dozens of books in just a few years and enjoyed a lot of classics. It was also during this time that I got into Iain M Banks, one of my new favorites. I've remained interested in sci-fi literature even after this period and I have been enjoying some really good books (such as The Road).

Sadly, what often comes to mind when I first think of sci-fi is how I have to avoid talking about it to most people, especially women. That's one of the reasons I come online as much as I do, because even to this day - living in the era of geek supremacy - most people still roll their eyes if you talk about science fiction with any kind of passion in your voice. I've become used to being a closet sci-fi fan, only geeking out when sci-fi manages to hit big at the theatres :)
Last edited by GamePlayer on Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Omphalos » Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:36 pm

I would not be sad to admit that, GP. Anything that gets people interested in SF is wonderful, AFAIAC. I'm just glad that you stuck with it and went further. I think that is how SF works, and is why I asked such a broad question. I think that people find something with SF connections that interests them, then they get drawn in deeper. For me it was the books when I was a kid, but then the RPG's took over, and then when interest in that died down, I was completely int the books again, and the movies too.

I still get a lot of eye rollers too when I talk about SF. But I have been at it so long with, for example, my co-workers, that some of them are now reading my book review pages and take suggestions from me for books to read. It was hard getting to that place though, and usually if someone is turned off by my interest in SF, I don't hang with them much after that.
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Postby The Phantom » Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:53 am

i too get the eye rolls from friends and family whenever i talk about it, but have come to not care and try to convince people of its merits nonetheless. My interest was a natural evolution from a fascination with the ancient world. I loved reading books about ancian Mayan, Inca, Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures. Since many scifi takes elements of ancient cultures and applies them in a futuristic setting, there was a natural bridge between the two. I got into utopian (and dystopian) literature in high school through a love for 1984, a Handmaid's tale, etc. My first real scifi read was (if i remember correctly) War of the Worlds. I loved it and went out searching for more. When I first picked up Dune in grade 11, my world was changed. From that point on, I started reading non-stop, (now I can't get to sleep at night if I haven't read a bit, even if it's a late night and I've been drinking), and continue looking for more and more scifi to discover. From books I bridged into some TV/movies but have never been relatively impressed, save for Firefly/Serenity.

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Postby GamePlayer » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:08 am

Science fiction offers so much. It's simply a great genre. I love all kinds of stories in science fiction, from action adventure to introspective and existential. I also really enjoy world building as a mental exercise and really well-crafted fictional constructs fascinate me. I love Dune so much because of it's fictional anthropology; the cultures, the politics, the science and how they have all impacted the world of Dune just astounds me. The characters act within this world the way they would if Dune were real because all the fictional aspects of this future world society have been carefully explored and applied with care. It feels so genuine and that makes the story all the more engrossing.

I believe the science fiction genre is by far the most important creative genre of the 20th century. It's impact is incredibly widespread and I can't think of another single genre of creative art/entertainment that has had a bigger impact this last century than science fiction. Just look at the kinds of artists that created within the genre of science fiction and it's easy to see how amazing this genre really is. Frank Herbert is one of the giants of 20th century literature and his Dune is the seminal science fiction novel. Stanley Kubrick, arguably the greatest filmmaker ever, made one of the greatest science fiction films ever. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott; these are some of the biggest, most influential names in film and they've all done important science fiction works.

As far as other folk, I too have long since stopped caring about what people think of sci-fi. But I have also long ago learned to simply avoid discussing sci-fi with most people on all but the most superficial levels. I have some friends who are sci-fi fans, but I also have many others who are not and it doesn't really bother me if they choose not to enjoy sci-fi like I do. But anyone who can't speak intelligently about sci-fi when criticizing it is someone I don't want to know. I find one of the best "entertainment" topics to discuss with people is film. Almost everyone of my generation loves movies, even if they don't share my knowledge or enthusiasm for them. That's the best way I know to talk about sci-fi with non-fans without really talking about it :)
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Postby Himachil » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:08 pm

I put movies because I visualise books and audio/radioplays pretty much as if they were films... even if many of them are pretty un-filmable.

Even though it is the concepts and ideas that hold my attention and keep me coming back for more, I approach the genre as a primarily visual medium.

If that makes sense... :P
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Postby Mandy » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:26 pm

When I think of scifi, I think books and TV. I'm not really into movies anymore.
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Postby Omphalos » Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:30 pm

Mandy wrote:When I think of scifi, I think books and TV. I'm not really into movies anymore.


Good point. I missed TV. Ill add that one.
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Postby Eyes High » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:06 pm

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear sci-fi is books. Then very shortly it is followed by movies. I'm can't remember which book actually got me into Science Fiction.

I admit that I'm more into Fantasy than Sci-fi; however, don't count me lost just yet. I do like several authors who are strictly SF.
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Postby Freakzilla » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:12 pm

I voted "Other" because one medium does stand out more than another in the genre for me.

As I've grown I've progressed from TV to movies, games, books, etc. I've never really grown out of one, just added more sources of input.
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Postby SandRider » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:25 pm

At one point in my life, "Science Fiction" meant the 50s Flying Saucer Movies, Flash Gordon serials, attacking aliens from Mars things, the little magazines that were almost equated with pornography in my house. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" may have changed that. Star Trek changed that. "2001" surely did. I don't remember when I started hearing "SciFi" more, but it was in the early 70s. By the late 70s, the term "SciFi" conjured up images of Star Trek conventions and nerds having serious (to them) discussions of Warp Drive Technology. The Ape movies fit in there somewhere, too. I think OMNI magazine had a serious impact about then.

After "Star Wars" tho, I think things changed again. Back to the action/adventure laser gun heroic saga stuff. I got really disinterested then. (plus, I was ALOT older, with other concerns, jobs, kids, wives, etc) For me, I think the "Golden Age" of this type of fiction was middle 60s to early 70s, with the short stories that focused on much broader human issues. I don't know, tho, I was and still am a very casual fan of "Science Fiction"

I was thinking about the origin of the term tho - I do remember reading heated debates among authors in the early 60s about "Science Fiction" vs. "Speculative Fiction" - I think because "Science Fiction" was associated with the Flying Saucer movies of the 50s and the pulp "Flash Gordon" magazines, and they thought they were writing much more serious things. I found this on Wikpedia, the format is a mess, but I don't have the energy today to try and clean it up. From the quotes, it looks like they were arguing this as early as the late forties.


Definitions
In date order
Hugo Gernsback. 1926. "By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story -- a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision . . . . Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading -- they are always instructive. They supply knowledge . . . in a very palatable form . . . . New adventures pictured for us in the scientifiction of today are not at all impossible of realization tomorrow . . . . Many great science stories destined to be of historical interest are still to be written . . . . Posterity will point to them as having blazed a new trail, not only in literature and fiction, but progress as well."[3][4]
J. O. Bailey. 1947. "A piece of scientific fiction is a narrative of an imaginary invention or discovery in the natural sciences and consequent adventures and experiences . . . . It must be a scientific discovery -- something that the author at least rationalizes as possible to science."[5][6][4]
Robert A. Heinlein. 1947. "Let's gather up the bits and pieces and define the Simon-pure science fiction story: 1. The conditions must be, in some respect, different from here-and-now, although the difference may lie only in an invention made in the course of the story. 2. The new conditions must be an essential part of the story. 3. The problem itself -- the "plot" -- must be a human problem. 4. The human problem must be one which is created by, or indispensably affected by, the new conditions. 5. And lastly, no established fact shall be violated, and, furthermore, when the story requires that a theory contrary to present accepted theory be used, the new theory should be rendered reasonably plausible and it must include and explain established facts as satisfactorily as the one the author saw fit to junk. It may be far-fetched, it may seem fantastic, but it must not be at variance with observed facts, i.e., if you are going to assume that the human race descended from Martians, then you've got to explain our apparent close relationship to terrestrial anthropoid apes as well."[7]
John W. Campbell. 1947. "To be science fiction, not fantasy, an honest effort at prophetic extrapolation from the known must be made."[7]
Damon Knight. 1952. At the start of a series of book review columns, Knight stated the following as one of his assumptions: "That the term 'science fiction' is a misnomer, that trying to get two enthusiasts to agree on a definition of it leads only to bloody knuckles; that better labels have been devised (Heinlein's suggestion, 'speculative fiction', is the best, I think), but that we're stuck with this one; and that it will do us no particular harm if we remember that, like 'The Saturday Evening Post', it means what we point to when we say it." This definition is now usually seen in abbreviated form as "Science fiction is [or means] what we point to when we say it."[8]
Basil Davenport. 1955. "Science fiction is fiction based upon some imagined development of science, or upon the extrapolation of a tendency in society."[9]
Edmund Crispin. 1955. A science fiction story "is one that presupposes a technology, or an effect of technology, or a disturbance in the natural order, such as humanity, up to the time of writing, has not in actual fact experienced."[10][11]
Robert A. Heinlein. 1959. "Realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method. To make this definition cover all science fiction (instead of 'almost all') it is necessary only to strike out the word 'future'.[12]
Kingsley Amis. 1960. "Science fiction is that class of prose narrative treating of a situation that could not arise in the world we know, but which is hypothesized on the basis of some innovation in science or technology, or pseudo-science or pseudo-technology, whether human or extra-terrestrial in origin."[13]
James Blish. 1960 or 1964. Science fantasy is "a kind of hybrid in which plausibility is specifically invoked for most of the story, but may be cast aside in patches at the author's whim and according to no visible system or principle."[14]
Darko Suvin. 1972. Science fiction is "a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author's empirical environment."[15][4]
Brian Aldiss. 1973. "[S]cience fiction is the search for a definition of man and his status in the universe which will stand in our advanced but confused state of knowledge (science) and is characteristically cast in the Gothic or post-Gothic mode".[16][6][4] Revised 1986. "... a definition of mankind..."[17]
David Ketterer. 1974. "Philosophically oriented science fiction, extrapolating on what we know in the context of our vaster ignorance, comes up with a startling donnée, or rationale, that puts humanity in a radically new perspective."[4]
Norman Spinrad. 1974. "Science fiction is anything published as science fiction."[6][4][18]
Robert Scholes. 1975. Fabulation is "fiction that offers us a world clearly and radically discontinuous from the one we know, yet returns to confront that known world in some cognitive way."[19][4]
―. 1975. In structural fabulation, "the tradition of speculative fiction is modified by an awareness of the universe as a system of systems, a structure of structures, and the insights of the past century of science are accepted as fictional points of departure. Yet structural fabulation is neither scientific in its methods nor a substitute for actual science. It is a fictional exploration of human situations made perceptible by the implications of recent science. Its favourite themes involve the impact of developments or revelations derived from the human or physical sciences upon the people who must live with those revelations or developments."[19][4]
Patrick Parrinder. 1980. "'Hard' SF is related to 'hard facts' and also to the 'hard' or engineering sciences. It does not necessarily entail realistic speculation about a future world, though its bias is undoubtedly realistic. Rather, this is the sort of SF that most appeals to scientists themselves -- and is often written by them. The typical 'hard' SF writer looks for new and unfamiliar scientific theories and discoveries which could provide the occasion for a story, and, at its more didactic extreme, the story is only a framework for introducing the scientific concept to the reader."[20]
―. 1980. "In 'space opera' (the analogy is with the Western 'horse opera' rather than the 'soap opera') the reverse [Parrinder is referring to his definition of "hard sf"] is true; a melodramatic adventure-fantasy involving stock themes and settings is evolved on the flimsiest scientific basis."[20]
David Pringle. 1985. "Science fiction is a form of fantastic fiction which exploits the imaginative perspectives of modern science".[21]
Kim Stanley Robinson. 1987. Sf is "an historical literature . . . . In every sf narrative, there is an explicit or implicit fictional history that connects the period depicted to our present moment, or to some moment in our past."[22][4]
Christopher Evans. 1988. "Perhaps the crispest definition is that science fiction is a literature of 'what if?' What if we could travel in time? What if we were living on other planets? What if we made contact with alien races? And so on. The starting point is that the writer supposes things are different from how we know them to be."[23]
Isaac Asimov. 1990. "'[H]ard science fiction' [is] stories that feature authentic scientific knowledge and depend upon it for plot development and plot resolution."[24]
Jeff Prucher. 2006. Science fiction is "a genre (of literature, film, etc.) in which the setting differs from our own world (e.g. by the invention of new technology, through contact with aliens, by having a different history, etc.), and in which the difference is based on extrapolations made from one or more changes or suppositions; hence, such a genre in which the difference is explained (explicitly or implicitly) in scientific or rational, as opposed to supernatural, terms."[25]

[edit] Undated (alphabetically by author)
John W. Campbell, Jr.. "Scientific methodology involves the proposition that a well-constructed theory will not only explain away known phenomena, but will also predict new and still undiscovered phenomena. Science fiction tries to do much the same -- and write up, in story form, what the results look like when applied not only to machines, but to human society as well."[4]
Barry N. Malzberg. Science fiction is "that branch of fiction that deals with the possible effects of an altered technology or social system on mankind in an imagined future, an altered present, or an alternative past."[6]
Judith Merril. "Speculative fiction: stories whose objective is to explore, to discover, to learn, by means of projection, extrapolation, analogue, hypothesis-and-paper-experimentation, something about the nature of the universe, of man, or 'reality' . . . . I use the term 'speculative fiction' here specifically to describe the mode which makes use of the traditional 'scientific method' (observation, hypothesis, experiment) to examine some postulated approximation of reality, by introducing a given set of changes -- imaginary or inventive -- into the common background of 'known facts', creating an environment in which the responses and perceptions of the characters will reveal something about the inventions, the characters, or both".[6][4]
Frederik Pohl. "Science fiction is what science fiction fans mean when they point to something and say, 'That's science fiction.'"[6]
Rod Serling. "Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible."
Tom Shippey. "Science fiction is hard to define because it is the literature of change and it changes while you are trying to define it."[6]
Theodore Sturgeon. "[A] good science-fiction story is a story about human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, that would not have happened at all without its science content."[6]
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Postby Omphalos » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:33 pm

I go back and forth on the use of "science fiction" vs. "speculative fiction." The term science fiction has a lot of momentum behind it, and most people understand what you mean when you say it. Not so with "speculative fiction," but that latter terms better describes what it is we are reading. The problem with it is that if you are going to replace "science" with "speculative," then you create a different kind of confusion because "speculative fiction" is actually an umbrella term that SF, fantasy and horror come under. IOW, you are replacing the specific term of science fiction, which is on the same level with fantasy and horror, with a broader term, and leaving no specific description for science fiction. It only really works right when you leave "science fiction" as a category like horror and fantasy under the broader "speculative fiction" banner.
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Postby SandRider » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:43 pm

Sure. I guess I was just rambling about the historical aspect - the evolution of the term over the years, as I (barely) remember it.

I still think there are two distinct camps in this types of fiction, that
somehow need to be differentiated - the serious "literature", like
Frank Herbert's Dune, and the "pulp", the throwaway entertainment
stuff, like KJA's Dune.

I think this has been a struggle for over 70 years now, going back to
maybe the 30s, of the second type dragging down and devaluing the
first.
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Postby Omphalos » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:10 pm

Yea. I put all that up there because everyone makes that mistake at one time or another.

About the pulp stuff, I dont think that its importance can be downplayed. I may mock it at trite and meaningless, but in the development of SF as the "literature of ideas" it is very important. Those pulp guys and their editors set the tone for SF scholarship today that is pretty much still in effect; at least with ideals. With the literary side of things we have an entirely new and atill developing critical apparatus, but the ideas side of SF will not ever be abandoned.
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Postby SandRider » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:23 pm

maybe that was a bad choice of term - by "pulp" I didn't really mean
to refer to the magazines of the 50s I grew up on - hell, Asimov,
Clarke, Heinlien, Herbert were published in those.

I meant the difference between the stories that were above and beyond
Space Rangers in the Stars vs. Two-Headed Amazon Women from Mars
type stuff.

Frank's Dune vs. KJA's Dune.
The later dragging the former down in terms of "literature"....

or something.
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Postby Omphalos » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:34 pm

Yea. The mindless stuff that didn't even entertian very well back in the day. That kind of stuff?
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Postby SandRider » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:24 pm

The mindless stuff that doesn't entertain anyone out of middle school today.

lessee .... Kevin J. Anderson springs to mind. Probably throw the
Warhammer 40K stuff in, if I'd ever read it. (there's just too many
of those books on the shelf at the mall bookstore for them to be
any good - I don't mean on the shelf, they aren't selling, I mean too
many different titles, like the Star Wars stuff. Or Star Trek for that matter.)

And another random thought. Whatever the conventional wisdom is
today about the original Star Trek series, you've got to take into account
the way it was first received. (Stoned out in college dorm rooms in the late 60s)
It was unbelievable, not just the special effects and green
women, but the themes. The Prime Directive - don't fuck with other
cultures, in a period when the youth of America was fed up with American
Imperialism. A black woman as member of the Officer Corps. The way
all races and even species were seen as equal. Well, in theory, all the
Authority Figures were still mostly White Men, but you get my point.

We watched every episode in the context of the politics of the day, the
way we're watching the new BSG now. Believe it or not, Star Trek was
a very powerful show, before it became a cliche.

{after I posted and re-read that, I realised I'm preaching to the choir.}
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Postby Omphalos » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:45 pm

I love ST:TOS for exactly the reason you stated. The first two seasons are some of the best SF TV ever, as far as I am concerned. The third season kind of sucked, but still made some cool points. I still record them and watch them. Did so with three episodes a few weeks ago as a matter of fact.
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Postby GamePlayer » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:51 pm

I don't like the whole "speculative fiction" label. It screams of political correctness. Or worse, a desperate grab for legitimacy; like the powers that be recognized that even with talents like Herbert or Kubrick championing the genre of science fiction, the moniker would forever be relegated to "lower art". So some knuckle heads thought they'd try to repackage sci-fi with a different colored foil wrapper :)

ST:TOS is the only Trek I'll watch and one or two of the early movies were good. But everything else is junk, which is 99% of the franchise. Maybe the new movie might be good, since it's a take on the TOS, but I'm more skeptical than I am hopeful.
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Postby SandRider » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:18 am

I don't know that I'd call Heinlein a "knucklehead" ..... but then, he put
forth the term in the late 1940s.....

I started to say there that "the situation was different then", but I'm not
sure ..... I think this genre of fiction is still struggling for "legitimacy"
in many circles, Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke notwithstanding.

Maybe the situation is exactly the same, what I've said several times
in this thread already, that the bullshit overshadows the brilliant.

I agree tho, GP, that "speculative fiction" still doesn't roll of the tongue,
even 60 years later. And it's waaaay too late in the game to try to
redefine an entire fiction genre.

or something, I don't know, for some reason this issue seems to cloud
my mind and make me unable to think straight (moreso than normal, I mean....)
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Postby Robspierre » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:54 am

I started to say there that "the situation was different then", but I'm not
sure ..... I think this genre of fiction is still struggling for "legitimacy"
in many circles, Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke notwithstanding.


I kind of agree but don't at the same time. With the changes in the world from a technological stand point a lot of what made science fiction so different has moved forward to the point where the concept of what is science fiction seems dated to many.

Look at how many elements of shows and movies have very strong science fiction elements that are mainstream today yet they are not classified as science fiction. The genre as been mainstreamed to a large extent.

I think that with the corporate and marketing trends what we are seeing is a balkanization of the genre, you have media tie-ins, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk, etc, where people identify not with science fiction but with the specific sub-genre, much like high school with the jocks, goths, punks, etc.


The legitimacy is there for a few authors, Stephenson and Gibson come to mind, but for others, it does seem to lacking.

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Postby SandRider » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:07 am

Rob wrote:I kind of agree but don't at the same time.


Me, too.

I've got the disadvantage too of jumping in and out of the field over many years,
and being a casual fan.

It was quite a while before I understood WTF "steampunk" was.
{and I probably still harbor misconceptions about that}
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Postby GamePlayer » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:18 am

SandRider wrote:I don't know that I'd call Heinlein a "knucklehead" ..... but then, he put
forth the term in the late 1940s.....


I don't mean the guy who created the damn term. I'm talking about the recent batch of critical establishment morons who are pushing to have the term revisited. It didn't work back then and it's not working now and it deserved to stay in disuse as far as I'm concerned. The label was always a case of too little too late. The genre had already been commonly defined as science fiction despite Heinlein's own opinion of what the genre should have been called. Now after four decades of popular culture penetration, what's the point of trying to fix what ain't broke?

Speculative Fiction is the Feudalism of fiction categorization :)
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Postby Omphalos » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:26 am

GamePlayer wrote:I don't like the whole "speculative fiction" label. It screams of political correctness.


You know what? That is an excellent point, and its the thing I have been trying to figure out how to say for a long time now. Its almost like we are expected to kow-tow to the dominant "mianstream" and give them a term other than Science Fiction. Fuck that.
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Postby Robspierre » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:31 pm

Omphalos wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:I don't like the whole "speculative fiction" label. It screams of political correctness.


You know what? That is an excellent point, and its the thing I have been trying to figure out how to say for a long time now. Its almost like we are expected to kow-tow to the dominant "mianstream" and give them a term other than Science Fiction. Fuck that.


Yet this was being discussed as early as 1941, some as a way to get mainstream attention, others as a more accurate descriptor of what they were writing, the fights between the hard and soft science proponents, etc. While it does have the yearning for mainstream acceptance vibe, at the same time it brings up the fact that there is no one simple catch all term for science fiction, in part I believe, at least today, that reality has blurred the lines even more and we end up with more balkanization of the genre.

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Postby Omphalos » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:37 pm

Back in the day it was being discussed among genre people as a way of categorizing the work being produced. SF has since the 1950's or so concentrated very heavily on creating its own critical arm, and never realy looked to mainstream critics or scholars to do it for us.

My take on what GamePlayer was saying was that in recent years it has become more of a marketing idea, and as a way to either lure mainstream readers into the fold unsuspecting, or as a way to placate mainstream scholars who look down their noses at us here in the lowly worlds of SF.

I still think that trying to use the term "speculative fiction" simultaneously as a major category descriptor and as a replacement for the sub-category of "science fiction" is kind of foolish and counter productive. I dont think that the effort is foolish, though, to bring SF, horror and fantasy under one banner. It just needs to be done smartly. And, of course, I do agree that if the purpose is to make SF more palatable to uptight readers....well, that has its good points and its bad, but it does over all leave a bad taste in my mouth.
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Postby GamePlayer » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:23 pm

The problem is that "speculative fiction" doesn't improve the definition of the science fiction genre, nor does it significantly differentiate itself from said genre. The term is failing to achieve what people say it's supposed to be achieving. So if the term isn't better, why bother using it?

Which is why "political correctness" makes such an apt analogy for the thinking behind "speculative fiction"; both ideologies attempt to describe their subject using more complex, intentionally vague descriptive terms rather than simpler, more pointed terms.

For better or worse, Science Fiction is the most appropriate term simply because it is more narrowly defined. Broaden the definition of "science fiction" with another term and suddenly no one knows how to distinguish science fiction from anything else. Now granted, that might be the whole idea behind the term "speculative fiction", to blur the lines between sci-fi and regular fiction so more people (especially academics and the critical establishment) simply don't distinguish sci-fi from other fiction. But like PC, people will be themselves in spite of attempts to control them and people will peg, categorize, and reference everything in life. The easiest way to categorize or describe something will invariably be the way of choice for most people.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:21 pm

I voted "other" because SF makes me think of books, and SciFi makes me think of TV "junk-food" Science Fiction.

How I got into it? Pretty much the same story as GamePlayer, but I started out my love of literature with Fantasy rather than SF, and through Movies and TV was eventually moved to start reading the genre.
I deleted some of your posts because they were derailing the topic and not focusing on the issues asked, and instead going after the authors or their material. That's why. ~ BM
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Postby Freakzilla » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:23 am

I'm not sure if my earliest SF memories are of ST:TOS and Space 1999 on TV or Alien and Star Wars on the big screen came first so the two genres are blended into one for me.

I must say though, at about seven-years-old, that Alien on the silver screen scared the shit out of me.
They were destroyed because they lied pretentiously. Have no fear that my wrath
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