I actually really like science fiction. I enjoy Jules Verne’s novels, just recently finished reading the Ender’s Saga novels, and I feel nostalgia when I see an old Star Trek Enterprise episode (gonna get all seasons some day). What annoys me is that in most works of art (books, movies, games) that are settled in an Sci-Fi setting, the writers are just so DAMN UNIMAGINATIVE in a genre that is all about thinking up crazy stuff.The interesting characteristic of science fiction is that you as the writer have the freedom to create your own concepts, aliens, cultures and predictions of what humanity would be like so-and-so many years from now. Each science fiction author therefore makes a commentary on the way they see humanity as we are now, even if just as a side-effect. That is what’s so compelling to me. This is an important distinction between Fantasy and Sci-Fi. The second characteristic is, that this vision of the future is grounded to be a probable forecast – rooted in science. And this is what so many people who create something with the label “Science Fiction” get wrong so often, IMO.
Check out this article on Cracked.com, apart from being hilarious, it comes up with various scientific facts that simply negate so many of concepts that science fiction movies/books/games just ignore. It’s actually okay if in a movie, they travel with near light speed, but PLEASE, give me at least a pseudo-scientific explanation as to HOW that would be possible. I’m not asking you to be a Ph.D. in the field, but at least make it seem like it’s a plausible technological achievement.
I hate shit like they pulled in Avatar. Floating rocks with waterfalls? Please give me at least a little explanation how the water gets there, Mr.Cameron. I know it looks cool and all…”alien”. But it’s nonetheless just a stupid excuse to make pretty wallpaper material if you don’t.
Another gripe I have is how artists just never seem to be able to come up with alien lifeforms that actually seem to be really alien in their own right. I’m tired of movies and games with 20 different alien species who differ in being
1. furry or reptilian
2. all speak in various english dialects or in total gibberish
3. are metaphors for human stereotypes (the really clever alien race, or the really warmongering alien race etc)
As you might know if you just have some basic understanding in biology and evolutionary theory, alien life forms, no matter which planet they evolve on, still underlie the basic principles of evolution (of course, it’s not proven yet). So they have the potential to be ABSOLUTELY and totally FREAKY to us. Think of this. Here on our earth, we have basically 2 major ways that life forms exist: plants and animals. They really differ from each other in so many fundamental ways, yet science fiction writers who are tasked to come up with a creative image of alien life deliver stuff like Wookies, or Vulcans, or giant bugs. LOL.
Of course, you might argue that those unimaginative depictions are made on purpose in order to be more “accessible” to non-geek audiences. And you’d be right. Solaris (movie) has a way smaller fan base than Star Wars .
But I just feel that the main objective when creating a science fiction work of art is to challenge our beliefs of ourselves, and the world around us. Star Wars is more of an adolescent power fantasy aimed at selling merchandise than a worthy work of science fiction. I mean, if you’re treat the core principles of the genre like shit, why would you settle your story in that genre in the first place? I think it’s because science fiction, unlike for example, crime novels, still hasn’t established its core values in the public consciousness. So it’s pretty much a victim to people like George Lucas.
I mean, it’s pretty sad for any given genre that one of the most awesome works is a parody of the genre itself (I’m talking about The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy).
Well maybe I should shut my mouth and just try to cash in on it. I guess I could make good money with a story of a young human who leads his people against the oppression of the evil (because that’s just what they are by nature) aliens with gross scales for mouths who speak in gibberish that gets translated into English with German accent, muahaha. Of course, can’t forget the ancient civilization of furry cute little aliens who’ve helped humanity out for years, since they’ve been enslaved as well.
Got any novels, movies or even games that are noteworthy of being science fiction to mention to me?