What I think is lacking in most sci-fi stories

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by ahigherway, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    There is no escaping the fact that the vast majority of science fiction is the result or Western European Culture and the science and technology that made its spread possible. So that affected the psychology of sci-fi writers which affected readers, some of whom became writers, etc. etc.

    Its a cultural feedback loop.

    But now we have 7 billion people on the planet and getting into space is nowhere near as easy as all of the sci-fi books had us believe.

    We need a change in the psychology of the culture and the boys will be boys crap has got to go.

    psik
     
  2. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    I'd love to be more exposed to the SF writings of non-Western cultures (such as the "Dark Forest" thread in this section). The different attitudes and psychology of Japanese SF has strongly impacted my SF leanings and given us a different way to look at the future, technology and our place alongside it. SF needs more of that expansion of viewpoints in order to thrive in the near future.
     
  3. MoonDoggie

    MoonDoggie New Member

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    Am I the only one having Monty Python flashbacks after reading Junk's and Higher's posts? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxs3gmewuhI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8jGqdE2iw

    Other possible psychic options are creating a calming influence amongst others or making some kind of mind to mind connection between enemies to bring better understanding. Charles Xavier???

    Something else that could make for a good story is if there is a third party that both enemies trust and respect that sacrifices themselves to show the enemies how stupid they're being. Not exactly Romeo-Juliet, but you get the drift.
     
  4. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

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    I think you're looking for the second in the Ender Saga books by Orson Scott Card : Speaker for the Dead. its main theme is the inherent threat of violence at the contact between two civilizations and how to try prevent it.
     
  5. Awesomov

    Awesomov Man in the High Castle

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    *cough*Foundation*cough*
     
  6. ahigherway

    ahigherway Registered User

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    I can certainly understand where you're coming from. Yet, look at the changes that have been coming about in recent years: technology has helped us (in general) to reach a level of well-being that we have never known before. Medical procedures are becoming less invasive, less painful, less drastic, with less healing time, etc. The futuristic dreams of the 50's and 60's have already been exceeded.

    On the political front, people are demanding equality for all, freedom for all, human rights, animal rights, diplomacy rather than aggression..

    War is big business. And in order to make war, men have to be trained to consider the enemy as "non-human." Otherwise, it is very difficult to attack. Stirring the base emotions of the masses is the only way to "justify" aggression.

    And to me, all of this indicates that we are indeed developing in a particular direction. Need and discomfort are real things; it's how they are addressed that has to change.

    Just thinking out loud a bit..

    brian
     
  7. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    Ah! The old 'bore the enemy to death' strategy. :)
     
  8. ahigherway

    ahigherway Registered User

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    Monty flashbacks! Aaagh! :D

    Telepathy and/or mind control would beat a weapons-based race anyday. If beings in a physical realm were to encounter beings who were non-physical, it would be no match for the spiritual beings.

    Out-of-body experiences are a fascinating subject, imo. Communicating with others without speaking, a 360° visual range, traveling as fast as thought... all absolutely amazing. Maybe hard to depict in a movie, but great material for sci-fi.

    There was a Dr. Who episode where the doctor's companion (Leela) was shot by a ray gun that made her momentarily happy. A kind of "cocaine-gun." :)


    brian
     
  9. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    The best way to defeat an enemy without violence is to make them believe they're better off with you than without you. How you do that is open to interpretation, but often the introduction of a mutual threat that can only be vanquished by cooperation can be enough to unite warring factions.

    For an example, see "Watchmen."

    Then there's the Absolute Defense model: If you have a defense the enemy can't beat, they can't defeat you.

    For an example, see "The Great Wall of China."

    Another tactic is to simply surrender to the enemy: Accepting the rule of a prospering society may be preferable to destruction.

    For an example, see "The Mouse That Roared."
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  10. warrior6

    warrior6 Registered User

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    a future without any war is a future without progress
     
  11. ahigherway

    ahigherway Registered User

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    Possibly.
    I think war is often started by a leader, whereas often the rest of the group don't want to participate. Playground antics. The bully starts a provocation, and tries to rally others to side with him against his "enemy." But there are usually those who want nothing to do with the conflict.

    In fact, some sci-fi stories tell of aliens who "waited" to conquer earth until the humans had pretty much destroyed each other.


    I keep thinking back to Close Encounters. We saw contact with aliens just at the end. But what if the contact had continued? Would mankind have been so stupid as to suggest fighting them? I have no doubt as to who would win in such a case (hint: not us)..

    And any aggression would be to "show superiority." But truely advanced races wouldn't get into any "I'm better than you" challenges. They would be above that. They would be interested in learning; in exchange; in mutual growth. I think that's what the aliens in Close Encounters wanted.


    brian
     
  12. JunkMonkey

    JunkMonkey Registered User

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    You volunteering?
     
  13. Steven L Jordan

    Steven L Jordan I like SF. SF is cool.

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    Disagree. Not all technological advancement or progress was made as a result of war in the past, and it won't be that way in the future. Cooperation and social systems prompted much of our technological advancements, to improve agriculture and transportation, to aid communications, to create commerce, and just to make a buck.
     
  14. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    The problem is so many people think like that. I had a history teacher in high school who I would swear was looking forward to a war with China.

    The thing is we do need a different attitude toward science and science education. Too often the only reason some research gets financed is because they think it will be a useful weapon.

    psik
     
  15. MoonDoggie

    MoonDoggie New Member

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    Who would have more success solving a problem? A group of people fighting and arguing or a group communicating and working together?

    Sure war might make the different sides work better amongst themselves, but that's no reason to start a war. The progress of either side could be destroyed and lost. Make it a contest rather than a war. Loser buys the beer.:D
     
  16. ahigherway

    ahigherway Registered User

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    I really agree with the last 4 posts ^^^.

    War is not necessary. Intelligence and creative collaboration are what we need. Aliens that are truly advanced are those who know how to defeat war, not other beings.

    I guess the quality of our sci-fi kind of reflects the quality of our ability to deal with real life issues. If our idea of aliens is that they are "evil," and that the only way to interact with them is by destroying them, does that perhaps say something about how we deal with foreigners on our own planet???


    Brian
     
  17. kennychaffin

    kennychaffin Man of Ways and Means

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    Yes but a real or perceived enemy will advance technology, discovery, creativity much faster than a life of leisure. This is what happened with the Space Race and this is why we(the U.S.) are currently losing our edge in that area as well as most other science areas. We've become complacent.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks of this a lot in his essays on space, astronomy, cosmology.
     
  18. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    Spock was a fool. :D. If there are truly no emotions then there is no guilt and no empathy. Therefore nothing whatsoever to prevent the casual elimination of any person or race that gets in the way. Assuming that without emotions there still IS a survival instinct, and a desire for more than just the bare minimum.
     
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I finally got an "educator" to check out an old science fiction story and respond.

    Omnilingual (1957) by H. Beam Piper
    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/03/scientific-language-h-beam-pipers-qomnilingualq
    http://www.feedbooks.com/book/308/omnilingual
    http://librivox.org/omnilingual-by-h-beam-piper/

    There is a reason for grade school kids to read science fiction that has nothing to do with why people over 25 might want to read it. But if kids read it for the accurate science and teachers discuss it in class then might they not become very different 25 year olds?

    psik
     
  20. Chuffalump

    Chuffalump A chuffing heffalump

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    Just because there may be no death involve doesn't mean it's not a war. One side of the conflict feels all smug because they've erected a forcefield around the solar system of the other or 'mind controlled' them not to fight. 'Hey, look at us, we haven't killed a single one of them. Aren't we mature?'. Meanwhile the trapped enemy fries as their sun goes nova or quietly starves to death.

    The issue is resources. As long as there are life or death issues involving resources there will be war. Even if one side is able to hold the other at arms length until they give up and die, it's still war.

    The trick is to recognise when it ISN'T a life or death issue.