What Will Hope do for Science Fiction?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by kcf, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    I think 9/11 will, in the long run, have more of an affect on Science Fiction than Obama's election as president. There are enough flavors, writers, and approaches to science fiction that ultimately, Obama's win will have as much affect as anything as historic. Will the futures that writers prognosticate be much different than if McCain won? Maybe, but the same can be said after any election.

    There may be more new Utopic fiction rather than Dystopic fiction on the shelves.
     
  2. Razorback

    Razorback New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don’t read a lot of short fiction, but it makes sense that current moods would manifest themselves more readily in short fiction. I don’t expect much of an effect in novels, because I don’t expect the mood to last long enough. I’ve been around long enough to know things can get considerably worse than they are now. It’s just my opinion, but I think an Obama/Pelosi/Reid government will make things worse, not better. My view is clearly a minority one at this point, and I hope I’m wrong. Time will tell, probably 2 to 3 years.
     
  3. Hobbit

    Hobbit Now.. A Seriously Likeable Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    11,462
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    198
    They usually do, if previous experience repeats itself. There is often a much shorter turn-around for a short story than a novel.

    Mark / Hobbit
     
  4. devilsadvoc8

    devilsadvoc8 Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think we also need to consider the need for hope in our fiction when there isn't much in reality versus hope (as tied to a particular candidate causing it). Thanksfully I didn't live through WWII but when talking to those who did, it was a much bleaker time than right now. The current atmosphere is mixed IMO. I think a lot of people believe that it is a cycle that will work itself out.

    WWII on the other hand endangered not only short / medium term affluence but your entire way of life and potentially even your life on a widespread basis. I certainly cannot judge the impact of such bleak times on Sci Fi in the 40's and 50's as a whole.

    Can anyone describe the tone of Sci Fi then? Was it happy endings? Good always triumphs over evil? 1984 which was finished in the late 40s was certainly influenced by censorship that happened during the war and afterwards.
     
  5. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Bear in mind that many dystopian and pessimistic stories are not without hope, even when the evil tyrants are not overturned at the end. And that a story with a tragic end isn't always created out of a lack of hope. Sometimes it's just fun to have a story where the zombies eat everyone. :D
     
  6. Irrelevant

    Irrelevant Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I haven't watched too much sci-fi from the 50s, but I know Flash Gordon was popular. You might say Ming the Merciless was an allegory for communism, having a Chinese name being a cruel dictator. However, the original comic was made prior to the formation of the People's Republic of China. It's popularity in the 50s may have been a happy coincidence though. The evil dictator is Chinese, we have Chinese dictators now. Not the intent of the author but definitely how the audience saw it. That was more of a traditional good vs. evil story with the bad guy always foiled by the hero.

    I think the biggest influence on sci-fi during that era was the atomic bomb. Besides the giant lizards or bugs mutated by radiation destroying cities, there was the "man playing god" thing going on. The bomb proved that man playing around technology can have disastrous effects. Just because we can do something doesn't mean you can do it. I remember watching "Return of the Fly," sequel to "The Fly." Vincent Price says, and I'm paraphrasing, "There are some things men are not meant to know," in response to a scientist trying to perfect the teleportation device. A fly flies into the machine at the moment of testing and the scientist turns into a fly-man.

    This theme runs throughout the 30s all the way to the 60s. Scientific discoveries were being made on a daily basis and the world was changing so fast that it led to a certain fear for the future.
     
  7. Irrelevant

    Irrelevant Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh one other thing to get back to the whole "Hope" message of this article.

    I voted for Obama and think he'll do good for the country. The thing is, "Hope" and "Change" are simply mantras that supporters of the Obama campaign repeat.

    In 2004, the Kerry campaign was way to intellectual and didn't appeal on a personal level. Studies showed that people voted with their heart more than their brain and Kerry was brainy candidate. Obama recognized this and became the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. He gives really great speeches that carry the tone of sermons without the religiosity and inspire people.

    With that said, despite my support for the guy, I recognize "Hope" and "Change" as a marketing campaign. Also, hope runs both ways. I'm sure there were some conservative writers that thought a Bush win meant brighter days for tomorrow. Even James Dobson, who's "Focus on the Family" is normally uplifting, wrote a bit of sci-fi with "Letters from 2012," where home-schooling is outlawed unless the parents have a teacher's license and we have to settle for teaching our kids about Jesus 18/7 instead of 24/7.

    So expect both liberal dystopias and utopias to be on the rise.
     
  8. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Not to get too pedantic, but Flash Gordon the comic was created in the late 30s and the film serials were created just a couple of years after that so Ming may have been created as a symbolic evil in response to either Japanese or Chinese people or just the fear of other represented by Asian culture (AKA Yellow Peril)

    Good point and a movie like 28 Days Later shifts the post-apocalyptic threat to biological warfare, although this type of apocalypse had been hinted at in written fiction for years.
     
  9. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Yes, but again, for every fear for the future, science will destroy us story, there's a one where science is neat story, or a mixed one -- science will destroy us but also save us. In the 1950's and 1960's, you had plenty of atom bomb inspired dystopias and monster movies, but you also had the gung-ho we're going to the moon Campbellian attitude, the promise of jet packs, flying cars, and robot servants in the coming future. So then you had stories where the robot servants ran amok, and Hollywood really liked those sorts of things, but you also had The Fantastic Voyage, etc.

    So, you have the plague, but then you have the cure. You have the zombies of 28 Days Later, but then they survive and the Americans come to rescue them. (Even in the less happy proposed endings for that film, somebody got rescued at the end.) And then you have the sequel, where the bad things start all over again because the government is bad, but then.... I Am Legend -- the book -- is it hopeful or not in the ending? Kind of a mix.

    Whatever scenario that you can imagine, some SF writer will try it. :)
     
  10. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    2,951
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    73
    I am in the process of listening to the audiobook:

    Greener Than You Think (1947) by Ward Moore

    http://librivox.org/greener-than-you-think-by-ward-moore/

    Now that I think of it Greener than You Think is an example of what happens in reality. A person with some real brains makes a development then some nitwit does something stupid with it that he wasn't told to do, then more nitwits aggravate the problem.

    Consider the technology of the automobile. 2008 is the 100th anniversary year of the Ford Model-T. But Ford refused to change the Model-T and that eventually caused problems for the company. But the technology was actually advancing significantly back then. Now car companies have been changing cars for decades even when the technology was not changing significantly. So now we have waste and pollution and economic problems. Don't blame science and technology for people being STUPID. Technology and the implementation of technology are two different things.

    So far GTYT is cracking me up. The prose alone is pretty hilarious. Though I find the the blatant sexism very funny to. Was he doing it deliberately to satarize sexism? LOL Sci-fi from a different time is a kind of time machine.

    I did a search on "pop sci-fi" just to see what turned up. Pop sci-fi and serious sci-fi will have different reactions. Pop sci-fi is probably the bigger market.

    psik
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  11. Arrgh

    Arrgh Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, it's been about two years. Do you still feel that hope? Other than selling less, how has science fiction reacted?
     
  12. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Why oh why would you resurrect this thread? :p
     
  13. Omphalos

    Omphalos Orthodox Herbertian

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I just hope that SF survives.
     
  14. Arrgh

    Arrgh Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was worried that the Hope inspired changes were subtle and that I might have missed them.
     
  15. krisbslick

    krisbslick Executor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    There is no Hope. Haven't you read enough science fiction to know by now that humanity is doomed. :)

    Have a good day, while you still have a full day to enjoy.
     
  16. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    How about this for a topic. If politicians read more Scifi would they do better at their jobs? :)
     
  17. Shonsu

    Shonsu Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    lol possibly
     
  18. Arrgh

    Arrgh Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Another year has passed and I still haven't seen the Hope inspired changes. Anyone have links to some I may have missed?
     
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    2,951
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    73
  20. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    2,951
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    73