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  1. #16
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    It's the thousands of employees being laid off and the jobs being shipped over seas. It's the impact it has on the economy of Michigan and the US, but you go ahead and keep thinking it's all about the latest trim package.
    This thread talks about HOPE.

    In the 50s and 60s the optimistic views about science were part of that HOPE.

    Good SCIENCE Fiction should have something to do with science and technology. I built this when I was in grade school but not because any teacher suggested it.


    http://www.discoverthis.com/visible-v8.html

    Back then it didn't have a hand crank. There was an electric motor in the starter housing. I understood that planned obsolescence was going on in cars before I was out of high school. I have never owned a new car and have not been to an auto show in more than 30 years. If General Motors started manufacturing what I regarded as a excellent car tomorrow I would not go to a show to see it. My only question would be, "What is it about this thing that you could not have made 20 years ago?"

    "And don't talk about the 30 gig hard drive for audio and video storage. That is not why I buy a car." ROFL

    Physics and technology are related and economists are technological morons.

    I like the Star Trek: DS9 episode The House of Quark because it shows the usefulness of accounting. Aren't the computers we have today powerful enough to handle it? I have never seen any futuristic society portrayed in any science fiction book where everyone was expected to know accounting the way everyone is expected to know how to ride a bicycle today. What kind of culture would that be? I don't hear economists saying accounting should be mandatory in the schools.

    The Space Merchants is a good prophetic SF book but I would not call it hopeful.

    Here are some of my thoughts on techno-economics from 10 years ago.

    http://www.spectacle.org/1199/wargame.html

    What HOPE is there if consumerism is crashing and everyone thinks the solution to the problem is more consumerism. There have been 200,000,000+ cars in the US since 1995. At $1,500 per car per year that is $300,000,000,000 lost in depreciation every year. FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS lost since 1995. But the so called econometrics used by our professional economists doesn't even try to measure that accurately. And that is just what I regard as a conservative guesstimate.
    _____________________

    I NEVER talk about conspiracy theories. I don't give a DAMN.

    But it is pretty funny for the nation that put men on the moon to not be able to solve a physics problem about a skyscraper in SEVEN YEARS. Where is the HOPE in that?

    http://www.sciforums.com/showpost.ph...postcount=2125

    Science fiction fans that don't know the SCIENCE to solve the Newtonian physics. UH HUH!

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; November 8th, 2008 at 08:21 PM.

  2. #17
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    And you're acting like it's universal. For the 57 million people who didn't vote for Hopie this doesn't apply. It's nice the Kool Aid crowd has such a warm fuzzy. Go personality cults! But unless all scifi authors and readers are liberals it's not a universal attitude.
    And as far as I know, we haven't said it is universal, at all. This thread allows us to think about what effect it will have, if any. My post above suggested that personally I didn't think there would be that great an effect, at least not immediately.

    But if there are changes that back up the rhetoric, then that may chance the genre, regardless of who they voted for: or in my case being a few thousand miles away, didn't vote for. If the developments are negative, then that may affect the genre too. Or not.

    Mark / Hobbit
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  3. #18
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Here are some of my thoughts on techno-economic from 10 years ago.

    http://www.spectacle.org/1199/wargame.html
    Won't touch the engineering aspect because I'm not competent to do so. This article is basic economics. It is basic accounting. I wish someone had taught it to me and my parents when I was growing up. Sadly, I learned it on my own after med school. I also happen to think the lessons I've learned, which are pretty much exactly what's in this post, are some of the most important lessons I've ever had. I could go on and on about the deficits that I think exist in education. I will add that in high school, the class that has helped me the most in life was my typing class. Why practical life courses aren't taught on a consistent basis escapes me.

    I'm not sure what to make of Hope. If Obama's presidency is one of inclusion, and not the worthless "diversity" kind where people who look differently but think alike on almost all issues are mish-mashed together, but rather of true diversity of thought, I have hope. If not, then it's just like the Who says, "Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."
    It will be intereesting to see what comes from the UK. All the creeping Big Brotherism and thought control of the past decade under Labour's unbroken rule has been terrifying to watch. Such pathologies have already infected Canada with it's misnamed Human Rights Tribunals. Will they jump the border. Maybe. In which case, I don't think we'll be seeing hopeful sci-fi, unless you count the ones where some lucky souls manage to escape Earth's totalitarian govt.
    Last edited by Davis Ashura; November 8th, 2008 at 07:53 PM.

  4. #19
    There have been a few articles on www.io9.com in the last few weeks about sci-fi in the Clintonian era and whatnot. Science fiction tends to get political. There was an Arthur C. Clarke novel, can't remember the name, that involved American democracy replaced by a theocracy. Can anyone imagine 1984 being written before the Soviet Union being formed?

    In the 1950s, we had a bunch of sci-fi on tv about going into space. There was space travel fiction before the 50s, but the 50s and 60s were a boom-time. This was obviously inspired by the Space Race. Waterworld, was made in the 1990s when Global Warming was first becoming a huge issue. Cyberpunk had a hayday in the 90s due to the internet-yeah that's a technological advance, but Al Gore did invent it after all.

    More recently, we've seen sci-fi about futures that deal with resource depletion or humans just becoming too dirty to live on one planet. The "almost sequel" to the computer game Civilization, called Alpha Centauri, is about human colonists leaving a doomed earth to settle in the nearest solar system. Wall-E is set in a future where humans have dirtied the earth to the point of being unlivable, and City of Ember is the same except humans go underground instead of out in space.

    The whole "Hope" thing is what we're feeling now and may influence sci-fi in the next year, but situations will arise that affect how writers view the world and what direction it is going. After all, when Bush was elected, we were expecting the last 8 years only with a Republican, then two planes crashed into a couple of skyscrapers.

    I'd say most likely, we're going to get very diplomatic sci-fi like Speaker for the Dead where we run into misunderstandings with aliens but learn to understand them once we open dialogue instead of the evil Communoids have teamed up with the Islamobites to invade the earth and enslave us and only a virus programmed on my Mac iBook can save us.

  5. #20
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    A Kat mentions, the new Solaris anthology really seems to be expression of this hope that I speak of (and no, even in the original post I did not imply it's universal). We'll see if it gains any traction.

    Solaris Press Release
    The Shine Anthology

  6. #21
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #22
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    I donít read a lot of short fiction, but it makes sense that current moods would manifest themselves more readily in short fiction. I donít expect much of an effect in novels, because I donít expect the mood to last long enough. Iíve been around long enough to know things can get considerably worse than they are now. Itís 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 Iím wrong. Time will tell, probably 2 to 3 years.

  8. #23
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    I donít read a lot of short fiction, but it makes sense that current moods would manifest themselves more readily in short fiction.
    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
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  9. #24
    Registered User devilsadvoc8's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #25
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #26
    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.

  12. #27
    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.

  13. #28
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelevant View Post
    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.
    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)

    Quote Originally Posted by Irrelevant View Post
    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.
    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.

  14. #29
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #30
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    I am in the process of listening to the audiobook:

    Greener Than You Think (1947) by Ward Moore

    http://librivox.org/greener-than-you...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 by psikeyhackr; November 13th, 2008 at 10:27 AM. Reason: add link and more commentary

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