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  1. #31
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    My Favorite Martian was not science fiction.
    That was my point (although it is science fiction. It's just science fiction you don't like -- comic SF as opposed to hard SF.) You said that television SF had changed from good science to bad science. I was pointing out that 1950's, 60's SF television was not necessarily built on good science, so your claim of change on that front was not very accurate. (And you still didn't answer the question about the SF story you brought up.)

    Sturgeon also said "90% of everything is crud". What is the point of studying the BAD science fiction?
    psik
    It's cultural studies where they look at how the shows interacted with the time period, issues of the time and how these things change over time and how people reacted to science fiction. And one change that did not occur in the television was a straight switch from good science to bad science.

    One interesting thing about SF television is that it has periodic revivals of anthology shows pop up, like the brief Masters of Science Fiction series they recently did in 2007. You don't really see that for any other type of t.v.

  2. #32
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    That was my point (although it is science fiction. It's just science fiction you don't like -- comic SF as opposed to hard SF.
    NO, I liked My Favorite Martian at the time. It was hilarious. At least at that age. I have no idea what I would think of it now. It came on the air two years after I started reading science fiction a lot. But just as the creators of Star Wars admitted it was not science fiction in 1977 just because something has space ships and aliens does not make it science fiction. That would mean that SOAP and Mork & Mindy were science fiction also.

    How was The Time Tunnel any less science fiction than H.G. Wells' The Time Machine?

    You brought it up not me. Of course calling everything science fiction saves the trouble of making any distinctions. Jules Verne objected to H. G. Wells because he just made stuff up. LOL

    That is part of the change since the old days. The definition has gotten sloppy and I consider the invasion of the Liberal Arte people to be part of the problem. Like C. P. Snow's Two Cultures business from 1959.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cultures

    It is like science fiction is at the cusp of the cultures. It is a literary form with a long tradition of criticism. But as Joanna Russ said in 1975, science fiction has additional characteristics.

    http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/6/russ6art.htm

    So inevitably some of these same things come into play with video.

    psik
    Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 12th, 2011 at 07:22 PM.

  3. #33
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    NO, I liked My Favorite Martian at the time. It was hilarious. At least at that age. I have no idea what I would think of it now. It came on the air two years after I started reading science fiction a lot. But just as the creators of Star Wars admitted it was not science fiction in 1977 just because something has space ships and aliens does not make it science fiction. That would mean that SOAP and Mork & Mindy were science fiction also.
    Mork & Mindy is science fiction, comic SF like My Favorite Martian. SOAP used a science fiction storyline at one point, which was making fun of soaps that did extreme storylines because it was a satire. Having space ships and aliens does make a story science fiction. Likewise, a story does not have to have space ships and aliens and be set in the far future to be science fiction, as Margaret Atwood had to be taught. Science fiction is not limited to hard SF or one type of SF story and it never has limited itself to that, nor will it ever fully abandon hard SF either. The Time Machine was not hard SF, as hard SF would come later, but both it and The Time Tunnel are SF. Jules Verne isn't really hard SF either. Distinctions can be made within the field -- that's what hard SF is for as a label -- but you aren't going to be able to bounce stories out of the SF field.

    You posted the statement that 1950's and early SF t.v. shows used good science and were what you consider proper SF stories but then television (and books) changed and got into what you don't find to be acceptable science fiction. By bringing up the shows that I did -- which I was not saying were bad shows, just that they weren't doing hard science -- I was pointing out that early t.v. had many non-hard SF stories just as we do now. I was saying that I don't agree with your earlier statement re what she's studying, which is changes in television SF and their impact. I don't see that as a change that actually occurred in television SF, going from mainly hard SF in the old days to soft, precisely because of shows like My Favorite Martian and The Time Tunnel.

    That is part of the change since the old days. The definition has gotten sloppy and I consider the invasion of the Liberal Arte people to be part of the problem.
    Again, this is not very accurate for me. There were numerous SF works and stories that were called SF by the SF community that were not hard SF, that did not use very strong science, etc. in the "old days." Painting a golden age of SF where all the stories were the same type and everyone agreed about them and were brilliantly science educated is not a very real picture of what happened in SF, for me. Likewise, "liberal arts" people are fully capable of understanding and appreciating hard SF and have not dragged SF off course because the definition of SF in the wider field has always been larger than you insist it should be. So to the topic, SF television was not first one type of story and then another later on, in my view. It was always mainly adventure stories on t.v. and a vein of comic SF that runs from My Favorite Martian to Mork & Mindy to 3rd Rock From the Sun.

    As you won't answer my question about the SF story you brought up and the issue about it in the essay that you also brought up, I will let that one go.

  4. #34
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    In my view, SF in television has mirrored the growth of a child to an adult.

    The 50s and 60s of television SF largely represented a childlike view of the possibilities... in other words, everything. Children don't bother to consider degrees of reality; they just go for what's cool and fun. Faster-than-light travel... aliens... space battles... alternate realities... all are equal fodder. Shows like Star Trek (TOS) and pretty much all SF TV before it represent this period.

    SF TV began to explore new areas after 1970, seeking to really make sense of what we knew to be true and false, and searching for reasons behind phenomena. This corresponds to the pre-teen period of looking for sense in the world, and trying to establish concrete ground rules. One of the first such shows was UFO, a program that emphasized the need to understand the aliens and their needs, in order to protect humanity from them, and using a paramilitary organization and believable weapons to repel them.

    Shows like Star Trek: TNG and Stargate continued the trend of a more orderly SF universe; less about raw adventure, and more about The Job of exploring space and protecting humanity. Suddenly science needed explanations (even shaky ones), or you didn't use it. Like a teen's mid years, the emphasis was on responsibility, teamwork and standing in social groups; more about establishing a set of rules to govern how everything worked.

    The most recent SF TV like Lost and the new Battlestar Galactica have moved to a young adult position, moving relationships firmly to the forefront of all activity. UFO also featured a depth of character relationships, even over the primary storyline of stopping the aliens, that was considered ahead of its time. Now, intimate connections, friends and lovers, secrets and revelations, are the meat of the story, and the SF is merely a backdrop. Characters are presented as more isolated, less a member of a team and more a loner seeking their penultimate partner to join them in life.

    At the same time, many of the old tropes, English-speaking aliens and weird galactic phenomena, have been replaced by more immediate and practical tropes like the threat of automation and artificial intelligence, environmental disasters and worldly threats (wars, terrorists, etc). SF began to throw off the spandex and embrace business suits and jeans, emphasizing its grounding in today's reality. This is an adult's SF, throwing away childish things, trying to come to grips with a very real world around them, and engaging the many interrelationships to find their Life Partner.

    There are still shows that celebrate those simpler attitudes; some, like Dr. Who, have done their own growing from child to young adult as the series has progressed. (I'd say most shows picked their age level and stuck with it.) Shows like Eureka and Warehouse 13 have embraced the pre-teen attitude unashamedly, and have proven that even adults are okay with allowing their inner pre-teen to have a little fun.

  5. #35
    Hi everyone. I've been pretty busy for the past couple of days and so have not had a whole lot of time to go online. I just wanted to pop on and say thanks to everybody for getting involved; I've got some great snippets for my essay and a real insight into the mind's of the fans.

    Thanks guys!

  6. #36
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsty_ View Post
    Hi everyone. I've been pretty busy for the past couple of days and so have not had a whole lot of time to go online. I just wanted to pop on and say thanks to everybody for getting involved; I've got some great snippets for my essay and a real insight into the mind's of the fans.

    Thanks guys!
    So are you going to post your essay somewhere in the net? How long is it going to be?

    psik

  7. #37
    My assignment isn't due in until 10th November and I won't be able to post anything until after then 'cause I wouldn't want anybody else seeing it and 'being inspired' for their own work until after the deadline. I'll see what I can do afterwards, though - if it actually turns out any good, that is, haha.

  8. #38
    _ amenhotepi noori noori's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    In my view, SF in television has mirrored the growth of a child to an adult.

    The 50s and 60s of television SF largely represented a childlike view of the possibilities... in other words, everything. Children don't bother to consider degrees of reality; they just go for what's cool and fun. Faster-than-light travel... aliens... space battles... alternate realities... all are equal fodder. Shows like Star Trek (TOS) and pretty much all SF TV before it represent this period.

    ...... even adults are okay with allowing their inner pre-teen to have a little fun.
    its true 60s SF TV was really for childlike possibilties, though i think the SF genre has changed a lot since then ..
    nowadays there is a predilection .. a fascination with the "Science," in: SF. it has a compelling rigor .. an economy-of-truth .. leading to: Scientific lines. _
    ..


    ..
    Last edited by noori noori; October 18th, 2011 at 10:15 AM. Reason: text

  9. #39
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noori noori View Post
    its true 60s SF TV was really for childlike possibilties, though i think the SF genre has changed a lot since then ..
    nowadays there is a predilection .. a fascination with the "Science," in: SF. it has a compelling rigor .. an economy-of-truth .. leading to: Scientific lines.
    It seems to depend on the show. For example, shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation obsessed with the details of science, attempted to explain everything to its audience in a compressed, convenient way, and demonstrated our superiority over Nature in our ability to bend it to our will (or unbend it to save ourselves). And its character relationships were mostly staid and superficial.

    In other shows, like Lost, it became understood that some of the characters knew how to use the SF elements involved on the island, but no one really understood them. But that was okay; it did what you needed it to do. Did Galactica ever explain its jump drive? (We only actually saw Galactica's engines in one episode.) Or how Cylons managed to develop as far as they had? No, because in the long run, it wasn't as important as the fact that it worked, and we have to deal with it. So much of today's world mirrors that: How many adults don't understand how their computers or cars or cellphones work, yet they use them every day?

    Shows like Lost and Galactica push SF into the background, it's just another cup on the table, the important stuff is the relationship happening in the foreground. That is an adult shift of priority from the toys to the people you interact with. And it should be noted that the number of shows like Trek, which try to triumph over science and have very superficial relationships, are on the wane right now.
    Last edited by Steven L Jordan; November 4th, 2011 at 09:49 AM.

  10. #40
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    How many adults don't understand how their computers or cars or cellphones work, yet they use them every day?
    ROFLMAO

    And how many people are getting ripped off and sabotaged with technology they don't understand every day?

    I know a woman that had to pay $200 for a software upgrade for her engine a few months ago. Then her transmission went out and that cost her almost $3000. Two weeks ago the alarm on her car kept going off all night. She just paid $300 to have a switch on the rear door replaced.

    And then our economists don't talk about the depreciation of all of this junk.

    I have talked to a man who said he loved cars but did not know what a cam shaft was. I think he was a fool. Sorry but I did not consider ST:TNG to be very scientific though it was an enjoyable show. It gave the impression that understanding science was important but almost never actually explained anything. It just had a pro-scientific attitude.

    Calling stuff like Hyperion science fiction is a farce.

    psik

  11. #41
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Sorry but I did not consider ST:TNG to be very scientific though it was an enjoyable show. It gave the impression that understanding science was important but almost never actually explained anything. It just had a pro-scientific attitude.
    TNG tried to be scientific... but you can only do so much in 45 minutes' worth of an adventure show designed primarily to pull in ratings.

    And that is what's most important to remember about TV SF: It is designed to be entertainment, intended to sell detergent, and subject more to the whims of ad executives than scientific advisors. "I don't care how 'scientific' it is... put her in tight spandex and 4-inch heels, and it's a go."

    What transformation SF TV has done has not been about what we've learned about science or SF, but what audiences have responded to as they've grown up with SF. And these days, it seems to be a lack of caring about the reality or the details... we just want to have fun with it. No wonder Dr. Who and Stargate, two shows with the most pliable initial premises and the most flippant attitude towards science since Lost In Space, have run as long as they have.

  12. #42
    Way Too Human
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    TNG tried

    <snip>

    What transformation SF TV has done has not been about what we've learned about science or SF, but what audiences have responded to as they've grown up with SF. And these days, it seems to be a lack of caring about the reality or the details... we just want to have fun with it. No wonder Dr. Who and Stargate, two shows with the most pliable initial premises and the most flippant attitude towards science since Lost In Space, have run as long as they have.
    Ultimately, I think that's a very accurate statement.

    Personally, I don't see much of a transformation of the "science" part of the science fiction. The difference I perceive is with the substance of the story and the characters. Star Trek, even with all the spaceships, transporters and photon torpedoes, was really a good platform to tell a good story about people, their relationships and how they deal with their environment. The same was true about the new version of Battlestar Galactica, although the human story was much more dark and gritty. A good story will cause the viewer to "forget" the "science" such that they accept that it "could" happen. Science fiction television, and all other mediums, should really be more about the story than the science, otherwise we may as well read encyclopedias, or watch documentaries.

    Additionally, I think it's important that we not focus too much on making sure the science is absolutely correct, but that we should make it plausible. We need that 14 year old person to think it is possible so that some day they might become the scientist that makes it possible. Science fiction's psychological impact is that it enables disbelief to allow us to understand and enjoy the underlying story in a non-traditional setting (in the same manner as animation). The suspension of disbelief is very important.

    I'm not saying that we should ignore what the plot needs. Certainly, there are some plots that absolutely require compliance with known physical laws (as we understand them). We should also not ignore that some plots require absolute snubbing of the known physical laws (as we understand them).

    What I think that's important about good science fiction television is that it has to be about the people more than the science, and it usually is.

    An Exerpt of the Lyrics from Mystic Rhythms by Rush

    So many things I think about
    When I look far away
    Things I know, things I wonder
    Things I'd like to say
    The more we think we know about
    The greater the unknown
    We suspend our disbelief
    And we are not alone...

  13. #43
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazerus View Post
    Additionally, I think it's important that we not focus too much on making sure the science is absolutely correct, but that we should make it plausible. We need that 14 year old person to think it is possible so that some day they might become the scientist that makes it possible. Science fiction's psychological impact is that it enables disbelief to allow us to understand and enjoy the underlying story in a non-traditional setting (in the same manner as animation). The suspension of disbelief is very important.

    I'm not saying that we should ignore what the plot needs. Certainly, there are some plots that absolutely require compliance with known physical laws (as we understand them). We should also not ignore that some plots require absolute snubbing of the known physical laws (as we understand them).
    I understand what you're saying here. But to my mind, it's the author's job to take a story, with its included science, be accurate as possible to that science, and still make it interesting and exciting. If the science essentially takes the "fun and excitement" out of a story, maybe it should be rewritten.

    Other than the old SF trope of FTL ships, I've tried to avoid using any impossible science in my stories, and I don't think they've come out lacking because of it. (I also developed a way to travel intergalactically which makes more sense than most existing FTL systems, leaving me free to use intergalactic travel in a realistic way.) I consider that as essential as the story itself, so the audience does not have to suspend it's belief of the laws of physics.

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