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  1. #61
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Even anarchy requires consensus... even if it is a consensus to allow members to act counter to the group's intentions. Either way, anarchy only works when individual actions do not dangerously impact the whole. When they do, and they must be reined in, anarchy is over.

    Our present political systems are relatively simple, based as they are either on family dynamics or group dynamics; and both of those dynamics are based on social systems that evolved on this planet (with multiple species) to support survival. Since, as I suggested before, another race may have evolved under very different social or physical pressures, they would have likely evolved different social dynamics, and their politics (if they had any) would likely have been influenced by those social systems.

    This doesn't necessarily mean they would be more complex, but they could emphasize different aspects of group dynamics than we are used to (decisions could be heavily influenced by time passed, or argument weight could be impacted by health, etc). So we could see more complex political systems, or simply more incomprehensible systems.

    I hate to disagree with Clausewitz, but I don't see war as the continuation of politics by other means... unless you see organized and premeditated murder as a legitimate political tactic (I know some political groups do see it that way, but I don't). As politics and social systems are about Agreement, and murder is about as far from agreeing as you can get, war has nothing to do with politics; war is what we resort to when politics breaks down; it is a refusal to cooperate. War is about usurping another's fundamental right to their life.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Even anarchy requires consensus... even if it is a consensus to allow members to act counter to the group's intentions. Either way, anarchy only works when individual actions do not dangerously impact the whole. When they do, and they must be reined in, anarchy is over.

    Our present political systems are relatively simple, based as they are either on family dynamics or group dynamics; and both of those dynamics are based on social systems that evolved on this planet (with multiple species) to support survival. Since, as I suggested before, another race may have evolved under very different social or physical pressures, they would have likely evolved different social dynamics, and their politics (if they had any) would likely have been influenced by those social systems.

    This doesn't necessarily mean they would be more complex, but they could emphasize different aspects of group dynamics than we are used to (decisions could be heavily influenced by time passed, or argument weight could be impacted by health, etc). So we could see more complex political systems, or simply more incomprehensible systems.

    I hate to disagree with Clausewitz, but I don't see war as the continuation of politics by other means... unless you see organized and premeditated murder as a legitimate political tactic (I know some political groups do see it that way, but I don't). As politics and social systems are about Agreement, and murder is about as far from agreeing as you can get, war has nothing to do with politics; war is what we resort to when politics breaks down; it is a refusal to cooperate. War is about usurping another's fundamental right to their life.
    I think both of you are right. Under a certain light, politics is also about how to organize or control a people. In this sense, killing the "disobedient" is certainly a form of control.

    From the perspective of agreement, however, I agree with you, that war is about as contrary as can be.

    I suppose that an advanced race of beings would have probably come to some agreement about life, develoment, social affairs, in such a way (probably through firsthand experience) that certain behaviors, such as war, neglect of others through famine, poverty, etc, are unacceptable.

    Maybe we humans don't yet understand the inherant importance of protecting the human race as a whole. We still think in tribal terms: us vs. them.

    brian

  3. #63
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahigherway View Post
    Maybe we humans don't yet understand the inherant importance of protecting the human race as a whole. We still think in tribal terms: us vs. them.
    We have not yet survived the technology of the 20th century.

    Much of our group "think" is still based on ideas from before the 20th century but we apply those ideas to 20th century technologyl. The nuclear weapons are still there, we just don't think about them as much as in the 50s. Dr. Stranglove is just a cool old movie. We are now turning the Internet into television with feedback.

    Any aliens that have survived to cross interstellar distances have gone beyond our current psychology. Maybe we barely understand how they think. The West is just high technology Romans.

    psik

  4. #64
    Registered User mylinar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Any aliens that have survived to cross interstellar distances have gone beyond our current psychology. Maybe we barely understand how they think. The West is just high technology Romans.

    psik
    Maybe not even that advanced. As per the opening of 2001: A space Oddesy the first thing the primitive did after realizing that a bone was a tool was not to build something, but to smash something.

    I'm afraid that our brains are just hardwired for conflict and if we rewire ourselves to be different are we still Human? Hmmm. could be a topic for a book (or a library filled with them).

  5. #65
    star wars is more space fanasty then science fiction.

  6. #66
    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge's Avatar
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    What I think is lacking in most sci-fi stories:

    Not a simple question. So, focusing on the word "most" in the title of your thread, I'll generalise and say this: believable relationships between characters.

    To be sure there are many, many sci-fi stories in which the relationships between characters are quite believable indeed. I simply am focusing on the word "most."

    What kind of relationship it is does not matter really; father-son, friend-friend, et cetera; I am not speaking purely of romantic (or would-be romantic) relationships. I do enjoy a good one of those, too, but!

    I get really caught up in the lives and relationships of a book's characters, so the easier it is for me to suspend my disbelief, the better.
    Last edited by Shadowcharge; July 12th, 2012 at 07:22 PM. Reason: typo

  7. #67
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    I've been puzzling over this one for awhile and remembered two early novels from Kim Stanley Robinson, part of his "Future California" series. One of them was The Gold Coast about a group of friends living is a vastly built up and overcrowded Southern California in the near future. Another one was the final book in the trilogy Pacific Edge which sort of presents a utopian version of Southern California that contrasts sharply with The Gold Coast. They are interesting alternate futures explore with no war or battles; just people living in vastly different future societies.
    Another book I'm currently reading is Jack McDevitt's Time Traveller's Never Die where the characters stumble on a time travel device and (so far at least) use it to visit famous scientists, philosophers, civil rights leaders, and even The Great Library of Alexandria rather than generals, battles, atrocities (thought the Selma march in the 60's may be an exception). I emphasize however than I haven't finished it yet!

  8. #68
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcharge View Post

    I get really caught up in the lives and relationships of a book's characters, so the easier it is for me to suspend my disbelief, the better.
    Isn't it great that we're all different? because one of the reasons I'm less than keen on modern SF is because of all the soap operatic 'lives and relationships' aspects that people seem to treacle all over them these days. Old fashioned of me I know but I like walloping great chunks of science (or reasonable facsimiles) in my Science Fiction. Interpersonal waffling I can get anywhere. I'll go read Anna Karenina, or Madame Bovary if I want that. Or watch Eastenders ("Following the residents of Albert Square as their lives intertwine with drama and tears.") SF should thrill, amaze, astound, thought provoke (there must be a verb for that), inspire etc. I don't really give a crap if the characters who deliver any or all of this are paper thin and come from Central Casting.

    The Gold Cost
    bored the pants off me and I gave up at about a 1/3 of the way through.
    Last edited by JunkMonkey; July 13th, 2012 at 05:18 AM.

  9. #69
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
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    Awesomize



    (is what SF should do for us)
    Last edited by Chuffalump; July 14th, 2012 at 12:03 PM.

  10. #70
    Shadowcharge Shadowcharge's Avatar
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    Re: Junkmonkey

    Oh, I agree that melodrama between characters can overwhelm and ruin a good sci-fi story, but this is true of any genre. I have trouble getting through a book that basically says "Here! Check out this cool world I built! And all these gizmos! Oh, and as an afterthought, I crammed in a plot with a couple of 2-D characters that fly around shooting stuff and then get into a conversation wherein they explain the physics of the universe for ten hours!" etc.

    A much better balance is a story whose science elements (or fantasy for that matter) can transport me to another world naturally, and whose characters (and yes, their relationships) are real enough that they do not distract from the world, but rather, add to it. In "Friday" I was amused and interested in how the space elevator worked, and in how the protagonist's body modifications helped and hindered her, but my real and abiding concerns throughout the novel were what was going to happen to her, whether she was going to succeed, and so on. That is, the fact that Heinlein put so much effort into character-building -- into making her real -- was what ultimately kept me turning the pages.
    Last edited by Shadowcharge; July 15th, 2012 at 07:28 PM.

  11. #71
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    The Gold Cost[/I] bored the pants off me and I gave up at about a 1/3 of the way through.
    I think I only got 1/4 of the way through, but it's because those character relationships were boring and dragged down the story horribly. Not all SF with relationships have to be boring, though.

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcharge View Post
    What I think is lacking in most sci-fi stories:

    Not a simple question. So, focusing on the word "most" in the title of your thread, I'll generalise and say this: believable relationships between characters.

    To be sure there are many, many sci-fi stories in which the relationships between characters are quite believable indeed. I simply am focusing on the word "most."

    What kind of relationship it is does not matter really; father-son, friend-friend, et cetera; I am not speaking purely of romantic (or would-be romantic) relationships. I do enjoy a good one of those, too, but!

    I get really caught up in the lives and relationships of a book's characters, so the easier it is for me to suspend my disbelief, the better.
    Looking back at Star Wars, it was as though each subsequent episode lost more of my interest. The original (1977) was what sparked my curiosity, and today it still amazes me. The concept of the Force, or something else, I can't put my finger on it. But it was really what got me dreaming.

    But then in part 2, we had Yoda (muppets) and Darth declared himself to be Luke's father.. It all seemed to start to "break apart." Return of the Jedi got worse (more muppets)... After that, and especially with the use of animation rather than real people.. it just seemed to become larger and larger groups of robots vs. jedis, and one battle after another.

    It all just seemed to go in a direction that I feel was wrong. --Even though I still can't put my finger on what it was about the original episode that left such an impression on me, that when I looked up at the stars at night, I just felt that it could all be quite real. Or at least a hint of where humanity is going..

    Anyone else feel that?

    brian

  13. #73
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahigherway View Post
    It all just seemed to go in a direction that I feel was wrong. --Even though I still can't put my finger on what it was about the original episode that left such an impression on me, that when I looked up at the stars at night, I just felt that it could all be quite real. Or at least a hint of where humanity is going..

    Anyone else feel that?
    From Star Wars? Not a bit. For sure, the first movie (Episode IV) centered specifically around Luke and his relationships: He fell in love with a woman; lost his aunt and uncle to an evil empire, making the war personal; and made a lot of new friends, most of whom helped him enough to allow him to become a hero. But nothing about it, or of the subsequent movies, ever gave me the impression that is could all be real. (I had more of that impression from Alien.)

    Episode IV was, and always has been, a fairy tale with spaceships. And the relationships in it were very "fairy tale" as well, all positive and happy. I'd consider the relationships in, say, Galactica (the reboot) to be more realistic: People aren't perfect, so their relationships aren't perfect. I could probably name more, but you get the idea.

  14. #74
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Episode IV was, and always has been, a fairy tale with spaceships. And the relationships in it were very "fairy tale" as well, all positive and happy. I'd consider the relationships in, say, Galactica (the reboot) to be more realistic: People aren't perfect, so their relationships aren't perfect. I could probably name more, but you get the idea.
    The producers called it Space Fantasy.

    Maybe Techno-Fantasy would be a better name because The Matrix could be put into the same category but it has no space ships.

    psik

  15. #75
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    The producers called it Space Fantasy.

    Maybe Techno-Fantasy would be a better name because The Matrix could be put into the same category but it has no space ships.
    I'd probably use "science fantasy" or "future fantasy" myself. (I tend to call my novels "futurist fiction.")

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