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  1. #31
    If you go away at lightspeed, then the person left behind would see all the future states you are at in the instance of now... but how can you see everything at once? Which is another intriguing question... maybe there is something in the way we view the world and understand it through our brains that stops us from being able to cope with the 'all at once' scenario...

    Or have I got things completely wrong?

  2. #32
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
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    But if they travelled at light speed (without becoming photons ) then no light emitted from close enough to you to be reflected back to you could catch them. Any light emitted from them would presumably be so far red shifted that it would blend in with the background radiation of the universe.

    Slightly tongue in cheek there because I only have the tiniest idea of what I'm waffling on about.

  3. #33
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Stumbling around the net I found this:

    http://damiengwalter.com/2011/09/05/...-ever-discuss/

    This is some of what Joanna Russ was saying in 1975.

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

    Have we been diverted by Star Wars?

    psik

  4. #34
    Registered User gainespost's Avatar
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    Unless I misread it, the main focus of the first blog article you linked, Psik, seems to have been "Science Fictionís contribution to the global economy," and as for the second one you linked, imho compared to 1975, nowadays there are many more *equally valid* opinions on how best to define the genre, since a lot has happened in it; it has "evolved."

    Some people define it as apples, some as oranges; both are right. (Please don't take what I just said with a pedantic frame of mind, folks -- I do agree, for example, that the statement, "My opinion is that Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying is sci-fi, and my opinion is equally valid," would be silly. In short, I'm not trying to start a nit-picky semantics war here; I'm simply pointing out that there are many differing opinions *within the genre* as to just how sci-fi should be defined. Some people think space opera should not be classed as science fiction, while others think it should be. And this is just one example of a difference of equally valid opinions. On a side note, I think academic efforts to "define" guidelines for a genre of fiction are kind of pointless; the focus should be on the stories themselves. But that's just my opinion.)

    Sci-fi's contribution to the global economy interesting? Sure, interesting. Are you saying that what's missing from sci-fi is for authors to use their imaginations more to come up with new ideas so that sci-fi readers who are working in leadership positions at places such as Google can pass decisions to sell more gadgets that will boost the economy and further technology? I guess I'm not sure what you were saying by linking that blog article. But if that's what you meant, then that's quite an interesting idea :-)

    And kind of cool, too, because my first thought was "hmm, but that means you absolutely must be a scientist in order to write such science fiction," but then my second thought was, "umm, no, not true; many technological advances have been spurred by ideas coming from people who are decidedly not scientists...."

    Sorry for the ramble. I'm only on my first cup of coffee here in Australia this morning. As the fog lifts from my mind, so will my confidence in the logic of what I've just written.

  5. #35
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Have we been diverted by Star Wars?
    I'd say the commercial arena of SF has been diverted by Star Wars, which became a textbook example of how to make money with SF, the only thing commercial entities have always been interested in. Other forms of SF were around, and are still being created, but they were and are barely noticed by the hordes of people following the Star Wars bandwagon.

    The literature industry is also driven by King Profit, but not to the extent of movies and TV; so they can afford to be less concerned about products that feed the largest common denominator. You can find the more intelligent, more humanistic and more balanced SF there, if you know where to look.

    But we will always suffer the circuses generated by the big money productions, and struggle to hear the concert over the yells of the barkers and the crowd.

  6. #36
    Registered User gainespost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    I'd say the commercial arena of SF has been diverted by Star Wars, which became a textbook example of how to make money with SF, the only thing commercial entities have always been interested in. Other forms of SF were around, and are still being created, but they were and are barely noticed by the hordes of people following the Star Wars bandwagon.
    True, but Hollywood etc have turned other forms of sci-fi -- not just Star Wars-like space operas -- into Big Profit machines as well. Look at the success of some of the movies based on Phillip K. Dick stories, or at The Matrix. Very different types of sci-fi, but also very, very big blockbusters that have raked in HUGE profits. The movie / commercial bigwigs are definitely looking at other areas of sci-fi, not just Star Wars type stuff. They're looking for good stories with good characters and cool sci-fi ideas. I'm sure there are other factors, too; "wow we need another movie with aliens in it; aliens seem to be selling really well right now!", etc.

    And in turn, the commercial success of certain movies has indeed affected some authors and what they write. But that's always been the case; I'm sure a lot of cowboy/Indians novels were written as a direct result of success of certain Westerns that hit it big on the silver screen, decades ago.

    But as always, there are plenty of sci-fi authors not driven by the thought of commercial success, but rather by their need to tell a good story.

  7. #37
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Actually, I'd consider the Matrix movies as comparable to the Star Wars movies in terms of being light sci-fi, created specifically for the cinema, more style than substance, and generating sequels and other properties (such as books) based on the popularity of the first movie.

    I'll grant the different type of story that the P.K. Dick movies represent, though I'll note that the most popular of them had a lot of action and visual candy and down-peddled the more psychological aspects of the original story. The more-cerebral-than-action Through a Scanner Darkly bombed in the theatres, as did Solaris, suggesting that "harder" SF isn't popular with many moviegoers.

    Avatar, on the other hand, dominated the box office, along with various superhero movies, over the past few years. Whatever movies we say we prefer, in the general public the trend is clear.

    That's why I suggest walking away from the influence of the movies and looking towards literary SF to see what's in SF at the moment.

  8. #38
    Registered User gainespost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post

    That's why I suggest walking away from the influence of the movies and looking towards literary SF to see what's in SF at the moment.
    Okay, I appreciate your suggestion, but you're the one who brought movies into it; I was simply responding. If you read the last part of my post, you'll see that I was trying to bring the conversation back into focus on sci-fi literature. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

  9. #39
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Actually, I'd consider the Matrix movies as comparable to the Star Wars movies in terms of being light sci-fi, created specifically for the cinema, more style than substance, and generating sequels and other properties (such as books) based on the popularity of the first movie.
    On that I disagree.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b48pMFfBZVI

    http://www.facingthechallenge.org/matrix.php

    It does make you wonder how much they put into that movie but there is too much interrelated material to be accidental. The Oracle and The Architect being Yang and Yin. Was Neo the 6th One because God rested on the 7th day? Spoon Boy having 5 bent spoons and Neo bending and straightening the 6th One.

    But it is not until the second film that we find out he is the 6th.

    psik

  10. #40
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gainespost View Post
    Okay, I appreciate your suggestion, but you're the one who brought movies into it; I was simply responding. If you read the last part of my post, you'll see that I was trying to bring the conversation back into focus on sci-fi literature. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
    Well, to be clear, psik brought movies into the thread in the second post. And I didn't see any reason not to include movies in the thread, as they influence other media.

    At any rate, I don't mind moving on from movies at this point!

  11. #41
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    What's missing is a clear-cut direction for the genre to pursue. SF has generally followed in real science's footsteps, and when real science has been clear and unambiguous (such as with the Space Race of the 1960s) it's been very easy for SF to tap into that and enjoy related successes. The same with the rise of the New Wave and soft sciences in the late 1960s and 1970s (Le Guin's interest in socio-political elements etc) which mirrored movements in real society. Our fear/use of computers drove cyberpunk in the 1980s as well.

    However, more recently the cutting-edge of science has moved to quantum theory, the Higgs-Boson, dark matter and dark energy. Fascinating stuff, but fairly esoteric. It's hard to tell good stories about it, and the general public has little patience for it, especially as theories seem to change on an annual basis. The other issue is that the quantum side of things has been driving SF since the early 1990s, so for nearly twenty years now, and people got bored by it. Hence the popularity of the 'New Space Opera' in the late 1990s as people switched back to less-scientifically-accurate-but-a-lot-more-fun books. If the books could also incorporate quantum theory and so on in a more digestible format, it became a lot more popular (such as with Hamilton, Reynolds and others).

    SF has been in the doldrums for a few years now, particularly in the United States, which has been very surprising, with no new authors arising to replace the semi-retired heavyweights like Bear and Benford (who have moved on to tedious near-future thrillers). The most notable SF novels in the last year or two from this quarter have been from the established names like Brin and Robinson, or the British contingent of Baxter, Banks, Hamilton, Reynolds, Asher and McAuley. Where are the new hard SF authors driving things forward? Rajaniemi needs a few more books to prove himself, but beyond him there seems to be little else out there.

    However, we have seen an interesting move recently back to near-future, Solar system-restricted stories featuring real Newtonian physics and so on. Franck and Abraham's The Expanse, Reynolds's Blue Remembered Earth and Robinson's 2312 seem to be trying to back away from the hardcore quantum stuff that no-one really cares about in order to tell more relatable stories about future technology and the direction we should be taking in the shorter term (the next couple of centuries rather than millions of years in the future). It'll be interesting to see how much of a direction this is, or if it's just a passing phase.

  12. #42
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    I'd say there is still plenty of material for SF to delve in, and most of it is right here on Earth.

    Our climate and resource problems, pollution, overcrowding, political and social divisiveness, health and welfare, and near-future are all ripe for exploration. Computers are still evolving new uses and new interfaces, as well as integrating more deeply into daily use. Communications, commerce and language are evolving to keep up with a faster lifestyle, global access and computer use. And that's just the starter's list.

    Science Fiction needs to embrace the fact that mankind's greatest adventures are still talking place on this planet, and stop treating Earth and the present as a mundane and forgotten stage with no stories left in it.

  13. #43
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven L Jordan View Post
    Well, to be clear, psik brought movies into the thread in the second post. And I didn't see any reason not to include movies in the thread, as they influence other media.

    At any rate, I don't mind moving on from movies at this point!
    Yeah, blame it all on psik.

    But my point was to emphasize the influence that movies have had on the genre in terms of enlarging and mostly changing the demographic of the audience. I think there are a lot of people who read SF now who would have paid no attention to it in the 60s but the books they read are stuff I would not have touched in the 60s.

    Even though I watch and like Star Trek I avoid the books like the plague but there are websites and websites of people discussing the books. I find it shocking and somewhat depressing.

    psik

  14. #44
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    Yeah, blame it all on psik.
    If you insist!

    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    But my point was to emphasize the influence that movies have had on the genre in terms of enlarging and mostly changing the demographic of the audience. I think there are a lot of people who read SF now who would have paid no attention to it in the 60s but the books they read are stuff I would not have touched in the 60s.
    Agreed.

  15. #45
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Franck and Abraham's The Expanse, Reynolds's Blue Remembered Earth and Robinson's 2312 seem to be trying to back away from the hardcore quantum stuff that no-one really cares about...
    I don't think I'd say that: Quantum physics has been with us for decades, essentially steering our electronics and computer ages, and it's still giving us surprises; sure, there are some who just want to ignore what they don't understand, but plenty of readers are intrigued by the continuing revelations brought to us by quantum mechanics, such as other dimensions, string theory, quantum entanglement, etc. My best novel takes advantage of quantum mechanics to tell its story, and by all accounts, it's not boring.

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