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Where Does Your Heart Lay?

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy Talk' started by Tom, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    When you think about the future, do you see a bright, shiny world that’s free of disease, war and poverty or do you see a barren, smoldering landscape with scattered humans trying desperately to survive? Are you a pessimist or an optimist, a realist or a pragmatist? Out there somewhere is a futuristic world waiting for you. These are broad generalizations and not full plot synopses– just something to give you an idea of where you stand.

    Star Trek
    A Star Trek future is both social and humanitarian utopia. While there’s still bad guys in the universe, humanity is in a golden age, both socially and personally. There’s no war among humanity, no money and little strife. Humans have learned to embrace each other’s differences, wear matching Spandex suits and live in a shiny, clean, beautiful world. This is a dominant theme in early sci-fi– the idea that through technology and time, all ills of human life– war, poverty, disease, pollution and traffic jams can and will be eliminated. This is pretty much the kind of futuristic utopia envisioned by Walt Disney when he built Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. There’s also the cynical side of the utopian future– one echoed in Logan’s Run, and Demolition Man– that underneath the glitz, the shine and the order is an inherent wrongness.

    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: Star Trek, Logan’s Run, Demolition Man


    Pros:



    There’s no rich or poor, black or white, red states or blue states and everyone sings Kumbayah all night and all day.


    Cons:



    Under all that perfection often comes with a price– either lack of physical contact, restrictions on speech or travel or something equally reeking of Communism.


    Underlying outlook:



    The future is very bright and at one point, humanity will reach a beautiful golden age that will last a million years. Human beings deep down are good and would love nothing more than to get along.
     
  2. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Star Wars / Dune

    Star Wars is science fiction in terms of its worlds and its tech, but otherwise is very similar to fantasy. A Star Wars view of the future is one of a series of cyclically recurring archetypes. In this sense, Star Wars is more fantasy than sci-fi, more Shakespearian drama using a generalized, Jungian-Tarot deck view of humanity where things in the far past will eventually mirror things in the far future. In this view of history, humans and humanity not only do not ever essentially change and high points are marked by the passage of similar archetypes, but given enough time, the past and future will look and feel exactly the same.
    In a Dune future, the world, even with what looks like sci-fi technology is also more a return to a fantasy world. In a Dune future, human beings have evolved due in large part to narcotics, its natural abilities have far surpassed that of computers and technology. Human conflict and interspecies conflict is still the same at its core even if human beings have changed beyond what we would now think possible.
    However the binding theme in a Star Wars / Dune future is that while there is futuristic technology, it is eventually trumped by an over-evolved, magically charged kind of human. In an example of how philosophies cross over, there is some of this in the works of Robert Heinlein as discussed below, though in that case the evolutionary advance is made through genetics.


    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: Star Wars, Dune, superhero science fiction, Final Fantasy

    Pros:

    You know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. In a world full of archetypes and fractal, circular time, astrology makes sense.

    Cons:


    Chances are good that you’re neither the hero or the villain, but just some peon that gets fed to sandworms.

    Underlying outlook:

    Humanity is essentially good, though all the world’s a stage. At some point, human beings will reach an evolutionary leap through science and / or discipline.
     
  3. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    The Matrix
    A Matrix future and subsequent view of reality is one based on a medieval view of humanity– one in which the toils of everyday life are mostly meaningless and the individual cannot rise above his chains due to an underlying evil that controls everything and only by through the power of a single messiah can mankind ever be free of our bonds.


    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: The Matrix, Tron


    Pros:



    Ignorance is bliss and the Lord loves a working man.


    Cons:



    From cradle to the grave, life is nothing but an endless, hopeless, meaningless toil… and under it all? The world is evil at its core.


    Underlying outlook:



    Humanity means well, but is naive. The only hope that humankind has to escape from its prison is through a single messiah figure.
     
  4. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    A Robert Heinlein future
    The Heinlein future encompasses a lot of contemporary science fiction and can be viewed as a more pragmatic view. In the future, human beings are still the same homo sapien apes as they’ve always been– eating, ****ing, killing, working hard when they need to, reveling in days off and curious as all getout. Humanity has moments of brilliance and moments of stupidity in equal measure and while there
    is the occasional hero, for the most part humans keep doing what we’ve been doing. This is a large group, encompassing modern sci-fi realities such as Aliens, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and The Fifth Element. There are no great leaps in evolution, no great leaps in social function, but a unwavering constant of human behavior.

    In reality, it doesn’t have to be just Heinlein representing this vein. Dozens of contemporary authors would do, but with Heinlein’s down home, hard-working work ethic and his character’s love of the more basic things in life like food, family and sex, it seemed like a decent choice. On the subject of Heinlein, his metaverse does sometimes cross into the realm of the great evolutionary leap through the character of Lazarus Long, but this is one character of hundreds that bucks the general trend of his “average Joe” theme.

    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: Aliens, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, The Fifth Element, Firefly, Babylon 5, Farscape


    Pros:



    Other than some goofy fashions and economies, you can rest assured that your great-great-great-grandkids will be just as much of a dumbass as you are.


    Cons:



    Other than some goofy fashions and economies, you can rest assured that your great-great-great-grandkids will be just as much of a dumbass as you are.


    Underlying outlook:



    Human beings are human beings– for good, bad and ugly, we’re essentially the same as we’ve always been and are free to chose as they wish and make intelligent or stupid choices as they wish.
     
  5. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    War of the Worlds / Mad Max apocalypse
    A War of the Worlds future may or may not include giant insect-like robots, but it is always post-apocalyptic in nature. This includes all Armageddon-like outcomes of humankind such as Planet of the Apes or Mad Max. In this future, the essence of humanity has not changed, but his surroundings have been decimated to the point where there is almost no leisure, only minute by minute survival and he is reverted to more animalistic behaviors by default. This apocalyptic view can be further divided into manmade (Mad Max) and and destruction from outside forces, either nature (Day After Tomorrow) or alien invasion (War of the Worlds). In the Mad Max version, the excesses and stupidity of humanity is its near downfall and it is this stupidity that threatens to keep the survivors from accomplishing a rise out of its own ashes, where in the alien invasion / nature version, humanity may or may not have played some sort of role but will ultimately triumph and regain its former authority. The common theme in both versions are: humanity will suffer a huge setback, usually well before its grand exploration of deep space and that usually this setback can in some way be attributed to some fault of mankind, whether it be hubris, naivity, curiosity, gluttony, sloth or sheer stupidity.

    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: War of the Worlds, Mad Max, Planet of the Apes, Terminator, The Day After Tomorrow, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I Robot, Jurassic Park


    Pros:



    Better parking, quieter neighborhood, not having to worry about a huge slew of morons that don’t think the same way you do, propagating the species with the few women remaining. Oh, and sports equipment is the fashion du jour.


    Cons:



    Probably no electricity, heat, Internet, Wal-Marts, gasoline, food. Loneliness, boredom, lack of water, wild animals roaming the landscape. That’s if you’re a survivor, which by definition there’s a good chance you’re not.


    Underlying outlook:



    Humanity may never reach a golden age, or even really get to explore the heavens. Long before that, humans will be the agent of their own downfall due to inherent, but unavoidable flaws.
     
  6. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Snow Crash
    The Snow Crash future is one where the world is mostly a dark and forbidding dystopia, often run by nefarious megacorporations that run the world in the style of a global medieval fiefdom and the only saving grace are bands of rebels living in the shadows and under the radar that are highly intelligent, highly tech savvy and mainly work towards the good of all. Each one of these rebels are usually highly unique individuals, each with their own strengths and flaws, each with their own talent that contributes to the goal of the eventual downfall of the evil megacorps and the liberation of all. The tools of resistance are cobbled together from pieces and scraps, put together with incredible cleverness and practicality. It can be argued that there is a certain amount of Marxist rebel philosophy inherent in cyberpunk, but the end result once liberation occurs is markedly different. In the post-cyberpunk world of Neal Stephenson’s follow-up to Snow Crash, the result is a beautiful nanotech world where magic and technology have become one. Showing no bounds, cyberpunk often can often incorporate elements of fantasy achieved through technology. The cyberpunk universe can have a messiah-like figure, but the main focus is on an elite team using whatever is at their disposal to achieve their ends. This formula has been well overused in much fantasy, but add tech, ripped jeans and dyed hair and you’ve got cyberpunk.

    Examples of sci-Fi that reflect this: Snow Crash, Diamond Age, Shadowrun, Tank Girl


    Pros:



    Even though there is an overwhelming oppression, there is also
    among the group of rebels, a great deal of comradery, community and
    family. Also requires plenty of ripped jeans, black leather jackets and bad punk haircuts

    Cons:




    Living life in the shadows is extremely difficult and resistance
    to society’s overlord can be fatal. Most goods are hard to come by, also requires plenty of ripped jeans, black leather jackets and bad punk haircuts.

    Underlying philosophy:



    Humanity is basically good, but through either naivity, acceptance of the status quo or duplicity, millions are easily controlled by a few. The only way to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds are for the intelligent, the talented, the driven and the sensible to band together, using whatever means at their disposal.
     
  7. painkiller64

    painkiller64 Avoid A Void

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    kansas
    i see a future like that of 'the time machine'. i think wells had a excellent grip on the reality of mankind.

    i think his visions of the future were not just grandiose but a true view into what mankind; with its irrevocable desire to destroy and rebuild itself.

    i don't really see any pros nor cons to this as our world is what we have and will make of it.

    the 20th century brought us many wonderful inventions and insights; more than any other time period in our existence, yet one has to wonder "did we have too much too early or is it too late to change".

    we can change who and what we are yet we cannot change the path to destiny that we are on.
     

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