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Featured Sci-Fi How can we save science fiction?

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy Talk' started by Alexander Oliver Sen, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Alexander Oliver Sen

    Alexander Oliver Sen Creator and Writer

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    Has Science Gone Too Far?

    I was doing research on the science fiction market for a book I am writing, and saw these two articles:

    http://www.intergalacticmedicineshow.com/cgi-bin/mag.cgi?do=columns&vol=carol_pinchefsky&article=014

    http://markcnewton.com/2009/12/03/why-sf-is-dying-fantasy-fiction-is-the-future/

    After reading them, I wondered if things in modern day science fiction and science has not become an enemy in the public eye. As the drop is popularity of science fiction might be because of current trends in science. Things like human-like robots which are more human than human, and machines which function better at their jobs than humans do, are now actually real, and pose a real threat to human society.


    There is a possible correlation of the drop in the popularity in science fiction with the trend of crossing that fourth wall, and that uncanny valley of which real psychological threats occur in human existence. Why would people want to foster something which propagates their own demise?

    There is a moral dilemma of reaping what we sow, thus people no longer want to support science fiction as it promotes our own enslavement to the machines. Do humans become slaves to the very systems they create? In the future, will science fiction survive as a genre, if we keep promoting conflicting views of humanity and science? Or is there a way to save science fiction and science where humans and machines can live in harmony with each other?
     
  2. Ken Jeavus

    Ken Jeavus Scout

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    Hmmm. I guess I'm just not seeing it. Just based on my own casual observation it seems like sci fi is growing by leaps and bounds. Every other TV show and movie seems to be sci fi. World War Z, Oblivion, Gravity, Chronicle, Man of Steel, Battleship, the two most recent Star Trek movies, Star Wars movies are due out, Enders Game, etc. just to name a few movies. On TV there are plenty of zombie based shows, Dr Who is more popular than ever, The Tomorrow People, Almost Human, and on and on.
     
  3. Alexander Oliver Sen

    Alexander Oliver Sen Creator and Writer

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    Interesting comments. Hear say perhaps? There are a lot more movies and shows as you mention. Yet why do the market reports dictate differently? A Conspiracy? Or lack or creditable sources? Or just a temporary fluctuation in the market? It would be interesting to see a graph/chart with how well all the sci-fi shows did, as well as how large of an audience base they have and, and how much of a budget they had, in addition to the total overall market numbers.
     
  4. astonwest

    astonwest Writing Fool Writer

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    I'd venture to say that people love science fiction as long as it downplays the scientific side. Science confuses the majority of people, so... :)
     
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

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    While I agree with the sentiment, and was about to post something similar along the lines of "Why does anybody think sci-fi needs saving?", I'm not sure I'd include World War Z & the various zombie shows in the list. Yes, I know... technically they would be, especially with the premise for some of them being a viral outbreak, either natural or man-made, but they tend to target horror & fantasy fans more then sci-fi fans.
     
  6. alchemate

    alchemate Ensign

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    I think this guy Alexander Oliver Sen poses a good point, though. I'd agree that people love science fiction, and that the genre is growing. But I also think sci-fi is taking a turn toward the fantasy realm, as opposed to the kinds of sci-fi films that encourage self-reflection, making us reconsider our advances in technology. And, strangely, just how many fantasy films are being made, I think alot of technological advances in the private sector revolve around fantasies; making personal robots, private security compnanies helping prevent disasters that have a billion in one chance of happening, and all kinds of unnecessary felgercarb. Therefore, I think sci-fi lost its ability to talk about REAL threats (not fantasies), and that's why people can't take sci-fi seriously nowadays; they just find it entertaining.
     
  7. Pawel Bodytko

    Pawel Bodytko Cadet

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    It's a fad. That's all. They come and go. Great stuff gets shifted in time.
    -------
    A side note: "Public Eye" is a fantasy. There is no such thing. There are only individuals and their opinion change constantly, in addition to being all over the map... People feel and think all kinds of things, because they are (and were formed) in all kinds of circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  8. AlienView

    AlienView StarGate Explorer

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    There is no problem here. Since we first visited with you humans eons ago we have stimulated your somewhat primitive brains to think. Science Fiction is the way we advance your science and show you the potentials you have been bred to achieve. As long as the mind of man maintains consciousness and wants to advance into the future science fiction will maintain its status as the father of human science. In the future man will look back on his history and the history of science fiction will be considered as important as the history of science itself.
    The mind and future of the humanoid species Man requires a continuous development of the imagination to push real progress and to keep the gates to the future open. Ready for StarGate SG-2?
     
  9. Imzadi

    Imzadi Imzadi

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    I personally know about some parts of science "fiction". It is becoming "science FACTION". I am a documented abductee/contactee. I am waiting for FULL DISCLOSURE, as people interested in UFOs and aliens are concerned. I have been watching the Science Channel a lot. Apparently, they are doing the full disclosure, only most people don't realize it.
    I think people like Gene Roddenberry and Arthur C. Clarke were inspired. They may not have realized it, but they could see many things coming in the future.
    I hope scientists are careful about what they do. I read one article a few years ago, where a scientist took his sperm and fertilized a cow's egg, then put the egg back into the cow. I hope the result did not develop to a fully-developed creature. Imagine the suffering a real-life "cowboy" or "cowgirl" would have!:jawdrop::eek:
     
  10. Biorider

    Biorider Ensign

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    I think sci-fi as in books doesn't have as much market as the movies. And the movies tend to go for the action and adventure type of stuff. The books with intellectual sci-fi don't seem to have that much appeal to a media-bombarded audience. However, I do believe classic sci-fi as we know it still has its audience. But this and other audiences have been segregated now. And one audience could be bigger than the other and elicit more attention. I would wager that's the explanation with the movies and mass media over the classic sci-fi in books.
     
  11. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

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    Science Fiction is not dying out. Science Fiction is a sub-genre of Speculative Fiction. As long as human beings have the ability to imagine Speculative Fiction will remain. The Science in Science Fiction is the ability of humans to dream scientifically. The only way Science Fiction can die is if all the human beings on the planet become uneducated and dim-witted.
    I get angry with the SYFY Channel minds. I feel they dumb down Science Fiction for the masses. No TRUE Science Fiction fan would like it.
    There are a multitude of UnTapped Science Fiction ideas based on the path of current scientific research that can be explored in the genre. Eventually you will see more stories, media and images that explore:

    Nanotechnology
    The Computer Singularity
    Mind Displacement
    Gravity Manipulation
    Genetic Manipulation
    Under Sea Exploration & Habitats
    Life & Death in Space
    Asteroid Mining
    Energy Production

    Looking at these few examples you already know of some Science Fiction created recently.
    I assure you all - Science Fiction is alive and well! You just might not recognise it sometimes.
     
  12. AlienView

    AlienView StarGate Explorer

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    A few more new sci-fi series on TV this season and a few of the better ones from last year gone {ie. Almost Human, The Tomorrow People, and Intelligence} and of course from the last two years a third season for Person of Interest. Is it really ratings {how do they calculate the ratings?} or other factors that cause them to cancel some of the better and more creative series? I've noticed the comic book sci-fi like Marvel's Agents of SHIELD and the Flash seem to be popular - In my opinion they aim for the younger audience - but really good sci-fi even if aimed for a younger audience will still appeal to older long time sci-fi fans {just started watching Babylon 5 again and I like it more now than ever - in some ways can be considered a good Star Trek rival} - Really good sci-fi will always have appeal to almost all age watchers and/or readers. The older I get the more of a sci-fi addict I become and I can't get enough. Even started writing some myself {see my post on this forum in the Creative Writing & Arts section of this forum "We are the Borg Prepare to be Assimilated"}. Of course this was stimulated by Borg intelligence {a concept from the Star Trek franchise} - but if you analyze the Borg you will realize they created the mind set for Star Trek and Star Trek just gave you a somewhat dim view of the misunderstood Borg - the AI intelligence of the future - but maybe they are already here!!! 'The Future is Now'!
     
  13. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

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    Just some input on the subject:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Science Fiction Literary Awards gives you the current status of Science Fiction. Science Fiction is more than just TV and Movies. It is also Artworks, both conventional and electronic and Music as in setting moods.
    Science fiction is neither dead nor dying. Mainstream society has gotten so wrapped up in the instant gratification syndrome that people don't know what science fiction is anymore. But, Hey, Most people cant name the planets, have no idea what a neutron, a paradox or a helisphere is. Without their cell phones & tablets I doubt most people in the 'Now' generation could function.
    Good science fiction is still being written. Even TV shows and Movies have roots in Good Scifi but it has to be dumbed down to be popular and make money. Yes there are authors that are driven by the buck but there are still a great many authors that are driven by the Awe. There are still authors writing works that are for exploring the possibilities. People in general are just not paying attention to them until it goes viral.
     
  14. AlienView

    AlienView StarGate Explorer

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    If one views the development of AI {artificial intelligence} with an open mind we can see the nightmare scenarios portrayed in much contemporary sci-fi. But what sci-fi should be doing is speculating on the immense potential that this intelligence presents. Why aren't there more sci-fi writers showing how we can create beings that are not only advanced but benevolent {say like Data in Star Trek}. See the problem is human and human writers project their negative view of man into the machine who turns out to be a new monster. Think positive, write positive and the audience will eat it up. Like remember that old sci-fi story by Isaac Asimov - "The Last Question" where they kept asking a computer: " "How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?"" This is equivalent to asking: "Can the workings of the second law of thermodynamics (used in the story as the increase of the entropy of the universe) be reversed?" Multivac's only response after much "thinking" is: "INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.".......... And finally after asking this question for many centuries........

    "Multivac's ultimate descendant, which exists in hyperspace beyond the bounds of gravity or time, the entropy question one last time, before the last of humanity merges with AC and disappears. AC is still unable to answer, but continues to ponder the question even after space and time cease to exist. Eventually AC discovers the answer, but has nobody to report it to; the universe is already dead. It therefore decides to answer by demonstration. The story ends with AC's pronouncement,

    And AC said: "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" And there was light--

    —Closing line, The Last Question"
     
  15. ralfy

    ralfy Cadet

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    One should probably consider the dominant predicaments today, such as peak oil, global warming coupled with environmental damage, and chronic financial crisis due to too much debt, as well as overpopulation and the threat of war.
     
  16. robert eggleton

    robert eggleton Lacy Dawn Adventures

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    Science is moving faster than the writers of SF can keep up with in order to maintain status within the field. Plus, many high school kids write and self-publish. They, typically, are more knowledgeable about consumer driven technology, but not particularly interested in the research required to predict realism into the future.

    The first publication of Rarity from the Hollow in 2006 illustrates such rapid technological advancement by its reprint in 2012. Originally, it was cool that a person living in a hollow had a cell phone (no land line), but now text messages are commonplace and fewer people actually vocalize. Fortunately, reviews of this novel by experts have been glowing, but I still update the sequel, Ivy, into today's reality.
     
  17. oorang

    oorang Cadet

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    Interesting point in one of the OP's articles about women making up more of the reading market being a problem for sci fi. I think that depends on how you define sci fi. A lot of shows on tv right now, for example, that could potentially be classified as sci fi, primarily target women. They tend to be more on the supernatural end of things rather than the hard space-based sci fi end, but that isn't necessarily always the case. Battlestar, for example, drew a huge female audience.
     
  18. spacepilotsshow

    spacepilotsshow Scout

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    I think some writers might avoid sci-fi because they don't want people looking back on the datedness of something originally intended to seem futuristic.

    Look to The Jetsons for the best example. CLEARLY a product of the 60's and 70's
     
  19. IntentionalAlien

    IntentionalAlien Ensign

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    That's an interesting idea. From the Scifi out there on TV, it doesn't seem like many writers care much about accuracy, but that might be a sample bias, and I can see how that would make those who do care about it shy away and to more fantasy. Maybe it's just the ones who don't care who are willing to risk writing scifi and messing something up without the research?

    One trend that might be worth noting, is that fantasy is also becoming more scientifically minded (at least in terms of consistency and common knowledge science). Perhaps it's not so much that Scifi is dying out, as that things are getting more muddled.
     
  20. Tom

    Tom An Old Friend

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    That statement is exactly what I was talking about when I created
    https://coolscifi.com/threads/blurring-the-genres-nanotechnology.48323/

    Science fiction writers not only need to be versed in story-telling and character development they must stay current on actual science trending. While some have a unique ability that could create a best seller from proven science most readers want to read about current scientific trends that become commonplace and the ramifications of that, on people and societies. There is no mysticism over the control of fire, yet in the 1800 describing a flashlight would be considered fantasy.
    Common known technology can now create anything a writer can imagine and theoretical science trends actually back that up. Most readers of science fiction know of Prototype Printing, Holograms, Cell Replication and Nanotechnology. All those technologies exist to some degree in real science. The writer that can take the infant technology of today and expound on its implications can justify the existence of anything.

    A dragon is possible. A werewolf with a laser is possible. Self-healing houses are possible. Techno-mages and wizards are possible. In 200 years, based on current trending and scientific theory, it may actually be possible to create actual manifestations of anything we can dream of. Not in the realm of Forbidden Planet but as a dedicated scientific construct. When that happens even Reality will be in the realm of Fantasy.

    The question shouldn't be Is Science Fiction Dying?.
    The question should be What Now Constitutes Science Fiction?

    Is the merging of Science Fiction and Fantasy really a bad thing? The genres have been linked as long as I can remember. I also don't believe there will be much distinction between Science Fiction & Fantasy and Horror. The master genre is already known as Speculative Fiction. Perhaps the only thing that needs to happen is to throw away the implied title of Science fiction in favor of a broader term like Speculative Fiction.
     

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