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(CNN)   How 'Star Wars' ruined sci-fi   (cnn.com) divider line 176
    More: Obvious, Star Wars, MacArthur Foundation, Forever War, Francois Truffaut, Episode VII, The Big Book of  
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6024 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 May 2014 at 2:07 PM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-04 03:24:35 AM  

Mad_Radhu: kroonermanblack: Mad_Radhu: Mad_Radhu: 2wolves: Any story that uses Fate to shape itself is fantasy, not Science Fiction.

Babylon 5 managed to pull of the prophecy thing well, by having a main chapter travel back in time to become Valen, the one who wrote the prophecies.

Also, in Foundation, psychohistory was a sort of a hand of fate that moved the story forward. Especially when it was subverted by the Mule.

Is foundation an episode of Deep space nine, a show, or a novel? Because the word's too vague to google without a qualifier.


The Asimov Foundation novel series. It's based around a Seldon Plan that acts as a sort of hand of fate in the series because it predicts how the future of the galaxy will unfold after the collapse of the Galactic Empire based on a science of psychohistory which predicts how large groups of people will react to events. Of course it all falls apart when a mutant with powerful mental powers throws off the plan because psychohistory can't predict what a single person will do, only masses of people,


He wasn't a mutant, he was part of the Second Foundation and went rogue. A kind of... Anakin Skywalker.

/runs away
 
2014-05-04 03:53:01 AM  
OK, Besides the fact that Star Wars is a space opera and not science fiction, and instead is based on Flash Gordon serials, collected myths, legends, borrowings from religion, and above all serves as a fairy tale for generations growing up without one...

Star Wars' space opera homage challenged science fiction to adopt a soul, and for the most part films of that genre have learned that lesson.  Blade Runner is not a favorite of mine, in fact, I dislike it immensely, but its sets look believable based on the "futuristic, but used" look Lucas pioneered in film making.

Still, too many film makers haven't learned those lessons because they're trying to win over the audience's trust by impressing them with plausible pseudo-science instead of winning them over with slick plausibility.

People think Han made a mistake boasting the Falcon can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, when nothing further could have been from the truth.  He was testing Ben and Luke. That's the technical/story dividing line between Star Wars and Star Trek if I ever saw one. If Ben had said "Ha! A parsec is a unit of space, not time, later jackass." it would have been quirky sci-fi, not a sprawling space opera-western-ymth.  Ben knew the important truth behinds Solo's boast designed to mark the rubes(that this guy's ride was speedy) and ignored his sly test with a wry grin and a raised eyebrow.


tl;dr, Star Wars is the cool older brother that is space opera that gave the too chatty younger brother science fiction some pointers and a chance to be relevant again, thusly making countess ungrateful people miss the point entirely, like the article's author.
 
2014-05-04 03:54:16 AM  

HawgWild: Stone Meadow: Partial credit, since you are overlooking 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is now "nearly universally recognized by critics, film-makers, and audiences as one of the greatest and most influential boring films ever made."

FTFY


Not all of us have ADD
 
2014-05-04 04:35:10 AM  

viscountalpha: George Lucas is a hack and stole starwars from EE doc smith's lensman.

After Lucas ran out of source material, he tried cobbling the prequels together. I still can't forgive him for jar-jar. Or a young Anakin Skywalker who should have been a teenager like Luke.

CSB

I was almost named LUKE SKY (last name walker) by my mom. Thankfully my dad had enough sense to not allow it.

/CSB


I don't think it's fair to call him a hack when the material he did borrow was presented in such a relevant, fresh and engaging way.  He pulled together many different themes and gelled them into one epic story of his own, with a look and feel all its own.   For all the work he poured into his vision, I'd say it's going a bit far to say he stole or is a hack.   Just as Paul Verhoeven's Robocop is not the work of a hack because it's a Christ allegory (with heavy servings of dark post-modern comedy centering on the fall of western civilization via fascism).


I agree with you on the prequels. Making Anakin anything less than around 20 was a mistake; he should have made him older to jibe with Red Leader's meeting of his father(cut from the "restored" scene with Biggs) in Star Wars.


/your dad saved you much pain
//really lucas borrowed but stole it is too strong
 
2014-05-04 05:45:21 AM  

acohn: almejita: simplicimus: almejita: Anyone remember a sci-fi novel in which there was a third sex? not male or female, but 'Aer'?  Read it as a kid and can't remember the name.

I have a vague memory of such a novel.  It alternated between two story arcs that eventually intersected, and the arc about the gelatinous race had the third sex.  Sorry I can't be of more help.


Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" may be what you're thinking of.
 
2014-05-04 05:53:16 AM  

HawgWild: FTFA: Instead, I'll queue up "The Matrix," and enjoy the most original sci-fi movie of the past 25 years.

Okay, this guy is just trolling ...


Wait. Are you saying you didn't enjoy the first and only Matrix movie?
 
2014-05-04 06:51:49 AM  
Yeah the only matrix movie is legitimately brilliant. Some idiots made some shiat they tried to push off as sequels but who watched THOSE?
 
2014-05-04 08:44:43 AM  

simplicimus: almejita: Anyone remember a sci-fi novel in which there was a third sex? not male or female, but 'Aer'?  Read it as a kid and can't remember the name.

Just a guess, but it sounds like a Ursula Le Guin sort of thing.


It's a favourite of mine.
The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov.

/Against Stupidity
/Contend in Vain
 
2014-05-04 09:59:38 AM  

Choestoe: clambam: There's an element of truth in the author's com[plaint, but there's nothing wrong with good, mindless space opera either. Disney's big mistake in marketing "John Carter of Mars" was not using Burrough's actual title, "A Princess of Mars," a novel to which it was thematically and visually reasonably faithful.

I'm still waiting for Jack Vance's "Planet of Adventure" trilogy, the greatest space opera ever written, to get the cinematic treatment; just as I'm waiting for Disney to do Janacek's opera, "The Cunning Little Vixen," and for Lucas pr Spielberg to do justice to the "Ring of the Nibelung."

I would give an appendage for a really well done version of Vance's "Lyonesse" books. Of course that is pure fantasy. For scifi, Planet of Adventure would indeed rock. Araminta Station would too, though the sequels were a bit flat. The trouble with filming anything by Vance is getting the subtlety, nuance, and serious oddities to come through, His stuff would be harder to do right than even "Dune" I think.

I second (or third, or fiftieth) the idea of "A Mote in god's Eye". But for a stand-alone Niven book, how about "World of Ptaavs"?

/Still wishes someone would do a REAL version of "Starship Troopers".
//Verhoeven should rot in hell


Supposedly one is in development, but it may well be Development Hell.
 
2014-05-04 10:01:54 AM  
 I disagree with TFA. The kind of sci-fi he's talking about would make a lousy, boring movie that very few people would be willing to pay money to see.
 
2014-05-04 11:04:29 AM  

GoSlash27: I disagree with TFA. The kind of sci-fi he's talking about would make a lousy, boring movie that very few people would be willing to pay money to see.


Pretty much. He might as well talk about how successful romantic movies ruined all complicated, nuanced love trysts by Ishiguro, or how fantasy movies were ruined by LOTR.

FURTHERMORE: Sci-fi is a writer's ghetto. If you have literary pretentions, suddenly you write "speculative fiction" or reviewer don't acknowledge you're a sci-fi writer. Some of Vonnegut's work falls into this camp.
 
2014-05-04 11:15:56 AM  

Magorn: About goddamn time somebody said it. Lucas is a crap writer, crap director.  He's basically a special effects wizard who somehow got a director's chair.  Call me elitist if you want, but I don't consider star wars to be sci-fi at all, and i have little respect for fans of the novels who think they are.  And i say that even though I am a huge fan if space opera generally


I'll agree that anyone who thinks Star Wars is science fiction has no clue what science fiction is, but it doesn't mean that early Star Wars/some of the EU and Lucasfilm-produced media isn't entertaining space fantasy/opera/occasional drama.

Stop hating just because no one's done a version of Dune "true enough" to the original Herbert for you (the Lynch version was trippy but suffered from studio interference; the Syfy version was a bit too plodding for my tastes and honestly I felt suffered from not having as awesome a cast as Lynch's).

Too bad Jodorowski never got to make his version :(
 
2014-05-04 11:17:49 AM  

2wolves: Any story that uses Fate to shape itself is fantasy, not Science Fiction.


Even if it involved clairvoyance and the effects it would have on the clairvoyant? Time travel? etc
 
2014-05-04 11:28:22 AM  

Valiente: K3rmy: Star Wars gave us Carrie Fisher in that golden bikini.  It can ruin whatever it wants.

Five minutes of 34-year-old midget cheesecake does not great SF make. Star Wars is a deriative cartoon that consciously aped 1930s adventure serials, as did the Indiana Jones films, actually set in the 1930s...

And John Williams owes a certain dead musical proto-Nazi a virtual sack of Afterlife Bitcoins.


Wouldn't he want to give Wagner something worth something, like bars of gold pressed Latinum? Or at least useless currency that at least has a steady value like the Quatloo?
 
2014-05-04 12:31:59 PM  
i.imgur.com

Any Demu trilogy fans in here?
 
2014-05-04 12:35:43 PM  

acohn: almejita: simplicimus: almejita: Anyone remember a sci-fi novel in which there was a third sex? not male or female, but 'Aer'?  Read it as a kid and can't remember the name.

I have a vague memory of such a novel.  It alternated between two story arcs that eventually intersected, and the arc about the gelatinous race had the third sex.  Sorry I can't be of more help.


Xenogenesis, by Octavia Butler?
 
2014-05-04 12:49:13 PM  

Fano: GoSlash27: I disagree with TFA. The kind of sci-fi he's talking about would make a lousy, boring movie that very few people would be willing to pay money to see.

Pretty much. He might as well talk about how successful romantic movies ruined all complicated, nuanced love trysts by Ishiguro, or how fantasy movies were ruined by LOTR.

FURTHERMORE: Sci-fi is a writer's ghetto. If you have literary pretentions, suddenly you write "speculative fiction" or reviewer don't acknowledge you're a sci-fi writer. Some of Vonnegut's work falls into this camp.


"Pretentions" being the operative word here. Fiction is merely another form of entertainment. There are plenty of engaging storytellers in the sci-fi genre. I wouldn't classify my favorite sci-fi as "literature" by any stretch, but I do enjoy reading it. Shouldn't that be the point?
 
2014-05-04 01:26:29 PM  

clambam: There's an element of truth in the author's com[plaint, but there's nothing wrong with good, mindless space opera either. Disney's big mistake in marketing "John Carter of Mars" was not using Burrough's actual title, "A Princess of Mars," a novel to which it was thematically and visually reasonably faithful.


I came to John Carter a few years after release and I honestly didn't understand the hate. It reminded me of older styles of filmmaking, like 1960s films about romans or greek myths, but with modern CGI and I thought it was pretty good. It's no masterpiece, but critics rate Crystal Skull higher, which is a farking disaster.
 
2014-05-04 03:39:46 PM  

doofusgumby: Any Pie Left: Mote in God's Eye and the sequel would make a great movie... The stuff Niven and Pournelle wrote as a team was always written in a cinematic form, like novelizations of a screenplay. They even list the cast in the book as if it was a film. Adapting those would be easy.

I do NOT want to see Hollywood's take on "Ringworld": they could get the *look* right with modern FX technology, but they would ruin the STORY.

Well first they'd have to do a shiatload of movies & miniseries to get the audience familiar with The Known Universe. Including the Man-Kzin wars. Then bring on Ringworld.


That would be awesome.  A show called Known Space, with each season being a diff book or whatnot.  First season is all the colonization stuff (2 eps for each book like Crashlander, World of Ptaavs, etc), season two is individual episodes set in the Kzinti Wars, season three has the very cool new Puppeteer stuff and such leading up to the Ringworld movie in 3D Imax.  Don't gimme any crapola about the story, seeing a legitimate attempt to capture the Ringworld's infinite horizons in 3D Imax is well worth the ticket price regardless, imho.
 
2014-05-04 06:14:08 PM  

Mike_1962: The Gods Themselves"


Bless you!  Truly, nothing is obscure on Fark!
 
2014-05-04 09:34:11 PM  
Fred Pohl's "Gateway" should be a movie.

"King David's Spaceship" should be a movie.

I think Patton Oswalt was born to star in an update of "Bug Jack Barron".

I think Greg Bear's original "Blood Music" would make a great techno-horror movie, and "Mutant 59: the Plastic Eaters" would make a great disaster film.

And I think a comedy film version of "The StarCrossed" would be hilarious.

The California Voodoo Game" might make a good sci-fi-network series.

I was going to suggest  a movie made of the book "Little Heroes", but the Al Pacino movie "S1mone" was too close to the same material.

A movie I would like Jim Cameron or Cuaron or Blomkamp to take a serious crack at would be Haldeman's  "The Forever War". IF they stay true to Haldeman's essential ideas.  Saw the stage play version in Chicago and it was farking amazing then and would still kick ass today.

A Great book series for  Tv serialization would be the Stainless Steel Rat books. Sci-fi spy stuff, with a side of outrageous humor.

I want Pixar to option Phoglio's "Girl Genius" comics and design the characters in Phil's style.
 
2014-05-04 11:11:33 PM  

Harry_Seldon: Surool: Star Wars is toy commercial fantasy set in space. It was never science fiction.

FTFY

Not so

with the first Star Wars. Not even George had any idea the toy market would take off like that. Even RotJ lacked the "it was only in there to sell the toy" mentality of the prequels.
 
2014-05-04 11:47:56 PM  

Any Pie Left: A movie I would like Jim Cameron or Cuaron or Blomkamp to take a serious crack at would be Haldeman's  "The Forever War". IF they stay true to Haldeman's essential ideas.  Saw the stage play version in Chicago and it was farking amazing then and would still kick ass today.


Supposedly Ridley Scott is developing it right now, and late last year gave Fox a script that he really liked.
 
2014-05-05 12:50:14 AM  
The "Lensman" series was written to be the Space Police story which would stop the endless Space Police stories.
Imagine a space opera series which is so over the top that it stops space opera stories.
 
2014-05-05 01:17:16 AM  
"Supposedly Ridley Scott is developing it right now, (The Forever War) and late last year gave Fox a script that he really liked. "

I'm getting a bad feeling about this. Especially if Lindeloff is anywhere near it.
 
2014-05-05 01:22:00 AM  
The "Lensman" series was written to be the Space Police story which would stop the endless Space Police stories.
Imagine a space opera series which is so over the top that it stops space opera stories.


See, Lensman is corny, but it's all in the art direction and the ability of the performers to pull it off, you could get something quite fun and bankable out of it, with a director and producer that had the right attitude about it. Not necessarily like the Flash Gordon movie, not that campy, but playing it square, yet  with a  wink tot he audience now and again.  The dialog of the original is creaky and bad as any Tom Swift book, but the situations and ideas are fun.

Ever see the anime' version of Lensman? It was done at the very dawn of CGI, with a little 3dCGI mixed with 2-d cel animation.  it has moments of true brilliance here and there, and mostly sticks tot he original material in a not too bad way.   Could ,ake a good modern comic book or animated series.
 
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