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(CNN)   How 'Star Wars' ruined sci-fi   (cnn.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Star Wars, MacArthur Foundation, Forever War, Francois Truffaut, Episode VII, The Big Book of  
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6052 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 May 2014 at 2:07 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2014-05-03 02:22:57 PM  
5 votes:
Star Wars is crappy SF, it's really more of a fantasy, and I'm a huge SW fan.... but leaving that aside,  the article's headline premise; that it "ruined" SF (movies), is wrong.

Pre-1977, was a very dry, desolate time for SF movies.  Apart from occasional b-movies, the studios were not spending huge bucks on it, and SF on the television was also fairly dead after Star Trek TOS folded up shop and went into re-runs.

The huge financial success of Star Wars jump-stared a bandwagon effect at the big Hollywood studios, and money follows money.  A shiat-ton of bad SF followed in movies and TV, but   in that rising tide, we also got better movies and shows made, programming that otherwise wouldn't have been developed in the first place.

That expanded market for more SF even bled into the book market, creating new opportunities for new authors.

So, I think the author's premise is 180 degrees from reality.  Like it or not,  Star Wars was like a big cow turd dropped in an empty prarie: it fertilized the soil for the the space operas and imitators that sprouted up after it, creating a pool of consumers you could commoditize and build a new SF market around.
2014-05-03 03:44:27 PM  
3 votes:
What a whiny biatch. If you want better sci-fi, then either write it yourself, or enjoy what's already out there that you think is better, but don't complain about how one particular series is more popular and influential than others. The existence of Star Wars should in no way hinder your enjoyment of better sci-fi, and complaining about it makes you sound like a childish prick. In which case, STFU and spare us the diatribe.
2014-05-03 02:21:03 PM  
3 votes:
Meh, whatever.  SW didn't ruin SF.  Might have made it harder to produce good (however you define good) SF films in Hollywood, but hard SF has more to do with ideas than action and has never been easy to translate into a two hour movie. Heck, most literary fiction doesn't distill neatly into film without losing something in the process.
2014-05-03 02:16:34 PM  
3 votes:

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.
2014-05-03 01:18:04 PM  
3 votes:
Any story that uses Fate to shape itself is fantasy, not Science Fiction.
2014-05-03 12:00:17 PM  
3 votes:

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


Repeat to yourself it's just a show; you should really just relax.
2014-05-03 08:52:15 PM  
2 votes:
Star Wars is a crappy science fiction movie in the same way M.A.S.H. is a crappy war movie.
2014-05-03 04:27:23 PM  
2 votes:
Jesus

Star Wars isnt scifi at all and the genre it is in was popular for decades before it.

Some of the finest scifi movies ever made have been made after Star Wars, and it has in no way impacted on them.

Many popular and successful scifi works long before starwars were 'action romps', Star Wars is hardly to blame for that.

The example he obsesses over is pomo race-social literature wrapped in the thinnest of scifi skins, and noone who actually likes scifi would go watch it. In fact noone would. Would clean up at sundance though.
2014-05-03 03:18:51 PM  
2 votes:

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.


Two things here:
Lucifer' hammer would make a GREAT film, if they kept all of the smart science stuff in there.

Niven himself ruined ringworld. Seriously, did you read the third book? It was "Louis Wu farks a lot of aliens and then the book ends."
2014-05-03 03:16:33 PM  
2 votes:
People can dog on Star Wars because it has been deconstructed and commercialized. Guess what, Niven's Moties would fair just about the same. Instead of deep about trade agreements to rage over people would whine about planned social life cycles. Anything successful gets beaten like a dead horse.
2014-05-03 02:54:17 PM  
2 votes:
Sci fi used to be rocket ships, space babes, and cardboard aliens. piss on anything this guy might say or think.
2014-05-03 02:52:15 PM  
2 votes:
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" is akin to "once upon a time in a land far, far away"

In other words it's a fairy take with space features.
2014-05-03 02:32:12 PM  
2 votes:
I'd like to see them make a movie from Niven's "The Mote in God's Eye".
2014-05-03 02:18:58 PM  
2 votes:
Stupid premise is stupid. Star Wars is not "sci" anything.
2014-05-03 02:18:05 PM  
2 votes:

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.
2014-05-03 01:23:13 PM  
2 votes:
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 ...
2014-05-03 01:04:38 PM  
2 votes:
Star Wars gave us Carrie Fisher in that golden bikini.  It can ruin whatever it wants.
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-05-03 11:23:25 AM  
2 votes:
I think there was space opera before Star Wars.  There is more hard SF now than in the 70's, I think.
2014-05-03 10:18:46 AM  
2 votes:
No one likes a bitter nerd
2014-05-04 03:54:16 AM  
1 vote:

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 12:38:41 AM  
1 vote:
Well, let's see. We can remove Star Wars like it never happened...

Hrm. Sci-fi ends up remaining a terribly small "niche" element nobody takes seriously. As a result, there's also no fantasy or comic book explosion in the media...

In case you forgot, "Star Wars" is the single event that exploded into the American conscious that pretty much made (probably) everything you like in media today possible. Before that you had a whole bunch of shiatty B movies and Star Trek, which by the point Star Wars was created was just another long dead, cancelled and forgotten TV show.

You're farking welcome.
2014-05-04 12:02:14 AM  
1 vote:
If I had to choose a modern Sci Fi that is great but also quite creative I gotta choose The Abyss I know it's 25 years old but quite a great original story, a good balance between special effects and characters.
2014-05-03 11:18:08 PM  
1 vote:

t3knomanser: The good point that he makes is this: the first two Star Wars films, even when they appropriated past stories and styles, were original and inventive in themselves. Both visually, but even narratively- even if the story was tropey, those tropes had never been combined that way before.

The problem is that they started repeating themselves. Tatooine was never that interesting a setting- it's a desert planet, and as we're told in the first film- a  boring one. ROTJ attempts to backtrack on that, the plot gets messy and loses focus, and then we return to having to deal with a gigantic battle station because if you're building one, you might as well build two, because fark that's lazy writing..


To be fair, "A New Hope" was supposed to be the first of three movies in the Star Wars series, with the third ending with the destruction of the death star. But since Lucas didn't know whether he would be able to do any more he had to condense the entire story down to one film just called "Star Wars". So he didn't really re-use the Death Star so much as he added an extra one out of uncertainty.

Similarly, Tatooine was intended to come back around from the start because of good writing, not bad. Han's situation with Jabba the Hutt was intended to constantly add tension, and allow the introduction of additional challenges at any moment throughout the series (in the form of bounty hunters) until it is resolved in the final movie shortly before moving on to resolve the bigger issue, Darth Vader and the Death Star. So ROTJ is not backtracking on Tatooine, it is resolving Han's sub-plot, Tatooine is just the setting for doing so, and given how little time was spent on Tatooine in ROTJ, you really can't complain too much about its reuse in that movie.
2014-05-03 08:46:43 PM  
1 vote:
Stone Meadow:
 2001 was never a huge commercial success, or even a moderate one.

LOL...wut? Did you even glance at the link I provided? No? Well then let me set the record straight. From TFA: "...it eventually became the highest grossing picture from 1968 in North America."

Also from TFA: it cost $10.5 million to make and pulled in $190 million.good.


Yes, I have a few. Look at this

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=2001.htm

Then look at this:

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars4.htm


And tell me, where are all the millions of 2001 A Space Odyssey toys, happy meals, lunch-boxes, cartoons, spin-offs, etc. ?

If I tell a HAL 900 joke today, or drop a quote from 2001, in general public, the result is likely "huh? (crickets).  But every sentient on the planet for the last 20 years, except in some remote tribes of the Amazon, and the worse corners of North Korea maybe, knows who the fark Darth Vader is... they know him even more so than Mickey Mouse.

    2001 was an outlier; a stand-out in an otherwise moribund market segment full of mostly middling commercial and few critical successes.  SF was considered by hollywood and the critical public to be a lower tier niche genre' between the 50's to the 70's, where the biggest hits were rubber suit monster flicks and b-movie alien invasions.

It was the financial success of Star Wars that got Paramount scrambling to cash in on the SF interest and thus re-start the Star Trek franchise. You can confirm that in a couple of Trek-related history books. It got Disney to bankroll The Black Hole, and to think about Tron.  Between the two of them, the big franchises created the modern SF market, which all the production companies have tried to tap into since.  In fact, it was the success of Star Wars that generated enough interest in SF that MGM producers were able to get a sequel to 2001 made, based on Clark's book sequel, 2010, back in the early 80's. 2010 wasn't great, and it only made about 40 million, but it was entertaining.

Anyway, my only point, and I think it still stands, is that we have as much SF, good, bad, or in-between, as we have today, only because SW and a revived trek franchise created the market, and hollywood doesn't know good from bad, they are a business and they go for what they think  will make the most money at the time.
2014-05-03 08:03:57 PM  
1 vote:

Mike_1962: I'd like to see them make a movie from Niven's "The Mote in God's Eye".


Yes. Ditto "Footfall" - I want to see an Orion take off - even if it's only CGI.

"Ringworld" and its sequels could do with a franchise - lots of rishathra!
2014-05-03 07:35:24 PM  
1 vote:

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.


Seriously? If you don't know this, you should get out of this thread. "Classic science fiction" for you is probably some TOS fanfic.
2014-05-03 05:30:02 PM  
1 vote:
img.fark.net
2014-05-03 05:26:17 PM  
1 vote:

bloobeary: I was with him, right up until he said that J. J. Abrams had talent.

That's where he lost me.


He has a great talent for taking well known characters, stripping them of what makes them interesting, and putting them in an action movie.
2014-05-03 05:10:55 PM  
1 vote:

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.


There was a story? I mean, aside from "We're at this ring. We're flying... There's a thing... We're flying... There's another thing... We're flying... Point that tasp somewhere else, buddy... We're flying..."
2014-05-03 04:56:16 PM  
1 vote:
I completely disagree. Star Wars is the gateway drug. It's safe enough for your kids to use and get addicted to while they are young. Then they will spend the rest of their lives delving the depths of the harder stuff.
2014-05-03 04:36:59 PM  
1 vote:
I was with him, right up until he said that J. J. Abrams had talent.

That's where he lost me.
2014-05-03 04:34:17 PM  
1 vote:
I don't read anything on a recommendation any more, since the awful horror of the China Melville incident and the even worse 3 days of my life wasted watching Patrick Rothfuss masturbate onto a page. TWO of that farkers books I read. TWO. I still see it at night.
2014-05-03 04:27:37 PM  
1 vote:

gunther_bumpass: Thank god for Cory Doctorow. He'll save us from this living hell.


i tried to read 'for the win.' It was one of a handful of books i have put down halfway through and never returned to. one of the worst things i have ever read.
2014-05-03 04:22:18 PM  
1 vote:

gunther_bumpass: Thank god for Cory Doctorow. He'll save us from this living hell.


Cory Doctrow will save us from Hipster Fandom?

BoingBoing is the epicenter of SciFi Posers everywhere.... if you want to suck up to Cory...you're in the wrong forums
2014-05-03 04:17:50 PM  
1 vote:
Translation: sci-fi was better before it was popular.

BTW: you're kidding yourself if half of the examples you listed are hard, or cerebral. There is very hard (even excepting things like aliens and ai) sci-fi around, mostly because no one reads it anymore.

And Hollywood won't make it because most hollywood (and most mainstream authors, for that matter) are pretty stupid when it comes to science.
2014-05-03 04:17:01 PM  
1 vote:
SciFi Serials?
img.fark.net
2014-05-03 03:41:24 PM  
1 vote:

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,
2014-05-03 03:40:58 PM  
1 vote:
And in terms of movie adaptations:
FFS HOLLYWOOD CAN WE PLEASE GET A MOVIE ADAPTATION OF BUJOLD'S VOR SAGA WITH PETER DINKLAGE CAST AS MILES?
2014-05-03 03:36:47 PM  
1 vote:

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


Set of novels by Isaac Assimov. A very, very long set of novels that everyone hypes as one of the greatest series in sci-fi, but that I personally found trite and rather boring in aggregate.

There were interesting parts, but I felt like I had to wade through too much dross to get to them.

I didn't even get through book 1, personally. I got to the actual landing. I generally enjoy my stories to be about plot, not empty rambling and socio-political plottings and 400 pages of 'they explored very carefully'.  Oddly enough I had a similar problem with 'Girl with the dragon tattoo'. If the novel had cut out some of the pointless navel gazing and introspection, and gotten on with the actual mystery/exploration it would have been more interesting.

I also found them lacking based on the hype, but the fascination of Ringworld was always about exploring the physical idea of the ringworld itself and the engineering and physics surrounding it, not about the characters or the known-space universe. The puppeteers had some cool stuff going on as well. That stuff was utterly fascinating and worth the read.

Most of the characters and character plots were mildly interesting (in the first) to moderately uninteresting (in the second) to "for farks sake Niven stop farking writing about farking the farking aliens already and move this along" in the third.
2014-05-03 03:30:52 PM  
1 vote:

jaytkay: *Reads thread*

[thenonsensecafe.files.wordpress.com image 450x397]


*reads article*

l.wigflip.com
2014-05-03 03:15:03 PM  
1 vote:
Don't care. Sci-fi movies still have to pander to the lowest common denominator of anti-intellectual audiences to be commercially successful, so it makes it hard to bring an intellectual genre to the big screen.

Star Wars is WIZARDS IN SPACE, and always has been. Star Trek - especially the new JJ Abrams incarnation - has always been MAKE shiat UP WITH TECHNOBABBLE. The farking Matrix was "let's throw in a bunch of smart sounding philosophy but let the studios dumb down the foundational premises of the movie so the dumb audiences can understand it to the point where very little actually makes sense." And that recent James Cameron atrocity - not even touching the problems with that one with a 10 foot pole.

What I'm saying is that the main body of sci-fi films has always been disappointing if you judge against the strict standards of "hard" sci-fi literature and not "its sci-fi because spaceships and blasters (but really just fantasy)."

There have been some standout exceptions in recent years that I can think of - the first couple of Aliens movies, District 9, Event Horizon, hell even the Last Starfighter - but honestly, this is what movie adaptations usually are: dumbed down versions that pander to the lowest common denominator with pretty explosions and other eye cady.

The short of it: if you want smart, cerebral scifi, read a damn book. If you want to get baked out of your gourd on your substance of choice and enjoy pretty pictures in front of your eyeballs, go see a movie.

It's the exact same way across every genre of literary-film adaptations, excluding indy films.
2014-05-03 03:06:48 PM  
1 vote:

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.


it'sa baseless canard that Williams ripped off Wagner.  Now Mahler on the other hand?  Should have filed a police report.
2014-05-03 02:57:01 PM  
1 vote:
*Reads thread*

thenonsensecafe.files.wordpress.com
2014-05-03 02:51:56 PM  
1 vote:
There's definitely something to what Beale's saying.

I've been discussing it with a few different people these past couple of weeks, but in general, I'd argue that the safety-blanket approach to sf in general has been more harmful than anything else, and both Star Wars and "Star Trek" are standard-bearers for that. It's been forty years and we're still discussing this universe, with its color-coded morality, magic science, and simplistic approach to technology and culture. It's inhibiting the entire science-fiction genre because so many fans and would-be writers won't move past it.

I wouldn't argue in good faith that you're a bad person for liking Star Wars and its spin-off media, or anything similarly hyperbolic, but I do think that we owe it to ourselves to start moving onward and start supporting new things, instead of shelling out for the same plots and ideas in shiny wrappers: Star Wars, endless reboots and remakes, etc.
2014-05-03 02:46:24 PM  
1 vote:

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.
2014-05-03 02:38:28 PM  
1 vote:
Star Wars was more of a Western than Sci-Fi.
2014-05-03 02:30:54 PM  
1 vote:
I agree with everything this man said. Star Wars is a lot of fun, but ultimately it's just a big expensive comic book with nice visual effects. It's not very intellectually stimulating.
2014-05-03 02:24:59 PM  
1 vote:
I'm a huge Asimov fan, but Foundation is not a great choice to make a movie from.  It lends itself much better to episodic TV format.  The down side of committing to Foundation as a TV series is getting a guarantee that they make the entire plot arc before cancellation.
2014-05-03 02:24:52 PM  
1 vote:
Star Wars is awesome.  It's the prequels that ruined sci-fi.
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-05-03 12:40:45 PM  
1 vote:

Relatively Obscure: vpb: I think there was space opera before Star Wars.  There is more hard SF now than in the 70's, I think.

He appears to be mad that some movies which are difficult to translate into movies haven't been translated into movies.


I wonder if he ever saw Plan 9 from Outer Space?
2014-05-03 11:57:12 AM  
1 vote:
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
2014-05-03 11:56:03 AM  
1 vote:

Relatively Obscure: vpb: I think there was space opera before Star Wars.  There is more hard SF now than in the 70's, I think.

He appears to be mad that some movies which are difficult to translate into movies haven't been translated into movies.


I don't think that's it.
2014-05-03 09:56:05 AM  
1 vote:
Is there a term for hipster nerds?
2014-05-03 09:47:17 AM  
1 vote:
Sci fi has been dead since Frank Herbert died.

There i said it
2014-05-03 09:36:12 AM  
1 vote:
ruined sci-fi literature too, most new "hard" sci-fi has lots of battles and one on one fights, drawn out to blow by blow tedium.  It feels like they are writing screenplays for the marching morons, not novels.  I'm looking at you, James Corey.
 
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