Science Fiction Today – News

NMuch like there’s a lot of thought that libraries might be a thing of the past, so too does it seem that traditional news might be a thing of the past. We can get news at the touch of our fingers, from sources of our choice, from the bias of our choice, from an international or local or entertainment perspective. Can even the 24-hour cable news channels compete with that? And when they try, do we want them to?

In some science fiction stories, the news has become a product of the state, or controlled by a large corporation – either way, it’s propaganda. But maybe it’s not, but instead we’re spread across the stars – how do you keep up with the news then? Let’s look at both!

Would You Like to Know More?

Sorry about the end of the clip… pretty much all of the ones I found end in some violence. It is Starship Troopers. It’s also the main thing I remember from this movie: the continual line, the news overviews. “Would you like to know more?”

This is news as entertainment, news as propaganda, news for the shock value. In many ways, this seems like what we might expect from the future of the news, in their attempt to stay relevant – and watched or read!

The interactivity is worth mentioning as well – what else could the news do with that? Is it good or bad – will we miss important stories because we’re not interested?

News Delay

From one side of space warfare, to another. From Starship Troopers to The Forever War. In The Forever War, due to the effects of relativity, the soldiers lose a ton of time traveling back and forth from Earth to the frontlines. Centuries pass for the still-young main character. And the news cannot keep up with them. The world changes, has peace and war in cycles, while they travel and fight.

There’s fear of the same thing in a story like Ender’s Game. However, they solve the problem of the vast expanses of space with the Ansible. In Star Trek, it’s subspace communications. But are these sorts of shortcuts realistic? Or will we be stuck with communications that are slower than the speed of light as we head out into space, out into the stars?

What does the news look like across space? It almost sounds like we’re back to the seafaring days, with news coming in with each boat that arrives. Ship. Spaceship. From colony to colony, the news travels, like in Firefly.

What do you think the future will look like for the news?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

15 responses to “Science Fiction Today – News

  1. I think cable news is on the way out. Their main source of income now is for politics, and in that arena they are ALL biased, but there aren’t enough stories to go around for a 24-hour cycle. It seems like they will have to go back to scheduled slots of the day’s news, and maybe celebrity stuff (ugh) in between those important updates, so that we don’t get gaffs like “xxxx happened at the consulate in Egypt… And now, the Kardashians!” 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • John Oliver included such a gaff recently – cutting off someone on a serious topic to go to Justin Bieber.

      I think comedy news might be done if the future too. Entertainment + facts + more obvious bias a lot of the time.

      We’ve been watching the morning national news lately, and there’s a point in the segment where they say you should turn on your DVR if you have to leave to go to work – so you can watch the rest of their broadcast. I wonder if anyone at all does that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I likely wouldn’t, Hahah. I prefer feedburner style headlines. I used to do HuffPost until their articles started feeling more like they were trying to instigate outrage instead of relay the news. Now I subscribe to NextDraft, which isn’t much better than the humor sites, but at least draws its articles from many sources.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I highly recommend Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. They have a great YouTube presence! The video on the Miss America pageant has been hailed as some of the best investigative journalism people have seen in a while. And videos like the one on net neutrality took a complex issue and made it so understandable that it changed policy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I watch him religiously, because he’s the last U.S. TV show that doesn’t put regional locks on his content. (The Daily Show did it last year and that made me so sad…)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh wow did not know that. Well then there you go 😀

          For the rest of our news, I’ve found we get as much from an 8-minute PhillyD video as we do from an hour of the news. Yes, he also includes click bait, but the news includes teasers for the story they’re going to cover after the commercial break!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yup. Watch him, too. Hahaha. My brain kind of turns off for his Sexy Time news, but he’s also a good source. And the Young Turks, sometimes (but they update too frequently and I always get the feeling the reporters don’t like each other. 😛 )

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ha! You don’t need me to Internet well then. I will have to look up the Young Turks!

            My brain turns off for sexy time too, but he clearly must have viewers who expect it, and they must get views from using the images as the thumbnail and often the video title… It seems like a bit of “sex sells 101.”

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, definitely. He remarked on it about a year and a half ago, I think. He said that his numbers dropped off significantly without the segment a few days where he used a different thumbnail… so, it matters.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. First thoughts are The Dark Knight Returns and the latest Robocop movie. TDKR has the news as a constant presence, emphasizing shallowness and entertainment in comparison to what Batman wants the city to mean. In Robocop, Samuel L. Jackson’s bits as the news commentator are some of the best in the movie, focusing on how those cable-news type political people can spin things. How if you’re not actually involved with Robocop, all you know is what the news tells you, and even if it’s “true” it may not convey what’s actually happening to the people involved in a subjective sense.

    In Chappie it’s similar. The villain of the piece has a good sense of what’s happening with AI, but he uses a misleading news broadcast (that he didn’t have anything to do with) to convince his boss he’s right. There’s also a really interesting editing choice in including some “documentary-style” clips right at the beginning of the movie, people commenting on changes in AI since Chappie. Those clips don’t ever appear again, but they stick with you through the movie and at the final scene, you kind of realize where the plot was going all along. Very, very interesting choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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