Tag Archives: Ender’s Game

Science Fiction Today – Overpopulation

OOverpopulation continues to be a point of discussion in the world at large and is usually a part of whatever future is being told in a Science Fiction story. The number of people in the world and in the universe makes a difference on resources and on survivability. Throughout history we have been able to increase the capacity for human survival. At the same time what does this look like in the potential futures?

There are a few different options that I have seen in stories. One, is the expansion of humans beyond the usual limits, whether that is building up or expanding beyond the Earth. Another option is a little more sinister and that is control over the population, whether that is the release of a virus to culling the population or laws around procreation. Both of these are methods for dealing with overpopulation.

Expanding Beyond

This kind of follows along with how humanity has dealt with overpopulation so far and that is to expand. One way this expansion is seen in Science Fiction is the increase in building and living space. In many stories the skyscrapers are taller and the living spaces smaller. Just think of the giant skyscraper apartment Bruce Willis lives in in the Fifth Element. The human population just keeps growing and we keep raising the limit for what can be handled.

When you make boats that fly, you know you're building tall! Found on http://metropolisoftomorrow.tumblr.com/post/687346140/fifth-element-by-pineapples101

When you make boats that fly, you know you’re building tall!
Found on Tumblr

The other expansion that is seen in stories is expansion into the stars and other planets. Many Science Fiction stories are about the way that humans have expanded into the stars and have populated a multitude of planets. All of this is about finding more living spaces and finding more resources in order for the human race to survive.

Control

The other direction that can be taken to solve overpopulation is to control the population in some ways. One form of control is through rules and law about procreation. This can be done through limiting the number of children that people are allowed to have – like in Ender’s Game. This can be difficult to enforce unless you figure out someway to basically make people unable to have kids unless they are approved or make it that everyone adopts and no one has kids naturally. This would be a way to limit the population, but would require controlling the population.

The other option that is often presented in stories is one where the powerful recognize there is a resource issue in the world and decide that the population needs to be culled. Usually this entails introducing some sort of virus or plague that either will not kill everyone or that some people have be immunized against. This brings down the population numbers and helps save vital resources at a huge cost. This is another form of control over the population partly because it is a few deciding the good for the many and who has the right to make that decision? 

Of course, control can backfire, like in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where the upper classes send away the lower classes from their planet – and then all die of a preventable disease because all the cleaning people are gone. But what stories are you thinking of?

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!

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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!

Geek 501 Science Fiction / Fantasy

Good Omens black and white covers

There was a great article on iO9 talking about entry level science fiction and fantasy books. They got a lot of people to give their ideas for great books to introduce someone to science fiction and / or fantasy. I felt bad because there were a lot of books that I had actually never read. At the same time there were a good number that I had read. It was definitely an interesting list of a wide variety of books. The ideas came from authors, publishers, and more, but here are a few books that I think are a great introduction to science fiction and fantasy.

Some of the idea is that science fiction and fantasy can sometimes be so epic and many of the books are such small parts of a larger whole it can be difficult to want to enter in to a potentially large commitment. The books that I think would work well either are single stories or stand on their own enough that they do not further books to get the whole story. Continue reading

Best and Worst Comics LitFlix of 2013

Yesterday Holly gave her best and worst rankings for the movies based on books from this year – a project we have been calling LitFlix. Check out her post here, which will include a description of our four categories for consideration. I took on the movies based on comics – of which there were quite a few this year! – and here are my reviews.

One thing I would like to say: While our LitFlix posts have not necessarily been our most popular, they are the ones we end up putting the most work into, reading the books, and then discussing, considering, and posting about them. If you haven’t read any of our LitFlix this year, there is a list with links to all of them here. Enjoy!

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Ender’s Game – The Graphic Novel

While Holly re-read the book Ender’s Game before seeing the movie, I took the opportunity to read the short comic series they did of the story a few years back; I found it on the ComiXology App. It was a fast and fun read, so first and foremost, I wanted to do a review of the comic for you.

This is labeled as Actual Ender's Game. Don't remember seeing that with the movie...

This is labeled as Actual Ender’s Game. Don’t remember seeing that with the movie…

But then, with seeing the movie, consider this also a LitFlix of the Ender’s Game comic as compared to the movie. Reviews are coming back very mixed for this film, but the graphic novel is new enough I thought it might provide a different perspective, so I will share that with you.

You can read Holly’s review here. But for now, my thoughts on Ender’s Game: Battle School and Command School. Spoilers to come for the Ender’s Game story in all sorts of media!

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