Tag Archives: The Forever War

Science Fiction Today – War

War never changes. That’s the opening sentiment to Fallout 4, and it’s maybe an underlying concept in War-based Science Fiction. That we can take the way War functions now, and place it somewhere – somewhen – else.

In other words, War is like the scene in The Avengers, when Nick Fury agrees that War isn’t won by superheroes – it’s won by soldiers. And it’s not like the scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the book, the prologue), when the Prime Minister says they should have no problem with the Death Eaters because they have Magic – and they remind him of the problem, that the enemy does too.

In other words, in Science Fiction, the focus on War tends to still be on the experience of individual soldiers, fighting in scenarios we might recognize or understand of War. In Fantasy, you tend to get whole societies going to War – all the elves, all the dwarves, all the wizards, etc. Because they all have powers, or are just all that badass (they’re elves!). Or else you have peasants and such joining in, rising up, becoming heroes. But not your typical soldiers – they’re in Science Fiction.

I feel like a lot of the fighting over things like Science Fiction and the Hugo awards lately has a lot to do with wanting to continue this War-based, kinda-realistic-but-in-space sort of Science Fiction. That it is what Science Fiction is. That novels like Starship Troopers, while good, somehow defined the genre forever.

Okay, so I’ve defined War in Science Fiction separate from Fantasy, and said a piece about how it has existed in history. So for this Science Fiction Today post, I want to go on to look at how the realistic-War type stories can be important for looking at War in a different way from an actual real War, and then I want to talk about how Science Fiction can also step back from War entirely, look at the idea of War itself and take it apart and define it.

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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!