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.
Posted in Fantasy, IRL, Science Fiction, Science Fiction Today
Tagged American Sniper, Doctor Who, Fallout 4, Hugo Award, Jean Luc Picard, Miles Teg, patriotic movies, The Forever War, The Zygon Inversion, War, We Minored In Film
Doctor Who Series 9 finished a few weeks ago and so in anticipation of the Christmas Special, “The Husbands of River Song,” I thought I would discuss my feelings on Series 9. I have really loved Capaldi as the Doctor, but Clara has been a particular disappointment so the past couple of series have been… interesting. I was not sure how 9 would go because originally it was rumored that Clara was supposed to leave during the last Christmas Special and then suddenly she didn’t.
There have been a lot of things that I have enjoyed about this season because they have played a lot with the concepts of war and death. Most of it is really well done, but they kept having Clara almost die, which was a bit overdone. The overall stories have been really well done, but Clara has felt like an obligatory companion and not as the amazing character she could have been.
Posted in TV Shows
Tagged Christmas Special, Clara Oswin Oswald, Death, Doctor Who, Doctor Who Series 9, Gallifrey, Review, Storytelling, The Doctor, The Husbands of River Song, War
One of the things that we try to do with our Science Fiction Today posts is to explore modern problems by not really looking at the current problem – but instead at what it might look like in the future. And lately, the police have been making the news a lot.
Okay, mostly it’s Ferguson. But Ferguson reminds us of all of the stories that haven’t caught as much news, of similar situations. It’s also spawned a story like this one from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight:
Between public opinion, and technological changes and access, I feel like we’re reaching a critical mass. So what might the future look like, when it comes to police? There’s actually a lot of thought on this, as so much of TV and movies has to do with the police, and law and order – and some of it is science fiction. Police Procedurals remain popular, and we explore the idea of the police all the way from the real – in a show like Cops – to the distantly fictional – like Almost Human.
And this is a subject I really don’t want to approach any other way. Every community has different problems, different police forces and personalities, different crimes being dealt with, different racial, cultural, economic conflicts and existence… So in relation to the police, what can our future look like?