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Subject: Is all of Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi?

Written By: Echo Nomad on 07/24/08 at 3:12 pm

Is all of Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi?

Subject: Re: Is all of Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi?

Written By: Foo Bar on 07/24/08 at 11:05 pm

Ok, I'm about to say something that will get various sci-fi fanboys all in an uproar. 

Yep, you are.

If you want to draw the line, draw the line between "sci-fi" and "SF" -- but even I have limits on fanboyishness, and won't get into the debate over whether "SF" stands for "Science Fiction" or "Speculative Fiction".  But I will draw the line between the two.

Sci-fi is where you put your hokey stuff:

The Terminator was an action flick, and a damn good one.  But that's all it was. 

Star Wars was great space opera. 

Stargate was ten years of exploring the universe for its own sake, with occasional upward crankings of the "bad-guy-of-the-season" ratchet.

SF is where you put the serious stuff:

Babylon 5 was closer to SF than Sci-Fi.  Sure, we had the occasional "monster of the week" episode to fill air time, but we also had serious examinations of the role of government in human society, how to recognize when one's society is sliding from freedom to totalitarianism, and ultimately, posited that humanity's moral choices aren't merely the false dichotomy of "What do you want" (anarchially striving for unenlightened self-interest) versus "Who are you" (statically following the advice of your betters) -- but must ultimately be derived from the answer to a higher-level question:  why are you?  (deriving one's own moral principles and following them accordingly).

The Time Machine was Wells' attempt to examine the class divisions in his society.

Contact was about Sagan's exploration of the realationship (and conflict - which was sometimes real and sometimes nonexistent) between worldviews based on religious faith and worldviews based on the scientific method.

I, Robot was Asmov's exploration of what might constitute "ethical" behavior if humans were able to derive a system of ethics from first principles.

To get us full circle, the original Galactica was Sci-Fi, although it could have become SF had it been given a few seasons to mature.  (It did, after all, have the entire mythos behind Mormonism from which to draw...)  The current Galactica is SF.  It's not as tightly written as the classics of SF, it's got lots of purely character-driven bits, but ultimately, the new Galactica is an attempt to answer the question of what constitutes humanity, which is about as SF as it gets.

Subject: Re: Is all of Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi?

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 07/27/08 at 12:52 am

I'd say Sci-Fi is Science Fiction, so the story must involve man's relationship to advances is science and technology. 

I would consider Jules Verne science fiction regardless of his science fiction visions being now familiar technologies. 

I prefer Dystopian Fiction for the cyberpunk genre.

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