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Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

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Preacher

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Post Thu May 17, 2012 5:01 pm

Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Finally somebody said what most of us are thinking- Preacher

The Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself
DATE: MAY 17, 2012 | AUTHOR: JOSH TYLER

Science fiction is in trouble and it’s not a lack of presence. Science fiction fans complain endlessly about the lack of sci-fi on television, but the truth is that there’s plenty of science fiction on television. There’s plenty of science fiction everywhere. It’s just the wrong kind.

Here’s a list of the science fiction movies being released through the rest of this year. See if you can spot a pattern…

Battleship
Men in Black III
Chernobyl Diaries
Piranha 3DD
Prometheus
Safety Not Guaranteed
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
Total Recall
Resident Evil: Retribution
Dredd
Looper

Did you catch it? Here’s the answer key…

Battleship: humanity doomed by alien attack
Men in Black III: time travel
Chernobyl Diaries: humans doomed by science run amok
Piranha 3DD: humans doomed by angry prehistoric fish
Prometheus: strange and dangerous discoveries on an alien planet.
Safety Not Guaranteed: time travel
Seeking A friend For The End Of The World: humanity doomed to a post-apocalyptic future
Total Recall: mind manipulation in a dystopian future
Resident Evil: Retribution: humanity in a doomed future full of zombies
Dredd: humanity doomed to a dystopian future
Looper: time travel

See the pattern? All of those movies, except for Prometheus, fit into one of two categories: Time travel or doomed, post-apocalyptic, dystopian future. Why should you care? Here’s the thing…

Time Travel Is Just An Excuse

Time Travel used to be the most surefire of science fiction premises. It gave us brilliant movies like Back to the Future, The Terminator, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Things started going south when Hollywood noticed how much money those time travel movies were making and wrongly assumed it was because of time travel, not great writing and directing. So they began working to insert time travel into all manner of ill-fitting vehicles, but that’s not what really killed it. Things really went wrong when time travel stopped being an actual premise and became more of an excuse.

At some point Hollywood had overused time travel so much that audiences became accustomed to it, so accustomed to it in fact, that they began to accept it shoehorned in just about anywhere. These days time travel isn’t actually used so much as an exciting science fiction premise but as an excuse for Hollywood to remake movies as a way to cash-in on their name recognition.

Time travel is now largely responsible for the destruction of the Star Trek franchise. The franchise’s last television series overused it until it lost all meaning and drove fans away. After a break they’ve managed to bring Star Trek back, but only by using time travel as an excuse to recast recognizable characters with hot, young actors. And Hollywood will keep using time travel to ruin existing franchises. They’ll keep changing the timeline in the Terminator universe as long as the name sells tickets. And now they’ve started using time travel as a way to sell decidedly not science fiction based films to people who wouldn’t normally be interested. Did we really need The Time Traveler’s Wife? I loved Hot Tub Time Machine as much as the next guy, but how many more of these time traveling mashups can we actually stand?

Time travel used to be great but thanks to overuse and misuse it’s become a tired, worn out cliché. It’s a crutch lazy writers use to tie up loose ends. It’s a way to save money on production by shooting on leftover wild west sets. It’s killing franchises and tricking men into seeing romantic comedies. Time travel is not going to get any better than it was in Back to the Future. Maybe Doctor Who gets a pass since he predates the cliché, but unless you’re telling a story about a character who flies around in a blue police box, just stop it. Time travel has become an excuse, not a premise. Enough.

Humanity Is Doomed Or Self-Loathing In America

There hasn’t been a single space opera on television since the early cancellation of Stargate Universe, but your boob tube currently plays host to no fewer than three series set in a post-apocalyptic future (Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, and soon to arrive Revolution) with even more on the way. Even Terra Nova, which was recently cancelled, used a dystopian future in which humanity was doomed as a catalyst for its time travel story. The offerings in movie theaters are much the same; every other science fiction premise seems to involve telling the story of a future where Earth is doomed or society is repressed and everyone has to struggle to survive or be free. It’s no accident that the most popular sci-fi movie of the year so far is The Hunger Games, which tells the story of a future where humanity is fractured and forces its children to murder each other for sport. Things are no better in the world of literature where this year’s Arthur C. Clarke award winner, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, is about a future where our pregnant women all end up dead. Post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction sells, but its usefulness is rapidly wearing thin.

The “we’re all doomed” premise used to be edgy and insightful, but now it’s become so overused that it’s no longer interesting, it’s a cliché. It’s evidence that science fiction is stuck in a rut. This sub-genre’s popularity is more a commentary on the depressed and hopeless modern day mental state of most American entertainment consumers than an actual window into what people want to see. Our insistence on assuming that humanity’s future is doomed is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. That dismal outlook does nothing to inspire anyone to greater heights or really do anything to fire the imagination beyond, say, thinking up new ways to fortify the fallout shelter you’re digging in the backyard.

In 1976 NASA named its first space shuttle “Enterprise” after the starship featured in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, a show which inspired many of its scientists to reach for greater heights. It’s unlikely that any future advancement will be named after anything in The Walking Dead.

Whether it’s alien or zombies or angry prehistoric fish attacks, asteroid fall out, freak power failures, mad science run amok, or just a run of really bad voting from an under-educated electorate… we get it. If society collapses and things go post-apocalyptic, life will be hard. If the future ends up all dystopian things won’t be very nice. There’s not really anywhere else to go with it.

Predicting the end of the world is easy. What happens, though, if the Earth keeps right on turning? The possibilities of a future in which we don’t kill ourselves or force our kids to become gladiators are as endless as they are endlessly exciting. Maybe it’s time science fiction went back to exploring them instead of using time travel to avoid innovation or giving up and predicting our doom. We can do better.
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Post Thu May 17, 2012 6:46 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Hollywood is running out of ideas. Look at the number of re-dos, retreads and remakes. They redid the Spiderman movies and they were very good. I liked all three. Now they are comming out with ANOTHER re-boot of the original. Is the original even ten years old yet ?

Spiderman reboot
Batman reboot
Judge Dredd reboot
Battlestar Galactica reboot (Though that was pretty good)

I'm just waiting for them to reboot "Green Slime". (you're a not just a geek, but an old geek if you rememeber that).
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Post Fri May 18, 2012 2:07 am

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Thunderduck wrote:I'm just waiting for them to reboot "Green Slime". (you're a not just a geek, but an old geek if you rememeber that).



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Post Fri May 18, 2012 2:35 am

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Well sci-fi have always been a way of bringing the undercurrents of the current society into the open. It's no coincidence that a pineing (if thats a word) for other times is combined with a rather bleak view of the future.

That usually makes for good books or movies though, but combined with a hollywoodish interest in making money it is just sad. Not to mention the neverending rebooting :roll:

The Battlestar though was very good, and I'm actually quite interested in seeing what they do with Dredd.
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Post Mon May 21, 2012 12:23 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

After seeing movie trailers in the theater recently I have changed my stance on retreads. The current crop of new ideas is terrible and I can't blame them for wanting to reboot things that have been proven popular. If Hollywood could come up with new ideas I would be thrilled, but right now the redos are better than the new material.

I disagree with the article. I have always been a fan of the dystopian post-apocalyptic scifi theme. Instead of seeing it as a woe is the human race type thing, I see it as showing humans having to reach deep and find the best of humanity in order to survive against the odds. And I LOVE tie travel stories. Again, it's about infinite possibilities. Pure scifi!
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Post Mon May 21, 2012 1:34 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Lisa, the best line I ever heard to describe what you just said about the human spirit was from Starman (1984)


Mark Shermin: Have people from your world been here before?
Starman: Before yes. We are interested in your species.
Mark Shermin: You mean you're some kind of anthropologist? Is that what you're doing here? Just checking us out?
Starman: You are a strange species. Not like any other. And you'd be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you?
[Shermin nods]
Starman: You are at your very best when things are worst.


It's all the woe is me we are all going to die we are doomed no hope for the human race...OVER and OVER that drives me batty...so I only agree with parts of the article myself
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Post Mon May 21, 2012 8:28 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Time Travel can be a crutch, but I like what they did to rejuvenate the Star Trek franchise. Enterprise was my second to least favorite series. Just like with book to movie, you have to separate the latest movie with the movies of the old. Something has to be done to bring in the younger crowd. I can say, personally, I am not a fan of a lot of the old SciFi stuff. I rarely read any SciFi books and a lot of the old movies bore me.
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 11:49 am

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

To me the new Star trek was a dissapointment. All surface and nothing tasty on the inside :(

Time travel can be realy fun if it is well done, but something I have grow tired of is "alternate universe" stuff. Perhaps a sideeffect of watching a lot of Stargate?
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 11:56 am

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

I actually liked the "new" star trek. I was not sure I would... since I love the other ones so much. So I was happily surprised.
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 1:09 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

We have a saying in our house "Bad Star Trek Is better than no Star Trek". I detested Voyager at first, but much like Florida fungas it grows on you :shock: I too enjoyed the new movie, although the "alternate time line" gimick is getting a bit overworked. It seems that when interest is waining in a franchise the cure is to change time. If only that worked in real life.
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

I was worried it was going to be bad too, but for me it wasn't. Hey, I liked the GI Joe movie, lol, so I guess that's not saying a whole lot! :P You just can't go in expecting it to be like the old.
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 4:27 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

That's it. You have to go in with an open mind.
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merlin

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Post Tue May 22, 2012 5:33 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

Some of these movies you have to go into with no mind. ie: the space stinker call "Space Mutiny" This bomb gets two thumbs up for creative reuse of clips from just about every show you can think of (especially Battlestar Galactica). Other than that I can't think of anything good to say.
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Post Tue May 22, 2012 9:18 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

I really enjoyed the new "Trek" and I'm a fan of the old "Trek" movies. I just went in knowing that it was meant to be a reboot and that helped me enjoy it for what it was. The fact that they had a lot of nice tips of the hat to "Trek" history helped. As for the whole time travel thing, it didn't bother me in the least here. Time travel is getting a bit over used in other areas though, I would agree with that. Is today today or is it really yesterday, I don't know.
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merlin

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Post Tue May 22, 2012 9:34 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

bluejedi wrote:I really enjoyed the new "Trek" and I'm a fan of the old "Trek" movies. I just went in knowing that it was meant to be a reboot and that helped me enjoy it for what it was. The fact that they had a lot of nice tips of the hat to "Trek" history helped. As for the whole time travel thing, it didn't bother me in the least here. Time travel is getting a bit over used in other areas though, I would agree with that. Is today today or is it really yesterday, I don't know.


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Post Tue May 22, 2012 9:44 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

merlin wrote:
Zathras wrote:
Andromeda wrote:I was worried it was going to be bad too, but for me it wasn't. Hey, I liked the GI Joe movie, lol, so I guess that's not saying a whole lot! :P You just can't go in expecting it to be like the old.


That's it. You have to go in with an open mind.


Some of these movies you have to go into with no mind. ie: the space stinker call "Space Mutiny" This bomb gets two thumbs up for creative reuse of clips from just about every show you can think of(especially Battle Star Galactica). Other than that I can't think of anything good to say.


I never even heard of "space mutiny"... :lol:
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merlin

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Post Tue May 22, 2012 9:55 pm

Re: Two Ways Science Fiction Is Slowly Destroying Itself

I never even heard of "space mutiny"... :lol:[/quote]

Trust me when I say you did not miss a thing, one of the only good things I can say is that it only cost me $2.00 for the tape. I guess that should have been the first clue. But I believe "you can't judge a book by it's cover" great cover. bad movie.
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