Scifi Sunday: Science Fiction Sub-Genres; Time Travel

Apart from aliens and spaceships, the science fiction sub-genre of time travel is very popular. Who hasn’t thought about going back in time and changing the past? It’s a tantalizing thought, fuelled on by the fact that science does take the theory seriously. According to some news articles, scientist have simulated time travel with photons.

http://www.iflscience.com/physics/scientists-have-simulated-time-travel-photons

Starting in the 18th and 19th centuries, time travel stories became popular with Mark Twain’s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and H.G. Well’s novel The Time Machine. The notion of travelling through time, to fix the past or gain insight into the future, holds its own warnings. What would the world be like now if Hitler were assassinated prior to him becoming a powerful political figure? What future calamities could we avoid? Stories like these are complicated even more so by the Grandfather Paradox that states any action that eliminates the cause or means of traveling back in time. In other words, if you go back in time to kill Hitler and succeed, then the reason to kill him never happens, therefore removing the reason to go back in time in the first place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox

Don’t think too hard on that…

Since those first two novels, time-travel stories have only increased in popularity. As long as man continues to be curious, he will always wonder what the future hold for him, or how he could change the past. The bigger question is; should he? The consequences for knowing the future have never boded well for characters, ultimately sending them to their death, or despair as they become a witness to the problem they wanted to stop. Time travel stories also show us our humanity, and that we have much to learn.

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Science Fiction Sub-Genres; Hard Science Fiction.

One of the most detailed sub-genre’s I’ve come across has to be Hard Science Fiction. I sat here for two days trying to find the right words to explain exactly what is was, and fell short every time. Maybe because I don’t write hard scifi, mine tends to fall into the soft category. As I was scanning the pages of the internet, I found a wonderful explanation on the author’s website:

“Hare sci-fi begins by defining sci-fi as that branch of literature which is written with science or technology as the main focus of the story. The hard sci-fi writer takes great care to make the science and technology as plausible as possible.”

http://writings.mike-combs.com/

In other words, not only must there be plausible science in the technology of hard scifi stories, but it must be that technology that is the focus of the story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_science_fiction

For someone like me, this type of story is intimidating. I’m not that smart when it comes to technical things, even though I do love watching science shows. I understand quantum theory (somewhat), but ask me to explain it to someone….um…no. I’m more of a soft scifi girl.

If you like hard SF stories, I found a link with the top hard SF novels. Mind you, these are preferences of the author of the article.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/424202/the-best-hard-science-fiction-books-of-all-time/

What do you think of Hard Science Fiction? Have you read any?

SciFi Sunday; I’m so confused…but in a good way!

coollogo_com-17269436Decades ago, when I developed a fondness for Science Fiction there was only one kind of setting—outer space. We had Star Trek and Battlestar Galactic (both original series, yes I’m that old) and the scifi movies were space/alien theme. Science Fiction was just…well…science fiction; a small glimpse into a possible future. It was memorizing to a child of ten, to see all the possibilities. It really made me curious about the world around me. Opened my eyes and my mind to unlimited possibilities. It was a magical time for me. Something I’ll always look back on with fondness.

Over  the years Science Fiction has grown to include numerous sub-genre’s. I came across this as I was doing some research.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_science_fiction

Characteristics, movements, era’s, combinations, it’s enough to make my head spin, and if that didn’t confuse me enough, I found this…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

So many categories, so many possibilities for the imagination to take off and soar. There is something for everyone with the addition of these sub-genre’s, and the little girl inside of me is tickled with anticipation!

Scifi Sunday; To remake, or not to remake.

Hollywood has found a new cashcow; remaking old movies. There’s been a surge of remakes over the last couple of decades and the majority of them have been old scifi movies. Some movies like THE INVASION and I AM LEGEND, are on their third or fourth remake, with all of them having A List actors pushing the box office numbers and hoping for a big payoff.

Or so someone in Hollywood hopes. Check out the stats below. These are the numbers for the scifi remakes since 1997.

1. War of the Worlds (2005): $591.8 million gross vs. $195 million combined budget
2. I Am Legend (2007): $585.4m gross vs. $200m budget
3. Planet of the Apes (2001): $362.2m gross vs. $150m budget
4. Godzilla (1998): $379m gross vs. $190m budget
4. Vanilla Sky (2001): $203.4m gross vs. $102m budget
6. The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008): $230.8m gross vs. $125m budget
7. The Time Machine (2002): $123.7m gross vs. $118m budget
8. Total Recall (2012) (projected): $120m gross vs. $175m budget
9. Solaris (2002): $30m gross vs. $70m budget
10. The Thing (2011): $28.1m gross vs. $65m budget
11. The Invasion (2007): $40.2m gross vs. $95m budget
12. Rollerball (2002): $25.9m gross vs. $100m budget

Now I’ve seen seven of these, with War of the Worlds and Total Recall at the top of my *like* list. I haven’t seen 4, 6, or 9; 10 and 11 I consider horror, and I wasn’t thrilled with the original #12.

Here’s another list of scifi remakes since 1977.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=scifiremake.htm

Like I said I really liked War of the Worlds and even though it was a modern take on the story, I felt it stay true to the original. Same with Total Recall. I’ve seen three remakes of I Am Legend, and didn’t really care for any of them. Same for Planet of the Apes, and The Time Machine. I was REALLY disappointed with Godzilla, and have yet to see the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

In the last few years I’ve seen very few original scifi anything (movie or television) that really grabbed me, and considering the numbers, is it any wonder Hollywood is turning to oldies? BATTLE LOS ANGELES was good, SKYLINE could have been better and BATTLESHIP….I’m not too sure yet.

What about you? What remakes have you seen? Did you like them? If not, what didn’t you like?

The video below is a song called Forever Autumn from the musical War of the Worlds. It’s a beautiful and haunting song.

Sci-fi Sunday; Where has all the Sci-fi gone?

I’ve been a scifi fan all my life (as have many fans) and I’ve seen over the years how movie and television have accepted it. Or have they? Movies, definitely. Apart from books, movies are the next popular medium for scifi, but television has yet to fully grasp or understand it. I hear some of you saying “What about Star Trek series? Or Battlestar Galactica (remake), or one of the other scifi shows? Okay, yes, to some extent, but when was the last time you saw a new scifi series that was picked up after the initial first thirteen episodes? They are few and far between, my friend.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this either. Check out this list:

http://allgeek2me.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/10-science-fiction-shows-with-under-80-episodes/

I watched a lot of these shows and it was heartbreaking to see them cancelled. This article I found answers a lot of those nagging questions as to why.

http://www.scifiheaven.net/2012/03/why-the-decline/

Now with more people streaming shows online I have a feeling we will see fewer and fewer scifi shows on television. Right now, if I want to see a good science fiction show, I have to watch SPACE, but even then, they just replay the golden oldies. I have yet to see any of the cancelled shows on this station. Maybe we should start a petition.

What do you think? What were the scifi shows you liked to watch?

Sci-Fi Sunday: My First Scifi Book

Science fiction was first brought to the masses through literature. Jules Verne and Orsen Wells are but a few writers who sparked our imagination. One of the things I Ioved was seeing what these writers thought the world would be like. 1984 brought us a stark and depressing look of a society completely controlled by the government, while others had the human race out beyond the stars with colonies on the moon and Mars. I don’t know about you, but I’m a little sad we didn’t fulfill their expectations.

One of the first scifi books I read was a continuation from the Star Wars movie—Splinter of the Minds Eye. The book took place between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. I read it from cover to cover in just a few days, completely taken in. When I looked up some info on the novel, I found this. Very interesting fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splinter_of_the_Mind’s_Eye

More importantly, this book opened me to read more which in turn, fuelled by interest in science fiction. I have dozens of scifi books, but sadly, had to stop buying them when money became tight. With the popularity of ebooks, I’m once again reading and I’ve already purchased a couple scifi novel and can’t wait to dive into them. I think I still have SPLINTER but I’m not sure. I should go look for it.

What was the first book to spark your interest? Do you still have it?

Sci-Fi Sunday: Scifi Television

After movies, I used to watch a lot of scifi television. The original Star Trek was one of the first scifi shows I ever watched. I’m not really sure why I watched it. I guess it was another of those ‘Saturday-afternoon-and-nothing-to-watch’ deals. Battlestar Galactica (original), and Space 1999 are the two I remember the best. I found this site that has a list of the scifi shows of that decade listed by station.

http://telewatcher.com/science-fiction/best-70s-science-fiction-television-shows/

Some of these, like the Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man, we used to watch, but I never considered them science fiction, and I was really surprised to see Mork and Mindy on there. I guess, because Mork was an alien, but it still feels odd referencing it as that.

The 90’s were really good for science fiction television. I found this list, but there are a few that I watched that aren’t on that list, like Space: Above and Beyond and Lexx; The Dark Zone. While they were one season each, I think they were incredible shows.

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-430719.html

Now we’re into a new century, and while there are still the scifi shows, I’m having a hard time finding one that grabs me. I don’t seem to be connecting to them like I did. I wasn’t into LOST (and considering the 2nd season and the series finale, I’m glad) or TERRA NOVA, and the only one I really did liked, JERICHO, was cancelled!

Here’s another list of shows. Most of these are from other countries as well.

http://www.imdb.com/list/Pu4-KtfOWHA/

I guess when I think of science fiction, I think of spaceship, aliens and other worlds. What about you? What makes a show science fiction for you?

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