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Author Topic: Re: OSC's Inception Review
Herblay
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I thought that Serenity was the best science fiction movie ever?!? It came after Gondry's thinker. . . .

Poor Joss. He must be rolling over in his bed. I guess he'll have to take the Avengers movie as a consolation prize.

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Clumpy
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Serenity isn't really a Sci-Fi movie in any sense of the word. The focus is definitely on the Western/adventure elements and not necessarily on the ideas of the universe, which is really more of the cornerstone of Sci-Fi. Inception fits the model much more clearly though I didn't really think about it until OSC called it science fiction.
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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:
Serenity isn't really a Sci-Fi movie in any sense of the word. The focus is definitely on the Western/adventure elements and not necessarily on the ideas of the universe, which is really more of the cornerstone of Sci-Fi.

I disagree. The key character has undergone extensive, what shall we say, "modifications" to turn her into a superweapon. The pivotal moment involves a colonized alien world where a compound has been introduced to pacify the population resulting in the deaths of most and the rest turning into cannibalistic monsters.

All pretty scifi to me, though it is more of a "Space Opera" style of scifi than "hard scifi" but since few would describe OSC's work as "hard", I am sure he considers Serenity scifi.

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The Black Pearl
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Cowboy Bebop: Knocking at Heaven's Door > Serenity

The problem with Serenity is either you didnt see the show and that made the experience somewhat awkward since you didnt know the characters as well--especially Wash--or you watched the show and that made the religious content and overtone (primarily in the second half of the movie) too predictable.

Whatever though, Serenity is awesome. So his Inception. So is Children of Men. Science Fiction has been awesome lately.

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Herblay
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Ehh, in Orson Scott Card's book on writing sci-fi, entitled How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, he states rather emphatically that a sci-fi story should focus on characters first and foremost, and that the milieu, or fictional world / technology, should be subservient to the character study and plot.

Beside Wingracer's points about the sci-fi ethical issues, I'd say that it fits pretty well into OSC's definition for sci-fi (plus the fact that he said it was the greatest sci-fi movie ever made).

He just forgot, that's all. I guess I'm just overly sensitive because my wife made me sit (again) through the series and movie. I rather enjoyed it.

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Clumpy
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I guess I should recant then - I mean, by my definition Star Wars isn't really sci-fi either, more like high fantasy. Or rather, I should clarify - genres are subjective and more about the feel of the show to an individual person than concrete definitions.

quote:
Ehh, in Orson Scott Card's book on writing sci-fi, entitled How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, he states rather emphatically that a sci-fi story should focus on characters first and foremost, and that the milieu, or fictional world / technology, should be subservient to the character study and plot.
This is OSC's philosophy for writing, anyway. To each their own - I'm more interested in character-based stories than exploration of scientific ideas in strange contexts, which is more or less the foundation of classic or "hard" sci-fi, but I'd be presumptuous to say that any kind of writing is objectively "better."

Me? I love ambiguity, subtlety and even some existentialism in cinema. Card is about spelling everything out through concrete motivations and character types. It leads to different types of stories.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:
I guess I should recant then - I mean, by my definition Star Wars isn't really sci-fi either, more like high fantasy.

There are of course sub-genres. It sounds like you are not a fan of the scifi sub-genre I would call "Space Opera." While it may be different from "hard" scifi and the other sub-genres, it is still scifi.

I think I know what you mean about the type of story you like, I like them too but I seem to be at a loss for the sub-genre. "Psychological Thriller" isn't quite right. Anyone have any ideas?

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:
Serenity isn't really a Sci-Fi movie in any sense of the word.

Do you truly believe this? A story about a human civilization on the edge of space, 500 years from now, in a solar system facing the oppression of an elite culture of power that has labored to produce a more perfect society through the manipulation of human behavior through science... GONE MAD!?

It's pretty quintessentially science fiction. I mean, make your points about the movies, but they're *both* science fiction movies.

quote:
guess I should recant then - I mean, by my definition Star Wars isn't really sci-fi either, more like high fantasy.
I think you should do more than this. I think you owe us all here an apology. That's right, unorthodox you might say, but I think you'll agree. Apologize to us for your impudence, for your malevolent lack of respect for the genre of sci-fi. Sure, some posters might let it go when you admit that you're wrong, but *not me!*
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:
This is OSC's philosophy for writing, anyway. To each their own - I'm more interested in character-based stories than exploration of scientific ideas in strange contexts, which is more or less the foundation of classic or "hard" sci-fi, but I'd be presumptuous to say that any kind of writing is objectively "better."

I dunno, I always thought Card's mantra was a BS excuse for hating intellectualism for being dehumanizing. His "philosophy" could be read as a rather strong indictment of people like Arthur C Clarke, for instance, who managed to write compelling science fiction without being particularly theatrical or character focused. And yet Card loves Clarke, so you go and tell me what Card really cares about- maybe there's just "good writing" and "not good writing." You can't sell a book with that as a subtitle though.
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Scott R
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quote:
Ehh, in Orson Scott Card's book on writing sci-fi, entitled How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, he states rather emphatically that a sci-fi story should focus on characters first and foremost, and that the milieu, or fictional world / technology, should be subservient to the character study and plot.
Hm...I don't remember this at all. I know that he goes into the different types of categories of stories (the MICE quotient). I know that OSC seems to favor character over other categories...but I really don't remember him giving that specific directive.

I'll have to go back and look through my copy.

(MICE =
Milieu
Idea
Character
Event)

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Herblay
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Scott,

I don't think that it was on the MICE story building -- it was in the section on what constitutes science fiction (earlier in the book). It's been a few years, and I may be a little off, but I believe that he really pushed the fact that science fiction doesn't have to explain the technology -- that the futuristic setting can exist primarily as the milieu -- leaving the characters to drive the plot as in any other story. Soft sci-fi, if you will, as opposed to hard sci-fi.

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Herblay
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Regarding science fiction:

Gattaca is a superb example of the notion of character driven science fiction. The setting and timeline are never discussed and only vaguely alluded to. Technology is not explained and isn't overdone. The story involves characters and plot and focuses on their struggles within the constraints of their society. The key element is the fact that society treats individuals differently based on their genetic predispositions.

In a way, Serenity is MUCH more sci-fi than Gattaca.

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Clumpy
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Clumpy:
This is OSC's philosophy for writing, anyway. To each their own - I'm more interested in character-based stories than exploration of scientific ideas in strange contexts, which is more or less the foundation of classic or "hard" sci-fi, but I'd be presumptuous to say that any kind of writing is objectively "better."

I dunno, I always thought Card's mantra was a BS excuse for hating intellectualism for being dehumanizing.
Well, when you really think about it Card's protagonists tend to be superintelligent, egotistical people who ignore any sort of rule of law because they know what is right. Card's antagonists, on the other hand, are exactly the same, though they only think they know what's going on. They're the sort of pompous blowhards Card looks at when he thinks of intellectuals, or movies that explore themes over people. If a film or person can be quickly derided and its/their motives questioned, their ideas don't really have to be examined (see: "water from a poison well" theory). This is really my only sticking point with OSC but if you've read my comments in the past it's a pretty big one. I don't like analysis that starts with a gut hatred or discomfort and then builds into words to explain it.

In other words recognizing the ambiguity in our daily lives, and the fact that the universe does not have the same priorities that we do (and letting a story follow that direction, or just be interesting and thought-provoking without character redemption) is more of less anathema to Card's style and worldview.

Regarding the Clarke thing (Card essentially liking something he tends to rail against) remember, OSC hates phony cinema and ego-driven movies that don't follow a traditional structure, so if he likes something it isn't really phony or self-serving on the part of the creators, right?

[Party] It doesn't fit, but I'm going to use this emoticon because I can't believe it exists.

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Scott R
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quote:
Well, when you really think about it Card's protagonists tend to be superintelligent, egotistical people who ignore any sort of rule of law because they know what is right. Card's antagonists, on the other hand, are exactly the same, though they only think they know what's going on.
In your opinion which of his protagonists/antagonists fit this description?

I don't see those characteristics much at all.

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Well, when you really think about it Card's protagonists tend to be superintelligent, egotistical people who ignore any sort of rule of law because they know what is right. Card's antagonists, on the other hand, are exactly the same, though they only think they know what's going on.
In your opinion which of his protagonists/antagonists fit this description?

I don't see those characteristics much at all.

Let's see, Valentine, that Obnoxious Captain, (he's not a protanganist) dude that was about to blow up that planet... Novinja whose name I can't spell.
I don't have any books right in front of me as I'm watching So You Think You Can Dance and guiltily trying to kill these poxy flies.

But, yeah, I've seen a lot of... oh, yeah, Ender's parents, but in the Bean series. Not so much in Ender's game...

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Scott R
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None of those are protagonists. Or antagonists.

Well, Valentine, maybe. But the others are supporting cast.

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Synesthesia
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Bean... been is a protagonist. I think I like Ender so much better because he was always trying to learn and figure things out. Alvin too. Bean just already knew EVERYTHING and it got rather annoying.
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