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Old 09-14-2009, 02:00 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by jrod
I'm saying that a lot of sci-fi does have the "for the good of society" theme. But, you're right, I'm also saying that it should have that. But that's just my preference, really. However, I think if sci-fi's just the backdrop then another genre needs to take the lead. EVENT HORIZON used sci-fi as the backdrop to a horror story. TIME-TRAVELER'S WIFE used sci-fi as the backdrop to a romance story.

We're getting at the roots of sci-fi here and it needs to say something. I think in order to be good sci-fi, it needs to say something about society. We're fast-forwarding to the future for a reason, we're seeing new technologies, we're often playing the role of the futurist and saying, "here is where our current course is taking us," and the logical place to take that is, "here is how we diverge from the easy path."
Yea I think we pretty much agree then, I do have a slight problem with your last part in quotes, not that I think anything is wrong with that but I just feel its becoming too cliche. The stop our evil ways before its too late feel, I find that to be lacking creativity in sci fi. I think now it would be more surprising and entertaining to tell a sci fi story and show how humanity has been at the same selfish desires since the start and how that has not changed up till now and how it is still the same in the future. Then show the bleakness of the human condition and how entropy eventually wins, as an example.

I think just because of what I have seen in sci fi lately its too much "lets fix it now before its too late" and for my taste its getting way to redundant. Its like you already know what your in for, and to me that defeats the purpose. I think the sci fi setting should be used to further any point that helps the story as does pretty much every good setting. I dont think sci fi itself should have any set feeling nor should any other setting.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:36 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpushing
Yea I think we pretty much agree then, I do have a slight problem with your last part in quotes, not that I think anything is wrong with that but I just feel its becoming too cliche. The stop our evil ways before its too late feel, I find that to be lacking creativity in sci fi. I think now it would be more surprising and entertaining to tell a sci fi story and show how humanity has been at the same selfish desires since the start and how that has not changed up till now and how it is still the same in the future. Then show the bleakness of the human condition and how entropy eventually wins, as an example.

I think just because of what I have seen in sci fi lately its too much "lets fix it now before its too late" and for my taste its getting way to redundant. Its like you already know what your in for, and to me that defeats the purpose. I think the sci fi setting should be used to further any point that helps the story as does pretty much every good setting. I dont think sci fi itself should have any set feeling nor should any other setting.
Your post made me realize I'm arguing against some of my favorite works of Sci-Fi, including BLADE RUNNER and WATCHMEN. Maybe speaking in absolutes isn't always the best thing.

I guess now I'll reduce my argument to "the sci-fi I prefer to read if done right."

That's a weak argument, too, tho.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:39 PM   #48
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everyone should read the already-mentioned 'maps and legends' by chabon. he tackles some of this sci-fi stuff that you're discussing with what amounts to a brilliant diss of issac asimov.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:40 PM   #49
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everyone should read the already-mentioned 'maps and legends' by chabon. he tackles some of this sci-fi stuff that you're discussing with what amounts to a brilliant diss of issac asimov.
I put it on hold at the library.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:43 PM   #50
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and i will say, if folks listen to what jason's saying(along with lee's super-constructive posts)they'd likely find themselves with a spot in the book.
i asked jason, and lee, to do this for a reason;lee, because i knew he could help you guys and jason because i knew he could help me. and all that adds up to is a better book.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:44 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris stevens
everyone should read the already-mentioned 'maps and legends' by chabon. he tackles some of this sci-fi stuff that you're discussing with what amounts to a brilliant diss of issac asimov.
Also, a little research and THE ROAD essay was originally titled "After the Apocalypse" and it appeared in The New York Review of Books, which is the one I found on line that you need to pay for.

I'll get the whole book, though.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:48 PM   #52
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the book is well worth owning. the cover is maybe the coolest cover of any book i've seen in a long time and the insides ain't too shabby, either.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:09 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris stevens
and i will say, if folks listen to what jason's saying(along with lee's super-constructive posts)they'd likely find themselves with a spot in the book.
i asked jason, and lee, to do this for a reason;lee, because i knew he could help you guys and jason because i knew he could help me. and all that adds up to is a better book.

Like I said to Lee and Rich yesterday I keep coming back here, to read different peoples pitches and scripts and the comments on them, to get better. This is an invaluable resource if someone wants to get better.

I keep going back over Lee's article on pitches and I think I'll have to start practicing with stories I know, to see what I can do with those. I keep trying to rewrite mine and feel that it's too wordy, but at the same time not saying enough. It's the first pitch I've written so I know I'll improve.

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Old 09-14-2009, 03:11 PM   #54
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I really need to get some paying work done today so a quick thought on anthologies again, just to bring this thread back. Anthologies work well when they're clever, when each story is a little piece of a bigger picture designed to have an interesting twist or a lesson to learn to an analogue in the real or literary world. Now there are plenty of anthologies out there that feature page after page of big explosions, mutant cyborgs, death races, and big tits that essentially lead to all sound and no fury. Anthologies are bite-sized morsels of stories that need to pack the punch of a full-length, you have your reader's attention for 8-pages, make it count, make them think, make them come away with something or discuss the work. Otherwise it becomes, "Oh, ok, another shoot-em-up."

An anthology is your shot to challenge convention. You only have to commit 8-pages to an experiment. You get to try out different styles and techniques and voices. You get to relate your own life and experiences onto characters that you'll likely only use once. You can fuck them up as much as you want, you can prop them up or destroy them and it'll have no consequence on what you do on the future.

Be bold and be honest. Make it visually appealing but intellectually fulfilling. Don't write for the lowest common denominator but write for the harsh critic and the discerning hipster and the people who like to figure out what your story is about, not just stare at pretty pictures.

I really suggest everyone try to find a copy of Phil Hester's OVERSIGHT. Phil Hester is a monster when it comes to anthology shorts, one of my favorite short writers I've ever come across. No shit, I've actually seen someone CRY while reading his story for POSTCARDS. His mainstream stuff is genre and occasionally easy (although not as easy as other folks, thankfully). His shorts are deep and personal and moving.

Here's something I did with Phil back in '07 for POSTCARDS press. Read that. Phil was drawing Ant-Man at the time which, to be honest, is the antithesis of everything he said in that interview. That's what an anthology should be - it should be made up of stories you don't see in full lengths. It should be daring.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:15 PM   #55
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the lowest common denominator and the discerning hipster...is there a difference? outside of the black plastic glasses?
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:16 PM   #56
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This thread makes me want to do some more reading in sci fi genre, but for now I still cant put down Plato. I think the rebulic and many of his other works are gold mines for everything from plot ideas to character creation to civilization concepts.

speaking of blade runner, ridley scott has signed on to do the prequal to alien, I think he is one of the best movie guys out there fro my buck.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:17 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris stevens
the lowest common denominator and the discerning hipster...is there a difference? outside of the black plastic glasses?
Well, in this sense the lowest common denominator is the guy that would read a story and say, "MORE EXPLOSO!"" The discerning hipster is the guy that would lash out against or prop up your story based on some subtext that you never even put in there.

They're both hard to please, but the hipster is more fun to engage. And I'm saying, don't be afraid to write a story for him. Because, let's be honest, hipsters buy anthologies.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:35 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpushing
This thread makes me want to do some more reading in sci fi genre, but for now I still cant put down Plato. I think the rebulic and many of his other works are gold mines for everything from plot ideas to character creation to civilization concepts.

speaking of blade runner, ridley scott has signed on to do the prequal to alien, I think he is one of the best movie guys out there fro my buck.
I just spend the occasional Saturday in the magazine section of my local library for a year's worth of story ideas and characters. I read snippets of every magazine, from science & tech to history to tabloid to parenting mags. You should try it. You will never be without ideas.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:45 PM   #59
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This is a very informative thread. Jason, your post about writing for the hipsters made me think. For all my bluster about pushing the concept of comics, I defaulted to sci-fi action. Very shallow sci-fi action. Thanks for getting the ol' wheels turning again.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:58 PM   #60
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yea this thread got me thinking a lot too, now i am pondering how much effort would or should be put into targeting an audience or basic marketability of product ?

I wonder about peoples basics thoughts on this, do people generally feel just put out a great product ? or try to reach a wider audience ? or anything else when putting this together.

I think great material is often not read just because many "average" folks dont get into it, and i didnt know if that should matter.

I am more or less fishing for thoughts with this more than anything else.
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