GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Why Firefly is not good Science Fiction

POSTED BY: CLJOHNSTON108
UPDATED: Friday, July 6, 2007 08:21
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 8150
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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:20 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


Just saw this linked over on SF Signal < http://www.sfsignal.com/>, and thought y'all would want to discuss...

Onelowerlight Rising: Why Firefly is not good Science Fiction
http://onelowerlight.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-firefly-is-not-good-scie
nce-fiction.html


________________________

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:57 AM

ODDSBODSKINS


Strikes me as a justification for personal dislike, looks like mostly on the grounds that firefly is too liberal. Which is cool, everyone has different tastes, and different morals and shizz.

They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:02 AM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


So what if it's not good sci-fi? It doesn't have to be.

Here's one of the quotes that circulates at the top of the site:

"When I pitched the show, I said it was about nine people living in the blackness of space and seeing nine different things. That's what I'm fascinated by, how they all react. They must make decisions that are horrific to people who aren't fighting for their lives every day. It's about a group of people who are living hand-to-mouth, and are heroes, day-to-day." - Joss Whedon

I don't think this was supposed to be a sci-fi show. Heck, I don't think you can really put this into any one genre. Yeah, it's in space, and there are spaceships, but it's not about the universe, or the future - it's an ensemble show, and it's about the crew.

"A witty saying proves nothing." Voltaire

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:09 AM

MAVOURNEEN


Thanks for linking this, Chris.

I have to say, this blogger's points are poorly developed, under researched, and as others on his blog pointed out...flat out wrong.

There will always be people who don't "get" a piece of fiction, be it a novel, a movie, a tv show. And of course, that's okay. What is unfortunate is that this particular person is using his religion as a backdrop to paint with quite a broad brush.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:50 AM

SISTER


I believe this person has an agenda and I believe it is a religious one. What other sci-fi program even attempted to add a regular religious figure? (Book)...And saying Firefly was "bad" science fiction because of an emphasis on "sex"? Hellooooooo...??? Unless, of course, sex is indeed science fiction to the writer? Now if the writer just didn't like the show...fine, different strokes (oops, is that a sexual innuendo??) but saying it's bad science fiction...??? Whatever..

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:42 AM

DEEPGIRL187


There are so many gaping holes in this guy's analysis that Serenity could fly through them.

Yes, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, I have no problem with that. My problem is when someone pays only cursory attention to the subject matter without really looking at things in depth.

For instance, his feelings regarding Inara and her profession, particularly the events in "Heart Of Gold". She wasn't crying over Mal and Nandi because it went against what she stood for. She was crying because the person she had feelings for just slept with another woman. Getting your heart broken still tends to hurt, even if you work in a profession that deals with relationships. And the whole FTL thing? Name one instance in the show where it was even mentioned.

I'm glad this person liked Serenity and all, but if they were looking for straight-up sci-fi, they were in the wrong place to begin with.

**************************************************

"Right! Because teenage pranks are fun when you're about to die!"

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:04 AM

ZEEK


Any real fan of Firefly can see how far off this guy is. How many relationship were even in that show? What is he talking about saying they all start with sex? Let's see there's Wash and Zoe and then there's....

I really don't get what he means about Joss being preachy. There was no gay rights agenda in Firefly. It was just an accepted lifestyle. Oh the horror.

Bah I'm not gonna waste anymore time on that dude's post. At least he was civil in his misguided dislike.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:10 AM

RCAT


Odd that he says he likes Firefly but that it's bad sci-fi...He must think Star Trek is horrible sci-fi. Folks are always having sex on that show (w/ alien species, no less), TNG is preachy as can be, there is no religeon to speak of 'till DS9 (where as Firely is chock full of christian and budist ref.), and all the technical stuff (ftl,etc.) is expained away w/ made up words and jargon.

I like StarTrek, btw, just trying to get into his shoes.


"Always walk a mile in another man's shoes before you criticize him. That way, you're a mile away and you have his shoes."

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:35 AM

KAYNA

I love my captain


Read some of the comments posted on his little message. The last one is his own reply. He replys to someone who made a remark about Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion, saying there is no such thing and that they are antithetical religions. Not so. The person he was replying to was using it in the sense that they all have the same basis and the same god. It's a term I've heard before in theological debates.

Anyway, add that to his opinions and justifications about Firefly and I start to see a pattern.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Op: You're fighting a war you've already lost.
Mal: Yeah, well I'm known for that.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:07 AM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by Mavourneen:
Thanks for linking this, Chris.

I have to say, this blogger's points are poorly developed, under researched, and as others on his blog pointed out...flat out wrong.

There will always be people who don't "get" a piece of fiction, be it a novel, a movie, a tv show. And of course, that's okay. What is unfortunate is that this particular person is using his religion as a backdrop to paint with quite a broad brush.

------------------------------------------------
]


Well, I say, Pi&& on the blogger and the horse he rode in on.


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:08 AM

ODDSBODSKINS


But I'm not tall enough to pi$$ on a horse...

They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:13 AM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by Oddsbodskins:
But I'm not tall enough to pi$$ on a horse...

They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.



Just pi&& on its legs silly!


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Thursday, June 28, 2007 7:39 AM

CHRISMOORHEAD


HA! And I thought I was prudish...

Y'know when I saw Chronicles of Riddick, I ignored what I thought was a heavily anti-Christian undertone in the movie and just accepted it as a cock-rocker action flick set in a very Dune-ish type of Universe. And that made me fine with it.

Who in the hell harps on things like 'not showing the negative side of homosexuality'? That's just being beligerant in my opinion, like asking why they don't spend 5 minutes an episode to show the gruesome death of the cow being eaten as a hamburger in scene 5. What about the cow, huh? What about the poor, helpless cow?

Letting personal beleifs get in the way of good entertainment is stupid. I loved Bowling for Columbine, even though I really DO loves ma gun.

[IMG]
Ride down from Asgard to the battlefield,
Bringer of the valiant dead who died but never yielded,
Carry we who die in battle over land and sea,
Across the rainbow bridge to Valhalla,
Odin's waiting for me.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:02 AM

XARDOZ


This is the same kind of crap that that "feminist" writer who trashed FF and Joss recently pulled - glomming onto a piece of pop-culture (and a damned excellent one at that) and trashing it to promote their own agenda. Or the Amazon.com reviewers who think it's all neo-Confederate propaganda.

So both the activist Left and the reactionary Right think FF sucks. Humorless, imagination-less twits the lot of them.

them.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:47 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


So if I'm reading this right:
1 He didn't like the fact that sex was the only way love was shown even though it wasn't.
2 He didn't like the way FTL, which they don't have, isn't explained. (Imagine, for a moment, a show that did explain everything not in it.)
3 He didn't like how, when people were in normal space, they *gasp* acted as if they were in normal space.
4 He didn't like the lack of alien flora and fauna in a place that was meant to be as close to earth (which lacks all things alien) as possible.
5 He didn't like the fact that there were no problems with the teraforming, in spite of the fact there were, as mentioned in the second episode and the movie.
6 He didn't like the whole teraforming thing, and most of all that they didn't talk about it all the time.
7 Not enough religion, it is strangely lacking.
8 Book said something that ... Book didn't actually say. Instead Book should have said ... more or less what Book really said. (That faith doesn't need fixing or, in the blogger's words, "from the believer's point of view, it does make sense!")
9 The only possible interpretation is Joss' intended interpretation (Bad, bad Joss) because it was made in such a way you can not draw your own conclusions. Which means, since there is only one possible interpretation, that the blogger has the real truth and we're just ... I don't know, illusions or something.
10 When good sci fi wants to do what he just said good sci fi doesn't do (is internal consistency too much to ask for?) it does it in a more subtle and devious way.
11 The recap includes things that he didn't cover in the larger article including "preachiness (for gay rights and for a "naturalistic" worldview[)]" which isn't actually in the series.
12 He can't spell the word, "Made." (I have nothing against that mind you, I screw up at time too.)

Is that everything?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:53 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Firefly IS science fiction period!

It's really one of the very few sci-fi things out there that even remotely resembles science fiction....shit, changing hairstyles 24 times in a movie, and speaking lines like you got a big dildo up yer butt ( Star Wars) dont make no science fiction.....plasma inducers & warp nacells dont make no science fiction.....PEOPLE make science fiction...people in situations like Joss put them in is science fiction. Now shooting a fed in the face is a very liberal thing?...not! And a preacher who shoots bad guys kneecaps is a conservative thing?...not? Firefly transcends all that Earthly bullshit...it is PURE sci-fi.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:53 AM

XARDOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
. . .
Is that everything?



You forgot to him at the end.

Although, his own post pretty does that for us.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:09 AM

NEMEWEH


For my first post ever -

A look into the history of SciFi will find such writers as Robert A. Heinlein, oft called the Dean of Science Fiction. He routinely set about destroying the ideas held at the time of moral standards about religion, sex and politics. Especially later in life, he turned the literary world on it's head with such books as Stranger in a Strange Land, and Friday.

IMHO - Joss Whedon has taken the feminine ideal in Friday and run with it. So to say, that Whedon has somehow attempted to crush the "conservative values" of some hypothetical "moral majority" is utter horsepatooey. I'd use stronger language, but I'm not sure it's allowed here.

Irregardless, as a SciFi lover, Whedon has continued a long line of great SciFi writers who looked ahead to the future and made predictions of social change. While some may view such change and be frightened by it, I for one, am excited by the possibility.

So I hope he joins the ranks of Heinlein, Bradbury and Roddenberry.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:25 AM

REGINAROADIE


guys is obviously speaking out of his ass and has no idea what he's talking about.

But what's this "feminist" article bashing FF and Joss. That must have slipped through the cracks, because I don't remember that being posted anywhere.

Mind pointing me in the right direction?

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:35 AM

XARDOZ


There's a post on it over at NewsOfTheVerse.net called "Tis a pity she's a wh0re" (have to misspell it to get past the work profanity filter)

Because of said overzealous filter, I can't give you a direct link to the NotV post or the actual article.

Admittedly, it could be my misinterpreting her, but it seems to read that FF and Serenity suck because they aren't feminist enough and Joss Whedon is (biggest sin of all) a white male heterosexual.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:47 AM

MAVOURNEEN


I don't think this is the one referred to in the blog, but here ya go, xardoz:

"Tis a Pity She's a Whore"
Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 12:15 PM PDT
Contributed by: redhead
General News

Is Inara a representative of postfeminism or is she another example of a "tart with a heart?" The character of Inara is a source of frustration for Dee Amy-Chinn the author of a scholarly argument in the journal, Feminist Media Studies. A fan of Joss Whedon's other shows, Any-Chinn dislikes how the women of Firefly are depicted. She takes aim at Kaylee as a stereotypical tomboy waiting to be saved by love. She even takes umbrage at Zoe. But Amy-Chinn is especially disappointed by Whedon's depiction of Inara. Amy-Chinn has high praise for Whedon the writer of Buffy but she feels he failed in Firefly to challenge common stereotypes.

http://www.whedon.info/article.php3?id_article=22373

------------------------------------------------

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:10 AM

XARDOZ


Yes, that's the one. Like I said, I could easily be misreading/overreacting to it.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:32 PM

LAWMAN


Everybody has an opinion, even if it is incorrect. The funny thing about loving a creative project, not everyone will care for it. I'll admit I saw Serenity first, and then I saw the series. I had the exact opposite result. I thought the series was superb, and the BDM was decent fare. I love watching both and can accept the flaws in both. The whole concept of humanity being spread about the universe is the height of human vanity and at the same time so very real. Let's face it, alien flora/fauna/species could exist. But that is what makes it so fictional. In the verse, everything that happens is what we can accept and grasp because we are human. Anyone can write about stuff written out of whole cloth. But it is truly remarkable when someone creates an entire universe so incredibly original, and yet, the audience knows exactly what the human issues are about.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:59 PM

MAL4PREZ


Very interesting article. Kind of wordy and academic, and I don't agree with the conclusion. Certain parts of it are a bit... off.

Mainly, the author seems to assume that every little detail of the show has been explicitely laid out as statements of Joss's feminists beliefs. Hey - the guy obviously put messages in there, but he also had to sell the show. Firefly is not an academic manifesto, it's entertainment, and as such it has to keep its audience in mind. The author of this article could step back a bit and remember that.

Also, she assumes that in 14 episodes and a movie we learned everything about Mal and Inara and the FF `verse that there is to know. I think it's pretty clear that Inara had secrets, and I believe those secrets had a large effect on her attitude toward her profession, and on how she handled her feelings for Mal.

Oh, and the emphasis on Inara being kind of a... light brownish color... seems a bit wacked. All of the analysis of Joss's use of race seems to kind of assume a problem and look for evidence, instead of watching the show with an open mind.

But, overall, I find it an interesting analysis. Thought provoking. Every argument the author makes is given with an explanation, so it does invite debate. (Unlike a lot of crap posted on the web these days!) The analysis may not be an accurate statement of Joss's intentions with Inara, but it does say something about what he felt he could get past the f**ks at Fox and what he believed the general TV audience could accept. And that does tie into what our society's belief system is. (Flawed!)

One point I find really interesting, which I never noticed: Kaylee had her little victory over the rich bitches in Shindig when a man accused one of them of being loose. Which... Kaylee kind of is herself. I can't quite wrap my head around that.

OK, enough thread hijacking. As regards the actual topic of this thread? The guy's a fool. Who the hell voted him the master of defining science fiction? "It must be this and it must do that..." Whatever! Don't quit your day job pal.

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:13 PM

KRYS33


I feel like this guy went into Firefly looking for the wrong thing. Firefly wasn't about the technologies of the future and showing the world how to lead the perfect relationship. It was about nine people living their lives and the problems that resulted from that. It was about flaws and human nature.

You've got to look deeper than the surface when you watch Firefly, and I don't think this person did that. They focused on the little parts and didn't look at the show as a whole.

(I'd also like to know how they got ahold of some clear-cut definition for what makes something good sci-fi and something else bad sci-fi.)

--
-Krystal

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:19 PM

ODDSBODSKINS


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

One point I find really interesting, which I never noticed: Kaylee had her little victory over the rich bitches in Shindig when a man accused one of them of being loose. Which... Kaylee kind of is herself. I can't quite wrap my head around that.



I suppose Kaylee's victory is related to the hypocrisy of the head rich bitch, in that, while she may be loose, she'd be mortally offended to have it pointed it to her, and moreover, wouldn't dream of doing anything but pretend the opposite.

Whereas Kaylee is pretty open about who she is and what she does, and doesn't try to hide it, or behave publicly as if it were immoral, or in some way 'wrong'.

Seems as good a reason as any anyway.

They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:20 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Nemeweh:
For my first post ever -


My first, "Welcome here," in a long time.

Welcome here, we're weird.

If you've been lurking for a while welcome to the posting community, if you've just come welcome to the forum. Either way I think you'll find that this a great place full of people who will treat you right, even if they don't always agree with you. (This will sound cult like, especially since I'm out of practice.)

The fact that you're here means you care about what we care about, it means you're family, welcome home.

Hopefully that's still true, I've been away a bit. Anyway, spread the word and keep hope even when all logic and reason tells you to give up.

Quote:

I'd use stronger language, but I'm not sure it's allowed here.

I'm a big fan of profanity, from the fact that is survives in spite of being looked down upon and often forbidden by just about every generation, to the fact that uttering profanity usually uses your entire brain, to the fact that profanity is basically the only form of word that can produce a physiological reaction with no context whatsoever I'm just a fan.

So, as long as you don't overdo it (which makes commonplace and thus meaningless) I've got no problem with you using strong language. Can't speak for everyone else though.

-

I know that sounds like, "I swear, when it's appropriate," so before someone says, "Chris, the whole point of swearing is that it ain't appropriate," let me say this: If people swear too much it will become accepted, and thus appropriate, and then it will have no point at all.

Quote:


Irregardless, as a SciFi lover, Whedon has continued a long line of great SciFi writers who looked ahead to the future and made predictions of social change.


Unless you really mean, "Not regardless," (which you may) I caution you about using that word. In fact, even if you do mean, "Not regardless," I think it might be a bad idea to use it because it is so easily misinterpreted.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:28 PM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Oddsbodskins:
I suppose Kaylee's victory is related to the hypocrisy of the head rich bitch, in that, while she may be loose, she'd be mortally offended to have it pointed it to her, and moreover, wouldn't dream of doing anything but pretend the opposite.

Whereas Kaylee is pretty open about who she is and what she does, and doesn't try to hide it, or behave publicly as if it were immoral, or in some way 'wrong'.

Hmm. Excellent - I like it. It's the girl's problem for being a hypocrit... And I do so love that Kaylee sees nothing wrong with being sexual. That's just brilliant.

Thank you for the explanation!

-----------------------------------------------
hmm-burble-blah, blah-blah-blah, take a left

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:33 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Oddsbodskins:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

One point I find really interesting, which I never noticed: Kaylee had her little victory over the rich bitches in Shindig when a man accused one of them of being loose. Which... Kaylee kind of is herself. I can't quite wrap my head around that.



I suppose Kaylee's victory is related to the hypocrisy of the head rich bitch, in that, while she may be loose, she'd be mortally offended to have it pointed it to her, and moreover, wouldn't dream of doing anything but pretend the opposite.


While that might be true I don't think it had anything to do with sexuality and how quickly one would have sex.

I think it was simple: there was a social order, the bitch was at the top, Kaylee was not, the bitch knew that, the bitch pointed that out, the bitch was proving she was better than Kaylee. ("What did they have last year?" "Standards.") By walking up and insulting her, instead of Kaylee, and worse still doing it publicly, what's-his-name placed her on a lower level. Suddenly the position was reversed, she wasn't at the top and Kaylee was looking down at her.

How could such a horrible non-hierarchal thing happen? Who else might have seen her being treated less well than the standard-less girl she was being snotty to?

Time to run away.

-

I don't think the form the insult took mattered, I think the mere fact it was delivered was what made the difference.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:41 PM

BAPTISMO


I dont really think Firefly is good science fiction either.

I dont really think Firefly is science fiction at all.

Firefly is more of what you would call a "Space Opera".

There is very little science involved. If you take a lot of the Star Treks, there is a lot of "science" behind their fiction...transporters work like this, warp drives work like that, gamma radition cures warts...etc

What "science" does Firefly attempt to provide? Little to none. Thats not what the show is about. It is about relationships and character interaction.

Serenity could be a horse drawn wagon and the planets could be towns in the west of the US in cowboy days and the program would still OWN the pants of most other shows.

Space is just the setting, science/physics doesnt come into it.

Doesnt mean its not the best space show ever created...

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 1:53 PM

SAMEERTIA


This person and I will never see eye to eye.

I started reading science fiction initially because much of it DID have honest portrayals of homosexual relationships. It was the only genre where I felt I was finding honesty and thoughtful viewpoints about sex, religion, and all of the other things that our society seems to get so bound up in that we can't communicate about honestly.

I kinda think this person feels threatened by viewpoints that are different from his own, and thus claims that it's not science fiction. I'm not sure how that equates, but then I'm not sure how I got to be so open-minded about such things either. :)

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:19 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by baptismo:
I dont really think Firefly is science fiction at all.

...

What "science" does Firefly attempt to provide? Little to none. Thats not what the show is about. It is about relationships and character interaction.

...

Space is just the setting, science/physics doesnt come into it.


Defining science fiction is something many people consider impossible, yet we still try.

If I understand what you've said properly, and I may not, you define science fiction as fiction that is about science. I get this impression because of the second excerpt above.

So, if I'm right, you would not classify anything with a so called sci-fi setting as science fiction, even if it went to great lengths to be correct in it's science (which is how some people define science fiction) if it did not dwell on the science.

Is that right or am I way off?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:19 PM

TRAVELER


The great thing about science fiction is the door is wide open. It is about imagination. Creating your own world or universe, depending where you want to take it. You can place your story anywhere and at any time. A lot of H. G. Wells' stories are filmed as if it took place in the period he wrote them in. I think "The Time Machine", which begins in the late 1800's, is great.

There were a lot of things not explained in most of the Star Trek series. I heard "Make it so" so many times I wanted to punch Pecard's lights out. Watching Kaylee keep the engine runing on Serenity was much more interesting and real to me than Gordy punching a keyboard on a counsel and spouting terms that make no sense.

I have read and watched science fiction that crossed all forms of boundaries. If science fiction is held to a certain formula we would not have one percent of the stories that are produced for this genre.

This article is written by a very narrow mind. This person needs to start at one end of the Science Fiction section of their local library and start reading until they reach the other end.

Has this person ever read authors like Brian Jacques, Felecity Savage, or Marion Zimmer Bradley. No rocketships in RedWall. If Firefly has to much sex, then this person should stay away from reading a Felecity Savage story.

Better not watch "Invader Zim", to much meat and water balloon fights. Gotta love "The Wettening".


http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=28764731
Traveler

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:26 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by traveler:
No rocketships in RedWall.


In all fairness I would classify that as fantasy. Then again I would classify Stranger in a Strange Land as fantasy.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:58 PM

BAPTISMO


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
Quote:

Originally posted by baptismo:
I dont really think Firefly is science fiction at all.

...

What "science" does Firefly attempt to provide? Little to none. Thats not what the show is about. It is about relationships and character interaction.

...

Space is just the setting, science/physics doesnt come into it.


Defining science fiction is something many people consider impossible, yet we still try.

If I understand what you've said properly, and I may not, you define science fiction as fiction that is about science. I get this impression because of the second excerpt above.

So, if I'm right, you would not classify anything with a so called sci-fi setting as science fiction, even if it went to great lengths to be correct in it's science (which is how some people define science fiction) if it did not dwell on the science.

Is that right or am I way off?



From my way of looking at Star Trek is Sci-Fi. There is a lot more science involved in their stories. The story itself doesnt have to be about science in particular, but in general they have a bigger focus on adhering to science "fact". FTL drives, phasers, warp drives, transporters etc

Take this for a difference:

Have you ever watched Red Dwarf? One of my all time favourite shows. Based in space, but its a comedy.. I would call it a "Space Comedy" rather than "Sci-Fi". In one episode they had a "Giant swirly orange thing in space", or a "Time Hole".

Star trek would have called the same phenomenon a "Space Time Continuum Vortex" (or something), they would have scanned it and worked out what it is and some Vulcan science officer that knows too many big words would have explained what it was and how it worked.

Its all about "Giant swirly orange thing in space/Time Hole" vs "Space Time Continuum Vortex/with scientific explaination"

Sci-Fi attempts to give scientific reasons and explanations and attempts to ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws. Faster than Light drives, inertial dampers, vast distances.

Space Opera: Who cares how I get there. Turn her on, foot to the floor and go. I am flying to xxx planet on the outer rim of the solar system and Im having an adventure along the way.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:55 PM

REGINAROADIE


Traveler

It's H.G Wells, not Orson Welles. The only bit of sci-fi Orson ever did was the Mercury Theatre radio version of WAR OF THE WORLDS.

And I'd like to throw in my argument that science fiction is such a nebulous thing that it can accompany any sort of viewer demands. And while I may disagree with specific opinions of an individual writer, I can support the universe they create based on that specific idea. While I like the idea of only humans in the FIREFLY verse and think it's a great antithesis to alien heavy universes, I think it's downright arrogant to think that we are the only sentient life forms in the universe. Obviously Joss has never read Carl Sagan, or at least seen CONTACT, which to me is real, legitimate science fiction since it gives the most realistic telling of what first contact would actually be like. And that I find so refreshing after seeing so many flying saucers hover over Washington D.C. and blow up the joint.

So I think that if you don't like a specific kind of sci-fi, you can always switch to something else. If you find GALACTICA to dour and grim, you can always switch to The Doctor smiling and cracking jokes in the middle of a Dalek invasion. And if you don't like FIREFLY, than switch to something else, although great sci-fi on TV is a real diamond in the rough nowadays.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:06 PM

SHIMAUMA


Quote:

Originally posted by xardoz:

So both the activist Left and the reactionary Right think FF sucks. Humorless, imagination-less twits the lot of them.

them.



Actually, I gotta disagree a teeny bit with this one. The first place I heard Firefly lauded was on a conservative humor site, www.imao.us, Frankj loved the show because it goes to prove that BIG government, touted so vehemently by the left, is a bad thing. He's even got an article up on his site today how the liberal congress is going to put LSD in the water to make us all not notice what kind of bills they're voting for.

Me and the hubby saw the movie first and we both said it was the BEST scifi movie we ever so...because there was no technobabble. "Put it in dumb Captain speak" Mal told Kaylee(or something similar, I'm not looking up that quote). That was why we appreciated it. Seemed like it was written with the blue collar working guy in mind.

The storytelling was what got us to buy the series. These are some awesome "sitting around the gaming table" stories. "Tell the part again about Jayne getting knocked out by a 90lb girl" stories that you sit around laughing about with your buds until your eyes are watering.

Yes, Joss, does like his perv girl-on-girl action, typical of most guys. I use the freedom of my remote and fast forward those scenes as anyone with practical common sense can do. But if the guy wants to waste his time writing a whiny article about it, then he may figure it out if no one bothers to visit his site at all.

EDIT: BTW link to "LSD in the water article" http://www.imao.us/archives/008013.html
MIND YOU THIS IS PARODY!! HUMOR!! If you have no sense of humor, don't bother, you won't get it.


Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. ~ Psalm 144:1

Jayne Cobb: Shepherd Book once said to me, "If you can't do something smart, do something RIGHT."

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:08 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by baptismo:
Sci-Fi attempts to give scientific reasons and explanations and attempts to ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws. Faster than Light drives, inertial dampers, vast distances.


You are aware that the second part of that, "ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws," totally fails to describe Star Trek, and if you ignore the, "ensure," and just say, "the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws," actually describes Firefly better than most of Star Trek? You know that right?

Even with that little bit of nitpick, I think I might see where you're going. In real life people don't usually ask how things work, they hop in the plane/car/boat and accept that the fact it works means there is a perfectly logical, rational and scientific explanation for it working. Science fiction is not real life, and so does not need to agree with that trend. Instead there are explanations, even when it makes no sense to explain people don't say, "I need to fix the engine otherwise we don't breathe," they say, "I need to reroute the [ technobable ] through the [ technobable ] with a variance of less than [small number] otherwise the [ technobable ] will interact with [ technobable ] causing a meltdown in the [ technobable ] and life support will fail." (Star Trek script writers are famous for actually using the word technobable and letting other people fill in a realistic sounding word.)

(The following assumes you have seen the show "Eureka".)
The point is that, if I'm understanding correctly, Science fiction is the people in Eureka who give explanations unnecessary to the plot but interesting in a sort of "That almost sounds vaguely plausible" kind of way, and all other similar things which are not science fiction are represented by the Sheriff who says, "Why don't you just say, 'Death Ray'?"

I have another question though, once again returning to: "Sci-Fi attempts to give scientific reasons and explanations and attempts to ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws." Is that really an "and" or should it be an, "or"?

I ask because a lot of Star Trek (which I like by the way) makes no attempt at the latter but makes up for it by giving scientific reasons for everything.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:09 PM

REGINAROADIE


Exactly in regards to the Space Comedy idea. You wouldn't describe MEN IN BLACK, GALAXY QUEST, HITCHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, GHOSTBUSTERS and the Bill and Ted movies as legitimate sci-fi, even though there are sci-fi elements in it. They're more concerned with making people laugh. Barry Sonnenfeld once described MEN IN BLACK as a comedic re-make of THE FRENCH CONNECTION with aliens in it. So if the director doesn't say it's sci-fi, then you can't consider MEN IN BLACK a legitimate sci-fi movie.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:10 PM

TRAVELER


Thank you Reginaroadie. I have edited my error. I guess I was blinded by my own rant and got my Orsons tangled up. I have made worse mistakes.

I think Orson Wells, the man, is science fiction at times.


http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=28764731
Traveler

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Thursday, June 28, 2007 4:43 PM

BAPTISMO


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
Quote:

Originally posted by baptismo:
Sci-Fi attempts to give scientific reasons and explanations and attempts to ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws. Faster than Light drives, inertial dampers, vast distances.


You are aware that the second part of that, "ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws," totally fails to describe Star Trek, and if you ignore the, "ensure," and just say, "the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws," actually describes Firefly better than most of Star Trek? You know that right?

Even with that little bit of nitpick, I think I might see where you're going. In real life people don't usually ask how things work, they hop in the plane/car/boat and accept that the fact it works means there is a perfectly logical, rational and scientific explanation for it working. Science fiction is not real life, and so does not need to agree with that trend. Instead there are explanations, even when it makes no sense to explain people don't say, "I need to fix the engine otherwise we don't breathe," they say, "I need to reroute the [technobable] through the [technobable] with a variance of less than [small number] otherwise the [technobable] will interact with [technobable] causing a meltdown in the [technobable] and life support will fail." (Star Trek script writers are famous for actually using the word technobable and letting other people fill in a realistic sounding word.)

(The following assumes you have seen the show "Eureka".)
The point is that, if I'm understanding correctly, Science fiction is the people in Eureka who give explanations unnecessary to the plot but interesting in a sort of "That almost sounds vaguely plausible" kind of way, and all other similar things which are not science fiction are represented by the Sheriff who says, "Why don't you just say, 'Death Ray'?"

I have another question though, once again returning to: "Sci-Fi attempts to give scientific reasons and explanations and attempts to ensure that the verse they have created works within accepted scientific and physics laws." Is that really an "and" or should it be an, "or"?

I ask because a lot of Star Trek (which I like by the way) makes no attempt at the latter but makes up for it by giving scientific reasons for everything.



Yeah, youre right, one of the things that first intrigued me about Firefly was the fact there was no sound in space...I believe thats the opening scene in the first ep when they are raiding the derelict transport ship?

I was like "Wow, no sound in space, how scientificly accurate!"

Perhaps I need to modify my thinking a bit.

Sci-fi has "scientific" reasons for why things work (note the ' " 's around scientific), FTL drive, quantum accelerators, [technobabble], etc

Space programs (Space opera, space comedy, space drama etc) have an "On" button and when you press it, it works.

and or or, up to you.

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Friday, June 29, 2007 12:50 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Quote:

Originally posted by Sister:
I believe this person has an agenda and I believe it is a religious one. What other sci-fi program even attempted to add a regular religious figure? (Book)...And saying Firefly was "bad" science fiction because of an emphasis on "sex"? Hellooooooo...??? Unless, of course, sex is indeed science fiction to the writer? Now if the writer just didn't like the show...fine, different strokes (oops, is that a sexual innuendo??) but saying it's bad science fiction...??? Whatever..





Agreed Sister. It seems that the entire line of arguement from this individual is formed around the basis of their personal religious beliefs. Religion is fine and I am respectful of others beliefs, but to use it as scale to judge everything?

The show had Book as you mentioned, so it did not preach aethism as the writer suggests.

Too much sex? Is there such a thing? Does he not understand that sex is part of human relationships in many cases and that it does not always occur in the religious sense of marriage or even commited relationships? Guess not.

He (or she) is entitled to their opinion. We all know that Firefly is not for everyone and that is fine. I just hate to see someone pick something apart and dislike based merely on a religious perception.

__________________________________________
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Richmond, VA & surrounding area Firefly Fans:

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Friday, June 29, 2007 1:18 AM

DONCOAT


Well, let's see:

Set in the future... check.

Got spaceships in it... check.

Okay, that makes it science fiction in my book. Not that those are both strictly necessary, of course, but if you got 'em, it makes for an easy call.

Now that that's settled , let's look at the rest of they guy's criticisms. Well, no real need, since they've all been covered pretty well in this thread already.

What nobody's mentioned yet (political correctness?) is that onelowerlight describes himself as a "Mormon blogger". Now, last I checked, the average Mormon is not generally described as a particularly progressive or free-thinking beast. Seems to me we have the primary factor nailed right there.

ETA: Well, naturally, as I read the thread and typed my post Browncoat1 made basically the same point. Great minds, and all that...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm pointin' right at it!

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Friday, June 29, 2007 1:43 AM

JONGSSTRAW


Isaac Asimov, perhaps the greatest and most prolific Science Fiction writer of all time RARELY used anything technical in his stories. His short story Nightfall, widely considered one of the best of the genre, has absolutely zero science tech in it...none. It's about a planet that exists in constant sunlight due to it's multiple star system. The inhabitants there are a simple civiliztion, with virtually no technology. For me, technology or should I say bullshit, made-up technology is not real science fiction...it's a cop out cover up, used by un-imaginative writers and producers to artificially add to the human story it is trying to tell.

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Friday, June 29, 2007 3:23 AM

DONCOAT


Jongsstraw, I basically agree with you that the greatest S/F is as you describe. However, there are a few of us sci/tech geeks who do enjoy and appreciate that part of the genre that focuses on the science and technology. In general, I think stories like those of Robert Forward are not great literature, or even great S/F... but they can be a real hoot to read.

In some long-lost thread on this board, I nominated myself as science advisor to any revised Firefly series. My mission would be to make the science as accurate and internally consistent as possible -- as long as it didn't get in the way of a good yarn. If that ever really happened, I'd have to make a poster for my office as a reminder: one of those universal slash-circles that would say "No Technobabble!"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm pointin' right at it!

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Friday, June 29, 2007 3:54 AM

JONGSSTRAW


You're right that science & technology can add to sci-fi films. I have no problem with that...all their gadgets and doo-hickies are fun accessories....it's only when these mumbly-gook whatchamacallits are used as default problem solvers that I get annoyed. I mean...I like all of Star Trek a lot, but the over-usage & ever-changing abilities of the deflector dish started to become ridiculous.

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Friday, June 29, 2007 5:42 AM

EVILDINOSAUR


Some people just don't get it, this person probably looks at Buffy and thinks it's a show about a teenage girl slaying vampires.

"Haha, mine is an evil laugh."

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Friday, June 29, 2007 7:54 AM

DONCOAT


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
You're right that science & technology can add to sci-fi films. I have no problem with that...all their gadgets and doo-hickies are fun accessories....it's only when these mumbly-gook whatchamacallits are used as default problem solvers that I get annoyed. I mean...I like all of Star Trek a lot, but the over-usage & ever-changing abilities of the deflector dish started to become ridiculous.

Right... or the "give the evil power-mad computer an insoluble problem so it blows up trying to resolve the paradox" ploy. Complete with computers that catch fire and emit sparks when frustrated.

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Friday, June 29, 2007 10:09 AM

ODDSBODSKINS


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
Quote:

Originally posted by Oddsbodskins:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

One point I find really interesting, which I never noticed: Kaylee had her little victory over the rich bitches in Shindig when a man accused one of them of being loose. Which... Kaylee kind of is herself. I can't quite wrap my head around that.



I suppose Kaylee's victory is related to the hypocrisy of the head rich bitch, in that, while she may be loose, she'd be mortally offended to have it pointed it to her, and moreover, wouldn't dream of doing anything but pretend the opposite.


While that might be true I don't think it had anything to do with sexuality and how quickly one would have sex.

I think it was simple: there was a social order, the bitch was at the top, Kaylee was not, the bitch knew that, the bitch pointed that out, the bitch was proving she was better than Kaylee. ("What did they have last year?" "Standards.") By walking up and insulting her, instead of Kaylee, and worse still doing it publicly, what's-his-name placed her on a lower level. Suddenly the position was reversed, she wasn't at the top and Kaylee was looking down at her.

How could such a horrible non-hierarchal thing happen? Who else might have seen her being treated less well than the standard-less girl she was being snotty to?

Time to run away.



Yes but how was that hierarchal Coup'd'etat (even if it was instigated by a foreigner to the system) occur without the hypocrisy of Rich Bitch Numero Uno as ammunition? That's the method by which Kaylee was able to happily be unaffected. Unless you prefer the explanation that Kaylee was unaffected because no-one pointed out HER dalliances, in which case I still feel she would not be offended, whereas the fact that Rich Bitch IS offended is the only reason she can be so readily disposed of.

It's confused, I need to lower the blood count in my alcohol system before I can make a more coherant post >.< but it sounded right in my head...

They may think their sins are original, but for the most part they are petty and repetitive.

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Friday, June 29, 2007 11:43 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:


[...]

One point I find really interesting, which I never noticed: Kaylee had her little victory over the rich bitches in Shindig when a man accused one of them of being loose. Which... Kaylee kind of is herself. I can't quite wrap my head around that.




I've seen folks shocked when they first learnt of Bester's "Prairie Harpie". But I say Kaylee is the near epitome of a psychologically healthy person. When it comes to sexuality, she's got no noticable hang-ups of any kind; she's neither uptight about it, nor overly obsessed with it: she neither fears the flesh, nor allows it to devour her. Sexuality just naturally flows from her innocence, rather than from anything else. As opposed to Banning Miller, to whom the sexual escapades are no doubt a means to stave off the boredom of her hopelessly decadent, hypocrite society ("The lie of it").

Kaylee is fairly open about sex, too ("Have good sex!") Not because she's loose, but because she sees no harm in the mention of it (again attesting to her innocence). To her, sex is a not the harmful, creepifying elephant in the room that needs careful tiptoeing around. Kaylee has managed to integrate sexuality to a rarely attained level of normalcy.

"You just gotta have faith in people!" That's what it always boils down to with Kaylee. She sees the 'verse through the eyes of a child: she does no harm, and in turn expects no harm. Yes, she's naive, that way; but is it wrong that I so admire her for it?


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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