Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

FAN: Discuss various fictional worlds that don't qualify for SF.

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Which is your favourite speculative fiction series?

Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth.
No votes
Star Wars.
Star Trek.
No votes
Foundation (Asimov).
No votes
Marvel Universe.
DC Universe.
No votes
Doctor Who.
Harry Potter.
No votes
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel.
Total votes: 16

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Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2016-11-19 03:31am

Obviously not something you can really quantify, but I'm curious to hear what people think, and why. What constitutes quality in speculative fiction? Is it spectacle? Is it the ability to use a fantastical setting to ask difficult questions about the real world? Is it premise, or world-building? Is it anything different from what makes any work of fiction succeed (generally including things like originality, interesting/likeable characters, lack of plot holes, etc.)?

Obviously I could not include all worthy contenders in the poll. I have, for obvious reasons, included an "Other" option.

Note that this thread deals specifically with series/franchises, not standalone works (hence why, for example, 1984 is not included in the poll, despite its fame and critical acclaim and my considerable personal admiration for it).

Honestly, for shear fun, I think its hard to beat Star Wars.

For quality of the underlying premise, "Doctor Who".

For shear variety and ability to make me think and to affect me emotionally, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

For the scope of the world-building and its ability to evoke and integrate various literary, religious/mythological, linguistic, and historical influences, The Lord of the Rings.

Ultimately, I would judge a work of speculative fiction largely on the same qualities as a typical work of fiction from another genre, including:

Suspension of Disbelief.
Likeable/interesting characters.
The ability to evoke a strong emotional response in the reader/audience.

But on top of that, I would hope that a work of speculative fiction would use the genre's potential to its fullest to do something (be it in terms of spectacle, theme, or story) that could not readily be done in another genre (for example, Foundation's plot, built on the use of psychology to influence long-term historical trends, would not really be possible outside of an SF work). And I do think that the genre poses specific challenges in terms of plot, internal consistency, and world-building, because the author is generally forced, to one degree or another, to create an alternate world from scratch, rather than being able to rely on the rules of the world that we know. Their may be more room for imagination, and perhaps (depending on the specifics of the work in question) less need for research, but since you are forging a new world from scratch, their is perhaps a greater chance of cocking it up, especially if the author is lazy and unprofessional enough to take an attitude along the lines of "Its just fantasy, it doesn't have to make sense" (or, as "The Simpsons" famously parodied it, "A wizard did it").
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Re: Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby Formless » 2016-11-19 02:20pm

I don't know if I could give a proper answer to that question, but certainly I would have to select "other" as its the closest to "none of the above." I don't even like half of those, and I'm somewhat ambivalent to Star Trek and Star Wars. Both are too inconsistent in quality over time.

It isn't my favorite per-say (assuming the answer isn't "whatever I'm into at this very moment"), but I suppose the franchise I keep coming back to the most often throughout my life since I was a child until now would have to be Poke'mon. Say what you will about the games being samey from one generation to the next, at the very least the quality is consistent; which is more than I can say for almost any other franchise that immediately comes to mind. There are few truly bad Poke'mon games/products, and few designs among the critters that I dislike with any passion.
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Re: Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby The_Saint » 2016-11-21 12:00am

I ticked Other.

I love Middle Earth, Star Wars, Xeelee Sequence, Foundation, Dr Who, Culture and many others and I wouldn't like to choose between them so on behalf of all those I like that aren't here I chose 'Other'.
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Re: Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby DesertFly » 2016-11-21 12:09am

Culture has already been mentioned in passing, but that would be my choice. I think it is in part because I see that as the most "realistic" depiction of the potential future technology we could achieve someday. In line with that, they have sophisticated virtual reality of the sort that would enable me (or anyone) to enter a seamless recreation of any of the other listed properties. Also, they have mind-uploading and extreme body-modification, of a sort that appeals to me.
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Re: Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2016-11-21 12:41pm

For me, speculative fiction settings are mostly about escapism rather than something more serious, and nothing does that better than Star Wars.

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Re: Favourite speculative fiction series/franchise of all time.

Postby Iroscato » 2016-11-21 12:58pm

Voted for the MCU. Over the last 8 years it's given me near-endless entertainment, with the promise of a massive story arc threading all the way through since the very beginning. No other franchise has been as consistently enjoyable for me.
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