"Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy"

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"Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy"

Postby Silver Jedi » 2013-05-18 05:15am

I've gotten into this argument before, but not for a number of years. Then today, I find myself drawn into it both with my roommate and on reddit.

With my roommie, I made small comment to the contrary and then let the natural flow of the conversation move on to other things, (like what bar we should go to next), but it did remind me how prevalent this point of view is among both trekkies and warsies* alike.

On reddit, it actually started with a question:
reddit OP wrote:Based on the movies, books, and other material, does it seem that most interstellar travel can be measured in hours? Days? Months? Years?

One of the first responses was:
Internet dude #1 wrote:According to Lucas, the ships travel at the speed of plot. I get what he's trying to say. It's not a science-based universe so there's no set rules for how fast or slow hyperspace travel is from ship to ship. As soon as you start applying facts and figures it all falls apart.

Which lead to the following back and forth:
Silver Jedi wrote:
Internet dude #1 wrote:
Silver Jedi wrote:Dude, if you don't want to be helpful, then don't participate in the discussion. The Star Wars universe is remarkably internally consistent considering the sheer number amount of material and number of different authors/creators involved. Lucas says shit like that all the time because he just doesn't care about that stuff, then people like Leeland Chee or Curtis Saxton come along and make it all make sense, with facts and figures.

Wut?
Star Wars is a space fantasy, it's not Star Trek. It works just fine without figures and applied sciences.

Oh please, Star Trek is at least as bad as Star Wars when it comes to the fantasy elements. Name me one force power that we've never seen in an Alien of the Week on Trek.
You are partially right, though. Star Wars works just fine without quantitative figures and in depth explanations. One of the the beautiful about the universe that they've created is that those numbers are there in the canon if you're into that kind of thing, they just don't shove it down your throat like Trek does.

Followed by:
Silver Jedi wrote:
Internet dude #2 wrote:Internet dude #1 is right. Star Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy-based. Quit your whining.

Really? Star Wars has vastly more official "scientific" info than Trek does. Did you know that the Slave I's blasters have a yield of 600 gigajouls per shot? Acclimator-class assault transports have a peak reactor output of 2e23 Watts. The official explanations for hyperdrive technology ("Hyperdrives adjust faster-than-light "hypermatter" particles to allow a jump to light-speed without changing the complex mass and energy of the ship") and repulsor/tractor beam/acceleration compensator tech ("The gravitoactive constituents of these devices are subnuclear knots of space-time made in enormous... refineries encompassing black holes") were written by by an author with a PhD in Astrophysics.

OTOH, what is the "science-based" explanation for Q's powers? Or the Organians? Or betazed telepathy? It's even worse when they try to explain stuff in Trek, because then we just get made up units and elements, like isotons and dilithium (which doesn't even make sense as an element name).

If you don't care for the technical side of things, that's fine. As I said, the fact that Star wars doesn't shove it down your throat, or use it as an excuse to ignore plot and characterization is a good thing. But don't fool yourself into thinking that Trek is somehow more "science-based" because the writers rely on technobabble to fill out the script.

I don't actually expect to make any progress with these guys, but I felt like some practice there would help me when I want to give the 30sec version irl. Do you think in discussions like this it would be better to focus on the fact that (if you're going to make the distinction at all) they're both "space fantasy"**, or simply keep pointing out that when they want to Wars authors can technobabble as well or better than Trek writers? Or is there a better tactic I could use here?

P.S. I know my tone was somewhat combative, by their standards. I blame a decade+ of lurking here and ASVS for that. I just can't stand most redditors though. Or denizens of really popular Star Wars boards for that matter. I blame SDN and ASVS for that too :P .

*I hate that term, but don't have a better one
**Another term I hate
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Isolder74 » 2013-05-18 06:40am

Space Fantasy is just a term made up by Trekkies to try make their kind of science fiction sound more sophisticated then Star Wars or other major science fiction shows. Of course this ignores the fantasy elements in their own stuff by pretending it's all scientific in Star Trek. The truth of the matter is that Warp Drive is just as much based on the speed of plot as Hyperdrive is but may be tied to stricter rules.

Star Trek has Elves(Vulcans), gods(Q and so on), Magic(subspace tech) and so on. They just like to pretend that it has some type of 'scientific' justification when they do it where as Star Wars just does it and moves on.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-18 06:55am

Yeah, and psychic powers, life after death, ancient mysterious precursors, lost kingdoms, looming future dooms, etc. It just says 'antimatter' instead of 'explosivo'.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Starglider » 2013-05-18 08:04am

Star Trek does have a stronger science-fiction component than Star Wars, but not because of the relative quality of its technobabble, which I agree is poor. Star Trek contains more science fiction because it spends much more time examining what the impacts of particular scientific and engineering advances would be on society (human or ersatz-human aliens of the week). Star Trek also feels more like science fiction because the crew behave more like scientists; they often encounter unexplained phenomena, analyse it, construct hypotheses, test them, use them to solve crises etc. Obvious this applies more to the first two series and not so much to the movies. The fact that Trek has at least as many completely implausible things in it as SW doesn't change the fact that when characterising the construction of the narrative, it spends much more time in the sci-fi genre than SW.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Silver Jedi » 2013-05-18 06:56pm

Starglider wrote:Star Trek does have a stronger science-fiction component than Star Wars, but not because of the relative quality of its technobabble, which I agree is poor. Star Trek contains more science fiction because it spends much more time examining what the impacts of particular scientific and engineering advances would be on society (human or ersatz-human aliens of the week).
I agree. Trek sticks closer to the "traditional" motivations and storytelling techniques of SF (weren't several TOS episodes based on stand-alone short stories from the 60's?). That's not quite what these people are arguing though. I'm more concerned with the people who claim that Trek is more "realistic" or "science based" than Wars. The common thread seems to be that since Trek sprinkles in more numbers and technobabble, it's somehow more plausible or realistic.

Honestly, I understand why hardcore Star Wars fans (this originated on /r/starwars after all) would prefer to distance the franchise from the things that Trek is infamous for, like excess tehcnobabble. Star Wars has never really fallen into the trap that Trek stereotypically has, of substituting technobabble (and at times literal deus ex machina) for character and plot development. It just really irks me that Trek is at times considered "real" or "adult" SF, while Wars is relegated to kids' stuff or "Space Fantasy" just because the main characters aren't scientists.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-18 07:31pm

Starglider wrote:Star Trek does have a stronger science-fiction component than Star Wars, but not because of the relative quality of its technobabble, which I agree is poor. Star Trek contains more science fiction because it spends much more time examining what the impacts of particular scientific and engineering advances would be on society (human or ersatz-human aliens of the week). Star Trek also feels more like science fiction because the crew behave more like scientists; they often encounter unexplained phenomena, analyse it, construct hypotheses, test them, use them to solve crises etc. Obvious this applies more to the first two series and not so much to the movies. The fact that Trek has at least as many completely implausible things in it as SW doesn't change the fact that when characterising the construction of the narrative, it spends much more time in the sci-fi genre than SW.


That's not what they're talking about, though. 'Science fiction' is generally 'has spaceships'; it's like saying a given detective series is 'detective fantasy' because they don't spend as many scenes in the crime lab and have too many relationship threads. They're making a value judgement which is meaningless. Is it better science fiction to have no scientists, or really stupid scientists talking dogshit? What would it even mean to make that determination?

And man who started that hilarious 'TECH AND IMPACT ON SOCIETIZ' thing? Obviously I think it's totally inaccurate now, but maybe in the era of nerd fucks big tits lady scifi it was more true. :V

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Silver Jedi » 2013-05-18 08:27pm

Stark wrote:And man who started that hilarious 'TECH AND IMPACT ON SOCIETIZ' thing? Obviously I think it's totally inaccurate now, but maybe in the era of nerd fucks big tits lady scifi it was more true. :V
Well, the first SF stories (as early as the late 1600's) were about outside observers like aliens from Sirius and Saturn, or a man on the moon, commenting about then-contemporary society. It's a pretty short jump, conceptually, from "man sent to space by magic" to "man sent to space by advanced technology." Then everybody from Mary Shelley to Issac Asimov took the concept and ran with it, e.g. impact of a reanimated corpse on Victorian England, or impact of humanoid robots on "modern society".
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-18 08:33pm

Right, and so do we call it 'murder fiction' when a detective story has someone killed and how that upsets people? Needless to say, heaps of modern pew pew scifi barely even mentions society (like Stargate, say) and is actually a reflection of modern politics rather than some nonsense about 'what if stargates were real what would that do to shape a theoretical future society'.

Like if it was made up in the 50s and just ignored the pulp scifi stuff, you could say that Asimov wrote a lot of stuff literally about how technology shapes societies... but saying that's what 'scifi' 'is' is a pretty long bow to draw. Star Trek certainly isn't about that; I guess you could say TNG is about how feelgood pop psychology impacts a future society. :lol: Not all scifi is thoughtful; should we retroactively declare all those stories 'not scifi' because they don't meet some made-up definition designed to make people who read Flash Gordon comics feel smart?

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-18 09:03pm

Silver Jedi wrote:*snip lengthy stuff*


The problem with these sorts of arguments is that you're not really arguing against any sort of solid, verifiable or easily refuted evidence. You're arguing against someone's perceptions/preconceptions, which are often more 'gut-instinct' based and subjective and generally not really well thought out. But some people will often rely on these just as heavily as they will on actual evidence, and can get quite defensive, argumentative, and stubborn - espeically if you jump on them for it (this is why, as a rule, I find combative approaches bad
unless you do it under very, very narrow sets of circumstances.) Its silly, but people aren't robots and its hard to be rational about stuff ALL the time, especially if its stuff you like.

SEcondly, while this is only a specific example (probably pulled from alot of hearsay/secondhand stuff garnered from elsewhere on the net) people don't always approach fiction the same way even when they do use facts/evidence in some sort of coherent manner. You can run into misunderstandings and conflicts over that simply because two people don't view evidence the same way. That's one thing that never really gets discussed when it comes to 'vs' - arguments are less about the evidence itself, than it is over what people think is the right interpretation of the evidence. Canon discussions are similar in this regard, because they're more about 'whose view is right' rather than the evidence itself.

Also, not everyone can tell the difference between criticism and personal attacks. I've found that people will often treat one as the other without really grasping the difference (another reason to avoid 'combative' approaches - it can make it harder for some to distinguish, and it gives them less justificaiton to claim that anyhow.)

In these sorts of situations you will never win, so its best to just bail out because there is literally nothing to defeat, and if they are determined/stubborn enough they will verbally attrition you into submission (unless you literally have nothing better to do.) simply because their arguments have no real basis, require no real research or evidence to justify - basically no real work to do, so its much less effort put into their responses (and thought) than vice versa.

These are good lessons about how NOT to approach sci fi however. Don't let yourself be blinded by preconceptions, don't close your mind to new and different things. Learn the difference between criticism and 'attacks/bashing.' Learn that people have different viewpoints/ways of thinking and make allowances for it, and try to keep yourself as flexible and open ended as possible. Its very easy to fall into those sorts of patterns even without realizing it - it took me years to realize those flaws in myself and exorcise them, and it can lead to alot of uneccessary conflict, misunderstanding, and also deprive you of some very interesting and fun conversations when you get involved in an exchange of ideas and beliefs.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Starglider » 2013-05-19 12:27pm

Stark wrote:That's not what they're talking about, though. 'Science fiction' is generally 'has spaceships'


Granted, but they're idiots. Obviously words can have multiple meanings and 'has spaceships = science fiction' is convenient shorthand for people who don't really care about the genre and just want to know what the next half-hour of TV will look like. I am perfectly happy to call Star Wars sci-fi for this reason. However if we're going to get into geeky meta-level discussions about the genre, and specifically which is 'more / better sci-fi', then we should prefer the original, deeper, literary definition.

it's like saying a given detective series is 'detective fantasy' because they don't spend as many scenes in the crime lab and have too many relationship threads.


No, that would be saying it's 'soft detective' versus 'hard detective' (of course the actual genre-specific terms would be something like 'crime thriller' versus 'forensic mystery'). Soft vs hard in sci-fi is about plausibility of the imagined technology. Whether a work is a sci-fi narritive at all is a different distinction. Trek has crazy made up physics and implausible magic tricorders, but characters still fundamentally act in a scientific way, trying to understand the universe. In Star Wars essentially everything is already discovered, invented, well understood and fully integrated into society, at least for the purposes of the main characters. That's fine, most stories aren't primarily about science or technology; but those stories that are form the heart of the 'sci-fi' category. Other writers adopting the spaceships and the name were just bleeding off bits of cool and dropping the techy bits.

They're making a value judgement which is meaningless. Is it better science fiction to have no scientists, or really stupid scientists talking dogshit? What would it even mean to make that determination?


You're probably just comparing a good story with less sci-fi elements to a bad story with more sci-fi elements. People who like sci-fi generally derrive pleasure from the sci-fi bits seperately from (or if you like, in addition to) the main narrative. So which it is better overall depends how much you like sci-fi. That should be common sense; there are plenty of people here who spend time reading badly written sci-fi because they like the tech bits.

And man who started that hilarious 'TECH AND IMPACT ON SOCIETIZ' thing? Obviously I think it's totally inaccurate now, but maybe in the era of nerd fucks big tits lady scifi it was more true. :V


When I was young I used to read a lot of compilations of 40s/50s/60s sci-fi interspersed with essays from the writers about what sci-fi means to them / their writing process / historical trivia of Amazing Stories magazine etc. I'm pretty sure that's where I picked up this viewpoint.

Like if it was made up in the 50s and just ignored the pulp scifi stuff, you could say that Asimov wrote a lot of stuff literally about how technology shapes societies...


You could and Asimov himself did, and of course John Campbell pushed hard for this as well as more realistic technical detail and better writing in general.

but saying that's what 'scifi' 'is' is a pretty long bow to draw.


There isn't and never will be a neat legal definition. It's up for grabs and as I said above, I prefer an inclusive definition for general conversation, but these sort of conversations inherently demand a more refined definition (understanding of course that we're talking about a component of narrative, not a binary category).

Star Trek certainly isn't about that; I guess you could say TNG is about how feelgood pop psychology impacts a future society.


Star Trek is 'about' some guys on a spaceship; beyond that themes change with the episode and the series. However implications of new technology and understanding new phenomena come up very frequently, often as the main drivers for a story.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Jub » 2013-05-19 12:37pm

Trek is as much about science as reality TV is about reality and when they try to add some science they actually make things less sci-fi. Re-calibrating the subspace harmonica to bypass fluidic space chunkies isn't science. Having a heart to heart talk about feel good pop psychology crap while being visited by a supernatural being isn't science. Trek is just as soft or hard as any mainstream TV/movie sci-fi.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Eleas » 2013-05-19 12:57pm

According to Lucas, the ships travel at the speed of plot.


No, that was Straczynski. If mastering Google is beyond your interlocutor, maybe you should cut your losses straight away and just end the conversation.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-19 04:32pm

Good answer.

Starglider wrote:Granted, but they're idiots. Obviously words can have multiple meanings and 'has spaceships = science fiction' is convenient shorthand for people who don't really care about the genre and just want to know what the next half-hour of TV will look like.


Seems pretty useful to me. My challenge to stupid genre names is really that 'hard' and 'soft' scifi aren't slight variations of each other but are thematically almost unrelated entirely. They're just badged similarly so normal people can avoid them. :V

PS I read soft detective stories.

You're probably just comparing a good story with less sci-fi elements to a bad story with more sci-fi elements. People who like sci-fi generally derrive pleasure from the sci-fi bits seperately from (or if you like, in addition to) the main narrative. So which it is better overall depends how much you like sci-fi. That should be common sense; there are plenty of people here who spend time reading badly written sci-fi because they like the tech bits.


That's an exceptional claim. To return to the detective example, would you say that people who like detective novels (or 'hard' detective novels) derive 'pleasure' from the minuatae of procedural and jargon?

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When I was young I used to read a lot of compilations of 40s/50s/60s sci-fi interspersed with essays from the writers about what sci-fi means to them / their writing process / historical trivia of Amazing Stories magazine etc. I'm pretty sure that's where I picked up this viewpoint.


I've heard it a lot, from a lot of people, and I just don't think it actually applies to 'science fiction' as a whole. I can see what you're saying regarding Star Trek at least involving a scientific process (or the aping of scientific process) at least justifying the 'science' in the name, but then we have 30s Flash Gordon. I guess you could say that it depends on the period and the social attitude toward science; even pulp nonsense scifi in the 50s was packed with the respect for education and value of technological process that existed at that time.

But to retroactively define a whole bunch of stuff as 'not scifi' because it doesn't have enough 'science procedural' to meet an invented definition from a century ago that means nothing to 99.9% of the human race still stinks to me.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Starglider » 2013-05-19 06:14pm

Stark wrote:Seems pretty useful to me. My challenge to stupid genre names is really that 'hard' and 'soft' scifi aren't slight variations of each other but are thematically almost unrelated entirely.


There is a distinct difference in themes but I think the root cause is writer personality, or at least goals. Writers of hard sci-fi don't necessarily do more world building, but they are comitting to do much more research, to spend additional time working out how to make their technology plausible, and often to accept narritive and thematic constraints for the sake of realism (e.g. can't just pretend Space 2251 is the age of sail with different set dressing). Usually writers who want to make that investment are inherently more interested in science and technology, e.g. plenty of famous sci-fi authors are or were professional scientists and engineers. Though sometimes they just want 'authenticity' and learn real-world detail in pursuit of that.

In any case someone motivated to put all that time into technical/scientific detail obviously has less time and interest left for character drama; an amazing author may do both well but most of the time there's a trade-off. So hard sci-fi authors are more interested in sci/tech heavy themes; something that is undeniably 'core sci-fi'.

Franchises are more complicated. You've got the vision of the creator, the team of writers and other creatives who were attracted to it, all the people who come along after the fact and write expanded universe type material, the fandom and its feedback on the franchise (e.g. the second-gen writers who come from the fandom). Lucas wanted an epic fantasy but with the visual look of lasers and spaceships. Art/design geeks at the time made the sets and effects look plausible, armchair tech nerds & EU writers came in way after the fact and filled in made up tech for the setting. They had the luxury of doing this with near-complete knowledge of the canon, generous time constraints and no strong need to match real-world tech. SW is so popular that most fans do not care about sci-fi or technical detail as much, but it was a childhood favourite of numerous now-adult geeks who now like to apply technical analysis to it.

Rodenberry wanted 'exploring strange new worlds', and finding episodic action-adventure there. He used a stable of writers with more sci-fi experience and designers who cared more about being a plausible future; but they were all working under the extreme time pressure and unpredictability of episodic TV. Thus there is a much more explicit attempt to 'make a sci-fi', but canon is less consistent and stopgap technobabble abounds. The tend in the fandom was boadly the opposite of SW; it started very 'geeky', but got less so over time (up to the current movies which go for mass-market appeal and are thus constructed much more like SW - particularly the prequels).

So yes 'being sci-fi' was more a part of Trek's identity and ethos than SW. It is more intellectual by necessity of having a much lower budget, so people have to spend more time talking and scanning things with tricorders vs exciting space battles. Yes the quality of finish and setting consistency is lower due to the constraints of TV production, that's the trade-off for having much more variety and viewpoints on the universe.

To return to the detective example, would you say that people who like detective novels (or 'hard' detective novels) derive 'pleasure' from the minuatae of procedural and jargon?


Sure, no different from the military fiction fans who want meticulously detailed and accurate ToE, combat results and operational procedures in their World War 2 novels. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples.

I can see what you're saying regarding Star Trek at least involving a scientific process (or the aping of scientific process) at least justifying the 'science' in the name, but then we have 30s Flash Gordon. I guess you could say that it depends on the period and the social attitude toward science; even pulp nonsense scifi in the 50s was packed with the respect for education and value of technological process that existed at that time.


Bear in mind that there was a much weaker separation between fiction and serious futurism at the time, particularly for readers of average education. The setting of Flash Gordon inherently seemed more fantastic and inherently remarkable - and more plausible - to the 1930s reader who'd likely never seen an aircraft much less a space rocket, robot or laser. Gernsback loved to mix in futurist speculation with his stories (in the fiction magazines) and projects/reviews (in the technical ones). Futurism now is much more mature and boiled off into articles in the mainstream media, Wired etc, at the deep end things like TED and the nanotech and singularity conferences. Some hard sci-fi retains a futurist streak but softer sci-fi generally doesn't feel the need; making a 'commentary' on current events/politics using invented technology to gain a little distance or emphasis is much more common.

But to retroactively define a whole bunch of stuff as 'not scifi' because it doesn't have enough 'science procedural' to meet an invented definition from a century ago that means nothing to 99.9% of the human race still stinks to me.


Well, certainly it's hard to keep people away from making a binary categorisation and then being elitist about it and narrowing 'sci-fi' to 'what I like'. However if you're going to insist that 'sci-fi' be used a broad tent only, then we need some better terms for genres and themes within sci-fi. 'Hard' vs 'Soft' is not cutting it.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-19 06:55pm

Can you prove th... oh, forget it. What's some lies between friends?

Anyway, in a modern context, if there is scifi that isn't futurist in the sense of speculating about science and society in the future, and futurism exists in entirely non-narrative ways, maybe 'has futurism' isn't a useful metric for science fiction. I mean I'd challenge the idea that 'singularity conferences' are 'mature' by definition, but a part of the uselessness of the hard/soft distinction (or any proposed 'fiction' vs 'fantasy' distinction) is that people just cherry pick and will declare things they don't like the type they don't like. The inability for anyone to actually define what science fiction is or should be without reference to vague invention like 'has procedural' just shows how muddy the waters are, and I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who tried to argue about science fiction and science fantasy without pejorative goals.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Starglider » 2013-05-20 04:00am

Stark wrote:Anyway, in a modern context, if there is scifi that isn't futurist in the sense of speculating about science and society in the future, and futurism exists in entirely non-narrative ways


This is about as non-fictional as it gets.

maybe 'has futurism' isn't a useful metric for science fiction


Not for saying whether something is sci-fi or not, but it's an important theme. Even though SW and ST are both 'soft' sci-fi, ST still has heavy futurist themes. Not just the predictive kind; it echoes the sentiment of the futurist/humanist movement in saying that 'humans will be much better people in the future, society will be eden-like, we just have to think happy thoughts and adopt an unspecified but technocratic system of government ...' etc Silly or not that idea had large scale popularity through the first half of the twentieth century (formative years for the first-gen Trek writers) and still has a dedicated following now.

I mean I'd challenge the idea that 'singularity conferences' are 'mature' by definition


Mature in the sense that futurism as a movement has evolved and matured from its much less structured beginnings (e.g. gained academic acceptance as an independent field). If you mean mature in the 'for adults/children' sense, is the Roman Catholic Church a mature organisation?

I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who tried to argue about science fiction and science fantasy without pejorative goals.


Well that's unfortunate. AFAIK the vast body and machinery of academic literary criticism doesn't help much here, because it's all so fixated on characters and narrative and has an active contempt for everything about sci-fi that actually makes it sci-fi (to the point that disdain from literature professors is actually a useful indicator of 'how sci-fi is this book' :) ). As I mentioned this kind of debate and deconstruction certainly did exist at a professional level between sci-fi authors via exchanged essays & letters; you don't seem to get that in print any more, but I assume it continues on newsgroups / mailing lists / forums focused on professional sci-fi writers.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-20 08:00pm

I actually like how you used the distinctions used (relatively non-pejoratively) in other genres, and I think I'm going to see if it catches on. Shows like Star Trek are (mostly) much more 'procedural' science fiction than Star Wars or Gundam or 40k, because it is indeed driven around the scientific process and investigation. Since people totally do want that kind of content, I think this is a meaningful way to divide a genre without depreciating the other part. Heaps of 'futurist' or 'hard' scifi thought-experiment stuff is also definitely 'procedural' in this way, but so is a lot of fantasy that focuses on the rules or conventions of magic, the way having dragons around shapes made up societies, etc. At the same time, not having that be in the foreground doesn't preclude either scientific accuracy or complete fantasy.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby PainRack » 2013-05-31 05:14am

So, the real answer to Silver Jedi question is to ask them what they mean by more 'science' based instead.

Because for descriptions of the genre, Star Wars does fall under the Space Opera category, while Star Trek is a more traditional science fiction series. That doesn't mean shit about their scientific plausibility, just their 'genre', similar to how the Aleran codex isn't more fantasy accurate than the Dresden Files.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Formless » 2013-05-31 02:49pm

Usually when I hear "accuracy" brought up with regards to Fantasy media, the context appears to be "historical accuracy". Not necessarily in the sense that its a faithful depiction of a historic time and place, but that at least the author doesn't mistakenly believe that swords weigh twenty pounds and behave like blunt crowbars when cutting. Or minor things like not using precious metals for everyday transactions (because they are precious for a reason). Mundane things that make the world feel more real because you can't just make up everything. So even in fantasy there is a place for research-- though I admittedly don't know how it would apply to Urban Fantasy stuff like the Dresden Files.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-31 02:55pm

That's fine for DnD fantasy, but none of that necessarily applies to a fantastic story. It's only important if the author makes it such; like you sell verisimilitude about totally imaginary things that certainly don't have to conform to history or physics. Scientific 'accuracy' might be important to detail obsessed buzzword proceduralists, but there is no external measure or standard for fantasy to be accurate or otherwise beyond the demands of fiction in general.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Formless » 2013-05-31 03:05pm

Yeah, I'm trying to think of what it might meaningfully mean, but... well, closest I got is if the story makes a serious attempt to explore the real world ramifications of whatever fantastic elements it introduces (magic, monsters, deities, whatever), but its definitely got a garbage in = garbage out problem. Any conclusion will be arbitrary because the assumed "facts" of the setting are arbitrary.
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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Stark » 2013-05-31 03:19pm

This reminds me I looked at the tablet Warhammer game recently and it was depressing that the Warhammer trappings made it less interesting, because character choice is GW (ie zap, shot, hammer or Irish) and the scope of the game is so... Not just fantasy generic, but a specific generic (if that even makes sense). I couldn't conjure any enthusiasm for 25 levels of identical dungeons in a boring world, because in many ways the standards of modern fantasy are so homogenous.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby jwl » 2014-09-12 06:43am

More sci-fi-ness does not mean more scientifically accurate, otherwise you could call dramas like eastenders sci-fi.

What more being more sci-fi-ish really means (to me) is using scientific and futurism ideas in the writing.

Star wars has:

Futurism:
Spaceships (Millennium Falcon etc.)
Cybernetics (Luke, Vader, Grievous)
Cryogenics (Han Solo)

Science:
Astrobiology (long ago, in a galaxy far, far away)
Organelles or Symbiotes (midichlorians)
Light speed limit (bypassed via hyperspace)

So I'd say star wars is sci-fi.

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Re: "Trek is vastly more science-based, Star Wars is fantasy

Postby Darth Nostril » 2014-09-12 04:07pm

Holy cuntwaffles, how many more threads are you going to necro?
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