@Jonathan_Eckley An intergalactic atom bomb?
Your take of Gable and Lancaster together?
I don’t know, I didn’t really think of it that way. I just thought it was a thrill ride. They were both very good of course, they always are.
Yeah. They were professionals and brought it. The two together? Striking. It’s like having chicken and steak in a fajita. The flavors bounce off and complement. A star is a brand and having two together is intoxicating when it works. It’s why LOTR (2001-2003) is so beloved. McKellen, Mortensen, Blanchett, Wood, Weaving, Lee. So many flavors in one bite. Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) is better having such aces shoulder to shoulder together. My stepfather passed down his love of stars to me and the movies that combine memorable ingredients stand out.
Village of the Damned (1960). Black and white accompanies you into a crockpot nightmare slowly boiling as it arrives at fever pitch. A whole town inexplicably looses consciousness and anyone who walks near it falls victim. Hours later the town awakes eventually realizing any girl of child bearing age is now pregnant. George Sanders stars in this disquieting tale of dawning realization and fear. The mounting tension and explanations spiral as the situation defies belief and the answers ask bigger questions. Well acted, atmospheric, and sci-fi at its most human. A doozy of tale if you’ve not seen it.
I should crosslink to the ‘the book is better’ thread because that’s definitely true here. The original book is The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.
I wouldn’t know. Haven’t read the book. The movie is one I’m fond of. Sanders sells it as the intellectual fathoming he’s in over his head. The “Brick Wall” finale is permanently scribbled in my mind.
For me the sweet spot of SciFi has always been adventures into the unknown, and epic space battles. Although I do prefer Horror SciFi over other Horror sub-genres. Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, and these days the absolutely superb The Expanse are the best when it comes to TV. Star Wars came out when I was 10, and that was SciFi heaven for me. It was a bit of a singular phenomenon for quite some time. So many SciFi movies tried to emulate it, but they were mostly terrible for a long time, but I think that and the anticipation between sequels made the Star Wars movies seem even better.
Alien and Aliens were notable exceptions, but I was too young to be allowed to watch the first one when it came out, and it was firmly in that Horror SciFi sub-genre. Aliens was more to my liking, and by the time it came out, I was old enough to see it in the theatre when it first ran. Give me space ships, robots, laser guns, and/or lightsabers and I am a happy camper.
@TheHippy Is Star Wars Sci-Fi or Fantasy? I’ve wondered that myself.
My friends dad is a huge Trek nerd and he says that the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek is that the latter is science fiction, while the former is science fantasy.
I’d coincide with your friend’s Dad. Star Trek is Sci-Fi and Star Wars Fantasy in Sci-Fi clothing. Star Wars (1977) is nearer the Western than Science Fiction. Tatooine is itself the American West as a whole planet. The cantinas and hives “of scum and villainy” are pulled directly from western lore. The Sand People are the Indians. Han Solo even feels like a cowboy. Replete with him exclaiming like one during the space battle. The death of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru is straight out of The Searchers (1956). The mythology and The Force are pure Fantasy. Lucas preferred the term Space Opera. “A subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes science fictional space warfare, with use of melodramatic, risk-taking space adventures and chivalric romance.” That seems right. Space Opera within Sci-Fi while having a flair special to that type of story.
I would put both Star Trek and Star Wars in the Space Opera sub-genre of Science Fiction. I think that is often referred to as Science Fantasy as well. Neither is Hard SciFi, The Expanse is a good example of Hard SciFi. Regardless, space ships, robots, fights in space with futuristic weapons… hand me a beer and point me to the couch, I’m in.
Agreed. Certainly Star Wars looks like Science Fiction. This is why it’s science-something. What I’m getting at is how it functions and operates underneath the spaceships and Death Stars. Star Wars is a white-knuckled adventure first and foremost and The Force and the spiritual elements cross-pollinate into Fantasy and belief. Space Opera as a subgenre mixes in aspects not as commonly seen elsewhere in Sci-Fi typically and Star Wars draws from all of that.
Star Trek flirts with Space Opera and the Western particularly ("Space… The Final Frontier, Deep Space 9 mirroring a western town) and tastes closer to Sci-Fi tonally than Star Wars overall. Space Seed, The City on the Edge of Forever, Mirror Mirror, The Doomsday Machine, Wrath of Khan (1982), Undiscovered Country (1991), and the Rick Berman TNG dramatics lean greatly on Space Opera qualities yet a bit of Sci-Fi analysis bleeds through compared to Star Wars. Like you, “hand me a beer and point me to the couch, I’m in.”
This exactly. Like, in Star Wars I have to make myself not try to think about the science because it will totally ruin it for me (the Death Star is stretching the limits of suspended disbelief, but the Starkiller Base from VI made me want to go insane because the entire concept was so wildly inefficient and also IMPOSSIBLE?? Or what about why blaster shots ricochet? Why are lightsabers only so long if they’re just beams of light? Etc etc) Whereas in Star Trek they use enough science adjacent jargon to make it sound like it could actually be science. It takes much less of a stretch of the imagination, at least
I guess to me the difference between the two doesn’t lie so much in the kind of storytelling but the effort at making it seem…plausible. Cuz even Star Trek has dalliances with the mystical, the spiritual, and many of the stories do fall into that dramatic Space Opera category, but there’s lots of efforts to tie it all into our universe and make it seem like it could happen in our future. Star Wars on the other hand starts with “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away,” which is basically another way of saying “Once upon a time” — signaling that what you are about to hear is a fairytale or legend and not grounded in our reality.
Movies/TV don’t really do science-fiction. It’s all “sci-fi”. Nobody’s going to spend that much money on a show and then actually care about the physics of it all. I mean “care” not in the sense that they won’t hire a science professor or something to give a nice veneer to the proceedings, but “care” in the sense of “Well, this would work narratively and dramatically but not physically, so it’s out.”
And, if we’re being honest, even Golden Age literary sci-fi is full of magic. Asimov was considered one of the great “hard” SF writers but he’s most famous for his robots, and his robots are about as science-y as a golem.
It’s not perfect, but The Expanse tries to be more accurate than a lot of other sci-fi shows. I appreciate that.
I find Star Wars and Star Trek similarly implausible from the standpoint of science. Light sabers or transporters, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, neither is in the realm of plausibility. Star Trek only came up with idea of transporters because they thought it was too expensive and would chew up too much screen time to film and tack on scenes of ships and/or shuttles landing on planets.
Star Trek was also able to fill more niches tone and genre wise, as they utilized a lot of different writers for the episodes, and some of those were established science fiction authors in their own right. Some were more appreciative of the science, some just wanted to write a western in space. For better or worse, Star Wars (at least the original trilogy) was the vision of George Lucas. He actually was not influenced by westerns as some have suggested here, he was influenced by Kurosawa, who also influenced the westerns of the day (and westerns ever since).
I don’t know if Roger Zelazny’s books were considered hard SF, but he had some that were really more fantasy than anything and some where he blended SF and fantasy into something really fascinating. I’m not sure how you would categorize Lord of Light for example. There is science in there but at the same time, it’s expertly melded with philosophy and religion in a fascinating way.
As for as modern hard SF, one that comes to mind is Tad Williams’ Otherland series which is all based in computers, internet and VR. I would put that one in the hard SF category because he spends so much time explaining how it all works… which is why each book in the series is like 1000 pages long.
Some of Zelazny’s work is hard SciFi in my estimation. Lord of Light is a Hugo Award winner, so that’s hard enough for me. Of course he is more well known for his Chronicles of Amber books (fun fact, my son is named for the main protagonist, Corwin), which are firmly in the realm of fantasy.
I love the Chronicles of Amber, but the first book I read by him was Lord of Light. I got it from one of those book clubs where they rope you into a membership by offering six books for a dollar and then they try to keep you buying a book a month. I did it for a while, but then, I quit when the books they were offering were extremely random.