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Sci-fi
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Author:  Ivar the Nut [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

After I have finished what Im reading now, Im going to read Out of the silent planet by C.S. Lewis. Or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, I havent decided yet.

Author:  HalJordan [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell might be the best book with the worst ending that I've ever read.

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Ivar the Nut wrote:
After I have finished what Im reading now, Im going to read Out of the silent planet by C.S. Lewis. Or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, I havent decided yet.


Read both of them.

GKC

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Netcurtains3 wrote:
Jules Verne is, by most accounts, the greatest science fiction writer and he was Catholic.
His "rival" - H G Wells, was a sex man libertine. Most would say Verne was miles better.

In the list of Science fiction types two genres I like were not mentioned:
1. Steampunk
"Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke
From Wiki:
"
Clarke was born on 1 November 1959 in Nottingham, England, the eldest daughter of a Methodist minister.[1] She spent her childhood in various towns across Northern England and Scotland,[2] and enjoyed reading the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and, Jane Austen.[1] She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from St Hilda's College, Oxford in 1981. For eight years, she worked in publishing at Quarto and Gordon Fraser.[2] She then spent two years teaching English as a foreign language in Turin, Italy and Bilbao, Spain.
"
ALSO
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Difference_Engine
(I have not read the "The Difference Engine" but wiki says this is a prime example). Putting science fiction into a historical context (normally victorian) is becoming more popular.

2. Science Fiction comedy -
"Night of the Living Trekkies"
This book made me laugh and laugh and laugh. I loved it!
http://www.zombiephiles.com/zombies-ate ... g-trekkies



I likes me a good steampunk book, myself. Tim Powers' ANUBIS GATE, for one. In fact, I like all of Tim Powers.

SF comedy I can do without. I generally do without Terry Pratchett, for example.

GKC

Author:  Ivar the Nut [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

GKC wrote:
Ivar the Nut wrote:
After I have finished what Im reading now, Im going to read Out of the silent planet by C.S. Lewis. Or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, I havent decided yet.


Read both of them.

GKC


Yes, but which should I read first?

Author:  HalJordan [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 10:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

20,000 League first. That way, you can read the other two Space Trilogy books after Out of the Silent Planet

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

HalJordan wrote:
20,000 League first. That way, you can read the other two Space Trilogy books after Out of the Silent Planet



I agree with HalJordan.

GKC

Author:  Doom [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Jules Verne isn't science fiction so much as an eerily prescient prescient prediction of the not so distant future. He gets minor details wrong every now and again, but on the big stuff he is almost always 100% correct.

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
Jules Verne isn't science fiction so much as an eerily prescient prescient prediction of the not so distant future. He gets minor details wrong every now and again, but on the big stuff he is almost always 100% correct.


A satisfactory sort of SF, for me, of the "If this goes on" sort. Plus some good adventure, too.

GKC

Author:  Doom [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
Jules Verne isn't science fiction so much as an eerily prescient prescient prediction of the not so distant future. He gets minor details wrong every now and again, but on the big stuff he is almost always 100% correct.


A satisfactory sort of SF, for me, of the "If this goes on" sort. Plus some good adventure, too.

GKC


Oh, there's no doubt he qualifies as science fiction, indeed he is practically the guy who invented the genre...it's just that he was so accurate about everything and all the stuff he predicted is now in our distant past...so it doesn't feel like science fiction, it feels more like a documentary.

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Doom wrote:
Jules Verne isn't science fiction so much as an eerily prescient prescient prediction of the not so distant future. He gets minor details wrong every now and again, but on the big stuff he is almost always 100% correct.


A satisfactory sort of SF, for me, of the "If this goes on" sort. Plus some good adventure, too.

GKC


Oh, there's no doubt he qualifies as science fiction, indeed he is practically the guy who invented the genre...it's just that he was so accurate about everything and all the stuff he predicted is now in our distant past...so it doesn't feel like science fiction, it feels more like a documentary.


Maybe he cheated, somehow.

GKC

Author:  Doom [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Perhaps he used HG Wells' time machine....

Author:  GKC [ Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
Perhaps he used HG Wells' time machine....


I knew you'd get it.

GKC

Author:  Netcurtains3 [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom,
I think (not certain) that Mary Shelley was before Verne (she was born in the 1790s).

Anyway she wrote Frankenstein. If you strip away all the scary stuff her vision is actually
the truth: currently people have body part transplants from dead people (including: face, hands, legs, hearts, lungs)
and we have electronic devices in our bodies to keep us alive (eg pacemakers). Frankenstein devices are commonplace!

She was not a catholic but naming your child "mary" in a very protestant country probably means something.
She was from a family of radicals.

We also had Robert Louis Stevenson with his book Doctor Jekyll - who made a good stab at understanding rottenness of human nature (he was pro-Catholic - friend of Father Damien).

Currently I'm reading "Anno Frankenstein" by Johnathan Green. Its "Steam Punk" from 1943. The Nazis are using "dead people" to win the war (Frankenstein monsters) - the Brits have reawakened Doctor Jekyll and are also using steam robots.
Easy reading - not heavy - perhaps too easy to read.

Author:  Doom [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Netcurtains3 wrote:
Doom,
I think (not certain) that Mary Shelley was before Verne (she was born in the 1790s).

Anyway she wrote Frankenstein. If you strip away all the scary stuff her vision is actually
the truth: currently people have body part transplants from dead people (including: face, hands, legs, hearts, lungs)
and we have electronic devices in our bodies to keep us alive (eg pacemakers). Frankenstein devices are commonplace!

She was not a catholic but naming your child "mary" in a very protestant country probably means something.
She was from a family of radicals.

We also had Robert Louis Stevenson with his book Doctor Jekyll - who made a good stab at understanding rottenness of human nature (he was pro-Catholic - friend of Father Damien).

Currently I'm reading "Anno Frankenstein" by Johnathan Green. Its "Steam Punk" from 1943. The Nazis are using "dead people" to win the war (Frankenstein monsters) - the Brits have reawakened Doctor Jekyll and are also using steam robots.
Easy reading - not heavy - perhaps too easy to read.



I personally wouldn't classify either Frankenstein or Doctor Jeckyll as 'science fiction' because neither of them actually show any interest in 'science' per se, in those books 'science' is simply a tool used to explain something which would otherwise be inexplicable......the technical literary term for that is "Applied Phlebotinum", or i.e. just making up pseduo-science as a tool to tell a story, in the words of David Langford "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a completely ad-hoc plot device" (parodying Arthur C Clarke's third law: 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic')

Author:  GKC [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
Netcurtains3 wrote:
Doom,
I think (not certain) that Mary Shelley was before Verne (she was born in the 1790s).

Anyway she wrote Frankenstein. If you strip away all the scary stuff her vision is actually
the truth: currently people have body part transplants from dead people (including: face, hands, legs, hearts, lungs)
and we have electronic devices in our bodies to keep us alive (eg pacemakers). Frankenstein devices are commonplace!

She was not a catholic but naming your child "mary" in a very protestant country probably means something.
She was from a family of radicals.

We also had Robert Louis Stevenson with his book Doctor Jekyll - who made a good stab at understanding rottenness of human nature (he was pro-Catholic - friend of Father Damien).

Currently I'm reading "Anno Frankenstein" by Johnathan Green. Its "Steam Punk" from 1943. The Nazis are using "dead people" to win the war (Frankenstein monsters) - the Brits have reawakened Doctor Jekyll and are also using steam robots.
Easy reading - not heavy - perhaps too easy to read.



I personally wouldn't classify either Frankenstein or Doctor Jeckyll as 'science fiction' because neither of them actually show any interest in 'science' per se, in those books 'science' is simply a tool used to explain something which would otherwise be inexplicable......the technical literary term for that is "Applied Phlebotinum", or i.e. just making up pseduo-science as a tool to tell a story, in the words of David Langford "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a completely ad-hoc plot device" (parodying Arthur C Clarke's third law: 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic')


Lewis made a similar observation about "Jekyll".

Chasing the genealogy of SF is a common hobby amongst scholars of the genre. Lucian of Samosata is a common choice for first progenitor (Bailey, PILGRIMS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME), or at least the earliest mentioned (Barron, ANATOMY OF WONDER). Aldiss/BILLION YEAR SPREE, thinks it is an offshoot of the Gothic world, and points to ... Mary Shelly.

If I looked further down the SF reference shelf, I'd find more theories, which sort a lot of the same names, make various assumptions and definitions, between 2nd century AD and Verne/Wells. It all seems clearer, after that.

Bailey's book is particularly fun reading, IMO.

GKC

Author:  Doom [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

GKC wrote:
Lewis made a similar observation about "Jekyll".

Chasing the genealogy of SF is a common hobby amongst scholars of the genre. Lucian of Samosata is a common choice for first progenitor (Bailey, PILGRIMS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME), or at least the earliest mentioned (Barron, ANATOMY OF WONDER). Aldiss/BILLION YEAR SPREE, thinks it is an offshoot of the Gothic world, and points to ... Mary Shelly.

If I looked further down the SF reference shelf, I'd find more theories, which sort a lot of the same names, make various assumptions and definitions, between 2nd century AD and Verne/Wells. It all seems clearer, after that.

Bailey's book is particularly fun reading, IMO.


Well....it is difficult to define the term 'science fiction' isn't it? In my mind, 'science fiction' has to be based on real, you know, science, which is believable and explained in sufficient depth to make it sound plausible, and the science has to actually drive the plot in a meaningful way....if the 'science' is just made up, or described so vaguely it is not clear how it would actually work, and doesn't actually drive the plot in any meaningful way except to provide the initial justification for the story, then it isn't 'science fiction' at all.....

So, for example, Spider-Man got his powers (in the original 1962 origin) by being bitten by a radioactive spider.....but this is pseudo science because being exposed to radiation would simply kill you, it wouldn't give you superpowers, and the spider bite plays no real role in the story except as an initial push to get the ball rolling....it wouldn't really make a difference HOW he got the powers so long as he does...it could be a radioactive spider, or it could be magic spell by Doctor Strange, or a curse by the Norse God Loki, however he gets the powers the story would be the same.

And that's true of the vast majority of stories which employ 'science' in some fashion.


By that definition, I would say that science fiction originated with Jules Verne....

Author:  GKC [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Lewis made a similar observation about "Jekyll".

Chasing the genealogy of SF is a common hobby amongst scholars of the genre. Lucian of Samosata is a common choice for first progenitor (Bailey, PILGRIMS THROUGH SPACE AND TIME), or at least the earliest mentioned (Barron, ANATOMY OF WONDER). Aldiss/BILLION YEAR SPREE, thinks it is an offshoot of the Gothic world, and points to ... Mary Shelly.

If I looked further down the SF reference shelf, I'd find more theories, which sort a lot of the same names, make various assumptions and definitions, between 2nd century AD and Verne/Wells. It all seems clearer, after that.

Bailey's book is particularly fun reading, IMO.


Well....it is difficult to define the term 'science fiction' isn't it? In my mind, 'science fiction' has to be based on real, you know, science, which is believable and explained in sufficient depth to make it sound plausible, and the science has to actually drive the plot in a meaningful way....if the 'science' is just made up, or described so vaguely it is not clear how it would actually work, and doesn't actually drive the plot in any meaningful way except to provide the initial justification for the story, then it isn't 'science fiction' at all.....

So, for example, Spider-Man got his powers (in the original 1962 origin) by being bitten by a radioactive spider.....but this is pseudo science because being exposed to radiation would simply kill you, it wouldn't give you superpowers, and the spider bite plays no real role in the story except as an initial push to get the ball rolling....it wouldn't really make a difference HOW he got the powers so long as he does...it could be a radioactive spider, or it could be magic spell by Doctor Strange, or a curse by the Norse God Loki, however he gets the powers the story would be the same.

And that's true of the vast majority of stories which employ 'science' in some fashion.


By that definition, I would say that science fiction originated with Jules Verne....



Aw, what fun would if be if things were that simple?

GKC

Author:  Doom [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

GKC wrote:
Aw, what fun would if be if things were that simple?

GKC



The real question is where does that leave popular science fiction like Star Trek. All the science in Star Trek is made up, with little attempt to explain how it would actually work, and only rarely (if ever) does the actual 'science' ever really play a role in the plot of the story. Moreover, most of the devices were invented ad hoc to get around a specific problem with the story, for example, the transporter came about because the network balked at an expensive landing sequence, so they just made up the transporter to get people on the planet without having to worry about it. So by my, rather strict, definition, Star Trek isn't science fiction.

Author:  GKC [ Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sci-fi

Doom wrote:
GKC wrote:
Aw, what fun would if be if things were that simple?

GKC



The real question is where does that leave popular science fiction like Star Trek. All the science in Star Trek is made up, with little attempt to explain how it would actually work, and only rarely (if ever) does the actual 'science' ever really play a role in the plot of the story. Moreover, most of the devices were invented ad hoc to get around a specific problem with the story, for example, the transporter came about because the network balked at an expensive landing sequence, so they just made up the transporter to get people on the planet, without having to worry about it. So by my, rather strict, definition, Star Trek isn't science fiction.



Folks like David Weber, in the Honor Harrington series, go to much effort to get a plausible patina on the things that are necessary for the basic plot (FTL travel, weaponry, medical life extensions), often adding appendices and schematics, to show how the gears work. Which I certainly appreciate; it gives a surface plausibility that adds to the enjoyment, and provides new plot devices, as the "science" improves in succeeding titles. But I don't require that for something to be called SF. It only requires an appeal to a scientific underpinning: I'm not concerned as to how Cavorite really functions, or whether Mars would support something that builds fighting machines.

GKC

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