Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Science Fiction Kicks Ass part II

OK, so back to science fiction and why it is awesome (and also why people should not rag on it as much as they do).

One major complaint that I often hear is how unrealistic it is and how unrealistic the dates are that are thrown out in it. Yeah, 2001: A Space Odyssey was a little off. They're authors not mind readers. The fun part is what they do get right, or what they do inspire people to create.

Everyone has to remember Lt. Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. Right? Maybe not.

Does anyone else see a similar concept here?

How about this one?

The one of the right is a communicator from Star Trek, which first started filming in 1966. The second a modern cell phone. Isn't it funny how similar they are. I can keep naming several other devices that were either influenced by science fiction or predicted by it. So yeah sometimes the date is off a little as to when some "crazy" technological wonder will come out (I'm still waiting for someone to make a lightsaber myself), but they do tend to describe what that technology will be (or influence what it will be).

I was going to use the rest of this post to talk about how science fiction can be an interesting way of analyzing human society as it is, and also where it is going. It can be a way to demonstrate how actions today can lead to serious consequences in the future, or really help out in the future.

The problem is that it is a little to deep for this particular post. Instead I will finish out by saying that science fiction is just fun. Look at Star Wars. It was revolutionary to the way that movies were made. It pushed the limits of special effects at the time. It was imaginative. The score of the films were brilliant (John Williams is the man). It took these things and blended them into an movie like none other.

This is just one example of science fiction that is brilliant. People have taken this universe of Star Wars and really run with it creating some excellent stories. Some have written really bad ones as well, but as with anything you just have to take the good with the bad. If you can find a genre that has never had a badly written story please let me know.

I am still currently expanding the depth of my knowledge in the science fiction world. I was hung up on Star Wars for a long time, and it was only within the last few years I stepped outside of that to see what else the genre had to offer. Books like Frank Herbert's Dune, Orson Scott Card's Ender Series, Asimov's Foundation series, H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, Heinlein's Starship Troopers and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress to name a few of my favorites to this point.

Whether the science fiction is just telling a fun story, or actually has a deeper meaning to it, it is a genre that should be checked out. It can be inspirational. Whether you check it out via the movies, books, television, or radio (the way Orson Welles did War of the Worlds on the radio was ingenious) try it out. You just might enjoy it.

UPDATE - A Friend sent me this showing how Star Wars has really impacted the entertainment industries since its beginning.   Star Wars influence.

Why B Movies Kick Ass

Alright, B movies. Labeled as such because of the typically lower budget, poorer acting and campier story lines.

For a lot of people this is a turn off to the movie, however it may in fact be their saving grace as well. Because in the end no matter how serious a B movie is supposed to be, they can all become comedies.

And it is exactly what makes them less valuable that makes them priceless. Now it usually helps to have a drink or two in your system when going to watch one of the said movies because it can increase the appreciation of the humor. The humor found in ridiculousness.

The combination of bad special effects, bad acting, bad story can eventually cross a threshold. The corniness takes on a new level, and it is hilarious. Take the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Its about an alien species that lands on earth to abduct humans. The aliens of course look like clowns and there spaceship is shaped like a circus tent. The humans they abduct are wrapped in cotton candy and suck their blood through crazy straws. The whole concept of this movie is outrageous. Did they really intend for it to be scary? Because if they were they failed (I can't imagine that was their intent, look at the tagline), but made a great comedy.

I feel horror movies, action movies, and science fiction tend to make the best B-movie. Maybe that is just because those are the types of movies I tend to watch. Thinking about it, there might be some really bad good romance movies. Let me know if there are any.

It does take a certain sense of humor to appreciate a "good" B-movie. The kind of sense of humor that makes you laugh at jokes that aren't funny, because they are so bad that they are funny.

Take this for example:

A string walks into a bar, goes up to the counter and orders and drink. The Bartender turns to the string and says,"Go away. We don't serve strings here." So the string walks outside for a moment, when an idea hits him. He ties himself up and frays out his ends. He goes back into the bar and again orders a drink. The bartender looks at him and says, "Aren't you the string that I just didn't serve?" The string replies "Nope, I'm a frayed knot!"

Now if you laughed at that, you should go get a six pack, and find a "good" B movie. Check out, a site I am not affiliated with, but it is a wonderful reference (look for the sci-fi movie with David Hasselhoff).

So this is a situation of bad equals good. Which leads to one of the best parts of B-movies, they are cheap. A friend of mine who is big into B-movies just bought eight movies for eight dollars.

They are great, they are cheap, and fun to watch with friends. And that is why B-movies kick ass.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why Science Fiction Kicks Ass

Ok, so truth be told, I am a huge science fiction fan. Usually as soon as that comes out the words like; nerd, dork, geek tend to start flying about. I use them alot from time to time because that is what is expected. But really, being a fan of science fiction is no different then being a fan of anything else. Its just certain people, certain things in the past have given science fiction a bad rap.

First and foremost among these things are those people who show up in costumes to movies. Whether it be Star Wars, Star Trek (those being the two most popular science fiction story lines), or some other movie that gathers a strong fan base. Costumes are fine for parties, or for little kids but really you are just taking things to far. Yes, those movies, shows, books, games are cool and fun. But, if you are older then twelve and haven't been invited to a costume party, you probably shouldn't be going out in public dressed like your favorite sci-fi character. For some reason however, science fiction does tend to attract a lot of folks who are a little stranger and have no problem doing so.

However, this is not just a phenomenom that is not something that is totally related to science fiction. For example, lets take something that is culturally accepted as cool, football. Yet get the crazy super fans who dress up, paint themselves and do all sorts of crazy stuff. These guys are being rediculous super fans. Being a football fan does not make you a bad ass (playing might, I guess you have to be pretty hardcore, rugby more so). Another example is one I will borrow from a friend. Basically, at a bar an OU fan and a UofT fan got in a pretty vicious fight. Turns out neither of the two even attended the schools they were fighting over. Real cool guys. The point being here is that being a fan of something is fine, but everything in moderation. Anyone can take anything to far and make it not cool.

The other point is just because some fans dress up and act funny does not make all fans of the topic nerds, geeks, dweebs, etc. In the end though, why make fun of them at all. To each their own. They like something, you like something else. The end.

Aside from the whole aspect of super fans, other things have given sci-fi a bad name. Things like Ultra Violet, Aeon Flux. Look at the "Science Fiction Channel". The name really should be changed. I saw WWE Monday night raw on a few days ago. On the Science Fiction channel. I failed to see how the two correlated. Other movies I saw on the science fiction channel were, leprechaun and the snakehead terror. Two bad horror movies. Not really science fiction. But when you put that out to the public of course people take a dislike to it.

Well this all talks about why people dislike science fiction. I'll probably throw a few more of those out next time as well. But I'll get around to the reason it kicks ass eventually just give me time.

Now while this might suck as work of science fiction, I'll have to talk later of why B movies kick ass.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I don't know what I'm talking about

So I thought it would be fun to have a place to put my thoughts down on whatever I feel like. As my interests lie in reading and hockey, thoughts on those subjects will be the main highlights of this blog. Having a strange taste in many things made me think that what I write here will be appreciated by only a few. Hense the name.

As it is this should be an interesting experiment.