SF Lit

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^^LITERATURE INDEX] [^^Literary Terms] [SF Mechanics] [Elements] (props, creatures, etc) [Technologies] (treated in sf-elements) [SF Writing] [SF Effects] [SF Elements] -^_6 [terms] (index of indexes) [Art Films (film-terms)] [Art Concepts] [Philosophy Concepts]

SF Lit

NOTE: [Technologies] (treated in sf-elements) On this page: {Intro} {Stuff} {Callings} {} {} {Empires} (see governments, below) {Employment} {} {Governments} {Intro} {Central Govt} {Distributed Govt} {Dictatorships} {Royalities} {Communes} {Syndics} {Empires} {Loyalties} {Paks} {I hate my job!} {Normalcy} (normality and sech) {} {} {Terms, Dfns, etc} {Refs} {Links}


NOTE: I take it as read that a person who has savy into the sf world (eg, in a play or film, etc) will be judged in much the same way that a person who is "called out" to testify in a religious sense. That is, the principle of transformation via revelation is much the same as "getting the big picture" - eg, when "J" finds out about the alien sub-culture and MIB in the film "MIB". One of the finest recent films to do this is Luc Besson's superb "The Fifth Element" which balanences very nicely between the purely spirtual, the Gaist, and the SciFi'ist worlds. Note that when "Corbin" wakes from his nightmare he *too* is now privy to the impending doom of the great evil on its way to earth. Note too that as he learns (i his traditional/military/materialistic world) of the problem at hand, then when Father Cornelius confronts him, applogising for hitting Corbin over the head, Corbin is in a *moment-of-knowing* able to respond, "Yes, i understand completely you're on a mission to save the universe". From the POV of the classic hero's tale, this critical knowledge about the world is not in all cases transforming. After all, Corbin doesn't yet realise the critical role that he is to play in all of this. He is only struck by the synchronicities (that we as audience are presented with quite clearly) - eg, "looking for the perfect woman", "Her language isn't bizare, it's perfect", etc. This in the "becoming aware of" (ie, the traditional film/text technique of THE REVEAL) his growing centrality are of course (from a lit POV) the *is-ness* of the whole plot development. But, from the SciFi'ist (etc) POV, this growing understanding and "feeling out the terrain" of the new experiences and knowledge are of course the entire point of the transformation concept in SciFi, etc. Compare this with "Alex Rogan's" (in "The Last Star Fighter) learning that the StarShip that he's in charge of runs exactly like the "just a video game" that he managed to score 1 MEG-points on - and this is "small, local victory". And of course this is part and parcel though-out most of "The Matrix" (film I) as each person slowly comes to grips with who they really are in this less-then-distopic future. The levels of revelation are continuous up to the very end of the film. Note too that in "The Last Star Fighter" the "return of the hero" is made complete with the hero coming back to "get the girl" and of course introduce his old family to his new self - and of course "Grig"; btw, one of the finest writings/portraials of an alien in all SciFi lit. See also "the other" in Gordon R. Dickson's "The Alien Way" and as well in James White's "Hostipital Station" series, and in terms of sexual identy in Ursula K. Le Guin's superb, "The Left Hand of Darkness". The latter of which i would hope would quash *any* suggestions that SciFi can't be "real" literature.


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I hate my job!} {Governments} This section deals with what we do to earn a living (ie, a "job" as "just a job"), which i've termed "employment". The whole idea of a job (task, something that we have to do, and of course "working for the devil", the large heartless corporation, etc) are treated under "job" via the above link).


Since in many ways SciFi (or even fantasy, etc) allows the authors/players to experience alternate verisons of our own "normal" reality, the same concerns, and such that are part of sociology, history, anthropology, etc. form the basis of SciFi B/G's as well. Note "govt" is used as an abbreviation of "government". In this section: {
Intro} {Central Govt} {Distributed Govt} {Dictatorships} {Royalities} {Communes} {Syndics} {Empires} {Loyalties} {Paks}

Govt's - Intro

Govt's - Central Govt

Govt's - Distributed Govt

Govt's - Dictatorships

Govt's - Royalities

Govt's - Communes

Govt's - Syndics

Govt's - Empires

Govt's - Loyalties

Govt's - Paks

Note the concept of "paks" is due to SciFi/Fantasy author, Larry Niven. See esp, his "Protector" as well as "hints" in "RingWorld" that it was originally built by Paks and then long-abandonded, re-inhabited by other civilisations. Oddly enough, the behaviour of the aliens in the film "Alien IV - Alien Ressurection" most resembles a Pak concept. hmmmm. (more later)

I hate my job!

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Employment} I have decided to separate out the purely "bread-winner", "brining home the bacon", and other "means of making a living" - ie, the job that we do to earn a living or to pay the bills. I also deal with the EVIL (and otherwise) large, heart-less corporations in this section. See also: {I hate my job! Normalcy} (normality and sech) This goes back to the whole problem of "plot exposition", particularly to the "props" in SciFi (fantasy, etc) and what they do and how they can be used, and MOST importantly what their limitations are. As Gene Roddenberry said in the making of Star Trek, "A detective doesn't pull out his gun and explain to you how the bullets work and how the thing is used." (not an exact quote) - but the idea is clear: If a prop or element is introduced the reader/ player/viewer isn't supposed to just know what it can and can not do. Also, the thing shouldn't violate the basic idea of the thing itself; eg, when the heroes get in a jam -- ALL OF A SUDDEN the empty gun can be used as a helicopter!!! - weak writing at its worst. Or, the old "Oh, yes, i just remembered: My ex-husband was a big game hunter and in the hall closet is his double-barreld elephant gun - and fully loaded at that!!! ;) As with any "foreign intrigue" story, the elements that we identify with are those that resonate with our own day-to-day existance; eg, getting up, getting ready to face the world, going about our "normal tasks", and then of course: Something going wrong. We don't need to know how the blender in Star Wars works, we only need to know that Luke's Aunt is using it to make breakfast and that supplies us with an "aside" to let Luke's Uncle to say, "I only hope he has those new droids in the north field by Noon, or there'll be Hell to pay" - not an exact quote. Thus, the oridinarities of actions by the actors help us to "get into their shoes". And of course we can use this to build affinities or dis-affinities for the charactes. But. We have to establish the "norm" of the world that we are creating and/or participating in. And we have to establish how the various persons and things in the narrative relte to the flow of the normal and then how they might (and then do) react to the disruption of the norm. And of course, the more different the portrayed world IS, then the more "hints" we will have to supply to get the viewer/player used to the norm and then its deviation from that norm. When this is clearly (or not) done, then we can build not only elements of story, suprise, but new levels to the story itself. This last is esseentially the problem of the "world within the world" idea. In "Alice in Wonderland", as soon as she gets used to one set of circumstances, then the others occur to confront her; eg, when she's a giant she cries, and then later this "sea" almost drowns her. This of course lends a great more to the story when other people see that the "oridnary" person actually creted the extra-ordinary situation (or part of it). Again, in "The Last Star Fighter" when "Centauri" is able to announce that "Alex" is a natural born star pilot, this allows the others to react to this with their usual suspicion for his "normal nature". Thus, these kinds of small elements can be used to subtly shape the characters, and the flow of their actions. It's an important point, since up to this point, we haven't seen anything of the "shiester/fast-talker" in Centauri's character and it very quickly establishes a lot of the other's character's POV's by how they react to him. Another aspect of the normalcy of things is when they echo back and forth to our own world. Again to take a page from "The Last Star Fighter", when Grig and Alex compare home photo's this ties back to the "in the trenches, waiting for the big push" scene in war movies in general. And of course into THAT *known* pocket we can drop many new aspects of plot, character and of course even to advnace the plot v. quickly (as is the case in "Last StarFighter"). I would say that the ending almost comes too quickly, but the nice touch of the alien commander (with the eye-patch 3-D viewer thingie) is a superb touch to the ending and helps bring all of the CGI/Blue-Screen reality "home". Note also, the way that various charactes (once they have been set up) can play off of TYPE. A good example of this is in "National Treasure", when "Ian" finds that "Ben" has bested him - we *know* he will get angry, but it gives the character the chanse to recognise the "touche'!" move by his adversary, and thus, "Well, done Ben. ... DAMN IT!". But, of course in SciFi, we build the type only to destroy it - or so it seems for the most part. This is what detracts (eg) from the strength of the character "Mitch" in "National Treasure II - Book of Secrets" at the end when he "takes the higher calling" after being shown to be bullet-firing, blood thirsty, so and so. Weak writing is weak writing. And to think that they're spending all these $$$'s Altaian on CGI, FX, stunts, etc... Again, the plot and the characters have to be true to themselves, and the plot has to be the one to give. Oddly enough, main-stream film has (apparently) not gotten that question straightened out. Compare this with the almost metaphysical ending of "" by..

Terms, Dfns, etc

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