Way back in 1958, science fiction author and critic Theodore Sturgeon coined the term Sturgeon’s Revelation. Which is that “90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap.” This became known as Sturgeon’s Law while Theodore’s actual law (from a 1956 story) — that “nothing is always absolutely so” — is forgotten. (Philosopher Daniel Dennett expanded the Law to say that 90% of everything is crap!)
I’ve always found this applies especially to science fiction TV. And in this Anno Stella Bella era, there is a lot of SF TV, so naturally there is a lot of crap. (Honestly, I don’t even pay attention to the SyFy channel anymore.)
Happily: HBO’s Westworld … not crap! In fact, it’s a gem that offers many facets worthy of (non-spoiler) thought and discussion…
6 Comments | tags: AI, Anthony Hopkins, artificial intelligence, Bernard Lowe, Dolores Abernathy, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Frankenstein, HBO, Isaac Asimov, Jeffery Wright, Jonathan Nolan, killer robots, Lisa Joy, Maeve Millay, movie violence, Prometheus, Robert Ford, robotics, robots, robots-as-menace, robots-as-pathos, science fiction, science fiction TV, SF, Thandie Newton, The Chinese Room, Turing Test, TV violence, violence, Westworld (TV series) | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday, TV
Science Fiction — or rather Speculative Fiction — has the general quality that it contains all other fiction genres. There is mystery and detective science fiction. There is romance (and sexual) science fiction. Action? Horror? Psychological thriller? Drama and pathos? Allegory? Westerns? Science fiction has them all and more.
In a sense, SF is just a property that fiction can have. I’ve tried to explain what I think that property is. I also took a stab at separating science fiction from fantasy. Now that thread resumes to explore the idea of SF hardness.
But first we return to and start with…
29 Comments | tags: Anne McCaffrey, David Brin, dragons, fantasy, Frankenstein, George O. Smith, Greg Egan, Hal Clement, hard SF, Isaac Asimov, James P. Hogan, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card, Robert L. Forward, science fiction, soft SF, vampires, werewolves, witches, Wizards, zombies | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday
A while ago, a popular mass-produced beer had some commercials that revolved around the line, “Why ask why?” While most beer commercials seem on the stupid side to me anyway (one brand’s only selling point seems to be “coldness”), those especially bugged me. Actually, as I recall, the commercials were pretty cute; it was the idea that asking Why? is pointless that bugged me.
I believe that asking Why? is a uniquely human trait. Animals accept existence; humans question it. And while there is a certain important Zen-like quality to accepting existence, I believe the questions are also important.
Science is really nothing more than the process of asking Why?
12 Comments | tags: Carl Perkins, communication, dumb mistakes, dumb questions, Frankenstein, questions, science and spirituality, spirituality, Terry Pratchett, why, why ask why | posted in Science
Having penned a perplexing pair of Python posts, and planning a putative pair of POV-Ray posts for the pending week, I feel the pressure to pause and ponder some other puzzle for a period. Like words that start with “P”, for instance. Or something more profound, like peas in our time. (And pass the potatoes.) Perhaps something personal would please?
I can’t write of cabbages or kings. I don’t care much for the former (except in egg rolls), and I wrote about chess yesterday, which is almost about kings. Nor can I write of sealing ships or sailing wax. (Wait… how did that go?)
But it is Science Fiction Saturday again!
7 Comments | tags: Captain Kirk, Frankenstein, Fred Saberhagen, J.J.Abrams, Richard Matheson, Star Trek, Star Wars, the center cannot hold, the widening gyre | posted in Books, Rant, Sci-Fi Saturday, TV