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DEFINING SCIENCE FICTION  

 

 

 

 

Q. What is Science Fiction?
                                     And what isn't?
 
A. Definitions of Science Fiction,
                            The Protocols of Science Fiction
                                                                                      essence
                                                                                                                      &  thoughts...

    

 

 

 

Q. What is the Speculative Element of Science Fiction? 

A. Fantasy is defined by non sequitur, but the Speculative Element of Science Fiction is defined as sequitur, that plot logic and creative tension follow relevantly. But from from what, how so and to what degree?

Science begins from unfounded conjecture, subject first to such articles critical preference as theoretical elegance, and only then reality testing. Whereas the thought experiment of Science Fiction, as with any drama, only demands plausibility. And Fantasy is any plotline which depends upon it's setting in an impossible world. By contrast, the Speculative Element of Science Fiction amounts to rational thought experiment with the freedom to question anything and everything, beginning from any premise, scientific or other conjecture, with all of the verisimilitude of Futurological future studies engaging in futurological scenario planning to the likely or even, rather, to however unlikely conceivable outcomes, and even following through to whatever the most extreme, surprising or unusual conclusions, thereby challenging our own cultural assumptions, "common sense" and precepts, sometimes even to the point of Reductio Ad Absurdum and Science Fiction as a vehicle for satire.

A Science Fiction premise, exploration or theme, essential understanding or recurring concept, often conveyed via some symbolic Objective Correlative motif or topos, is one that concerns alteration or variation in the familiar circumstances of everyday reality, often by the introduction of one or more significant alterations, actually predicted or simply postulated, as it where, for argument's sake, in contradiction to what is currently known or believed to be the real state of affairs, or into whatever realms of the unknown, none the least being the future, and hence, ultimately the construction, presentation of and emersion into a plausible fictional setting, a hypothetical world in which whichever such alterations can plausibly exist or occur.

Show don't tell! To pique curiosity, the physical realism of the Science Fiction Speculative Element may serve then to introduce one to that world or situation of Science Fiction or Fantasy, sans cumbersome instruction manuals telling too much too soon, instead from the verisimilitudinous Edge of Ideas like unto the historical subtext of an invented and often far future or otherwise distant world or setting, abruptly, yet unfolding bit by bit, or even in some entirely novel and surprising manner, baiting the all important hook or grabber and more, actually central and unique to whatever the work's special appeal and invitation to the thrill of shared disorientation. For avid readers of Science Fiction are alert to seek out and make note of seeming incoherencies as tantalizing clues to the mysterious and fabulous world beyond the narrative, even somewhat likewise as the true lover of poetry must seize upon narratively inexplicable visual disruptions or conjunctions of sound.

Indeed, while the reportage of exterior observation is dramatic, the POV or Point Of View of a participant from inside the action, heightens immediacy. Picking the Right Viewpoint Character or reader surrogate, is among the essential considerations, because, whatever their uses, in some way all narrators, save, perhaps, the authorial spokesperson, remain unreliable, only one among many types of irony bourn by whatever voice in whichever person and by whatever vehicle.

The Speculative Element of Science Fiction, much as with the background and subtext of historical fiction, affords greater depth and complexity in setting and culture, external detail facilitating clear differentiation from the mundane world and technical detail enhancing plausibility.

Science Fiction is the Literature of Ideas, ranging from serious futurological scenario planning to fantastical extremes even akin to satire, yet all no less grounded in all the dharmic and karmic indefinable classifications of causality than the plot requirements of  "unity of action," Sequence and logic to begin with. 

 

Q. What are Futurism and Futurology? 

A. Futurism, the intense and impassioned international art movement founded in Italy in 1909 to reject shop worn Pastoral Romanticism and embrace, instead, the hectic excitement and spectacle of the new Industrial age, technology and the mass society, should never be confused with Futurism also sometimes known as Futurology the cool and cerebral consulting profession, by means of the various speculative futuring methods of the extensively interdisciplinary knowledge-driven Epistemology of future studies, engaging in futurological scenario planning and anticipating foreseeable tends to plot different likely prognoses from situation analysis serving as "act zero," and define the early warning indicators which of those possible paths events are at any time frame beginning to take, much according to the structure of the scene.

People understand and relate to plot logic, the linear causality of stories, even though events in the real world unfold as the confluence of all manner of even dharmic and karmic cofactors in the outcomes of complex systems, perhaps even amenable to some common theme, similarity or generality, if not any other serviceable narrative.

By cognitive operation of logic, just as any hypothetical scenario may be played out in the mind, given situation analysis serving as "act zero," actual prognosis may be attempted and possible future events predicted or motivating outcomes anticipated with whatever desire or aversion. Or scenarios may play out one way or another, in real events, howsoever corroborating or refuting prognoses. Indeed, testable explanatory hypotheses of Scientific Method are also scenarios. Hence, likewise, plans may be crafted and strategized, plausibly, realistically or else fantastically, such that scenarios may be variously drawn and circumstances may even be contrived to be deliberately enacted and set into motion, but not always according to anticipations or expectations after all. Indeed, compelling plotlines often turn upon how things go awry one way or another. For the greater the unknown, the more ambiguous the "act zero" situation analysis, the likelier miscalculation and the less predictable any outcome. But no matter how clear the situation, capable response often remains the test character growth and adaptation.

A memorable work of Science Fiction even in setting as comes closest to prediction may do well to partake of both Futurism and Futurology, that whatever lucid insight of the latter may be imbued with the clamor, vivid hues and modern pathos of the former in world-building, the focus upon detailed background as may, likewise, give rise to plot.

And in simulated societies or simsoc, role-play finds prognostic application of game theory among futuring methods of scenario planning to Futurology.

Futurology remains quite distinct from it's historical antecedent, Eschatology, the study of prophesy behind the antirational Anti-Science Fiction of Christian Apocalyptic Fiction.

                  Indeed, Futurology is speculative key to scientific rationalism and democracy: In all things, the dynamic and flexible social engineering principles, personal autonomy, good sportsmanship and responsible values of rational democratic progress are systematic doubt, hope in the honest embrace of fallibility and tolerance for uncertainty, substantive discourse, debate of disputes, criticism without punishment and no insult taken, free inquiry into problems openly and publicly without fear of punishment, indeed, especially, imagination, open unfounded speculation about different case scenarios pursuant to any number of varied and different proposed measures, without need of conforming or in any way limiting said speculations to any accepted quasi-official position, let alone whatever purportedly infallible fortune telling.
 
The very values and aptitudes ever fostered in brainstorming fiction!
Indeed, all pursuant to experiment, trial and error, the vital opportunity for all manner of ongoing reevaluation and revision, open ended correction of mistakes and improvement at all levels, piecemeal, without bloodshed, violence or even strife as such.
 

 
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Defining Fictional Entrepreneurship or: Business Design Fiction, the ability to make the impractical practical.
 
Passive denial sinks even the most modest, banal and straightforward proposition into sheer empty pipedream, whereas honest due diligence ekes barest feasibility study at all even out from the most fantastic overreach. Because objectivity is never a secure foundation, but merely an honest intention of error detection and course correction along the way. -Rigorous business planning towards new venture creation as an exercise in extreme Science Fiction futurological scenario planning and detailed World Building even in predicting and rising to meet new needs themselves yet to arise.
"Design Fiction is making things that tell stories."  —  Jullian Bleeker, Near Future Laboratory
As Paul Raven observes: Science Fiction isn’t dying at all; it’s metastasizing!
 
 

How is foresight human?

A. Less abstractly and with greater immediacy:

Emotional Decisions

1. Decisions arise when new information is inconsistent with one or more currently held goals put forth. The mismatch yields a negative emotion, tension, suspense or stress, producing a rupture in ordinary activity.
 

 

2. The decision juncture provokes a reverie, an imaginative simulation, essentially futurological scenario planning and anticipating foreseeable tends to make different likely prognoses from situation analysis to define the early warning indicators which of those possible paths events are at any time frame beginning to take, in which goals as ever put forth are reevaluated on the basis of new information. This evaluation of goals elicits somatic markers.
 
3. Once the goals put forth are prioritized by somatic markers, new options and new goals are simulated and evaluated, essentially in order to redirect the plot and alter whatever outcome however in doubt!
 
4. Coherence calculations produce the best option and equilibrium is restored between the present situation and existing goals put forth.

Meaning and importance, all conceivable priorities and values, unless they are one way or another decisively intellectualized, profoundly detached and disengaged in the extreme, ultimately emanate from needs and desires, attraction or aversion, fundamental motivations, selfish or altruistic. Otherwise, there can only be apathy and hence no problems to relate to at all.

Deeper motivation, even world view, characterization, however growth and the philosophical questions of drama, as distinguished by their dramatic gripping inherent conflict on every level, are all contextual function of the human condition or situation that has changed so drastically from the past that is the setting and milieu of historical fiction and into any modern time frame as reflected in contemporary culture, and most certainly will change into the future that is frequently subject matter of Science Fiction and futurological scenario planning.

 

 

Q. What are fairytales?

A. The content and central problems of fairytales or Marchen mirror real life struggles, however melodramatically. Yet, even as crucial as is the remoteness and perspective of fantasy and brutal metaphor for safe confrontation and examination of such deep seated childhood fears as those of parental cruelty and abandonment, nevertheless, the traditional Violent Fairytale has been vastly and progressively softened in contemporary retelling, even well before Disney, from the generally gruesome originals particularly as compiled by the Brothers Grimm.

Science Fiction and Fantasy may even posit exotic conditions that somehow or other mimic or even seek to plausibly explain Fairytale Animism, because Fairytales remain devoid of much concern for verisimilitude, rationality, dharmic and karmic indefinable classifications of causality, "unity of action," Sequence and polemical plot logic, let alone whatever wider foreseeable consequences and ramifications, the fascination with which defines the Speculative Element of Science Fiction, blithely absent from fairytales in the unpremeditation of magical realism and flights of fancy.

Indeed, far from unpremeditation, true paradoxically, true primitives may even be known blithely to moderate magical realism with sober cautious skepticism, making for wry ironic humor in dramatic dialogue.

Related Mythological Fantasy and fairytale magical concepts are fate, karma, signs, portents and serendipitous Synchronicity and Pathetic Fallacy, arising in answer to life's peak moments of Epiphany. The Empathic Universe of the fairytale tends to the poorly motivated implausible convenience of Melodrama.

Traditionally Sexist, fairytales often center upon passive women (the princess) as helpless as lost children. And beyond the superficial restrictive putative "rules" or familiar tendencies that all have their exceptions or may be violated at will, the original folk fairytale tropes or themes, essential understanding or recurring concept, as often conveyed via some symbolic Objective Correlative motif or topos, which may be varied upon, updated or recombined in Literary fairytales, even beyond analysis of the same dramatic plot structure common to all fiction however simplified, the defining characteristic of the fairytale remains the undersure compensatory antirational and helpless irresponsible rejection of the explicitly mechanistic in favor of implicit and ambiguous
causality, magic driving the plot (if such it can still be strictly called), curses, magical good luck, "go with the flow", the reassuring benign authoritative ongoing provision of providence and wishes coming true, especially in defining moments of heightened emotion and every Technique of Suspense plotting the overcoming of dramatic obstacles. Indeed, the passive voice as manifest in the absence of very word 'because' may be observed, instead 'and' or 'so' prefacing events as ever following upon one another in sequence.

For, in accordance with magical thinking, guilty fantasy exploited for the sake of morality fable cultural or even religious proselytizing, the often dreamlike Animistic fairytale universe responds providentially and even miraculously to motivation, the entire spectrum of human desires and passions enacted, rewarded or punished as may be deserved, favorably, wishes coming true, happily ever after according to their rightness and earnest worthiness, or else unfavorably and ironically according to their unworthy venality.

Especially for new literary works in the genre, the particulars, however, may vary according as to the values espoused, from patient submission to unflagging heroism or any other putative virtue, traditionally Sexist or in any way more progressive. Or else, indeed, if as the more so by actual deeds and results thereof, however contrived, at all plausibly disguising the magic of animism, then this becomes more of a morality fable adventure.

But most importantly of all, the very essence of the fairytale is not just how wishes come true and problems resolve themselves, but even intractable contradictions in real life and every dilemma of
ambivalence as well, all resolve and melt away as a matter of course, even taboo into the impossible and surreal, by transformations, by gaping plot holes and transparent slight of hand, even dreamlike, unreal, characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions, fantastical, to horrific or even humorous effect, in art, fiction and parable, even all such as may be distinguished from any more rational and ironic narrative happy ending, wherein the solution may be hidden in plain sight all along.

By contrast, the heroes of Classic American Tall Tales tend to be larger than life, bigger or stronger than real people, cavalierly solving problems in ways that are expansive, humorous, wildly fantastical, unbelievable, physically impossible and downright hard to swallow even by fairytales standards, and, indeed, encumbered with even less rationalization!

In Literary fairytales characters may have greater depth and experience or even express the tension on the level of inner conflict, that in the original in Folk fairytales, as is all too common in Folk Lore, all choices are simply projected into the story itself, characterization remaining one dimensional, using only flat, stylized symbols and characters, even in the portrayal of complex human emotions. For example, rather than a protagonist agonizing about whether to abide at home or strike out on his own, the Folk fairytale would more likely offer a fable about two brothers, one staying home and the other setting forth into the world, so that the results may be compared or reconciled in the end. Literary fairytales for any wider age range, may also expand upon description and detail while reducing the distracting repetition of traditional tellings for children.

Indeed, even traditional storytellers, seemingly improvising, often actually expertly draw upon a repertoire of stock plotlines and themes in the 6 Easy Steps to Telling Great Bedtime Stories.
 
Likewise, those writers who actually can do less correcting on paper or on screen, often have only worked out that much more in their heads before hand. 

 

Q. What is Anti-Science Fiction?

A. If Science Fiction is, indeed, to quote Serdar Yegulalp, "A kind of fiction that could only result from a scientifically-influenced worldview," then beyond cautionary tales and distopias and forever lost from any vividly innocent POV, with it's unfiltered perceptions and Interpretive Turn, or even the unpremeditation of magical realism and fairytales, the sheer denial of truly antirational Reactionary Anti-Science Fiction cannot delve for plausibility in rational speculation, vehemently rejecting, as it must, Scientific Method along with all that it stands for.

Indeed, Christian Apocalyptic Fiction instead embraces Eschatology, the study of prophesy.

 

Q. What is Science Fantasy?

A. Some insist that Science Fiction must be grounded in reality somehow, while others hold that, no, Science Fiction must only follow any premise, even however arbitrary and impossible, in any sort of rational and plausible manner, rather than even simply ignoring obvious ramifications as in sheer flight of fancy, as in any logically cohesive but patently impossible agency of operation upon reality. And anything less even then that escapes entirely into the surreal, gaping plot holes and other such lapses, dreamlike, unreal, characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions, fantastical, to horrific or even humorous effect, in art, fiction and parable.

After all, many a trumped up rationalizing gloss has covered a fantastic story convenience in some vaguely scientific or technological veneer! 

In any case, somewhere there lies the misty boundary and slippery slope into the elements of Science Fantasy, advanced technology introduced into Fantasy works, as well as treating the fantastic with verisimilitude of scientific explanation of whatever sort fictionally obtains, not merely accepting supernatural powers as in Fairytale unpremeditated magical realism, but quasi-analytically positing consistent altered natural laws such as those under which fictional magic might operate, breaking of natural laws as described in scientific theories, or anything else that in context that is central to the story, similarly refutes or changes what is actually known to be true (correspondent to reality).

 

Q. What is Soft Science Fiction?

A. Soft Science Fiction is more concerned with "Soft Science" and Sociological and even Anthropological projection, particularly as regards the profound impact of technology, or any other driver of change, upon society and the individual, even carrying extrapolation into the fabric of daily life, motivation towards unique and different levels of conflict of society into the fictional future, or whatever other setting, no less than in historical fiction or topical stories from current events. 

How literacy made us all forgetful, the pill turned us into big sluts, and the cure for aging will bring forth deathless generations innocent of the agony of loss. Just for example... 

 

Q. What is Speculative Fiction?

A. Usually, though all however partaking of some speculative element, that which is categorized as speculative fiction is distinguished from Science Fiction, not just Hard Science Fiction but by finer distinction even from the already more Sociological Soft Science Fiction, in that speculative fiction is concerned with Sociological Projection from Societal development in it's own right, aside from and even without natural or technological drivers of change.

 

Q. What is Hard Science Fiction? 

A. Hard Science Fiction is the most concerned with "Hard Science", premise and serious projection of technological development and also extrapolations in Natural Science including stellar phenomena, the Exo-Ecology of world-building where in alien character motivation and view point arises from Exobiology, and where in problems and their solutions center on real Science when characters get into a dire jam or find puzzles to solve, as in the works of Hal Clement.

Often Hard Science Fiction may be further distinguished by a de-emphasis upon characterization in favor of even by such a vast and profound scope as to engender a certain quality of it's own impersonal values in rejection of the classical human values of literature, as in, for prime example, the deliberately sterile Nietzschean grandeur of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'. 

Hard Science Fiction descends from the genre of Scientific Romance, the name attributed to the pioneer Science Fiction produced in the Victorian (1837-1901) and Edwardian (1901-1912/1914) eras, as pioneered by the arch technologist Jules Verne just as Soft Science Fiction then begins with the work of the Sociologist H. G. Wells.

 

Q. How else do the values and perspective of Science Fiction contend with the traditional needs of drama, let alone the cherished values of Literature (as distinguished, narrowly defined and signified by the much vaunted capital "L")?

A. Again, Science Fiction is often called the Literature of Ideas. And that is grist for the mill and there's the rub, too. Because doesn't good Science Fiction need to be good fiction in the first place? But Science Fiction's exploration away from the prosaic easily neglects the simple foundation of plot and characterization, let alone greater depth and complexity therein. The Speculative Element of Science Fiction, much as with the background and subtext of historical fiction, affords greater depth and complexity in setting and culture, external detail facilitating clear differentiation from the mundane world and technical detail enhancing plausibility.

Indeed, the great challenge of Utopian Science Fiction, for prime example, is to make it compelling in it's own right, or else to seek new human challenges, seeing as how Utopia inherently resolves and eradicates dramatic tension and any possibility of conflict on any level at all. Indeed, as characters, "shiny happy people" who do no wrong and always get along can be downright dull! And therefore, how many times have the more unimaginative writers on 'Star Trek' dodged all ramifications of the end of poverty and scarcity at all, brought about by that techno-cornucopia the Replicator? -Not to mention any tantalizing hints at paradise worlds evolved beyond crime and punishment...

But Haves Vs Have-nots and Crime Drama are mainstays, indispensable without sufficient creativity to fill so great a void nor the passion and Sense of Wonder in the exploration of novel ideas, let alone new human challenges, to fill the void of contentment starving away dramatic tension. And the very worst of all worlds is any tepid narrative with neither conflict nor Speculative Element.

 

Q. What is New Wave Science Fiction?

A. New Wave Science Fiction seeks to bridge the gap between the perspective of Science Fiction and the traditional needs of story writing, let alone the cherished values of Literature (with a capital "L"), hither to so often come into conflict.

Science Fiction traditionally tends to high adventure and action, events remote in time frame or setting and milieu and usually heroic or mysterious, yet with emphasis upon plausibility of situation and "given circumstances," less of dharmic and karmic indefinable classifications of causality than clear and conventional "unity of action," Sequence and plot logic and physical realism, even the exploration of setting and detail. Whereas, the novel, mainstream Literature (as distinguished, narrowly defined and signified by the much vaunted capital "L") strives for the depth and meaning of psychological realism, even amid life at it's most prosaic. But by now after all, high technology as it already exists, is often exposition lovingly delved into within all manner of contemporary fiction.

Also, yet just as there is obviously action and high adventure other than Science Fiction, there certainly are not only works of Science Fiction with fine and well motivated characterization (just as there has always been plenty of lamentable two dimensional card board), but speculative works even set in an extrapolated future yet partaking more of the focus or emphasis of the novel and mainstream Literature (as distinguished, narrowly defined and signified by the much vaunted capital "L").  Indeed, Ursula Le Guin has brought anthropology to bear upon Science Fiction, emphasis upon the social sciences illuminating subtleties of motivated characterization.

Yet, however manifest in the as tangible within the story, nevertheless, sheer Fantasy however Surreal or fairytale may enter the mainstream novel form as an aspect of motivated characterization, somehow or other projected, whether manifest supernaturally or only in vivid dreams and fantasy. Yet the much of the New Wave also remains the vehicle of overt verisimilitudinous Edge of Ideas like unto the historical subtext of an invented and often far future or otherwise distant world or setting, but with deeper and more dimensioned interiorization, even with a mystical sense.

But mainstream novels entering into Science Fiction, even given all competent plausibility, do not always much partake of the marvelous, however rationalized or contemplated, even embracing, instead, every sense of the prosaic. Especially however speculative fiction wherein the speculative element is most sociopolitical, often if concerning the impact of new technology, such as by now very real and familiar, itself already become nigh prosaic, and well beyond challenges of extrapolation and exposition or else sheer fanciful presentation. As with George Orwell's '1984' and the more contemporarily with 'A Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood.

Indeed, if high adventure can be set anywhere in space and in any time frame, then so can the novel.

Meaning and importance, all conceivable priorities and values, unless they are one way or another decisively intellectualized, profoundly detached and disengaged in the extreme, ultimately emanate from needs and desires, attraction or aversion, fundamental motivations, selfish or altruistic. Otherwise, there can only be apathy and hence no problems to relate to at all. Deeper motivation, even world view, characterization, growth and the philosophical questions of drama, as distinguished by their dramatic gripping inherent conflict on many levels, are all contextual function of the human condition or situation that has changed so drastically from the past that is the setting and milieu of historical fiction and into any modern time frame as reflected in contemporary culture, and most certainly will change into the future that is frequently subject matter of Science Fiction and futurological scenario planning.

Hence New Wave Science Fiction is the movement for topical social relevance in Science Fiction, to return to deeper characterization and truer motivation and even to delve deeper in to situation rather than whatever nerdy and cumbersome Hard SF instruction manuals telling too much too soon, instead showing from the verisimilitudinous Edge of Ideas like unto the historical subtext of an invented and often far future or otherwise distant world or setting, entering from the World and the Universe into it's impact upon the most profoundly personal experience of the story protagonist, complete with meaning, metaphor and ambiguity and subtext.

Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? Frequently, the self conscious illusion of individual will is only the burden of responsibility in hindsight, an artifact of the personal narrative facilitating growth. And beyond direct action, our influence upon others may often be even the more misguided and deluded.

Some say that one becomes addicted to shame when another's heart is closed to one, because, however excruciating, the sheer megalomania of taking the blame protects one from the ugly truth that we really have no control over others and the universe or God. We can't make either love us or, ultimately, even protect those who do. Put more simply, then, and in complete good faith, powerlessness, the impotent helplessness of the human condition is terminally demeaning.

Identity is often associated with habit, and yet, the public persona seldom matches the Phenomenal reflection of inner life, POV, 'spin,' interpretive frame of reference, so much of which, in turn, us filtered through our meager and misguided self-understanding.

Indeed, whereas, not unlike Murder Mystery, Hard Science Fiction especially, may typically pose puzzles only in order to solve them Rationalistically, by contrast New Wave Science Fiction may even embrace ambiguity to examine the puzzling nature of reality and confront the limits of Science or even magnify them Post Modernistically as the principle speculative element.

Indeed, the Existential Zen-like, Phildickian, Surreal or Anti-Structure deals in conflicting realities, even dreamlike, unreal, characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions, fantastical, to horrific or even humorous effect, in art, fiction and parable, all delving into meaningless absurdity and transcendent futility, likewise, effecting little change, character development  or growth. Time frame is often broken up randomly, and coincidence seems more common than plot causality. And noted forays into Literature (as distinguished, narrowly defined and signified by the much vaunted capital "L") even include such heights of experimental Avant Guard unplotted Episodic Writing as Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (reviewed on Bookreporter.com).

The New Wave helped to revitalize the primacy of values in The Worldview of Science Fiction.

 

Q.  What is Space Opera?

A. In short, Space Opera is Action/High Adventure story telling amid the grand and colorful backdrop of future fantasy spanning the stars. 

After all, was it not the creator of James Bond - Agent 007, the author Ian Fleming himself, who maintained that there was never a good yarn that couldn't be improved by an exotic locale or setting? And what could be more vividly exotic than fantastic far away planets in the world of the distant future?

The challenge beyond the superficiality to which world-building is often reduced in typical Space Opera,  is for Science Fiction to offer anything more than just colorful variety in setting or background, as basic and crucial as all that may be to any ripping yarn.  Isaac Asimov, who often characterized the Main Stream of Literature as "quaint",  is cited by Hrvoje Prčić in distinguishing Hard Science Fiction from more Sociological Soft Science Fiction and from Space Opera as epitomized by Alex Raymond's classic 'Flash Gordon'.

Also see: Grollier's and help edit the Wikipedia entry.

 

Q. What has distinguished 'Star Trek', in particular,  amid Science Fiction in general? What has distinguished 'Star Trek' as so unique, or by it's absence, rendered the waning franchise increasingly pointless and banal?

 

 

 

A. The Speculative Element, however Sociological, of Science Fiction in general remains distinct from social allegory or message shielded by the sense of jamais vu and distancing effect of cognitive estrangement, the best mainstay of 'Star Trek', in which the problems of the day are so readily transposed into fabulous new settings

As when the starship crew are confronted with a burning social issue, in the course of their adventures, typically when encountering an alien civilization in the grips of such a conflict, and become drawn in, much despite all hand-wringing with the much reverenced Prime Directive... Even cultural role reversal metaphors, as when the First Officer falls in love with a member of the J'naii androgynous unisex humanoid species (thus all Homosexuals) who has violated their taboo against gender expression (requisite to Heterosexuality). 

Often, the most fun on 'Star Trek is when our own problems are exaggerated or the symbolic metaphors for them are expressed literally. As with the Army veterans who physically cannot return to the civilian world, being exiled exiled due to their residual violent war-like conditioning (a symbolic metaphor for homeless Vietnam post traumatic stress) and are cynically denied de-conditioning (adequate rehabilitation for sufficient inner peace to function once again in civil society). Or problems of Morality Play genre may mirror society in microcosm, even onboard the starship. As when the Captain must rule upon the petition of an immortal and all-powerful perfectly healthy but desperately jaded alien dissident to be allowed to commit suicide, and other variant doctor's dilemmas

 

 

 

 

Join right in brainstorming an original fanfic spinoff!
Q. What distinguishes the Star Trek: The Ship of Fools format in particular, from other STAR TREK series, in any media, fanfic included?
A. Star Trek: The Ship of Fools in particular, from other STAR TREK series, in any media, fanfic included?

Beginning with the outline for introductory six part mini-series also serving as series "bible" for Star Trek: The Ship of Fool, no effort has been spared by glossing over that which is merely perfunctory and dull. Nothing should be included unless it is interesting, provocative or dramatic. To provide new and colorful motivated and even unique and original well rounded and multifaceted characters, and to speculatively advance the ramifications, or at least take over the top rather than simply rehash or further trivialize, the most appealing STAR TREK tropes. 

And that  Star Trek: The Ship of Fools outlines and drafts are truly unfinished, with much to be added and changed, rich with points of creative departure for anyone to join right in a real ongoing online writer's bull session. Not just dullardly anal formulaic filling in of the blanks with the obvious simply for the sake of completion in immersive detail, even however arbitrarily.

 

Q. Why the title? 

A. The Ship of Fools, sacred fools, is a classical allegory of the human condition, blind and impulsive in hopes of salvation. And Star Trek: The Ship of Fools is a tale of encounter with the unknown from Rashuman-like multiple perspective, and corresponding dramatic conflict on many levels from clashing motivation

Hieronymus Bosch Annotated schooled fools yellowdog

 

 

 

 

Q. What are The Fundamentals of Fiction Writing ?

A. CLICK HERE

 

Q. Is there any recommended linked resource offering pointers on good Science Fiction writing technique?  

A. Browse:

Constructing an SF Universe

Future Societies in Science Fiction

10 LAWS OF BAD SCIENCE FICTION

Making the Science work in Science Fiction   

Q. What is all this 'Star Trek' crap? 

A. There is nothing wrong with 'Star Trek' except bad writing, and seldom ever anything right with 'Star Trek' that does not begin with good writing. Same as with anything else... 

So, why fanfic? Because Television provides a convenient modern folklore familiar to all. 

 

Q. But what if I ever hope to be published?

A. Obviously, fanfic is in all likelihood, inherently unpublishable, given whatever issues of prior intellectual property. Because the publication of fanfic is only ever tolerated in whatever limited exposure and amateur context.

And so, going beyond whatever pure calling or sheer amusement and edification of fiction writing just for it's own sake, and given any motivating goals ever put forth of professional publication, fanfic can ultimately be no more than a brainstorming point of departure, purely an exercise to ultimately feed into all new projects concurrently or later on that will be unencumbered by bothersome restrictions upon prior intellectual property.

And, indeed, a selection of all new concepts are already also to be found included along with the fanfic in the collaborative fiction brainstorming open projects menu.

 

Q. What distinguishes the ‘Star Trek: The Ship of Fools’ format in particular, from other 'Star Trek' series, in any Media, fanfic included? 

A. An effort has been made to gloss over that which is merely perfunctory and boring, and to see that nothing has been included unless it is interesting or dramatic. To provide new and colorful motivated characters, and to speculatively advance the ramifications, or at least take over the top, rather than simply rehash or further trivialize, the most appealing 'Star Trek' tropes. 

And that  ‘Star Trek: The Ship of Fools’ outlines and drafts are truly unfinished, with much to be added and even need for changes, also points of creative departure, and thus every challenge and delight remaining for authors, in collaboration, to share with readers. 

Not just anal formulaic filling in of the blanks with the obvious simply for the sake of completion! Indeed the series can be revised completely, and take any direction, even radical change of format, if such will be the more compelling.  

Beginning with the outline for introductory six part mini-series also serves as series "bible" for ‘Star Trek: The Ship of Fools’

 

Q. Why the title? 

A. The Ship of Fools, sacred fools, is a classical allegory of the human condition, blind and impulsive in hopes of salvation. And Star Trek: The Ship of Fools is a tale of encounter with the unknown from Rashuman- like multiple perspective, and corresponding dramatic conflict inherent to the situation and on many levels, from clashing motivation

Hieronymus Bosch Annotated schooled fools yellowdog

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2001 - 2013 by Aaron Agassi