ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2018 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars is not science fiction

The Original Cyberpunk, who knows a thing or two about science fiction, explains:

Vox, my young friend, I should think that you of all people would appreciate the true genius of J. J. Abrams. If he'd chosen to go into music he would have been one of those guys who said "Screw actually learning to play an instrument" and parked himself in a recording studio with a drum machine, a sampler, two turntables and a microphone, and then spent his days churning out hit single after hit single by sampling, looping, and remixing earlier hit singles.

Instead, he chose to go into film-making, where he is doing exactly the same thing: compositing together commercially successful movies by lifting scenes, bits of business, and entire set pieces from earlier successful movies. He is the first fully realized hip-hop filmmaker.

I should think you of all people would appreciate that.

By the way, here's my review
Saw this movie, we did. Long, it is. Impossible to write a substantive review without including spoilers, it may be. Nonetheless, try I will.

In the interests of full disclosure, though, I must lead off this review by pointing out that I contributed not one but two essays to David Brin’s Star Wars on Trial, the first arguing in favor of the original Star Wars trilogy as a watershed moment in cinematic history and the second absolutely slagging the prequel trilogy as childish tripe. So I come into this review with a long history as both a consumer and critic of Star Wars entertainment products, and I will put my greatest heresy on the table right now:

Star Wars is not science fiction.

Sure, it looks like science fiction. It sounds like science fiction. And based on that guy in the wookiee costume who was ahead of us in the concession line, it even smells like science fiction, or at least like the third day of a furry fandom convention.

But Star Wars is not science fiction. It’s a long-winded heroic magical fantasy saga that happens to take place in a world cluttered up with lots of sci-fi props and set dressings. If considered as science fiction, there is not one thing in the entire Star Wars universe that bears close scrutiny, because if you think about it at all seriously, the seams split and all the nonsense comes pouring out.
Read the rest of it there. It is... informative. As for J.J. Abrams, I appreciate that he is good at what he does. I just don't like what he does. That stupid "mystery box" formula of his is the sure sign of a storytelling charlatan.

Labels: ,

94 Comments:

Blogger Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:09 AM  

His problem is that he defines science fiction as anything that fits the Campbellian mode, which deliberately wrote most science fiction out of the club. To suggest that a movie that itself lifts elements, and even entire set pieces, out of Edmond Hamilton, Dune, Flash Gordon and some plot elements that are vaguely reminiscent of a Kurosawa film grafted into a sci-fi treatment of Where Eagles Dare and jammed together back to back is not science fiction is kind of absurd.

Blogger VD December 18, 2017 8:11 AM  

You are missing the point. He is observing, correctly, that it is not science fiction, but rather, science fiction-flavored fantasy.

Blogger S1AL December 18, 2017 8:13 AM  

Just shorten it to "Science Fantasy". It's a fairly broad genre, really, encompassing a huge range of modern fiction. It's a lot easier to cheat in fantasy than in sci-fi.

Blogger S1AL December 18, 2017 8:17 AM  

Dune had significant science-fictional elements. Genetic engineering, heavy eugenics, biological manipulation, mentats, man-versus-nature with tech solutions, etc. It dipped into mysticism got some plot elements, but most of it was scientific at the core.

Star Wars had noise in space and personal spacecraft engaging in FTL travel.

Anonymous VFM #6306 December 18, 2017 8:21 AM  

...but Star Trek is science fiction and not fantasy, because in the future, the UN will produce a functioning model of society...

Blogger Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:21 AM  

No, I get it. I think his definition of what science fiction is is overly pedantic. Who says that science fiction can't contain all of those elements when they used to have many of them with some regularity prior to the Campbell revolution—and George Lucas himself never was shy about admitting that his inspirations for Star Wars always were based on those earlier "less scientific" science fiction.

I mean, he doesn't think he's pointing out anything extraordinary at this point, does he? People have said something similar about Star Wars since the early 80s at least, that it doesn't fit the rigorous "men with screwdrivers" paradigm.

Anonymous VFM #6306 December 18, 2017 8:23 AM  

OC is obviously right, and is merely supporting Mark Hamill's observation from 1976.

Blogger S1AL December 18, 2017 8:23 AM  

Star Trek had a lot of gadgety science fiction, much of it fairly predictive and accurate. But on a story level, it was a vehicle for cultural commentary. That fact does not render the science fiction elements irrelevant, however.

Blogger S1AL December 18, 2017 8:27 AM  

Desdidacho,

First, it wasn't his main point. It's an explanation he provides for why Star Wars works like it does.

Second, Star Wars has virtually zero actual science fiction (in film - the novel​s are better). Blasters? Ha. Ubiquitous FTL travel? Ha. Setting aside the fact that there's no science in the movie, at all, the entire plot revolves around mystic warrior monks with magic weapons. It's fantasy with extra planets.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 18, 2017 8:28 AM  

The whole point of setting a story "in space" is to give the writer a means of isolating characters, their backstories and events from one another, because in the real world the unavoidable "relatedness" of all these things puts major constraints on story arc and character development.

This is why neither Star Wars nor Firefly were SF. Star Wars was recognized in 1977 as a Western In Space. Firefly was a character study, nothing more.

When I was a kid I thought that positing different (and often weird) social conventions and whiz-bang technological leaps was the essence of SF. After decades of adulthood it is now obvious to me that such things are simply facades, ideological veneers in some cases, commercial neon for selling merchandise in others, but they're barely fiction and not science in the least.

FFS, anything deeply scientific would now have a market of, what? A few hundred Americans? Commercial success is found in serving people with a 6th grade mentality.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 18, 2017 8:33 AM  

Given current trends, future SF will be "Ow, My Balls!" set in zero gravity on a space station.

Anonymous Avalanche December 18, 2017 8:35 AM  

OP: "He is the first fully realized hip-hop filmmaker."

That is SO NOT a recommendation!! He's saying he's like a toddler (or a monkey) in a cage with block and toys, randomly stacking them up to "make" something!

Blogger VD December 18, 2017 8:36 AM  

No, I get it. I think his definition of what science fiction is is overly pedantic.

You don't. You're wrong. There is literally no science in it. It's not even a tale of the future. If Star Wars is science fiction, so is The Lord of the Rings.

What you claim is "overly pedantic" is the basic concept that "words mean things".

Blogger JohnofAustria December 18, 2017 8:40 AM  

JJ Abrams does the exact same thing that all the rest of his tribe do when telling stories. They mimic and mock archetypes because they do not understand them and hate the idea of what they represent so they simply repackage it in a cheap and superficial formula and then throw some shiny paint on top of it.

I would assert that generally goyish writers understand and write human archetypes better even when they are giant manginas. Joss Whedon is a good example although he's a giant faggot his writing is known for real and intriguing characters more than anything else.

Blogger VD December 18, 2017 8:41 AM  

I mean, he doesn't think he's pointing out anything extraordinary at this point, does he?

Just stop it. The post is about Star Wars, not the OC, his accomplishments, or what he thinks he is doing. There is no need for the Gamma bullshit.

Anonymous Avalanche December 18, 2017 8:42 AM  

@12 "future SF will be "Ow, My Balls!" set in zero gravity on a space station."

Oh thanks for that (but not really). Now I'll be crying all day! Repent sinners, the end of the world is nigh!! Aw-just-hell -- you injected the whole thing into a scientifically nano-sized nutshell.

Anonymous Manwe December 18, 2017 8:43 AM  

Since the genre of Science Fiction was created solely by white males and the greatest early sci-fi classics were written solely by white males for an audience of white males, does that mean it is "cultural appropriation" if anybody who is not a white male tries to write a Science Fiction tale?

Blogger Chris Lutz December 18, 2017 8:44 AM  

JJ's "Super Eight" is a perfect example of his style. The film is a mess of scenes trying to recreate an 80's movie. The Duffer brothers actually did what "Super Eight" was supposed to be when they created "Stranger Things."

Yes "Star Wars" has strong fantasy elements. I don't know if that removes it from the science fiction category. Hard sci-fi tends to be limited simply because you can't go too far into the future and it can being boring beyond all endurance. That's why a lot of it is a mix of fantasy and science.

Blogger Francis The Pope December 18, 2017 8:45 AM  

Many people have been saying this for decades, so this is hardly some new kind of revelation.

Blogger Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:45 AM  

Fine. He defines science fiction in such a way that Star wars isn't, and he calls it semi-mythic high fantasy set in space. The Last Jedi still fails at that as well, because it is actively anti-heroic—the lesson over and over again is that heroism is failed, and only running away to be the space version of the French Resistance or the PLO is a successful strategy.

Blogger VD December 18, 2017 8:51 AM  

Many people have been saying this for decades, so this is hardly some new kind of revelation.

Who claimed it was? People have been saying free trade doesn't benefit a nation for more than 200 years, but there are still no shortage of idiots who insist that it does.

Right here on this thread we have people claiming that Star Wars is too science fiction, which is why the OC has to keep spelling out the obvious for everyone.

Blogger Nate December 18, 2017 8:51 AM  

Bruce was way to generous. Also... it should be pointed out that Star Wars was never sci fi. it was always fantasy with sci-fi props.

Blogger OGRE December 18, 2017 8:55 AM  

Hes absolutely right that the Star Wars of George Lucas is not science fiction, its epic high fantasy in a technologically advanced setting. Hes also right that the main purpose of the film is to sell toys and merch and to make money.

The Star Wars of Abrams is science fiction, or is trying to be. Hes turning Star Wars into Star Trek, complete with the socialist themes and reliance on solving problems through technology. Layer thickly with social justice, diversity and grrlpower and its conversion to the dark side is complete.

What he misses however is the deeper message of this particular film. And that is that there is no message. There is no meaning behind anything. Its as nihilistic a film as I've ever seen. Everything that made the Lucas films what they were is desecrated and destroyed, solely for the sake of destroying them. Important lingering questions are not answered, they are tossed aside as easily and flippantly as a lightsaber. The writers and directors KNOW that the audience had questions from the previous film that they came to find answers for, and not only did they refuse to answer them they laughed at the audience for even asking them. All your questions have no answers, and they would be meaningless even if they did.

Its the smug pseudo-intellectualism of the gamma aspy atheist put to film, just so it can shit all over the most popular franchise of two generations.

Blogger The Kurgan December 18, 2017 9:05 AM  

Storytelling-wise Star Wars is indeed Science Fantasy,
But the geeks among us love explains all the fantasy away with scientifically plausible (even if wildly improbable) solutions.
And I admit I'm prone to this myself because I like the diversion.

Why can you "hear" Tie Fighters in space?
Well OBVIOUSLY because giving the pilot in the x-wing a surround sound experience based on the interpretation of ionic engine and neutrino flow data captured by the on-board sensors is a more efficient way for the pilot's human brain to interpret where the danger is coming from.

Anonymous VFM #6306 December 18, 2017 9:05 AM  

Hamill spells it out, and incidentally, illustrates how Mousification could ruin the story.

Anonymous VFM #6306 December 18, 2017 9:09 AM  

"George made this movie for five-year olds and instead we have 45-year olds trying to put in context with Moliere..."

Blogger Timmy3 December 18, 2017 9:10 AM  

Interesting that no one stomped their feet and said “What’s your Point?!!!”

Star Wars borrows too much from society to be considered sci-fi. People love the Cantina and the Trash Can droids. Technology actually doesn’t help society. We’re still slaves to it.

Blogger Harambe December 18, 2017 9:15 AM  

So basically fanfic, minus gratuitous nudity?

Blogger Koanic December 18, 2017 9:17 AM  

I think it would be pretty funny to see a Jewdie get torched by the plasma fragments of the lead bullet he just blocked with his lightsaber. That stuff can't be healthy to inhale.

Anonymous Cadwallander J December 18, 2017 9:19 AM  

For those still arguing that Star Wars is SF, understand that its creators have long referred to it as Space Opera.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( the Original Militant Apathist ) December 18, 2017 9:25 AM  

6. Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:21 AM
that it doesn't fit the rigorous "men with screwdrivers" paradigm.



Han had a 'screw driver' in the first movie. it's how you make the Falcon go.


6. Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:21 AM
People have said something similar about Star Wars since the early 80s at least



which makes the assertion ... wrong? somehow?



18. Chris Lutz December 18, 2017 8:44 AM
Hard sci-fi tends to be limited simply because you can't go too far into the future


hush yo mouth.

https://infogalactic.com/info/John_C._Wright_%28author%29#The_Golden_Oecumene



20. Desdichado December 18, 2017 8:45 AM
He defines science fiction in such a way that Star wars isn't


George Lucas defined Star Wars as 'not science fiction' ...
"A long time ago in a [ Land ] far, far away...."


and besides, you're fixating on Bethke's review. you have nothing to say about his email to Vox?

because the point made in the email is that JewJew is the narrative equivalent of Hip Hop ( Cloverfield being a pastiche of Godzilla, etc )
...
a point which has also been made before.

JewJew's only "skiffy innovation" seems to be omnipresent Lens Flare. i'm not sure he's done a single narrative without his Mystery Box.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpjVgF5JDq8

how do i know it's SciFi? LENS FLARE, BABY!


25. VFM #6306 December 18, 2017 9:05 AM
Hamill spells it out, and incidentally



hah. even Hamill knows that it isn't skiffy ... in 1977.

that's about as conclusive a refutation of the "Star Wars be Skiffy, yo" meme as you can have.

Blogger pyrrhus December 18, 2017 9:29 AM  

The WWII level technology in many of the planetary scenes, and things like the Walkers also gave a fantastic appearance to what would otherwise have been a space opera...

Blogger Timmy3 December 18, 2017 9:35 AM  

Fairy tales have impractical shoes. I always wonder why Star Wars have AT-AT tanks that easily get tangled up.

Blogger Koanic December 18, 2017 9:38 AM  

The absurdity of humans piloting spacecraft in an era of autonomous droids.

Obsolete meatbags fainting at trivial Gs, leaking everywhere at a minor penetration!

Sand niggers armed with RPGs can kill Jewdies. Much less droids with X-ray shotguns. Hey Luke, here's an extra limb to make up for that lost hand!

Blogger Unknown December 18, 2017 9:40 AM  

@23 I think 'cynical' is perhaps a better word: "showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others."
There is a reason why archetypes and Campbellian heroes exist so prominently in literature: there are things about them that resonate within the human soul. Modern filmmakers seem to arrogantly presume that they can do better, that they can make up for substance of story with substance of visuals.

Blogger 罗臻 December 18, 2017 9:52 AM  

Everything he wrote is true, but Rian Johnson directed this latest Star Wars.

He directed Looper, and a lot of the complaints about Last Jedi would apply to that movie too.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( the Original Militant Apathist ) December 18, 2017 9:54 AM  

34. Koanic December 18, 2017 9:38 AM
The absurdity of humans piloting spacecraft in an era of autonomous droids.



don't forget the part where he turns the targeting computer ( Norden bombsight ) off.

isn't it interesting that in the original Star Wars, the emotional cusp of the movie requires the protagonist to eschew technology and depends upon his FEELZ?

and that, subsequently, they kept blowing up Death Stars ... but no longer needed the Force to do so?

Anonymous Nathan December 18, 2017 9:55 AM  

"hah. even Hamill knows that it isn't skiffy ... in 1977."

The list of books, movies, etc. that "aren't science fiction" but the fandom has to shoehorn into the definition because they are too popular or wonderful is long and pretty distinguished, including Verne, Bradbury, Shelley, Crichton...

But, yes, the train is fine, as what Star Wars is (sword-and-planet, a sub-genre of science fiction) does not in any way diminish the fact that Abrams, Johnson, and whatever committee did Rogue One are a cargo cult of pastiching hacks trying to recapture the magic of whatever George Lucas originally did. Unfortunately, that is not a charge unique to Star Wars writers.

Blogger Johnny December 18, 2017 9:59 AM  

What George Lucas got away with or accomplished, depending on how you want to think about it, was wrapping essentially childish material with a gloss of science fiction. That overcome the normal adult resistance to childrens themes, and because there really is an inner child in all of us, the thing was enormously successful. That is what the makes this PC stuff such a bad business. If the child like aspect of it is lost, the rest of it is not that entertaining.

And it is no wonder that the thing is a great vehicle for selling toys.

As for the current box office, really that is the power of Disney marketing. But if it is as bad as claimed, they are doing a lot of damage to the Star Wars brand with this clunker.

Anonymous Mike L. December 18, 2017 10:00 AM  

It’s helpful to think of Star Wars as America. It began as a rebellious, epic vision imagined into existence by a goy. It achieved enormous success that very few thought possible. It was filled with whites. It was a technical marvel to behold, a colorful and unwieldy circus of kinetic energy.

Then it was purchased by Jews and turned into a pornographic negation of anything resembling human goodness.

The dichotomy of good and evil now basically boils down to: hierarchy and homogeneity = bad, egalitarianism and diversity = good

It's an obvious reflection of the SJW zeitgeist, sure, but it's also a perfect projection of Jewish sensibilities upon the Star Wars galaxy. (((Lawrence Kasdan))) himself said in a recent interview that, when he and Jew Jew Abrahamic sat down to discuss ultimate evil and craft a new story, they imagined, "What would it be like if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again?"

Wow. And all along I thought the chatter about Jews having no imagination was just BIGOTED shitposting. You read that right. In a space film for children, one where anything is possible, where 7-foot-tall ape men pilot starships, it all relates back to THE SHOAH.

But none of that actually matters when we get down to it. What really matters is the underpinnings of the Star Wars myth. Why has it captured the hearts and minds of so many goyim over the decades? Why does it somehow endure in the culture, passing from generation-to-generation in an Arthurian manner?

The answer lies in its adherence to classical western tropes of mythology. Beneath the high-tech facade, there is a skeleton built from the collective memories of pastoral European life. Much of it is positively medieval in origin. The callow youth living in a mundane agrarian setting. The knight, wise in the old traditions, presenting the youth with his own Excalibur. The male-centric nature of proving one's manhood (a feat not required of women, nor does it even make sense with a female as the protagonist). Notions of honor, of meeting evil with a pure heart, of striking against the machinery with the power of God.

All of this changes when a Jew makes the rules. So the most essential, profound parts of the story will be clumsily handled (if not downright subverted) in Jewish hands. Why? Because Jews do not have western sensibilities. Rare is the story of good and evil written by a Jew. It's always shades of gray, always Talmudic, always relativizing and rationalizing. The idea of a "dark side" or, indeed, pure evil does not compute for the Jew. His religion and his heritage reject dualism.

Instead of feeling the life-affirming thrill of good conquering evil, we will be left with shades of gray. No certainty, no decisive hero's journey fulfilled, nothing of the sort. That sort of simplicity is for the goyim.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 18, 2017 10:19 AM  

Rian Johnson was selected because he's a nobody.

Looper and THREE episodes of Breaking Bad, that is pretty much it. Nobodies don't make trouble when the studio tell them, its not funny enough put in some jokes. Or Star Wars needs to be more inclusive and vehicle for Social Justice.

Anonymous Mr. Rational December 18, 2017 10:24 AM  

Manwe wrote:Since the genre of Science Fiction was created solely by white males and the greatest early sci-fi classics were written solely by white males for an audience of white males, does that mean it is "cultural appropriation" if anybody who is not a white male tries to write a Science Fiction tale?
Yes.

No woman or POC who plays in our sandbox has any standing to complain about cultural appropriation.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 18, 2017 10:28 AM  

Although I can't blame Johnson for ditching the, who are Rey's parents mystery box.

Since Abrams decided to chuck the EU, that limited the potential pool of parents. She was either Luke's daughter or she really was a nobody. There are no other options in the Star Wars universe. Nothing was set up for a reveal because nothing could be set up.

The WTF death of Lord Snoke on the other hand was stupid and hamhanded. You need a Dark Lord in Star Wars to make it work. It's like writing Sauron out of the trilogy in the second book. Since the Emperor died and again nothing was setup the audience was right to have some questions about where did Snoke come from. To which the incompetent Rian Johnson replied, "f%$k if I know but he's dead now so who cares? All hail Darth Emo!"

Blogger Akulkis December 18, 2017 10:41 AM  

Re comment on J.J. Abrams being a genius, because he's following the musical laziness of hip-hop "artists" who do nothing but take samples of (i.e. steal) other people's musical performances, and pretend that they are creating something...

Hip-hop "music" is complete, no-talent dog-crap.

And likewise so is hip-hop cinema.

S

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky December 18, 2017 10:42 AM  

Okay, Star Wars isn't science fiction, that's a fair point, I'll accept that. But I can't accept that therefore all we have to do is run down a checklist of fantasy tropes and that's how we judge the movie.

Such an approach may be what's so wrong about the film in the first place. Is that what Abrams did? Well yes maybe so. Maybe so, indeed -- but that's a horrid approach if true.

Thomas Kyd wrote the seminal revenge tragedy, and Shakespeare did seem to take a checklist of tropes from it when he crafted Hamlet. But that's rather trivial to the endeavor of Hamlet. Those tropes seem more like items on the artist's palette, not magic things that make good art if you can just stuff them in somewhere.

Anonymous Looking Glass December 18, 2017 10:51 AM  

@42 Cataline Sergius

Snoke was able to reforge the remnants of the Empire into the First Order, built Starkiller base and wipe out much of the New Republic's core world & military force. Then he goes out like a bitch. It shows the general understanding of all Leftists about how things are actually built: they don't understand that the person that competent doesn't make those types of mistakes. Especially not a powerful Force user.

It's funny to watch the Spoiler reviews from some of the YouTube set. Most haven't quite gone Angry Joe's descent cycle just yet, but they're all clearly trying to justify calling the movie good. It's clearly got James Cameron's Avatar problem: pretty to look at, but the story is terrible. (At this point, Avatar has a much more logical story than The Last Jedi.)

They can't grasp that they SJW'd Luke Skywalker and destroyed everything about the character because it's "Current Year" and a competent White Male hero will make all of their Diversity look brutally incompetent. It's funny, really, because they're getting a Red Pill shoved down their throats and they can't process it.

And, for the record, Fern Gully was a better version of Avatar, though the spectacle of Avatar was something else, and they got just a few scenes almost perfect in that movie.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 18, 2017 11:00 AM  

It's not just J.J. Abrams. Hollywood in general has been pumping out nothing but lame sequels and remakes for nearly twenty years. Just how many times can you retell Batman's origin story, anyway?

Good storytelling demands a good story. One that makes sense internally, holds together. Is Star Wars SF or Fantasy? Doesn't really matter. Is it a good story? The original film was brilliant. Empire was even better. Return of the Jedi was OK. Then the wheels fell off (Pro tip: Prequels are very hard to coordinate, best to avoid them). I won't mention the recent films. Like the J.J.-verse Star Trek films, they were clearly the work of someone who had legal use of the characters but nothing but contempt for the plot.

Also remember that Hollywood doesn't understand SF. To them, science fiction = special effects. Period. The idea of using the science as a plot device to get the characters into (or out of) dramatic situations goes over their heads like a cirrus cloud.

Blogger Volpack December 18, 2017 11:06 AM  

I have played through KOTOR many times, and spent thousands of hours in SWTOR. The greater Star Wars intellectual property was clearly transistorpunk fantasy (or some better label), not science fiction like Pournelle or Niven.

Now that Disney has trashed the Star Wars IP, I am interested in seeing the MMO of Galaxy's Edge (or some similar flavor). I at least would be part of that market.

Anonymous Catdog December 18, 2017 11:08 AM  

It's Science Fantasy.

It has futuristic ideas (laser guns, space battles, death stars etc) set within the framework of a fantasy story. The Jedi and the dark side are pure fantasy concepts.

Anonymous fop December 18, 2017 11:11 AM  

Eagerly awaiting Star Wars: Son of Jar Jar, Rise of the Gungan Sith Lord

Blogger Timmy3 December 18, 2017 11:12 AM  

“The absurdity of humans piloting spacecraft in an era of autonomous droids.”

Not absurd because the droids are portrayed as flawed humans and not super computers. They have quirks and personalities, and not like Star Trek’s Data who can solve almost any problem within his parameters.

Humans pilot their own aircraft since they are superior to droids. This is not sci-fi. Droids haven’t asked for emancipation. They belong to humans or work for them. Thus, inferior to humans.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 18, 2017 11:14 AM  

He is the first fully realized hip-hop filmmaker.

Perhaps Abrams is the first "fully realized" remixer, but George Lucas himself was doing it 40 years ago. The original Star Wars was a remix of pulp from the 30's (coincidentally enough, another 40 year span). Not quite as blatant as Abrams (it'll make some people howl, but turns out Lucas is more talented than Abrams).

Blogger blogger December 18, 2017 11:16 AM  

It's Social Science Fiction now

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 18, 2017 11:19 AM  

To be fair, just about every bit of fiction written in the last several hundred years is an older story warmed over. But a pro files off the serial numbers and tries to do enough variations on the theme to claim SOME creative content. Hollywood doesn't bother with that any more, just a straight-up remake.

Anonymous NoFap20 December 18, 2017 11:29 AM  

>>Perhaps Abrams is the first "fully realized" remixer, but George Lucas himself was doing it 40 years ago.

Lucas "remixed" Dune, Flash Gordon, Akira Kurosawa movies, Jack Kirby comics, John Ford Westerns, WW2 movies, etc. He took the various source materials and made something brand new.

Jew Jew Abrams only "remixes" Star Wars from Star Wars. Abrams just regurgitated Lucas, and like all regurgitation, it smells like puke.

Blogger Brian S December 18, 2017 11:35 AM  

They should have given Mel Brooks control of the series.

Blogger Brian S December 18, 2017 11:38 AM  

As a fan of both genres I completely agree, no science in the films. I think the closest it gets to Sci-Fi is in the X-Wing games where you have to manage energy systems to be effective in combat.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( the Original Militant Apathist ) December 18, 2017 11:42 AM  

in this thread,
Newfags try to tell Oldfags ( who watched Star Wars in the original theater release ) that Oldfags just don't "get" Star Wars and that it really is Science Fiction.

Blogger flyingtiger December 18, 2017 11:51 AM  

When the first movie came out in 1977, a friend said that Tolkien should call his lawyer.
I have always noted that Star wars never had a hero scientist or engineer. Flash Gorden has Dr. Zarkov.

Anonymous KRYST December 18, 2017 11:59 AM  

Volpack wrote:Now that Disney has trashed the Star Wars IP

(((disney))) is so shit. they just got rid of one of their (((espn))) TV ceo/presidents. "substance abuse" usually means cocaine in the TV world. TV execs love them some cocaine. They fucking love cocaine. TV execs fucking love cocaine. cocaine. weird lifestyles. thin masks. inability to restrain their sick leftist impulses.

(((disney))) has become such an embarrassment. burn this thing down.

Blogger ace December 18, 2017 12:16 PM  

Kylo and his imperial sidekick are basically the onscreen avatars of the alt right, as the other side sees us. We know they think of themselves as some ragtag group of rebels in spite of controlling everything, including the space where I write these words.

Anonymous Amadan December 18, 2017 12:19 PM  

The list of books, movies, etc. that "aren't science fiction" but the fandom has to shoehorn into the definition because they are too popular or wonderful is long and pretty distinguished, including Verne, Bradbury, Shelley, Crichton...

I'll give you Bradbury and Shelley, but Verne was the original Hard SF author (compared to H.G. Wells' science fantasy), and Crichton did write SF, though it was less rigorous.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab December 18, 2017 12:19 PM  

You can't Mary Sue your way to even a decent story unless you're an actual beast like Correia or an army ranger like Kratman. Both pulled it off nicely. And in both cases the stories and characters stand all on their own.

But Mary Suewalker sucked. The force awakens was the least star wars movie not counting the prequels, (honestly who wants to count the prequels?). The spirit of the original series does not abide in anything after return of the Jedi and there it was getting thin.

The new series could have told the story of the return of the king. Hope winning over evil. Instead we get muddied up rehashing of Lucas' golden bb. His lucky shot that ricocheted around but still somehow hit the bullseye.

Lightning doesn't strike twice but you can build on it like with empire. Get lazy or preachy or smug and you get what we've had since empire.

The spirit does not live in Lucas' bought and sold universe but in Galaxy's Edge, in grand or gritty space opera where heart, loyalty, and grit can win the day through sacrifice, love, and heroism.

We're at the end of our society just like the people in the original star wars. The republic has ended but life goes on some of us remember that golden age before the wheels came off. Movies that mined that vein, that sank both teeth into the good that came before like star wars and empire strikes back would be classics. These movies will make money because of the mouse monopoly. Disney can line up the critics they can get the sleepwalking public and brainwashed kids but they cannot build anything real. They're no more star wars than today's sjw church is yesterday's church that fought literal blood and iron wars for faith.

Blogger Michael Neal December 18, 2017 12:49 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous kfg December 18, 2017 12:50 PM  

Star Wars is the Sabatini formula. Basically a mashup of Captain Blood and The Seahawk, set in the East Asian archipelago instead of the Caribbean in order to include some Taoist mysticism.

A swashbuckler in funny dress for marketing reasons. I thought that was always pretty obvious. And that's OK, I like Sabatini swashbucklers.

Anonymous Nathan December 18, 2017 1:27 PM  

"I'll give you Bradbury and Shelley, but Verne was the original Hard SF author (compared to H.G. Wells' science fantasy), and Crichton did write SF, though it was less rigorous."

Verne denied that he wrote science fiction, or "scientific romance" in the parlance of the day. He was just looking for plausible methods to facilitate his fantastic voyages.

Furthermore, as of 1909, Verne was also criticized since he "never wrote a single sentence of scientific-marvelous. In his time, science was pregnant with many impending discoveries; Verne simply supposed them already born before they actually were."

https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/documents/renard.htm

Maurice Renard considered Wells to be the original Hard SF guy. Verne gets included in the canon because his work is wonderful and, as Asimov pointed out, early science fiction critics got clingy in claiming anything that resembled science fiction in poor light as science fiction.

Blogger Bucephalus December 18, 2017 1:30 PM  

Space Balls > Star Wars 1999-2017

President Skroob and Lord Dark Helmet are pleased.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr December 18, 2017 1:48 PM  

"I have always noted that Star wars never had a hero scientist or engineer."

Excellent point. And perhaps that's the "tell" of a real SF story, versus a fantasy story with SF trappings.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 18, 2017 2:29 PM  

flyingtiger: "I have always noted that Star wars never had a hero scientist or engineer."

Anakin Skywalker was an engineer; he built C-3PO when he was but a boy. And he was Hero before he was Villain.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( the Original Militant Apathist ) December 18, 2017 2:54 PM  

58. flyingtiger December 18, 2017 11:51 AM
I have always noted that Star wars never had a hero scientist or engineer. Flash Gorden has Dr. Zarkov.



Luke and Anakin and Rey are all reputed to be mechanical geniuses. no, this attribute isn't often Plot Important ( Ep1 pod race, Ep4 when Luke repairs R2, Ep7 when Rey repairs the Falcon before Han even figures out what's wrong ).

but if you're looking for Hero Engineer, they're right there in the foreground of the story.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 18, 2017 3:12 PM  

bob k. mando: "but if you're looking for Hero Engineer, they're right there in the foreground of the story."

Also notably so the character of Galen Erso, scientist supreme who designed the infamous vent shaft into the original Death Star in R1.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( the Original Militant Apathist ) December 18, 2017 3:54 PM  

70. WaterBoy December 18, 2017 3:12 PM
in R1.



given that i didn't waste my time watching R1, i'll take your word for it.

Anonymous tyson December 18, 2017 4:05 PM  

it's astonishing that the "debate" is still occurring. as a kid during the OT, I could tell the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.

I would place SW in the same bin as Barbarella, Flash Gordon, Krull, and He-man movies/series of that same time period.

In fact, I would place fan magazines like Starlog for blending the genres in the public mind, which was then erroneously passed down to their children.

With Star Wars, most the science stuff was explained or introduced outside of the films.

Anonymous BBGKB December 18, 2017 4:09 PM  

Firefly was a character study, nothing more.

Firefly was (((Shut down))) because people watched it for the wrong reasons.

Given current trends, future SF will be "Ow, My Balls!" set in zero gravity on a space station.

Given current trends Americans making it to the space station without Russian help would be science fiction.

that it doesn't fit the rigorous "men with screwdrivers" paradigm More like "men with apple martinis"

Anonymous Anonymous December 18, 2017 4:46 PM  

"Saw this movie, we did. Long, it is. Impossible to write a substantive review without including spoilers, it may be. Nonetheless, try I will."

Do or do not. There is no try.

Anonymous Amadan December 18, 2017 4:51 PM  

@65:

I take what authors say about themselves with a grain of salt - there's a long history of SF authors denying they write SF, and Verne also claimed to have "invented myself this new fiction." Renard (writing in 1909) seems to actually being using "scientific marvelous" to refer to what we call "speculative fiction" today. Verne used known science and some extrapolation for his stories - he tried not to write things he thought were physically impossible. That's practically the definition of hard SF. Wells was more imaginative, but his science fiction stories were allegories, and so like most SF authors, he cared about plausibility only to the degree that it didn't interfere with the story.

Blogger Thucydides December 18, 2017 4:59 PM  

I'm a bit surprised that no one has mentioned the deeper pool that Lucas dipped from to make "Star Wars"

The 1977 movie taps into Arthurian mythos, especially "The Sword in the Stone". Darth fader's story arc seems to be Faust (the version with the redemption in the end).
The battles against the Death Star and Imperial Fleet seem to be taken straight from epic WWII movies set in the Pacific theatre

Most of us are well aware that Lucas also incorporated many elements from Akira Kurosawa's movies (although Kurosawa himself wasn't shy in incorporating Western ideas or themes in his movies; "Throne of Blood" is "Macbeth", and "Ran" is "King Lear", to use two pretty obvious examples)

Blogger Eric Slate December 18, 2017 5:24 PM  

The idea that Star Wars isn't sci Fi isn't new. Sometimes the actual words of the commenter differ, but people who pay attention know the differences. Star Wars is essentially a fantasy that takes place in space, complete with mystical elements. The other example discussed on this blog recently is the Darkover series, which I haven't read.

The idea that a setting in space or in the future making something sci-fi is pretty silly. I'm thinking of the Host and Hunger Games here. Obviously chick-lit.

Anonymous Nathan December 18, 2017 5:47 PM  

@74,

I would argue that the proper definition of Hard SF throughout the history of the genre up until its recent perversion is Renard's instead of the Mundane SF one you mentioned, but defending that assertion here would most likely exhaust everyone's patience. Perhaps some other time at the Castalia House blog?

Blogger Daniel December 18, 2017 5:48 PM  

since leia in bikini it's all way down

Blogger tublecane December 18, 2017 5:52 PM  

@13-"What you claim is 'overly pedantic' is the basic concept that 'words mean things'"

That's not fair, considering Star Wars, despite having heavy fantasy elements, is widely recognized as being Space Opera. Space Opera is a subgenre of sci-fi, is it not? I don't think I'm making that up.

I believe the center of gravity of the stories, so to speak, is fantasy. But it's not like Lord of the Rings, where no possible argument for sci-fi can be made. Because if space opera fits, it is.

What we have here is a matter of competing elements. There's no doubt Star Wars is at least a little science fiction-y. It's futuristic (taking place in a past [a long, long time ago] that might as well be the future), takes place in space, featuring life other planets, and all sorts of unfamiliar technology (robots, blasters, faster-than-light travel, lightsabers, etc.). You and the Original Cyberpunk may rightly say these things don't matter, that they're merely superficial, or whatever. But in that case you're weighing the importance of things within the story, and we're not dealing with the straightforward, apparent meaning of words.

One Star Wars movie can be argued to be straight sci-fi, I think, and that's the original. Because the story in that one is centered around a new piece of technology: the Death Star, and what it will mean to the society into which it's introduced. (It will mean the Empire shall defeat the rebels, unless the rebels can destroy it first.) Of course, Luke defeats it with magic, so really we're in fantasyland right off the bat.

Blogger tublecane December 18, 2017 5:58 PM  

@74-"what we call 'speculative fiction' today"

That phrase was popularized partly because of the science fiction denialism you describe above. Also to bring together related subject matter that isn't strictly scientific, but mostly I think to escape the literary ghetto and be taken more seriously.

Blogger tublecane December 18, 2017 6:16 PM  

Calling him a hip-hop filmmaker may work as a metaphor, at least for some people. But hip-hoppers didn't invent pastiche. It was around for a long time before that unfortunate subgenre, and will long outlive it.

A better way to frame in your mind the Meaning of J.J. is nostalgic advertising. People's memories are a rich mine, and Madison Ave. has long been tapping into it. Filmmakers do it, too, of course. But Abrams is unique in that other filmmakers traditionally have a story of their own to tell, and mine nostalgia merely as a technique. With Abrams, technique overwhelms story. Or, rather, makes story superfluous. It's as manipulative and substanceless as advertising is generally understood to be. (Though sometimes ads have complete stories; Abrams never does.)

Hip-hoppers generally don't pick things to sample on the basis of nostalgia, though sometimes they do. Often, they deliberately pick (or have picked for them) stuff they consider lame and wouldn't be caught dead listening to. Either because they thereby prove their awesomeness by spinning it into gold, or simply because it fits the end-product they're going for. However little they understand good songwriting, in the end product they're usually going for something concrete: what gets butts on the dance floor. Or merely what sticks in people's heads. So there remains a musical goal, if at the lowest level possible.

Abrams, on the other hand, seeks to sell tickets, for sure. Beyond that, I can't say. I'm not certain he's interested in producing movies that hold together as movies while you watch them. To me, they come off as just a series of things happening.

Blogger tublecane December 18, 2017 6:34 PM  

To bolster the point about Star Wars being Space Opera a bit, aside from Dune, the major literary source Lucas drew upon was the Lensman series, which is usually considered space opera.

Then there's the fact that it's a pejorative term, as with "soap opera" or "horse opera" (i.e. romantic, sappy, wide-ranging Western). It's applied to formulaic and hacky work, and I think this thread has documented all the ways in which Star Wars cobbles together story elements from various sources and genres, untied to a particular discipline and in a less than heroically original manner.

The basic story elements are present: space, melodrama, interplanetary intrigue, war, and romance often of the knightly variety, damsels in distress and all that. Basically, romantic war fantasy in space with futuristic technology.

Blogger Fenris Wulf December 18, 2017 6:53 PM  

I didn't know Bruce Bethke was involved with the design of MIDI! 35 years old and still on version 1.0 ...

Anonymous Anonymous December 18, 2017 8:27 PM  

Someone once described the original film as - a wizard and his farm-boy apprentice team up with a pirate to rescue a princess from a dark knight. SW is fantasy, always has been. When you try to see it as sci-fi it falls apart.

Blogger dfordoom December 19, 2017 12:28 AM  

17. Manwe

Since the genre of Science Fiction was created solely by white males and the greatest early sci-fi classics were written solely by white males for an audience of white males, does that mean it is "cultural appropriation" if anybody who is not a white male tries to write a Science Fiction tale?

So far only males have written science fiction successfully. Women just aren't interested in writing actual science fiction.

Women have written some excellent sword-and-planet stuff though. That's a genre that appeals to them and they do it well.

I can't see why Asians couldn't write good science fiction. I assume there must be Japanese science fiction writers.

One odd thing is that it seems it be a bit of a northern European thing. Maybe even a Protestant thing? Catholic countries don't seem to produce much SF. There was lots of French science fiction in the 19th century but France hardly qualifies as a Catholic country (even in the 19th century). Russians seem to have been pretty fond of SF right from the start, again a non-Catholic country.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 19, 2017 1:01 AM  

dfordoom wrote:One odd thing is that it seems it be a bit of a northern European thing. Maybe even a Protestant thing? Catholic countries don't seem to produce much SF. There was lots of French science fiction in the 19th century but France hardly qualifies as a Catholic country (even in the 19th century).
1) find me a SF author that identifies as Protestant.
2) Poland has the BEST sci-fi.

Anonymous Qadgop the Mercotan December 19, 2017 7:01 AM  

@85. dfordoom
Yes, there are Japanese science fiction writers; some of them even get English translations as well as the inevitable anime adaptations.

Blogger tublecane December 19, 2017 11:23 AM  

@85-I don't know about the output of Catholic countries, but there are an awful lot of Catholic sci-fi authors, and moreover a lot of sci-fi with specifically Catholic themes and subject matter. Probably more than you'd guess with no prior knowledge.

Anonymous Joe Author December 19, 2017 1:04 PM  

Is Star Wars science fiction? For some, yes. For others, no. It's really up to the person. Regardless, some people will love it, other people will hate it. Disney will produce the films they believe should be the vision of Star Wars, and the audience will decide to what extent they will "buy into it", as well as they should.

Write what you want. Produce what you want. Buy what you want.

Blogger flyingtiger December 20, 2017 1:56 AM  

When I was a young lad, I had a model kit where you had to build your own electric engine. It worked! I would not call myself an electrical engineer, even though I was more qualified than clock boy. In my life, I have changed tires, oil replaced fan belts and wipers and even tuned my car. I would not consider myself a auto mechanic or an engineer. The examples given show basic skills. I expect people traveling through space to know how to make basic repairs and maintenance.

Anonymous Sunderr December 20, 2017 1:04 PM  

Interesting, that's a perfect description of what Star Wars is. I always accepted the notion that it's a "space western" without putting much thought into it. But it's actually fantasy.

Blogger Greg Hunt December 22, 2017 6:00 PM  

Just found this in a random Youtube video:

David Prowse being interviewed in 1980, relates George Lucas calling him for the interview, who described the movie "as a sort of space fantasy".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eflef8NDAno

The "Space fantasy" part is at about 2:04.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts