Is Science Fiction Out Of Ideas?

rickyjames writes, Entertainment Weekly magazine has a article out this week called “Is Science Fiction Out Of Ideas?“. Makes some interesing points worth thinking about and discussing, particularly for a general public magazine…

13 replies on “Is Science Fiction Out Of Ideas?”

  1. fiziko says:

    Sci-Fi not the worst
    If the author is worried about sci-fi because it hasn’t had a completely new idea in a while, the romantic comedy genre is on life support.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas

      The author of the article refers to mainstream media SF, which is backed by execs who seemingly have no clue what SF is.

      New ideas in SF movies and television? Easy. Start adapting SF novels from the last thirty years, instead of recycling ideas from the 50s. Or hire actual SF writers to write the occasional episode of the next SF show, the way Star Trek did the first time around.

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas
        Thanks for that, because it’s true. He’s referring to stuff that barely scratches the surface of sci-fi. Re-releases of Blade Runner hardly count. I Am Legend was never going to be good. Discounting Battlestar Galactica as just a remake of the original series just proves he’s never watched it. That Superman comics are still popular doesn’t mean the genre is out of ideas (when was Superman ever sci-fi anyway), it means the writers are still thinking up things that people want to read (also, you can sell repackaged stories to people who’ve never read the originals very easily, especially since getting hold of the originals in comics land can be very difficult).

        And what about Serenity and Firefly?

        And perhaps most importantly, what about the books? Movies and TV have never done the best of sci-fi.

        • y42 says:

          Re: Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas

          when was Superman ever sci-fi anyway

          1938 to 1942. Back when he was simply from a heavier world (before the red sun nonsense).
          Things got sillier after Pearl Harbor because good storytelling was replaced with war propaganda.

        • Tara Li says:

          Re: Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas

          Thanks for that, because it’s true. He’s referring to stuff that barely scratches the surface of sci-fi. Re-releases of Blade Runner hardly count. I Am Legend was never going to be good. Discounting Battlestar Galactica as just a remake of the original series just proves he’s never watched it.

          The new BSG would have actually been much better given a new name, design a few ships of its own, and called the aliens (except they aren’t actually *aliens*, now!) something else. Ship designs and a few names is about all the original and the new series share.

          And frankly, I’m not really seeing any new ideas in the current BSG.

          Firefly, BtVS, B5, Farscape, Lexx – these were new ideas – new visions. I’ve seen some good stuff mentioned on the SciFi channel in the way of original movies – Sturgeon’s Law still applying.

          That Superman comics are still popular doesn’t mean the genre is out of ideas (when was Superman ever sci-fi anyway), it means the writers are still thinking up things that people want to read (also, you can sell repackaged stories to people who’ve never read the originals very easily, especially since getting hold of the originals in comics land can be very difficult).

          And what about Serenity and Firefly?

          And perhaps most importantly, what about the books? Movies and TV have never done the best of sci-fi.

          How about let’s see a list of new ideas in the mainstream media – about the closest thing I can come up with is reality television – except wasn’t there a game show in the 50s with women telling sob stories of their lives to win new appliances and such?

          New ideas? Actually, I’d have to go with the Japanese anime/manga community for really rich sources of those – except that I strongly suspect they have as deep a base of archetypes and sources that they draw from, and Americans just aren’t as familiar with them.

          • Timeshredder says:

            Re: Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas

            How about let’s see a list of new ideas in the mainstream media – about the closest thing I can come up with is reality television – except wasn’t there a game show in the 50s with women telling sob stories of their lives to win new appliances and such?

            That was Queen for a Day. There were a number of other forerunners, too, such as Almost Anything Goes in the 70s, a show (based on a British show based on a French show) that pitted teams from towns against each other in bizarre competitions. Candid Camera and Real People were also a sort of reality tv. It just never hit it big until recently.

            I personally wish it would go away, but that won’t happen anytime soon.

          • radu_floricica says:

            Re: Is Mass-media Science Fiction out of Ideas

            New ideas? Actually, I’d have to go with the Japanese anime/manga community for really rich sources of those – except that I strongly suspect they have as deep a base of archetypes and sources that they draw from, and Americans just aren’t as familiar with them.

            Anime&manga excel at fantasy, and have a strange relationship with classic sf. But they are definitely more creative than anything Hollywood has done after 1980.
            I don’t know about the archetype "size", but it is very different from the usual ones. Even the tipical values change. No more good vs evil, teamwork or troubled pasts anymore, but a whole different collection, such as protecting what’s precious to you, finding a reason to live or becoming stronger.

  2. dahlek says:

    Stephen Baxter to the rescue
    A nice dark-ish, brutal, Baxter novel or series might work well on the big screen. Book sci-fi is so far ahead of movie-scifi it seems…

    • Grounded says:

      Re: Stephen Baxter to the rescue

      A nice dark-ish, brutal, Baxter novel or series might work well on the big screen. Book sci-fi is so far ahead of movie-scifi it seems…

      I vote Raft :)

  3. belzedaar says:

    I vote for Iain M Banks
    I wouldn’t mind seeing any of his novels made into movies.

    • babasyzygy says:

      Re: I vote for Iain M Banks

      I wouldn’t mind seeing any of his novels made into movies.

      He’d be my first vote too. Followed by Charlie Stross, Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton, or Alastair Reynolds.

      What is it about the UK that they’re churning out all this great hard SF space opera these days? (Stross is cheating a bit – he’s got scads of great ideas all over the SF spectrum)

      • Tekzel says:

        Re: I vote for Iain M Banks

        I wouldn’t mind seeing any of his novels made into movies.

        He’d be my first vote too. Followed by Charlie Stross, Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton, or Alastair Reynolds.

        What is it about the UK that they’re churning out all this great hard SF space opera these days? (Stross is cheating a bit – he’s got scads of great ideas all over the SF spectrum)

        Oh god yes, anything from Peter Hamilton or Alastair Reynolds done right would rule!

        I hope Morgan Freeman can get Rendezvous with Rama done in my lifetime.

  4. joe__gee says:

    Sci fi has not run out of ideas …
    The people that fund those who adapt it for mass-media have become risk-averse. There are plenty of new ideas, but we’re looking for safe, for sure-fire, for guaranteed return on investment. That’s what bean-counters approve.

    Low budget sci-fi still innovates, as much as it can afford to, but don’t count on execs to know what to do with low-budget that crosses over into successful territory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_(TV_series) .

    -Joe

Comments are closed.