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Old 02-23-2008, 02:56 AM View Post #11 (Link)
ScottyMcGee (Offline)
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Attack of the Cliches Part 3: Science-Fiction



The one we've all been waiting for.

Okay, so mostly Raffy.

But anyway.

Science-fiction is a very unique category, more so than any other. It has taken me such a long time to critique the genre because there is really no terrible trail anywhere of cliches. Everything is fresh and new. The archetype characters were incredibly hard to find, and I'm not sure if there even are any, except for just two. I don't know if it's really that hard to find any cliches, or if it's because I'm really tired at the moment as I'm typing this. I will definitely end up editing this if I come across a new discovery.
But at least I found something.


1. Archetype Characters

The Rogue - Space bounty hunter, usually a rough male with a hidden past of old flames and rivals. Most of them have been in the war or some military service, but then later went about their own ways. Examples are, Sam McCade (William C. Dietz) and, of course, Han Solo.

The Questioning Robot - A robot that is created and questions the existence of humanity. It goes into a dramatic story of wanting to be human, or, it may even despise humans and go on some rampage. Nevertheless, they drive the story into the boring, yawning, cliche of questioning the mind's consciousness, which is something sci-fi has been notable for.

2. Cliched Elements

"The End of the World is Here Novel" - a lot of science-fiction novels usually portray the future as some dystopia. America becomes communist, or war breaks out amongst the stars. Very few are positive about mankind's future, which might actually be debatable as to which is better, realism or romanticism. In Star Trek, for example, mankind is at peace, one big Federation. It's a romanticized view of the future with chrome walls and no prejudice amongst space-travelers.

"The We're in An Utopia So Let's Hold Hands Novel" - in contrast to the above cliche. Instead of chaos, humanity has reached utopia. People dress the same, do the same, work the same, etc. Usually someone rebels, and the added cliche is that he or she discovers the "outside world" or some "objective truth" and suddenly the utopia is not really seen as a good thing.

"The Oh Shit, We're Lost In Space Novel" - a typical sci-fi story to start out with. In fact, my first science-fiction story a long time ago was simply about a band of stragglers lost in space. This is the typical story someone would write if he or she has no real substance for the "science" part in "science-fiction" and just wants lasers blasting about and spaceships exploding.

"The Really Weird Sci-fi Story That's Not Really Sci-Fi But Not Just Fiction Either And Is Hell To Categorize Story" - notably stories written by Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut. People argue the categorization of these types of novels. True, the setting is in the future, but the main themes are centered around satire, psychology, and philosophy. But the argument states that just because there are spaceships in the background of the story doesn't automatically make it in "science-fiction" genre. Of course, at the time, these stories were brilliant and a breakthrough, but now if one does it, it feels like a cheap imitation of its predecessors.

"The Twilight Effect Story" - a term I made up based on Sterling's "Twilight Zone" show. Basically it means that at the very end, an eerie truth is revealed that showed the entire story was some experiment, or a dream, or a psychological breakdown.

"Man vs. Machine" - here's a typical one. We've seen it in Asimov's "Robot Series", to Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey". And, also, Michael Crichton, who CAN be considered science-fiction, at least I personally do and so in here, he IS considered science-fiction. A typical storyline is "Man makes machine. Machine goes out of control. Man regrets making machine. Man tries to figure out a plan before time runs out."

3. Remedies for Cliches

I feel rather useless writing this section, because honest to God if I can't find any real problems, then I don't really have solutions do I?

But here are some tips.


-If you are interested in any science field in particular (whether it be physics, robotics, chemistry, biology, etc.) then start with that. Question this particular field. What if this happened? What if that happened? It will give the story great depth and purpose if the author has a scientific background.

-Try to keep it realistic. Remember, there's no sound in space. Teleportation is an incredibly advanced idea. Try not to make any rules for time-travel too complex. Unlike fantasy, there is a certain boundary for science-fiction, and therefore requires more seriousness. It's okay to have one or more unexplainable things, but be careful when bordering the line of "fantasy."

Notable Science-Fiction Novels:

The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov - a landmark series. It's uniqueness is centered on it's prediction of sociology. Not only that, but the actual space battles are quite different.

The Dune Series by Frank Herbert - probably bigger than Asimov. Sometimes it's called the "Lord of the Rings of Science-Fiction." The unique aspect of Dune is its focus on the environment and economics, presumably the "spice."

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - despite being put in the literature section of the bookstore, it is science-fiction. It's a nightmarish view of an utopia where humans are genetically created.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - totally blew away the sci-fi genre. It's a militaristic view of a world where kids go to war in spaceships.







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						Last edited by ScottyMcGee; 02-23-2008 at 03:02 AM.
					
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:38 PM View Post #12 (Link)
Rafael Domination (Offline)
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You so get a thanks point for this, Scotty.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:03 AM View Post #13 (Link)
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These are totally and completely awesome ScottyMcGee!!!!! I am sooooooooooooo giving you a thank you point! You obviously put a ton of work into them and it shows! They were funny and dead useful at the very same time!

You nailed the fantasy cliches perfectly! You listed every single reason why I hate that gene!! I get sooooooooo sick of the teen heros who join up with the elves to save the princess from the evil king who's trying to take over the world just for the heck of it. (no offence to people who write stories like that. I swear it's only me being picky and it can be cool if done the right way too!)

Now I might actually try writing some fantasy just to see where it takes me! And I shall of course be using your trusty guide every step of the way! ^_^

Thanks again!!

-N.
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:00 PM View Post #14 (Link)
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Wow.



I totally forgot that I wrote this.



I think I'll do some more for other genres.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:21 PM View Post #15 (Link)
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That would be uber wicked! (yes, I just said wicked.) I shall await them with baited breath!
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:05 AM View Post #16 (Link) Attack Defered
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First of all some of your attacks only apply to books of the past and obviously you have't broke into the new age of sci-fi that is taking the world by storm. Also some of your attacks are also outdated, weak, and bias. When you write a piece like that you have to make sure you stay as neutral as possible instead of applying your own personal opinions to the subject. It makes others doubt your creditabilty and threatens your reputaton as a highly intelligent and gifted writer.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:02 PM View Post #17 (Link)
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^ I don't think this is meant to be a professional analogy. I think this is just Scotty having some fun and making everybody laugh. It's not like he's outright say he's right, that everyone who does any of these things are wrong, and that everyone who does sucks. Let it go, man.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:59 PM View Post #18 (Link) My View On Them
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Say I read them. I am not as excited about them as everyone else it seems but I guess there is one in everyone crowd.

It was interesting to see that of all the books that I have read, I have see your, as you say, "Cliche Elements". I don't believe that a book can go with out at least one cliche unless it is a classic. For example; everyone thinks, oh the "Romeo and Juliet" thing is sooooo cliche. But it wasn't cliche when Shakespeare wrote it.

I believe with what stories have been written today, cliches are very hard to avoid, even with your "Remedies for Cliches".

So, that's my opinion.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:26 PM View Post #19 (Link)
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Speaking of cliches, there was this guy, who's going to A&M and who's at least 19, in my college English class this morning who was doing a presentation over one of the chapters and he pronouned cliche as "cl-itch."

I had to hold in my laughter. I couldn't suppress a smile.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:29 PM View Post #20 (Link)
ScottyMcGee (Offline)
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Originally Posted by sXe_Jinxeh View Post
^ I don't think this is meant to be a professional analogy. I think this is just Scotty having some fun and making everybody laugh.

Um, yeah, what he said.

HAHAHA, professional.

I'm anything but professional.

I'm just pointing out things I've seen and people to discuss.
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