Modern V old SciFi

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Mr H
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Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:49 am

This could be broader, but SciFi certainly seems appropriate.

There are obviously differences between old and new stories. I enjoy a lot of older stuff, so is there anything wrong with it now?

I've read some reviews, I won't go into them here. Yeah, that's pretty much my point. Sorry if that's confusing.

I can say Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs. Ha.

I like scaley big lizards. Scaley big lizards fighting people. Now, is there anything wrong with that??

What's wrong with stories like the ones that got us into this writing mess in the first place?

Why can't the odd text book be thrown out the window every now and then? Why does the future have to be stiff and stale like the world we live in?

Why can't you use magnetic tape in a spaceship? I find a bazillion blue leds less convincing.

Why can't a reporter in the future use a typewriter, if they want to?

And what ever happened to cool looking space ships?

So on.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:24 pm

The short answer is a well told story is a well told story, new or old. That said, there are anachronisms that could date or even render in appropriate material that was cutting edge in it's time. As for cool ships, there is nothing stopping that, but we should build cool ships that account for at least the most current understanding of technology. There are elements of our current life that have far surpassed Star Trek and others that haven't even made it out of the 50s.

Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:18 pm

I find it sad that the Star Trek franchise never capitalised on their world war three. It explains the 60s technology beautifully. Even today it wouldn't take very many strikes at all to eliminate most if not all chip, screen, so on manufacturing. The internet is as vulnerable as anything, relying on cables and satellites with limited lives, both being ideal targets in a war.

So a future world may not have much modern or better technology. This has been done before, furthering the point.

Science, like any system of belief, is often argued about, both within and without. Pluto will always be a planet to me. Dinosaurs with feathers is just silly. Atoms ARE the smallest things, unless your talking Dr Who, then quarks are tiny. So on.

I think there is room for both. As long as there IS room for both. As long as stories aren't solely rejected on the grounds of "bad" science, for therein lies the fiction. Little in science is solid, the book is being continually rewritten, see my points above.

I guess a new genre spawns itself. That of future stories from an older viewpoint. Steampunk seems thus. But that would be stories full of such older science. Tapepunk? 50s viewpoint science fiction. Whatever it's called, it sounds cool to me.

On the spaceships, I haven't seen a good looking one in a modern film for a long time.

The Space 1999 eagle, being one of the best. Millenium Falcon, Battle Stars, Enterprise (D for me), many more. Then again, the space shuttle has to be among the best too, even though it's real (the first being named after treks enterprise, we'll sneak it in).

As far as current technology in ships, nah, just give it a fancy sounding motor and your good.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:15 pm

I don't know, I found the transports of Blade Runner compelling and they were definitely functional rather than beautiful. The space ship from Event Horizon was compelling. The ring on the moon in Elysium was kind of cool. Which spaceships are disappointing you?

Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:50 am

CGI ones mostly.

Your still going back 80s and 90s, Elysium probably 2010s?

I guess it also depends on use. In Planet of the apes, the ship was just to get from A to crash. In Space 1999 the eagle was constantly used, so it had to be designed well, not just as a cool looking ship but for continual shoots as well. More than the original enterprise model I'll bet, which looked mostly stock. Plus the eagle had to be designed for purpose as a modular work horse for Alpha. So that's 3 things it had to be designed for, looks, filming and role in the show. All forcing a strong design and stronger models. Planet of the apes just needed a ship for a few shots and a crash. Guess which is more famous. I'm not knocking Taylor's ship, but I haven't seen a model available (though I'm sure there would be).

Star Wars is similar. Full on building models, even bankrupted a moulding firm they were so keen. Understandably a few cool and famous ships occurred, especially over three films.

The extreme would be ships built quickly for a single use. A bad example being the Klingon Christmas tree ornaments for a DS9 battle. Probably the kit bashed Federation fleet from next gen, mostly butchered enterprise kits, shows what I mean. We need ships, quick stick two sources together, give that one four nacelles, so on. Of course, in Trekkie land these ships are famous, but I hope you get the point. I also remember the MythBusters episode, polishing poo, which Adam suggested was that they would call it when they (at ILM, I believe) had to detail badly designed models.

Of course every ship will have its fans, but, as they say, they don't build them like they used to.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:12 pm

What about the ships from video games, which seem to hold the future?

Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:06 am

Nonsense.

I couldn't name any. Most people couldn't. Asteroids? I guess that's famous enough. But cooler than an eagle? I think not.

More people know things from fiction, film or TV than computer games. Games typically capture a younger market, not keen on old stuff, then many may grow out of it. Tv/film could be the same but it's more accessible and tolerable to a larger audience. Computer games target a market keen on endless upgrading, not being stuck in the past oggling old ships. Nature of the beast. On the flip side film and television and print make a lot by licencing old material to tv, DVDs, even internet sites. These days computer game stores seem to carry more useless (non computer game) tat than computer games.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Fri Feb 19, 2021 11:19 pm

Call of Duty - Infinite Warfare; HALO; Everspace; Mass Effect; Starcraft; EVE; Deadspace;

Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:39 am

They are games, not ships.

I could spew endless shows, films. Shrug.

I guarantee you more people on the street could pick the TARDIS or Enterprise out of a line up.

Besides, all those games seem pretty new. I think starcraft may have scraped the 90s. You need to give things time to mature with age, or rot away.

Not a big fan of the Liberator. Though I'm yet to watch much Blake's 7.

I did very much like the visitors modular ships in V.

Giger's Alien ship is not to be forgotten.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:55 pm

My point in highlighting that list of games was that there are interesting ships in those games, not one, but more than one. And you were correct, I do not know all the names of the ships. I see them when my son plays the games rather than when I do. It's a bold statement to say that new ships have lost a little something on the old ships. I would rather say that new ships are more familiar than old ships, in part, because the old ships came first. I do not write video games, but I think it is a legitimate thing to say that they are a material part of a Fantasy and Science Fiction writing these days, and likely to become more so.

Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:17 pm

Video games in writing, how so?

Here's a few for you that sneak through my net. Dang, must remember to mend that.

SeaQuest

Lexx

Babylon 5

These get through as the 90s had some pioneering CGI going on. Enough to try it out, then say models are better. I'm not sure they heard the last bit though.

It's always best to have a mix of effects. I mentioned Master and commander elsewhere here recently. That's a great example. For the Surprise they had a real ship, a built ship in the Titanic's tank, a model ship, a CG ship, plus there may have been bits of the Endeavour (used to get sea shots) and interior sets.

At first CGI was felt to be cutting edge, then it became cheap. Both pretty cheesy. I watch SeaQuest and think, someone could have gotten their kids a few model kit and a video camera and have shot better stuff. Then again, being mostly under water, you can go with the flow a bit there, but the slitted gradient backgrounds should have been avoided.

For Starship Troopers 2 Phil Tippett shot at least one shot of the defence fire aftermath at home with a video camera, so it can be done.

The X1 is a frustration. CG, looks ok, cool enough design. But, still, the D is far superior, especially with that chap (I always thought it Riker) walking across the window. Certainly the most comfortable looking ship ever designed. Sleek, eligent, with a strong presence, and a model to boot.

DS9 was nice. Biiig model. I must admit I liked when they added the extra ships and things for later season openings, I'm sure a few were CG. Again a mix is ok. But real is always best.
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InkFinger
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby InkFinger » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:16 am

With this, your argument doesn't appear to be that old SciFi was better because of imagination, but rather multi-million dollar set work. The answer there is simple, money. The availability and effectiveness of CGI is costing out real sets. It's a shame on the one hand, but on the other, it's opened whole new worlds to us. so, give and take.

As for the writing bit, video games, most of them, have writing teams. There was a time that it was just a game developer with a little bit of writing chops, but now, game developers seek out skilled writers and storytellers. One of the places to find good modern storytelling is in video games.

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GlibWizard
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby GlibWizard » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:27 am

Mr H wrote:On the spaceships, I haven't seen a good looking one in a modern film for a long time.


May I recommend the movie Space Sweepers (2021 release, on Netflix) for some fun ship designs?

As someone who's wasted plenty of time on video games, I must disagree with you that those ships are not memorable, and I think I could find a great many people who can name individual ships from games they've played and have a strong emotional reaction to seeing their designs. Upgrading/discarding your ship is not part of all games. Trying to thread the needle where you demand new but also stood the test of time, I put forward the examples of the Halo Array from Halo, a continuing franchise starting in 2001, and the ship The Ebon Hawk from Knights of the Old Republic, 2003, a game still being rereleased for new systems that's now sold millions of copies. Video games have come quite a long way since Asteroids and many now play like interactive television shows. It's fine if they are not your thing but that's a lot of science fiction to dismiss, and it includes things that fit the old technology science fiction feeling you want (like the Fallout franchise, where the conceit is that the transistor was never invented so it's an analog, nuclear-powered future).
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Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:47 pm

Pick 100 random people off the street.

Recollection of a particular video game ship will me near nil. Film or TV ships would rate higher, simple. I do suspect asteroids would be the most famous video game ship (are space invaders ships or aliens??), yet noone would probably recognise a triangle with no reference.

Depending on what you do, each person is going to have a different memorable ship.

However, then you have famous ships seen by the masses.

Last we have ship design. Even that is not simple. Are we talking cool looking design, realistic (spit) design, or other? Or a mix??

Being a vehicle for "boys", a ship can't really rate until there is a model kit. Lots of ships have them, but the more popular the ship the more models available. I guess toys and ornaments can be included too. It's probably the best gauge to use.

There are a bazillion Enterprise models. Few Eurondan aero fighters (as much as I would like them, a breeder bomber too, of course).

I think good design is quickly picked up on by audiences.

I think the main problem, particularly in video games is the images look like pre visualisation stuff. Video game graphics are always playing second fiddle to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. They can spend a day (well, a while) rendering a frame. Imagine playing a game that took even a few seconds to render each frame! So, as far as modern CGI, movie ship detailing and surfaces will look best (for CGI). Though they are playing to different screen sizes, much like tv and film.

And another thing. There are not enough men in rubber suits these days (Nothing to do with less mob activity creating less need to fish bodies out of the river).
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GlibWizard
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby GlibWizard » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:01 pm

Mr H wrote:I think the main problem, particularly in video games is the images look like pre visualisation stuff. Video game graphics are always playing second fiddle to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. They can spend a day (well, a while) rendering a frame. Imagine playing a game that took even a few seconds to render each frame! So, as far as modern CGI, movie ship detailing and surfaces will look best (for CGI). Though they are playing to different screen sizes, much like tv and film.


Look, I'm walking away since we are obviously not going to convince one another of anything, but this is simply not true of computer graphics in 2021. Major game studios produce pre-rendered scenes equal to tv and film using the same methods, and graphics cards in current generation systems can nearly keep up. And there are plenty of "light science" science fiction settings in video games that match what you're asking for.
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Mr H
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Mr H » Mon Feb 22, 2021 12:04 am

By pre rendered scenes I assume you mean in game movies and the like? That could be true. But I'm yet to see in game playable graphics that would compare to a big film. Sorry.

Actually the best game movies I've seen are the ones they used (?) To do with actual (big name) actors in them. C&C had some good ones. Then CG got to "good" and enter the Auton. I suspect it was more that games needed more room on the disc, either way the Doctor could have helped.

I think you touched on something though, with computer games, the better the computer set up the better the picture quality. So everyone is probably seeing different things any way. A laggy, pixilated ship will hardly be a favourite.

All getting a bit off topic though.
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Re: Modern V old SciFi

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:33 am

Annnnnnd ... we return to our regularly scheduled program on how to write publishable speculative fiction, such as the kind of stories that have the potential to win Writers of the Future. : )
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