Nasa / Space

Does the science in science fiction have to be accurate?

A recent BBC news story explored the question: How much science should be in science-fiction movies? A Geekend blogger weighs in with her views on the topic.

A recent story on BBC's Newshour centered on the question: How much science should be in science-fiction movies? Newshour's Claire Bolderson asked this question of two guests: Emory University physicist Sidney Perkowitz and science-fiction writer John Clute. Using the movie Starship Troopers as an example, the trio discussed the necessity of including accurate science in science-fiction films.

Basically, Perkowitz argued that the giant bug aliens in Starship Troopers are scientifically impossible due to their size, and that this kind of blatant disregard for physics is too much suspension of disbelief. According to Perkowitz, the "bugs" would not have been able to move well, and would have easily become stuck on their backs, making them a much less terrifying adversary than depicted in the movie.

I'd like to open up the question to all science fiction and not just movies. As a writer, a reader, and a science-fiction movie fan, I disagree with the notion that science fiction should not be fantastical, lest it go too far to suspend disbelief. The whole point of reading or watching science fiction is that you escape to another world. The word fiction tells us right up front that the audience should have no expectation of truth about anything included in the story. Science fiction is rooted in science, but it is the fantastical stretching of known science that makes it fun. If what you seek is true, accurate science, watch a documentary. Even better, take one of Professor Perkowitz's classes.

It's not like entertainment media has a great history of accuracy. Forensic crime shows are currently one of the most popular types of television shows, yet real forensic science has very little in common with the farcical fabrications shown on TV (IT security doesn't hold up well on TV either). For that matter, there is no scientific proof that ghosts exist or that demonic possession really happens. But if you take ghosts and demons out of entertainment media, there could be no The Amityville Horror, no The Exorcist, and no Paranormal Activity. In short, many advances in entertainment and film could never have happened, purely because we didn't extend beyond proven science.

That's not to say that proven science has no place in science fiction. By all means, pack the physics lessons in -- just don't expect that the audience will recognize it as scientific fact right away. Science fiction has historically sought to introduce new ideas to the masses, though it often takes the masses more than just watching a movie to understand the presented concepts. I do not see a problem with combining the two. After all, make-believe is rooted in reality but takes us further than reality allows us to go. It's not about what is; it's about what if.

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177 comments
psikeyhackr
psikeyhackr

There is no single answer to how good the science has to be in a science fiction story. It is more a question of which readers do you want and how many. The more critical readers are going to be a smaller percentage of the market and a lot of the readers who can't even recognise bad science will be alienated by accurately described science. What they say is, "When I want real science I will read a science book." But I don't believe most of them read science books anyway. The ignorant readers don't want to read a book that holds up a mirror to their ignorance. So they emphasise the FICTION as an excuse. A good example is Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold. Her wormholes are totally fictional science as far as we know right now. But she imagines a technology to manipulate that fictional physics but the people developing the technology get their physics wrong. However physics will do what physics is going to do regardless of what people think the physics will do even if it gets people killed. So Bujold does an excellent job of portraying scientists analysing the unknown. Most modern so called SF does not explore unknown imaginary science they just use imaginary technology,

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

Heard the one that a good story ?shouldn't get hung up on the details?. It is somewhat humorous, but from a literary perspective following such a practice is the mark of a lazy writer,even if talented one. Why use good ingredients to make a mediocre dish when You could do a splendid one? The entire perception of fictional plots in all forms of content delivery (writing, theatre, movies...) is based on a concept called ?suspension of disbelieve?. Essentially, in order to swallow (willingly) a story that You know not to be true (that is why it is called fiction; the other great realm is documentary) You have to suspend Your disbelieve. If the form of plot delivery is not aligned with the non-realities of the plot elements the stretch is to great and the suspension does not work - You will get a dumb story even if ?well written? technically. To make an example: if the St.Exup?ry's ?Little Prince? were told in the form of a hard-core SF story it would be a stupidity since that sub-genre requires a modest amount of suspension of disbelieve; as it was told in the form of a fairy-tale where a large amount of suspension is expected and given since the scope and aim of fairy-tales is specific, the story is a master-piece. Boundaries are made to be exceeded, but if You exaggerate Your piece will end in the slush-pile master?s rejection pile (the editor that selects stories and novels for publishing), and if it gets published the reception will be at least mixed - the public generally does not like to be treated as idiots, even if the style is nice to read.

Phil Haney
Phil Haney

Why do "out of phase" people walk through walls, but not sink through the floor? Why did George Reeves (on the Superman TV series in the 1960s) stand up and not flinch when bullets were fired at him, but duck when the bad guy threw the gun? On the one hand, Montgomery Scott said, "Ye canna break the laws of physics." But Dr. Bashir's take was, "You can't break the laws of physics, but you can bend them." I looked at the communicators and library tapes (that looked like little square tiles because they were) on the original Star Trek show and thought it would be cool to do that someday. When I bought The Star Fleet Technical Manual (back in the early 70s) the schematic diagram for the communicator was really for a CB radio. Now we have cell phones and (we had) 3.5" floppy disks encased in little plastic cases. As rediculous as something looks, I always suspend disbelief and go with it because that's the way things work in their particular universe (even if it's supposed to be our own). Who knows, maybe SciFi stuff we think is impossible now, will be happening in 30 years.....

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Denise Richards was the only female in that movie not to show the goods. After wrapping my mind around that one, big bugs don't seem too far fetched.

darije.djokic
darije.djokic

As a writer, a reader, and a science-fiction movie fan myself I have to disagree with everything the author stated in this post except the last phrase, for no fiction by definition speaks about what IS, always about what IF. Such a line of reasoning is what gave SF a poorer rep as a genre than it should have compared to others. The word ?genre? here is used loosely; do not forget that statistically most fiction of any genre - even the so-called mainstream - is from mediocre to barely digestible, SF makes no exception, but it should not be held worse. If it is, it is because the faulty thinking that in the syntagm SCIENCE FICTION, the thing is about FICTION; it is not, it is about SCIENCE, the fiction in it is just a way to vehiculate the science story in a more effective way; if it is just great fiction that You want, go read some of the many great mainstream classics. Simply: no (good) SCIENCE, no SCIENCE fiction. It all derives from the definition of SF literature (and the rest coming from it). Although the simplest definition is still the one that says that SF is what a SF fan points a finger on and says ?This is SF?, do not forget this is a fun definition coined partially in frustration by the fact that it is difficult to make an academically accurate one without being to descriptive. This brings us to what we can call the sub-genres of SF. True SF, the one called HARD SF (and for some the only one worthy of bearing that name) is a fictional story whose plot is based on a scientific concept that we know is POSSIBLE (even if not yet achieved), or at least we do not know for sure it to be IMPOSSIBLE. If hose two conditions are not met - it is NOT (hard-core) science fiction. Keep in mind that the word ?science? does not mean just natural or technical sciences but also social and political ones. We can have a lot of fun reading SF where some of the scientific concepts have been stretched to (and sometimes slightly over) the limits, but then the quality of 'SF? in such SF is degrading in spite of the authors possible writing mastery. Another thing has to be borne in mind: some of the science in older works is outdated: when it was written, ?Starship Troopers? may not have been so silly as Perkowicz states because at the time the science of material structure was not so developed as to make it known as IMPOSSIBLE the existence of hill-sized insects on Earth-like planets, as we do today - thus some historic perspective has to be applied in judging the piece. Also, the use of some traditional (but otherwise scientifically doubtful) SF story implements accumulated over the decades is permissible if the main plot is based on hard science facts. EVERYTHING else is NOT true SF (at least not in the sense of the ?hard? definition), and it could be styled science FANTASY (but that syntagm is sometimes used for another sub-genre) because a mere pseudoSF scenographycal setting does not make a work SF in itself. To finish with one example: the recent movie ?Moon? IS (hard-core) SF, ?Star Wars? NEVER ever were SF, the serial is a fun feary-tale set up in a future-like environment.

lsasadoorian
lsasadoorian

What happened to us as readers of science fiction that this topic requires a response? Have we become so serious that we can't take sci fi for what it is, a fictional look at the future or other worlds that borders on the fantastic? Why must real science fit in here? It's fiction, make it as imaginative as you can or want. Don't take life so seriously; real life is bad enough, don't screw up something so many people have enjoyed for centuries. BTW, I don't read sci fi, I find it boring

DadsPad
DadsPad

How's that for a different take on this subject? Clarke wrote a story involving a synchronus space communication satelite and 60 years later people use a GPS not even thinking about where the information comes from! Faster Than Light (FTL) travel has dominated SF in most space fiction. Of course, this is considered impossible. Fortunately someone did not believe that and developed a theory of a warp drive. "The Alcubierre drive, as it's known, involves expanding the fabric of space behind a ship into a bubble and shrinking space-time in front of the ship." http://news.discovery.com/space/warp-drive-spaceship-engine.html How many robotist have been influenced by Asimov? It is amazing how many scientist around the world was influence by SF/Fantasy in their work. The list can go on and on. Finally, if the work of fiction does not involve you in the plot and characters, plus keep you keenly interested, you will not remember it. Asimov's Foundation world is a good example. I still re-read the entire series (including robot novels)every so often.

jdriggers
jdriggers

When I was a little kid, there was a sciense fiction hero who flew in a spaceship! WOW they called him Flash Gordon. We knew it was sciense fiction but we enjoyed it and even tried it ourselves. Later in life man actually flew in space. Always wondered if that's were they got the idea from. If it's real, then it's not science fiction. Maybe some day there will be really large bugs that can flip over if somehow they ended up on their back. Rockets actually flew in space!

jonah jones
jonah jones

some people have way too much time on their hands if this bothers them! "Defying Gravity" - video conferencing with no time lag (36,000,000 miles) "Serenity" - outlying planets with an atmosphere -and vegetation, the same as earth sheesh! ,.

Tekkless
Tekkless

A fun book that delved into the issue was "The Physics of Star Trek," which looked at the possibility of things like transporters and the inertial challenges of going from zero to warp speed. In very accessible terms, it looked at the theories surrounding these things and how far from our present technology we would need to progress to achieve them, if, that is, they were indeed possible. Good read, at least for this layman. Reading or watching sci-fi, or any fiction, is a pact: you give me a good story and characters, I'll suspend my disbelief. If you're going to spend an entire fight scene in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" saying, "At a height of 55 feet, bamboo could never hold up under the weight of a 6 foot tall, 180 pound Chow Yun-Fat," well, maybe you should watch documentaries.

Rolland St-Onge
Rolland St-Onge

It has to make sense to be good. Take STAR TREK back in the 70's for exemple. Gene brought to the previous generations devices which was, back then, fictionnal and futuristic. If we look at them now, we can recognize cellphones, laptops, voice command activations and display screen as thin as papers (almost). The point is that science-fiction might be exagerated a bit in some movies, books or shows but good science-fiction can actually be a look at a realistic futur. I just hope the transporters of the futur won't run on a Microsoft plateform, don't know if I'll recover from a blue screen of death...

Jessie
Jessie

Last year I was watching Numb3rs and while I know nothing about most of the mathematical theories on the show, I find it generally entertaining. The episode that got my goat though was Angels and Devils which aired May 15,09. In that episode, there's a part where Charlie figures out that the faulty charges on his credit card are an IPv4 address that Amita is using as a mirror site. The episode thoroughly pissed me off because the 'address' they gave was nowhere NEAR an IPv4 address... and they could have so easily used any private IP address, 10.x.x.x, 172.16-31.x.x or 192.168.x.x but for some reason, their tech advisor didn't suggest that. I decided then, that I was never going to watch the show again, but then when I thought about it again, I decided to forgive them for their lack of knowledge and just enjoy the ride. It was after all, their first glaring error that I caught and it's knowledge that apparently not a lot of people have outside of IT. Sometimes, we have to forgive Hollywood for their ignorance. On another note, When I was a child, everyone KNEW there were three states of matter, solid, liquid, and gas. That's what they taught us in school. My children are now being taught there are FOUR states of matter, solid, liquid, gas, and PLASMA. The facts as we know them are ever-changing as we learn more. Sci-Fi has been responsible for pursuing a lot of those fact evolutions, some of them social... 60-70 years ago, everyone KNEW that black people just weren't as intelligent as white people. Star Trek happened and challenged those stereotypes. I'm a white woman, married to a black man and his IQ is 1 point HIGHER than mine, both of us in the 'barely' genius range. So, imho, Sci-Fi should be well researched, well thought out, and based in some reality, but what we know isn't always what we WILL know, and sometimes you just have to enjoy the ride.

mdtallon
mdtallon

I'll probably not be able to put into words how much I disagree with the statement: "The whole point of reading or watching science fiction is that you escape to another world" For me, the whole point is an escape to a place of possibilities. These don't have to be proven possibilities, but to base anything on disproven or impossibilites is just fantasy. Facts are facts. For me, there is a pretty clear line between SciFi and Fantasy.

psingleton
psingleton

I've read alot, not all, of the posts above, and I have to ask, how many of you have read Starship troopers? The movie was gibberish, the director didn't even read the book as he didn't want the book to "ruin his vision". As I said, absolute gibberish. The book was amazing. I read it when I was 13 and then shortly after completing Basic Training at 20, and I understood it as an adult, but not as a kid. This is because it was an examination of society, the human condition, and one soldiers progression from kid to responsible man, taking responsibility for his family/race/whatever you want to put in here. It had things that were considered impossible, but we now know are possible. People are tearing apart these amazing stories while not understanding the key reasons for Sci-Fi to exist, to explore if the impossible were possible. The thing we so often do is look back and see errors in sci-fi from the past...well what will the people in 50-100 years do with the books that you consider to be "scientifically accurate"(said in a snooty British accent)? They will laugh at you and your ideas, but that doesn't mean they were less valid. Remember the ideas of driving. If we traveled over 30 mph, it would kill us as our bodies were crushed. Now we are driving at as much as 10 times that (and more), because someone had imagination. Imagination is caused by stimulation of those centers in the brain, which is most effectively done by exploring the question "What if". So back off the Sci-Fi, it doesn't have to be science fact, just have echoes of it.

portable
portable

Where there is provable science it BETTER be accurate, where it is a theory ("maybe if the bugs were made of this material they could be that big) give us a chance to say well, maybe and go on. But, on one of my pet peeves, lead bullets sparking on concrete... Gimmee a Break!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The reason it's "fiction" is because it is not based on fact. The most important thing Sci Fi does is allow futures technology to be imagined as magic and allow us to explore current social issues under the guise of some distant setting without our personal attachments closing our minds. Similar happens on a much smaller scale when one removes emotionally charged brand names from an idea before reconsidering it.

Hazydave
Hazydave

The critical thing is suspension of disbelief. The science in science fiction should be, well, "sciency". It should be a hopefully reasonable extrapolation of what we know today, along with explanations to account for the differences... leading the reader along an acceptable path from the mundane to the amazing. Those ingredients substantially allow for one's willing suspension of disbelief, and that is the primarily difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy. You could easily have a story about robots or machines, with all kinds of far-fetched, unexplained things happening, without explanation... but that would be a fantasy story. Much of Ray Bradbury's work is in this "futuristic fantasy" realm. On the other hand, a science fiction story could cover a world of wizards and magic, as long as "magic" is discussed as a science... there are rules, experimentation can lead to new discoveries, there are natural laws at play, etc. Obviously, not all tales lead one to the same degree of suspension of disbelief... that whole advanced science vs. magic thing that Clarke suggested. But a critical part of a science fiction story is that grounding of the unbelievable elements in something that passes casual scientific muster. Sure, not everyone needs to be an Arthur C. Clarke or Stephen Baxter... not even Clarke or Baxter, necessarily, in every novel. But there should be that attempt. A fantasy story, by contrast, doesn't generally make this attempt. It can lay all that crazy stuff out there, and well, it's just there, no rhyme or reason. Like the way magic works in "Harry Potter"... it just does. Oddly enough, this was a thesis on a final exam I took in a Science Fiction class, years back, at Rutgers University. I managed a 100% on that exam... might have been a little magic involved.

drawman
drawman

This professor is a prat. It's science FICTION, nobody expects it to be in accord with scientific facts. Has he got nothing useful to do, like some scientific research which is presumably what he gets his fat salary for. He's a buffoon.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

But the two are totally different genres. Science fantasy is where you have things happening without any explanation of them at all, like magic, dragons etc - what we used to call Sword ans Sorcery stories. Science fiction is where you explain how things are and base them on known science facts or theories of the day they were written - I say the last bit as science keeps changing its mind as to what facts are. They must also be internally consistent with their science. A good example is the difference between having magical or mythical creatures just exist, or taking the time to describe how they were genetically created. Whichever is used, you need to write a good and interesting story.

landen99
landen99

The great Sci-Fi books are filled with things which have been realized today as fact, not fiction. My fascination with Star Trek NG is that it always opened my mind to new possibilities. They frequently integrated modern scientific and medical theories and hypotheses with the shows in fascinating and easy to understand ways. Of all Sci-Fi, I hold STNG as the standard for finding the best balance of science and fiction (and ethics) with entertainment. We all have secret fantasies for things like flying without wings. The desire to simply explore a fantasy is rewarding by itself, and we are more than willing to release our attachment to some realistic bounds as long as they don't fundamentally jeopardize the stories foundation in the rest of real science. Without reality, there is no meaning or stability. Without fantasy, there is no openness to new ideas (creativity/innovation).

net.minder
net.minder

In SF, the science often doesn't have to be accurate. But it has to be reasonable! If a character says "Einsteinian physics taught us e=mc," I would get a little upset. Do you see why? Everybody knows it was e=mc^2 (squared is what I mean). On the other hand, if the character said, "These new branches of physics have been developed from Einstein's unpublished work that was locked down for years under the U.S. Government's Official Secrets Act," that's perfectly fine with me. And pretty cool. When Jeff Goldblum's character uploaded the virus from his Mac into the alien computer, I got a little upset. Because it's not reasonable! On the other hand, if Brent Spiner's character had claimed that much of the world's current computer technology had been based on reverse-engineered processors from the Area 51 spaceship, I could have bought the virus-upload scene. I would have liked to watch Jeff Goldblum sweat for a few days, coding in assembly language and testing his virus in Area 51, though. And it would have been easy to fit this into the plot! Stories that take place a century or more in the future often don't suffer from this. Most of the scientific reasonability problems in SF exist in present-day settings, where present-day science isn't handled well. To fix that, all you really need is a genius scientist who makes an accidental breakthrough, a secret military research group, or an extraterrestrial device that is found and activated by your characters. All of these are common, easy plot devices, and any one of them can give you the far-out science you need to tell your story.

boweb
boweb

..the one's who get it and the one's who get it later. Science Fictions is an proposal of technological and psychological advances, it goes beyond the borders and finds new ones. If you create an story within accepted borders without adding an idea, then you created an story purely for entertainment. Good science fictions forces us think about new possibilities and concepts of all sorts.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

More like a kid playing peekaboo over a chair arm.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I remember reading Cyberpunk back in highschool. (RPG game books are the best for fictional details) Building mounted and floating movie screens beltched out advertisements. People carried little wireless phone devices unless using an earbud or cybernetic implant model. Corporations dominated too the point of becoming the new governemnt split among competing entities. Bladerunner gives a pretty accurate depiction. So, years ago, there I was walking to work in the morning with my mp3 player going, mobile phone in my picket, advertisements being belched out by building mounted screens up and down the streets ... We really are living in William Gibson's Virtual Light pre-Cyberpunk society.

bsippo
bsippo

Back in the 1940s/50s/60s during the early blossoming of science fiction this was being argued and the consensus then was two pronged: 1. the science was really the hero, the main point; it was not a story about romance or the like which incidentally included some science. 2. the science should not directly contradict proven facts or theories, It could, however, extend them beyond known limits. It could also postulate further facts and theories so long as they did not contradict the known. Things which went beyond these limits were generally grouped as science fantasy. It still seems a useful set of definitions, even though many older stories have now lost a lot of their punch by being overtaken by developments in science,

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The cultural differences in super heros can be very interesting. In the west, it's running faster than a bullet, leaping tall buildings, being nearly indestructible. (Ironman's key superpower is a bottomless credit card) In the east, it's punching faster and hardware than humanly possible, being able to walk across water and on blades of grass without bending them, turning invisible like the ninja. Taking human maximum physical abilities and extending them. In the west, one has to be bitten by a spider or from another planet. In the east, one just has to try really hard or follow the master's teachings.

Geek3001
Geek3001

I seem to recall seeing bamboo being used as scaffolding in the construction of skyscrapers in the 1960's. The stuff is tough, especially if you are dealing with the higher diameters.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

LOL - I can see it now: "MSTransport has experience a (potentially) fatal error during operation. Do you want MSTransport to: 1) Try and recover as many of the molecules from your human that it can and save it to scrap 2) Restore your human from a previous backup 3) Cancel (Your human will be lost)

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I am such a newb before my third cup of coffee. "Dammit Jim, I'm a Service Desk Jockey, not a Blogger!"

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

What I have observed over the years in watching movies with different people is that whenever fiction wanders into a person's realm of expertise, it tends to jump the shark. I didn't have any problem with ID4, enjoying huge spacecraft hovering over cities with no apparent means of resisting gravity and people outrunning massive explosions on foot, but as soon as Jeff Goldblum "wrote a virus" for an alien operating system, they lost me. I've sat with photographers who gave up on a film because somebody developed a photo in less than ideal conditions with the wrong chemicals and I've even seen a plumber lose it because water did something weird in a building. I didn't notice either problem, but they did. A fictional movie that got all it's facts right would have to have a full time staff of writers checking for each inconsistecy in every possible field. They'd never get the actual story completed. :)

deb_ellen
deb_ellen

Who is to say science fiction writers are not the muse / imaginations of the scientists - the dreamers and the doers. Science fiction is generally based on recognisable scientific fact(s) the writer has looked at, asked 'what if' taken the fact(s)to the nth degree, twisted, flipped, rotated, reversed and turned the fact(s) inside out. Hopefully 'someone' will read that book and say 'why not' and work to prove that it can be done. As one poster has already said - "A good story entertains, A great story entertains and inspires thought." Happy reading!

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I disagree - I think the line is quite fuzzy. Try this exercise: Look at the list below and put them in the category of "Science Fiction" or "Fantasy". If the line is clear, it should take no time at all. (Just do it in your head, this is not a homework assignment). Gattica Contact Planet of the Apes Brazil Dune The Day the Earth Stood Still Star Trek (we'll lump them all together here) Star Wars (same as above) Terminator Avatar Alien The Matrix Back to the Future 2001: A Space Odyssey Vanilla Sky Blade Runner

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

We've done How hollywood can't get sci-fi right, this was "Can Hollywood get the science right" Unfortunately the example film does have a very good book of the same name confusing the issue.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Which was most thought provoking, matter transporters, warp drive etc. Or a multi racial bridge crew. The technical evolution or the social one? It's the impact of technology I find far more of interest, than the nuts an bolts of it. Niven's stuff on the impact of matter transporters for instance. He did a short who dunnit. If you can get anywhere instantly, then everyone has opportunity, leaving only motive and means.... Longevity is a popular tech, but any sane oberver should realise that death exists for a reason, and circumventing it would have profound consequences. Whether it's a wizard's spell, or a genetic treatment is scenery.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

bit too literal. Internal re-inforcing, something stronger than chitin. One of the things the film did get right and possibly by accident is the warrior bugs were slim. Even with better materials big fat round ones that could hit those sorts of speeds just aren't happening. Just to deal with their own inertia, would require even stronger materials. Any reasonable evolutionary process would select for a higher skeleton to flesh ratio.

landen99
landen99

Those who love the fantasy and those who love to explore new possibilities. The first group loves to pretend that the fiction could be real. Whether or not the fiction could ever be real is of relatively little significance or interest to them. The second group loves to explore the unknown for new truths. They don't mind doing this through less realistic frameworks like transporters or stargates, etc. when such merely serve as mechanisms to move the story forward.

Rolland St-Onge
Rolland St-Onge

I'd select option 2 and try to use a backup from 20 years ago...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

A Russian and a Japanese officer; not just high ranking but on the bridge. And a woman in addition. These things fly in the face of the US social norms of the time and especially so close to the cold war years. An irony I find sometimes is people who will tear apart sci fi over "fake technology" but have no end to suspension of disbelief for wizards and unicorns when the same social ideas are challenged in a fantasy setting.

boweb
boweb

They are sending asteroid across the universe. Who know what metal capabilities they have over there body's. An elephants nose did't just fall from the sky, how did they eat before.

MartyL
MartyL

If this were Ringworld, I'd jump right into the engineering rationale behind everything, from bugs to troop transports. But it isn't. In Starship Troopers, we're not dealing with Larry Niven and his informed fan base, but director Paul Verhoeven and whoever among his many potential consultants he chose to listen to. Mr. Verhoeven may be many things to many people, but engineer and xenobiologist are not on the list. Just sayin' . . .

boweb
boweb

..it's not what I had in mind. What is the definition of fiction anyway. And the 'less realistic framework' term is only mind numbing. Who are we to determine the technological evolutions of the near future. The concept works, we just need to figure out how to apply it. Something like this can take a long time, but on the other hand may be possible relatively fast. Look at the technological developments from the last 100 years, and you will find that things may go fast. Look at computer acceptance within the mainstream market. Inspiration is an fine thing.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

my all-time favorite episode of Star Trek. It was as remarkably blatant as the kiss between Kirk and Uhura. Maybe more so, as that kiss was forced by the Platonians.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

There again I've seen some rabid racists enjoy that and poke fun at the silly aliens without applying the lesson to themselves. There again racists are stupid by definition. My favourite quote on color and SF, was from Richrd Prior on the film Logan's run. "Film about the future, not one n***** in it" "White folks are trying to tell us something" :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The episode where they had to be arbitrator between two warring factions (black on left, white on right versus white on left, black on right). Hm.. what blatantly obvious questioning of '60s social norms could that be related too?

dmm99
dmm99

A black woman! And how about the episode where Kirk and Uhura kiss onscreen? (OK, it was a forced kiss, but it was the early 1960s.) And there was a black computer scientist on one episode. Plus, the non-Caucasian actors were regularly given major roles in episodes.

seanferd
seanferd

Those just happened to be the high points of this particular film for me. And I can watch Robocop without cringing. This movie hardly has a story to it, let alone a plot.

seanferd
seanferd

I've been wondering why we would even get to the point that we'd bother critiquing this film on scientific points. :^0 When I saw it, I found the best parts of the film were the mock-propaganda newscasts and such.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

for starship troopers the film, was not high brow intellectuals. Well not unless they wanted a day off, a diet of gratuitous violence and a few pairs of breasts. The latter being about the only part of the film that shouldn't have ended on the cutting room floor. More naked females would have at least made a point. :p Bloody terrible film.