View Poll Results: Star Wars...Science Fiction or Space Fantasy

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  • Science Fiction

    2 5.56%
  • Space Fantasy

    29 80.56%
  • combination of both

    5 13.89%
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Thread: Star Wars...True Science Fiction or Space Fantasy?

  1. #16
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    I haven't actually watched any other sci fi shows or movies, so I'm basing this on what I know so far...
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  2. #17
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    The way I see it is that Star Wars is Space Fantasy or Space Opera. These are shows with unbelievable technology or magic. whereas Science Fiction estrapolates on known scientific fact, developing theories on how science could develop.

    Good examples of Science Fiction are: 2001, Star Trek (mostly), Frankenstein

    Good examples of Space Fantasy/Opera: Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Red Dwarf.

    Mostly series overlap though. The EU has told us how lightsabers work and other technology answers while Star Trek has it's share of fantastical aliens such as Q.
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  3. #18
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    I'd have to say Space Fantasy all the way.

    Some of the Star Wars tech does fall into the realm of "feasible," but only just barely and by a very minute margin, at least going by the "Science of Star Wars" special that History Channel had on a few months ago.
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  4. #19
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    I'd Star Wars is space opera, Star Trek is very light sci fi, Asamov is sci fi, new Battlestar Galatica is sci fi, and Firefly is a western set in sci fi or pulpish sci fi which Star War is also but at the grand scale.
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  5. #20
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    Space Fantasy, hands down. Science fiction may get epic and/or absurd at times, but Star Wars is not science fiction. I'm not sure I'd even call it space opera. It's far beyond that.

    Oh, and Jedi_Shadow, you're incorrect. While, yes, a science fiction story must contain something with science, it doesn't necessarily have to be caused or solved by science. Soft science fiction, for example, wasn't about science, it was about people, and most science fiction still is about people. Unless you get Alastair Reynolds and the "Radical Hard SF" gang out here.

    If we want to get real technical with subgenres, Firefly (and by extension, Serenity) was a "space western" and/or "naturalistic science fiction". Star Trek is just crappy science fiction. Star Wars is science fantasy. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and alternative history all fall under the umbrella category of "speculative fiction", which also includes the new genre of slipstream or "interstitial fiction", which blends speculative with mainstream. (I don't have any good examples, unfortunately). Technically, one can just write straight up speculative fiction, but that is highly nebulous and would probably be subjugated under a subgenre, or simply labeled slipstream.
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  6. #21

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    wait what? You mean you guys haven't discovered it's historical fact yet.

    I mean seriously there are traces of it throughout earth history if you know what to look for...

    okay that aside let me just say that one of the things that draws me to starwars is the not frsh out of the box looks.

    The Millenium Falcon isn't shiny crome covered rocket ship style. It's a sliced rusty hulk pushed beyond it's intent.

    Mos Eisly cantina is a hive of scum and villiany, not a shiny sky lounge; filled with hollywood celebrities.

    It's used and real and some of the people are bigots or drug addicts. There is a centuries old fued between ideologies that is killing people in the criossfire.

    Morally ambiguous piolts/smugglers who left the imperial service (at least that was one of the concepts for Han at one point), with a former imperial slave deal in illeagal drug and yet are exactly who the righteous heroes seek for help and later freindship.

    It could have been grittier but for the time and the audiance, it was done well.

    That being said, it does have elements of fantasy, actually more mythology. If you've ever read or heard Campells (sp) take on heroic myth then you know what I mean.

    But that doesn't mean that real life and technological science can't find ways of making this kind of this more real.

    I think it was Niven who said that even hard science fiction has some loop holes. They have there ecception that we let slip. One story might have everything exactly as science dictates... eccept that they made a space flight from andromida to mars in a few days. There is a threshhold of suspension of disbelief. After that threshhold has been crossed it's pure make believe. The thing is that Starwars seems to be squarely in the middle of a yards long threshold.
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  7. #22
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    I once heard sci-fi described as a story like any other, except that if you remove the science from it, the story won't work. *shrug*

    Personally, I put Star Wars down as Science Fantasy all the way - every element from The Lord of the Rings or Magician is in it, just with a technological bent.

    Lightsabres & The Force is still Sword & Sorcery...

    David Brin summed up the primary difference between Star Wars and Star Trek, in my opinion, when he pointed out that Star Wars is all about a single individual solving problems because of their bloodline or birthright (ie: the Skywalkers), whereas Star Trek is about groups solving problems because of their skills. Star Trek focuses on human drama with a tecchie background, whereas Star Wars taps much more into the Hero mythology.

    In other words "anyone could grow up to be" a Kirk or a Picard, but only a select few could "grow up to be" a Skywalker.

    It's not a bad delineation between sci-fi and space fantasy, in my not-so-humble opinion.
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  8. #23

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    Well I'm gonna have to disagree with the part about only a select few can grow up to be a skywalker.

    The basic idea of the hero journey in mythologies is that the hero respesents you the audiance. S/he begins as a child and is offered a chance at a quest, in this case refuses, only to be forced to be heroic and embrace the change. Leaving home and through struggles that ultimately bring them into conflict with the harsh world does the hero die and become reborn. A pheonix that resembles the child that runs home when it gets bad to and adult incontrol of their own destiny. Mythology is a how to live demonstration through metaphor. Ultimately it's a story of how to become a healthy adult and give benfit to and get benefits to the world.

    Fairytales on the otherhand are more of a normal person meets unusual puzzle that is used to point out how we think and act by means of obsurd examples. Then at the end the characters are victorious and prove the moral of the story. No overarching life guide is usually present. This is the area into which I feel Trek falls. How do non federations live, what are the courses of ones life in that setting.

    That's why I think scifi is often fairy tales in the future, and space fantasy falls short of the mark.
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  9. #24
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    Originally posted by Jaggard
    Well I'm gonna have to disagree with the part about only a select few can grow up to be a skywalker.


    Within the confines of the Star Wars universe, this is most certainly true. What was Anakin's childhood friend's name? Can't remember off the top of my head...

    Could he grow up to be an incredibly powerful Force user or Jedi Knight?

    Could he grow up to be a talented, well-trained and skilful say...warrior? Pilot? Diplomat?

    Without changing the canon of what we know, the answers to those questions have to be, in order, "No" and "Yes".

    He doesn't have enough midichlorians to be a Force-sensitive. He could never be a Jedi because he can't use the Force.

    It's like saying my son (who is blood type O +ve) could grow up to be AB -ve..

    On the other hand, all the other options are due to skill and determination, not some inherent quality that is either present or lacking.

    The basic idea of the hero journey in mythologies is that the hero respesents you the audiance. S/he begins as a child and is offered a chance at a quest, in this case refuses, only to be forced to be heroic and embrace the change. Leaving home and through struggles that ultimately bring them into conflict with the harsh world does the hero die and become reborn. A pheonix that resembles the child that runs home when it gets bad to and adult incontrol of their own destiny. Mythology is a how to live demonstration through metaphor. Ultimately it's a story of how to become a healthy adult and give benfit to and get benefits to the world.

    Fairytales on the otherhand are more of a normal person meets unusual puzzle that is used to point out how we think and act by means of obsurd examples. Then at the end the characters are victorious and prove the moral of the story. No overarching life guide is usually present. This is the area into which I feel Trek falls. How do non federations live, what are the courses of ones life in that setting.

    That's why I think scifi is often fairy tales in the future, and space fantasy falls short of the mark.
    Nicely put. I'd never looked at it from that perspective before, but I think you're onto something. I'm not sure there has to be a "moral" to a sci-fi story, but in terms of it being a "problem-solving story", I think you're on the right track.
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  10. #25
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    There doesn't necessarily have to be a pithy "moral" to the story, but I'd say the story itself has to be moral. Star Wars, like most (if not all) good fantasy, is about good vs. evil, and in the end, good always triumphs over evil. That, I'd say, is one of the things that separates space fantasy from science fiction, and I think it's one of the areas where some of the recent anti-hero plot sequences in Star Wars have gone wrong.

    What's interesting about Star Wars from a roleplaying perspective is that, yeah, anybody can be a Skywalker-type character, because we can make our characters that way. Sure, Kitster may never become a Jedi, but there are enough Mara Jades, Corran Horns, and Compton Tareshes out there that we can all have good, heroic, space fantasy roleplaying adventures.

  11. #26
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    Star Wars, like most (if not all) good fantasy, is about good vs. evil, and in the end, good always triumphs over evil. That, I'd say, is one of the things that separates space fantasy from science fiction
    That's a really good point. One large driving point in classic Sci-Fi is deciding what is right and what is wrong. Is our view of morality correct, or does it lack some perspective or is it flawed in some way? To what extent do our understanding and paradigms affect our views of good and evil?
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  12. #27
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    Eh, not all fantasy (and certainly not all space fantasy) has to have a clear good vs. evil dichotomy, and good does not always win. That's really only true for Star Wars, and even then not always.

    What I think makes Star Wars fantasy, not science fiction, is that most of the rules of physics are thrown out, and there is, of course, "The Force". However, I am being led to believe that fantasy and science fiction will only become more and more blurred as times go on, and in a few decades we'll have to call everything by the catch-all term of "speculative fiction".
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  13. #28
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    In most fantasy I've read, the good vs. evil dichotomy is pretty clear. I understand it's a pretty broad generalization to say that "all" fantasy has to focus on that dichotomy, and you're certainly correct that the line isn't nearly as clear in space fantasy, but I'm still going to stand by my statement that it's generally true of fantasy - at least classic fantasy. As Western civilization becomes more and more obsessed with moral relativism, that becomes more ambiguous, but that's not really a tangent I want to get off on, either.

    The discussion of what is good (and by extension, what is evil) comes up a lot more commonly (in my opinion) in science fiction, as Fingon mentioned. Science fiction asks us to examine our view of reality, and morality can't always be taken at face value. That's not to say that the same can't be true in fantasy, but again, in most fantasy I've read (whether space fantasy or otherwise), a certain point of view is postulated to be correct, and the story is built upon that postulate.

    But as SmugglerJedi points out, neither science fiction nor fantasy fit precisely into those rails, so the morality tale on its own probably can't be used to judge whether something is science fiction or space fantasy.

  14. #29
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    I was just thinking about low fantasy works such as Conan when I read that post. In a lot of low fantasy tales things get murky.

    To be honest, I wished people stopped trying to shove morality into our fiction. Just tell the frelling story!
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  15. #30
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    To be honest, I wished people stopped trying to shove morality into our fiction. Just tell the frelling story!
    I generally don't agree with this, actually. Stories can be SO much more interesting with ethics and morality involved, as long as they are done well. I will agree that people shouldn't put in morality just 'cause. It's tacky.
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