Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:19 pm UTC

Fantasy and Sci-Fi are the same thing, just coming from different directions. Fantasy has Tech/Magic X because Plot, and is probably used to help resolve said plot. Sci-Fi has Plot because Tech/Magic X exists, and the plot is about how Tech/Magic X would change things. Or not change things. That's the loosest, most encompassing definition of the two.

Star Wars is Fantasy (in SPAAAAAAAACE) as it never really discusses the ramifications of the biggest, most cultural-shifting reality - the Force.

Star Trek up to Generations was Sci-Fi in that a huge chunk of the stories boil down to "We [have/don't have] Tech X and they [don't/do] - how do we deal with that?"

In it's movies, from First Contact onward, Star Trek seems to be more Fantasy. Enterprise kinda flip flopped around, did some Sci-Fi stuff but seemed to be mostly Fantasy (actually, more fanservice via "DAE remember Andromedans and Romulans? DAE remember the Borg? We got'em!), from what I recall.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:18 pm UTC

SecondTalon, I love that distinction. Star Wars is indeed much better described as space fantasy, not science fiction. You're absolutely right, the difference is about narrative focus on the supernatural (magic/tech/whatever). Is it a more interesting than reality setting for a story that could happen in other context (fantasy) or is it a story which evolves from a more interesting than reality setting (sci-fi)? Space = Sci Fi and magic = Fantasy is not really what it's about.

Though star wars does have clear science fiction elements. The death star is a galaxy changing deuce ex machina to them, as is on some level the re-emergence of the Jedi. It would be pretty easy (and I'm sure somebody's already done it) to re-set star wars in a traditional medieval setting with the force as a re-emergence of magic long since forgotten and the death star as some emperor created magic machine of doom. Very little would change thematically. It's an interesting point though because changing things around to have a more sci-fi based story would feel distinctly not star wars-ey.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:42 pm UTC

While the names to evoke certain images (Fantasty! Swords! Dragons! Wizards! Sci-Fi! Robots! Lasers! Aliens!), it's completely reasonable to have a Sci-Fi story set in Generic Kingdom #4856 With Peasants and Knights And Shit if the story is about how society is affected by various magics they utilize, take for granted and so on - like, nigh-Immortal Kings using anti-aging spells and magical defenses yet are unable to keep up with the shifting political climates due to their clinging to the old ways aka How Would The World Be if Ceasar Was Still Around And Active In Italian Politics, essentially. That's Sci-Fi.

Fantasy is a giant moon-sized deathsphere that was built for .. reasons.. and is powered by...reasons.. and is able to get up to speed quickly enough to move about the galaxy in a relatively acceptable rate of travel for .. reasons.. and then is promptly destroyed by a single person using magic + small fighter weaponry.

Now, alter the timeline a bit - make the Death Star be something that's been around for a decade or two and the political climate due to knowing the Government is content to simply remove your existence completely in a big, public way if you get a little unruly, and then a plot to destroy it led by a dissident group... now you've got some Sci-Fi. And a completely different, not-even-close-to Star Wars story.

Which, the more I think about it and the more I think about JJ's Trek, the more I think that JJ and Star Wars is a good fit.

But yeah, Fantasy and Sci-Fi are both very much about the Tech/Magic in them, just that Fantasy uses it as a tool and Sci-Fi as the source of the story. Without the stuff, Fantasy's plot couldn't be resolved, but Sci-Fi's plot wouldn't even exist.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

If the death star were a fantasy element, it would be a long standing and well known central part of the empire. Having it blown up by a torpedo fired at an exhaust port works fine, there's nothing really sci-fi about that. Having it be a game-changing presence in the universe though is a clear Sci-Fi element.There was a fantasy world with an empire and a rebellion, sith and jedi, but now it's a fantasy world about to be turned on it's head by a galaxy threatening ball of mobile death on a planetary scale. In a purely fantasy star wars, the death star would need to be much more tame.

Maybe fantasy is the unspoken draw of star wars. Fantasy set in a futuristic world. Generally when you talk about the future you talk about how it will change people's lives and beliefs but star wars wasn't about that. It was a future world that was not dynamic or new or cutting edge. It simply was, like a true fantasy setting. It was at it's essence a much more complete fantasy universe combined with what was seemingly new to us. Future fantasy, so to speak, is far less common than it might appear.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:26 pm UTC

The problem is that SciFi hasn't split out the political commentary/philosophy/social commentary/etc from the cheap entertainment. Starship Troopers is about the questions of duty. The Forever War was a giant middle finger to Starship Troopers (which Heinlein loved). Ender's Game and original sequels question the right to kill, the nature of communication with aliens, and how xenobiology might cause different morality to come into effect. Dune was a metaphor for the Mideast and oil. I, Robot was a boring collection of stories about the birth of AI. The Handmaiden's Tale was about the logical conclusions of the fundamentalist Christians. Fahrenheit 451 was about the dangers of censorship (unless you are the author, in which case it's about the dangers of stupid TV). The Twighlight Zone is probably the best example of social commentary.

The Scifi that doesn't do this IS nothing more than space fantasy, like Star Wars. Sure, nothing is purely philosophy and nothing has no real world comparisons, but some works are clearly on one side rather than the other.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:30 pm UTC

Heh. To borrow language and ideas from other sources...

The Sci-Fi/Fantasy distinction isn't binary, it's a spectrum.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:40 pm UTC

Would a scifi series changing to a fantasy one be transgenred?

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Adacore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:58 am UTC

I've read several fantasy books/stories where the central premise is something like "what would happen to society (or this subset thereof) if magic existed". Does that mean they were not fantasy, but sci-fi?

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:31 am UTC

That's exactly what it means.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:19 am UTC

Depends. Like what was said earlier, it's a spectrum, not binary. Is the book about the nature of humanity? What does the book say about our society? Does the book explore the implications of the magic, or is it just "there" to push the plot forward? Terry Pratchett is probably the best example to go by. Discworld is less about being a cheap fantasy and more about the nature of society. It's still "fantasy", but it's pretty far on the other side of the spectrum.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:19 pm UTC

Well, I agree. The real world with magic can be done completely fantasy, completely sci-fi, or something much less clear. A completely fantasy story would be where magic has always existed and doesn't change over the course of the story as a concept. The story covers characters going through something that is not in itself about magic (growing up, relationships, etc). A completely Sci-Fi world would be one where most things are similar to our reality but the focus is on how magic as a narrative element creates different circumstances and results from having magic in the world that allow us to re-examine some element of human interaction or disposition.

I guess Sci-Fi is an element not really a genre. It's a fictional science added to a fictional story for purposes of discussing some baser thing. It's a logical construct, a means to an end. Fantasy is a fictional story in a fictional world. Simply having a fictional world as a setting is fantasy, nothing more nothing less. What you do with that setting determines if there are any science fiction elements. The degree of fantasy is the degree of difference between the setting and our reality, whatever that difference is.

SO that stuff said, a story of "everything is the same EXCEPT" adding a fictional element would typically lean towards Sci Fi and "here's a clearly non-reality based setting that fairly normal (for our reality) stuff happens in" would be the path towards fantasy. To me at least.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Diadem » Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:38 pm UTC

Is there a particular reason that we're pretending that books can only belong to exactly one genre?

"Is this fantasy or SF" is a false dichotomy. It could also be neither, or both.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Zcorp » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:14 pm UTC

Who is pretending that?

"Is this fantasy or SF" is not a false dichotomy, and asking if it is one or the other is not stating it can't be both.

The last bit of discussion is largely about definitions not about exclusion of fitting multiple genres. Just because it is conceivable that something could be both SF and Fantasy does not mean that Star Wars is both.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:52 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Is there a particular reason that we're pretending that books can only belong to exactly one genre?

"Is this fantasy or SF" is a false dichotomy. It could also be neither, or both.


Nope, other than some people getting offended if you call their Sci-Fi books Fantasy for %reasons, and vice versa.

Zcorp wrote:Who is pretending that?
Some of people. Probably the same sort of person who is a die-hard Star Wars fan and will curse at you if you suggest they watch a Star Trek series.

I'm pretty sure they are a minority, though, and that a lot of them just haven't stopped to think critically about the subject to determine that yes, that book with the space ships and laser bombs is totally a fantasy novel, and that other book with wizards is more sci-fi than anything.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Adam H » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:35 pm UTC

Meh. If it's in space it's sci-fi. If it has magic it's fantasy. If it has both or neither, then argue about the genre using a more refined definition.

IMHO. ;)
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

Spelljammer
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:08 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Spelljammer


Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, where the planet Proton (sole known source of the mysterious power mineral known as Protonite) is twinned with the mystical realm of Phaze. Proton is a largely by-the-numbers SF-like setting; Phaze an equally conventional fantasy realm.

Part of the problem is that "science fiction" is used both to refer to "fiction where science and/or technology plays a pivotal role" and "fiction set in space and/or the (sufficiently distant) future"

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:21 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Spelljammer

Roger Zelazny.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:14 pm UTC

Yep. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just from different directions.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:42 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Yep. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are the same thing, just from different directions.

I disagree. I think Fantasy is a setting. To me, what you just said is like saying "Fantasy and Fiction are the same thing, just from different directions". All fantasy is fiction but not all fiction is fantasy. The reason we have a separate word is because fantasy's meaning is about a non-realistic setting. I would argue Sci Fi has very little overlap with fantasy as well. It's an element not a setting.

I wonder how Abrams views Star Wars. If he makes the force into a Sci Fi element, introduces first contact scenarios or other Sci-Fi elements it won't feel much like mostly space-fantasy Star Wars.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:06 pm UTC

Lucas already made the force a sci fi element. The spiritual connection that every living thing has to each other? The threads that bind relationships, that a rare few can learn to sense or manipulate for our or their own general benefit? That's just bacteria in your bloodstream.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:19 pm UTC

Sorry, I was ignoring 1-3 in my mind again. I kind of disassociate them. I'm not in the full on ignore camp but I lump them in with non-lucas created books, games, clone wars, whatever. I realize that distinction line isn't exactly logical as much as based on preference.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:44 pm UTC

Yeah, it's such a shame we never got a backstory on Obi Wan and the Clone Wars. Was he a clone of a Jedi named OB-1 that was saved as a child by Darth Vader before Vader became evil, thus the adoration for Anakin? And the advanced aging of the cloning turned him into an old man by the time of A New Hope?

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby freezeblade » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:49 pm UTC

look, I wouldn't worry about that.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby ahammel » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:08 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Lucas already made the force a sci fi element. The spiritual connection that every living thing has to each other? The threads that bind relationships, that a rare few can learn to sense or manipulate for our or their own general benefit? That's just bacteria in your bloodstream.

The fact that it's magical bacteria doesn't change the fact that it's magic.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:58 pm UTC

While true, it does change it from an unknown operating on unknown rules for an unknown purpose to a quantifiable element, measurable before birth and possibly adjustable with the right sort of meddling.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:55 pm UTC

I had an interesting thought at some odd hour of half-sleep brought to me by SecondTalon's rantings (don't let it go to your head). Maybe Abrams will go right at the revisionist stuff in episode 7 and have an old Luke talking about the force to somebody. In my imaginary scene, Luke gives a very episode 4-6 force description, as he was RAISED to (bitches) and the recipient then says something like "I thought the force was just mediclorian bacteria inside all living things" at which point Luke directly says: "No, in the past there were a lot of wild theories on why the force behaves as it does. In reality, it is a mystery without such a simple solution" or somesuch awesomeness. FROM: Abams TO: Lucas. Subject: EAT IT!
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:04 pm UTC

People complained about how Aliens had no place in an adventure series (Indiana Jones and the Abomination of a Movie), because while aliens are effectively 'magic', it's an entirely different sort of magic than adventure series magic. It's foolish to say that you can't mix and match magic types, but it's a problem when you fundamentally change the magic that the setting already established. Star Wars ran on 'psychic monks with laser swords' as its magic, not 'super powered bacteria' as its magic.

It'd be similar to, for example, Superheroes showing up in a James Bond movie. James Bond's magic is already established as 'super spy has super bullet evasion and STD immunity', unless you go by the theory that Bond is a code name for all the agents to take when the previous one dies of alcohol poisoning. Superheroes run on the magic of 'person with super abilities granted by radiation or something', adding it changes the movie magic. Nothing says you can't make a new super spy movie with superheroes, you just can't take an already established one.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Whizbang » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:31 pm UTC

Retcon: Mediclorian = Bacteria attracted to Force users.

This will make Ep1 fit with the rest of the universe. The Force caused the mediclorians, not the mediclorians caused the Force. Jedi, or maybe just Qui-Gon, got it wrong because Good Is Dumb.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby ahammel » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:55 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:Retcon: Mediclorian = Bacteria attracted to Force users.

This will make Ep1 fit with the rest of the universe. The Force caused the mediclorians, not the mediclorians caused the Force. Jedi, or maybe just Qui-Gon, got it wrong because Good Is Dumb.

You're making it worse by drawing more attention to the annoying thing which never had any plot significance anyway.

I like mosc's solution better. Even better would be to go back to the "it's magic" attitude and pretend the mediclorian thing prequels never happened.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby pkcommando » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:56 pm UTC

And now we have an official title: The Horse Force Awakens.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby mosc » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:24 pm UTC

I'm sorry, I can't NOT be ecstatically excited. I feel pathetic and dirty... and ecstatically excited!
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Whizbang » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:26 pm UTC

What is not to be ecstatically excited about space-wizards from the past-future? Even if done badly, it's still really awesome.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Lazar » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:07 pm UTC

I feel indifferent toward the title they've chosen, although I'm still excited about the movie in general.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Diadem » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:32 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:And now we have an official title: The Horse Force Awakens.

So, it will turn out that the Force was caused by Cthulhu all along?
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby pkcommando » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:03 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:I feel indifferent toward the title they've chosen, although I'm still excited about the movie in general.

Yeah, I don't hate the title, but I don't really like that much either. I couldn't really place my finger on what it was until, in another discussion, one poster noted that it sounds more like a tagline than a title.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby jaap » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:33 pm UTC

pkcommando wrote:
Lazar wrote:I feel indifferent toward the title they've chosen, although I'm still excited about the movie in general.

Yeah, I don't hate the title, but I don't really like that much either. I couldn't really place my finger on what it was until, in another discussion, one poster noted that it sounds more like a tagline than a title.

So would "The Awakening of the Force" be better?

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Whizbang » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:59 pm UTC

Star Wars: Super Bad-Ass Laser-Sword Fights and Some Telekinesis and Other Cool Special Effects, Now Without Jar-Jar!

That has a nice ring to it.

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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: The Boogaloo of Electricity

Postby mathmannix » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:07 pm UTC

jaap wrote:
pkcommando wrote:
Lazar wrote:I feel indifferent toward the title they've chosen, although I'm still excited about the movie in general.

Yeah, I don't hate the title, but I don't really like that much either. I couldn't really place my finger on what it was until, in another discussion, one poster noted that it sounds more like a tagline than a title.

So would "The Awakening of the Force" be better?

Well, let's look at the other titles so far. The first episodes in the two trilogies, IV and I, are both "{article} {adjective} {noun}." V is "{article} {noun} {verb} {adverb}". VI, II, and III are all "{noun} of the {noun}", so we perhaps think of that as the standard formula, but really it's only half, and not used for the first episodes of the trilogies.
Based on this, I would prefer "The Awakened Force" (or something similar, like "The Renewed Force"), but the title right now for VII ("{article} {noun} {verb}") is closest to the formula for V, which many people believe to be the best in the whole series so far.
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Re: Star Wars: Episode 7: Electric Boogaleven

Postby Adam H » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:22 pm UTC

"Awakens" is a pretty cheesy word. But I think the title is great. It's not like the other titles are awesome, other than the awesomeness induced by nostalgia.

An arbitrary ranking of the titles:
1) The Empire Strikes Back
2) The Phantom Menace
3) The Return of the Jedi
4) A New Hope
5) Attack of the Clones
6) Revenge of the Sith

If "The Force Awakens" refers to something semi-awesome, I'd probably put it in second place ahead of The Phantom Menace. If it is meaningless and only refers to the fact that it's an awakening of the franchise, it would be one of the worst.
-Adam


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