PDA

View Full Version : SF, defended from its fans...


Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 10:35 AM
Bit of a rant this, but hopefully it will start an interesting ding-dong.

Speaking as a great and long-time fan of the genre, I’ve just got to know – why are so many of us such incredible dorks? How did such an enormous flock of socially underdeveloped, borderline autists come to congregate around the books, films and TV that I love? And more importantly, how the hell do we stop it?

It doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else. Nobody feels the need to publish, or even discuss, the engineering schematics of Manderlay. There appears to be remarkably little Bleak House fan fiction. There is no collectible range of Harry Angstrom action figures (Rabbit is posable!), and if there were I suspect that even the most rabid Updike fan would have little interest in them.

It irritates me, partially because the general contempt for SF comes from this – it’s no good blaming 'closed mindedness' when the public face of Science Fiction is so deeply embarrassing.

Mainly, however, it’s because I believe it to be the cause of the horrifying poverty of imagination from which the film and TV arm of the genre in particular suffer, On the one hand, the whole ‘nerd movement’ seems to be rather narrow minded, offering vocal and often distressingly angry opposition to things they percieve as ‘off-canon’. On the other they appear to have almost no critical faculties, being perfectly happy to consume endless shonkily-written ‘novelisations’ and obsessive episode-by-episode breakdowns of their favourite TV series.

Is that fair? Or not? If not, why not? If so, what’s going on?

Wolfman
29th October 2007, 11:04 AM
Bit of a rant this, but hopefully it will start an interesting ding-dong.

Speaking as a great and long-time fan of the genre, I’ve just got to know – why are so many of us such incredible dorks? How did such an enormous flock of socially underdeveloped, borderline autists come to congregate around the books, films and TV that I love? And more importantly, how the hell do we stop it?

It doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else. Nobody feels the need to publish, or even discuss, the engineering schematics of Manderlay. There appears to be remarkably little Bleak House fan fiction. There is no collectible range of Harry Angstrom action figures (Rabbit is posable!), and if there were I suspect that even the most rabid Updike fan would have little interest in them.

It irritates me, partially because the general contempt for SF comes from this – it’s no good blaming 'closed mindedness' when the public face of Science Fiction is so deeply embarrassing.

Mainly, however, it’s because I believe it to be the cause of the horrifying poverty of imagination from which the film and TV arm of the genre in particular suffer, On the one hand, the whole ‘nerd movement’ seems to be rather narrow minded, offering vocal and often distressingly angry opposition to things they percieve as ‘off-canon’. On the other they appear to have almost no critical faculties, being perfectly happy to consume endless shonkily-written ‘novelisations’ and obsessive episode-by-episode breakdowns of their favourite TV series.

Is that fair? Or not? If not, why not? If so, what’s going on?
*sigh*

I have to explain this again?!?

Millions of years ago, the evil galactic emperor Xenu gathered up aliens from numerous worlds who sought to oppose him, dropped them into volcanoes on earth, then dropped hydrogen bombs on them. Their spirits have roamed our planet ever since, and are the cause of all pain, suffering, confusion, mental illness, etc.

Science fiction is a subconscious reflection of the memories of these alien creatures; and sci-fi conventions, when people dress up, are actually one of the most obvious demonstrable truths of what the Honorable L. Ron Hubbard revealed all those many years ago -- it is a re-enactment of the lives and dreams of countless different alien species who now populate our minds.

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 11:52 AM
Why doesn't anybody tell me these things? If only this obvious, plausible theory had the publicity it deserves! Perhaps we could persuade some prominent celebrity to endorse it...

rcronk
29th October 2007, 11:54 AM
Perhaps the socially retarded (I mean challenged) are compensating for their feelings of inadequacy through fantasy/SF roles - even dressing up as the characters through which they vicariously satisfy their need to feel not only adequate but powerful? The same ilk seems to bury themselves deep in role playing games, perhaps for the same reason. It almost seems like it's a drug to them.

Or, the Hubbard thing.

Fnord
29th October 2007, 12:01 PM
Why doesn't anybody tell me these things? If only this obvious, plausible theory had the publicity it deserves! Perhaps we could persuade some prominent celebrity to endorse it...

Yeah, we could call the hypothesis "Sciencefictiontheology" or maybe some shortened form thereof!

Never mind ... I made my saving throw, and my character sees through the illusion.

fuelair
29th October 2007, 12:09 PM
If you have ever been to a recent (last 10 years or so) SF con and hit the gaming room(s), you would reconsider immediately your opinion of SF fans overall - the gamers make the dorkiest of the fans look like true social adepts!! Just in the matter of hygiene there is a hardcore difference.
Trekkies and Warties are pretty bad too just in a mildly different way.

But, as a dealer (huckster) I sell freely and of my own will to all!!! (Well, except to the gamers who do not come to deal/watch/read or buy, but only to game as long as they can/wherever they can - and wash not or rarely).

uruk
29th October 2007, 12:27 PM
There are a certain breed of people who are born socialy inept. Social ineptitute leads to having extra alone time. This time is usualy spent on reading. The extra brain exercise leads to some deeper thinking about the world around you. This leads some to develope an interest in science.
The interest in science naturaly leads the person to the science fiction genra, since it is for the most part a literary genera and it combines the two things most people, who like science fiction, are interested . Gadgets and women with big metal boob protectors.

No since being socialy inept does not exclude you from the desire to socialize people who share the same interest tend to flock together because they have something incommon to talk about and break the ice.

Now having a little extra brain power and being interested in science and thus science fiction, AND having poorly developed social skills makes for some really bizzare debates about wether Wookies braid armpit hair or if Shanter and Stewart actually enjoyed wearing pantyhose while on horses in Startrek: Generations.

Others realize thier fellow bretherin are willing to pay cash through the nose to know how many toilets there are on a D7 Klingon battelcruiser or if the Tardis can actually make a long distance phone call.

it's basicaly what you get when to get a bunch of people together who share the same interests and want to socialize.

Fnord
29th October 2007, 12:31 PM
Forgive me, father; it has been 13 years since my last convention.

I have taken Gene Roddenberry's name in vain.

I have committed the apostasy of promoting the Fourth Law of Robotics, and in the name of Asimov.

I have adulterated a "Babylon V" roleplaying game with "AD&D" creatures from the lower planes.

I have canceled my subscriptions to "Analog" and "Astounding" magazines.

There are no books of "Dune" in my home.

I have taught my children to play "Everquest."

I have friends ... yes, father; friends! Real, honest, flesh-and-blood friends! And they like me! ... who publically deny and disavow any interest in the Science Fiction Channel and any movie with the word "Star" in its title.

Finally, father, I have traded my first-issue copy of "THX-1138" for a pirated copy of "Wizards."

What is my penance?

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 12:57 PM
Perhaps the socially retarded (I mean challenged) are compensating for their feelings of inadequacy through fantasy/SF roles - even dressing up as the characters through which they vicariously satisfy their need to feel not only adequate but powerful? The same ilk seems to bury themselves deep in role playing games, perhaps for the same reason. It almost seems like it's a drug to them.

Or, the Hubbard thing.

See,this is my underlying worry with all this. Tom Disch, I think, called SF a 'fundamentally puerile medium', and it worries me that he might be globally correct. Do I just have to resign myself to being surrounded by literary tropes that are catnip to the helpless and immature (evasion of mortality, simplifed (perhaps even no) sexuality, limitless power...)? Am I even still attracted to these tropes - can a love of SF ever be truly psychologically healthy?

Darat
29th October 2007, 01:13 PM
Forgive me, father; it has been 13 years since my last convention.

I have taken Gene Roddenberry's name in vain.

I have committed the apostasy of promoting the Fourth Law of Robotics, and in the name of Asimov.

I have adulterated a "Babylon V" roleplaying game with "AD&D" creatures from the lower planes.

I have canceled my subscriptions to "Analog" and "Astounding" magazines.

There are no books of "Dune" in my home.

I have taught my children to play "Everquest."

I have friends ... yes, father; friends! Real, honest, flesh-and-blood friends! And they like me! ... who publically deny and disavow any interest in the Science Fiction Channel and any movie with the word "Star" in its title.

Finally, father, I have traded my first-issue copy of "THX-1138" for a pirated copy of "Wizards."

What is my penance?

Analog and Astounding are the same magazine, the name Astounding was last used in the issue dated September 1960, in which it appeared faintly behind the new name of Analog...


(I am not a dork!)

rcronk
29th October 2007, 01:14 PM
If it is an addiction, it could keep a person from maturing emotionally. Some of the effects SF addiction has on its users seem to be very similar to other addictions. These things all seem to provide an escape from reality to the point that the person rarely has to work through or deal with reality, keeping them stunted in their emotional growth.

I don't think the problem lies with SF as much as it lies with the person using SF as a drug. This conversation sounds a bit silly, but now that I'm looking at this, it really starts looking like an addiction for some people. I've worked with hundreds of addicts and many of them switch addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc.) and gaming and SF can provide an alternative addiction that is less guilt ridden, less expensive, slightly more socially acceptable, or (on the surface) less destructive. Even escaping into books can provide a similar detachment from reality for some of the addicts I've worked with. And it's usually never about the item being used as much as it is about the user of these items and the purpose for which they are using them. Even conspiracy theories can act as an escape or detachment from reality or even be a method of deriving false self worth through intellectual elitism, etc.

Or, the Hubbard thing.

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 01:16 PM
There are a certain breed of people who are born socialy inept. Social ineptitute leads to having extra alone time. This time is usualy spent on reading. The extra brain exercise leads to some deeper thinking about the world around you. This leads some to develope an interest in science.
The interest in science naturaly leads the person to the science fiction genra, since it is for the most part a literary genera and it combines the two things most people, who like science fiction, are interested . Gadgets and women with big metal boob protectors.

No since being socialy inept does not exclude you from the desire to socialize people who share the same interest tend to flock together because they have something incommon to talk about and break the ice.

Now having a little extra brain power and being interested in science and thus science fiction, AND having poorly developed social skills makes for some really bizzare debates about wether Wookies braid armpit hair or if Shanter and Stewart actually enjoyed wearing pantyhose while on horses in Startrek: Generations.

Others realize thier fellow bretherin are willing to pay cash through the nose to know how many toilets there are on a D7 Klingon battelcruiser or if the Tardis can actually make a long distance phone call.

it's basicaly what you get when to get a bunch of people together who share the same interests and want to socialize.

I don't buy the idea that the socially inept will naturally read SF. Why not detective fiction or police procedurals? Or, indeed, techno-adventure thrillers of the Crichton kind? All of these, at their low end, provide the lack of troubling emotional complexity coupled with obsessive attention to detail that these people seem to crave?

And on the flipside, how is it that nerdosity exists at all outside sci-fi. Are the buffoons who file around Dublin every Bloomsday in search of a cheese sandwich, or the Jane Austen wonks (truliy the Trekkies of 19th century litterature), going through the same psychological process? How can people with poor social skills even read Ulysses - it would surely require an understanding of the human condition that is beyond them?

However, I suspect your penultimate paragraph is, depressingly, the key. Can it be just that there's money to be made from these people? A bit of laser-drenched hackwork, an afternoon signing autographs, cash in hand, ta? How awful...

dudalb
29th October 2007, 01:18 PM
The Sci Fi /Fantasy fans are bad enough,heaven knows, but their brothers the Comic Books fans (and yes,there is a HUGE Crossover ) are even worse. We have had a few examples here.
The real problems is that only a minority of Sci fi fans actually read Science Fiction. The media obssesed fanboys are now in the heavy majority.
Fnord, a major problem is a lot of Sci Fi "Fans" have never heard of Asimov,let along the Laws of Robotics.

dudalb
29th October 2007, 01:20 PM
I don't think the problem lies with SF as much as it lies with the person using SF as a drug.

Bingo.
I read a lot of Fantasy and Science Fiction,but avoid organized fandom because of the stupidity factor.
In fact a real problem is that a majority of the fans nowdays don't actually read Sci Fi,but just watch the movies and tv Shows.

Piscivore
29th October 2007, 01:23 PM
http://www.theofficeconvention.com/

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 01:26 PM
The Sci Fi /Fantasy fans are bad enough,heaven knows, but their brothers the Comic Books fans (and yes,there is a HUGE Crossover ) are even worse. We have had a few examples here.
The real problems is that only a minority of Sci fi fans actually read Science Fiction. The media obssesed fanboys are now in the heavy majority.
Fnord, a major problem is a lot of Sci Fi "Fans" have never heard of Asimov,let along the Laws of Robotics.

My problem that a lot of "fans" seem to believe that the Laws of Robotics are actual, real Laws that Robots will obey if you build them

(I don't like Asimov much, to be honest, being more of a New Wave man. Frankly, any worthwhile AI with that built into its system would go mental considering the ramifications the second you booted it up...).

Magic 9-Ball
29th October 2007, 01:26 PM
Forgive me, father; it has been 13 years since my last convention.

What is my penance?

You are sentenced to:
- grandchildren who love the genre, want Yoda and Darth Vader beanie babies, and want you to sit and watch Episiode I over and over.
- a new phone number with the last 4 numbers 9368 (XENU).
- a personalized license plate: IMSPOCK

Live Long, and Prosper!

Timble
29th October 2007, 01:33 PM
Some Sherlock Holmes fans can be pretty obsessive. There's quite a lot of analyses of the books, their continuity, their supposed locations etc...and they do dress up in Victorian gear and reenact the stories.

Definitely could give Trekkers/Trekkies, Whovians, etc a run for their money.

Dunstan
29th October 2007, 01:35 PM
See,this is my underlying worry with all this. Tom Disch, I think, called SF a 'fundamentally puerile medium', and it worries me that he might be globally correct. Do I just have to resign myself to being surrounded by literary tropes that are catnip to the helpless and immature (evasion of mortality, simplifed (perhaps even no) sexuality, limitless power...)?

Why do you care so much? Repeat after me:

"I will not attempt to prove my worth through my entertainment choices."

You'll feel much better.

Am I even still attracted to these tropes - can a love of SF ever be truly psychologically healthy?

I hope so, otherwise all of the many seemingly normal, non-geeky folks who have enjoyed science fiction on television (Heroes, Lost, the Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica in recent years) and film (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, umpteen others) are psychologically unhealthy. Sci-fi is so mainstream these days that most people like at least some sci-fi, whether they realize it's what they're seeing or not.

It's ok to be a little annoyed by, and occasionally mock, the loony fans. But don't let them detract from your enjoyment, and don't let them push you into becoming one of those insufferable jerks who claims (to quote a T-shirt I saw advertised on The Onion): "I enjoy The Simpsons on a much deeper level than you."

Pretty much every hobby or pasttime has its weirdos. Go read a discussion board for a non-science fiction television show, and you'll find plenty of crazies there, too.

Read and watch what you like. If you despise the lunatic fringe of fandom, then just don't act like them, and don't interact with them.

Piscivore
29th October 2007, 01:40 PM
Listen to what Dunstan says. And if you think you have a problem, try being a fan of Anime.

Morwen
29th October 2007, 01:44 PM
*sigh*

I have to explain this again?!?

Millions of years ago, the evil galactic emperor Xenu gathered up aliens from numerous worlds who sought to oppose him, dropped them into volcanoes on earth, then dropped hydrogen bombs on them...
You almost got it right. The whole story is here (http://www.geocities.com/utherworld/timeshredder1.html), but don't tell anybody!

Fnord
29th October 2007, 01:49 PM
You are sentenced to:
- grandchildren who love the genre, want Yoda and Darth Vader beanie babies, and want you to sit and watch Episiode I over and over.
- a new phone number with the last 4 numbers 9368 (XENU).
- a personalized license plate: IMSPOCK

Live Long, and Prosper!


Thank you ... I think ...:confused:

(At least he didn't say I had to wear a red shirt at the next Star Trek convention ... or work the sound board at a William Shatner karaoke night ...)

Lonewulf
29th October 2007, 01:51 PM
Perhaps the socially retarded (I mean challenged) are compensating for their feelings of inadequacy through fantasy/SF roles - even dressing up as the characters through which they vicariously satisfy their need to feel not only adequate but powerful? The same ilk seems to bury themselves deep in role playing games, perhaps for the same reason. It almost seems like it's a drug to them.

Or, the Hubbard thing.
Speaking as someone who frequents the Steve Jackson (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13) forums, out of my love for the GURPS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS) role playing system, I'm pretty sure I take offense at this.

In my personal experience, the stereotype of the average gamer is pretty much fiction. Not to say that there aren't "socially inept, unwashed nerds" that definitely play role playing games (and I won't even go into conventions, as I have no personal experience there), just as I cannot say that there aren't "brain-dead horny jocks" that play sports. Doesn't make anyone that plays football or any other sport the latter, though.

Then there's the "evil mad scientist" stereotype, which I'm pretty sure that Nicholai Tesla is the front runner of. Damn, those were the cool days for science.

What other stereotypes are there out there? Outside of racial and religious stereotypes, of course.

ETA: Of course, if you want to talk *just* about "socially inept" people, just remember that you're seeing socially inept people from all walks of life on this forum. There are some religious zealots that don't seem that they're leading a totally "socially ept" life that have probably never played a game of D&D in their life.

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 02:59 PM
It's ok to be a little annoyed by, and occasionally mock, the loony fans. But don't let them detract from your enjoyment

Sensible advice in terms of my own stability and sanity, Dunstan. It's how I'd answer me...

Except that I reckon they already do detract from my enjoyment, and yours. They are the reason that lazy. hacky directors and scriptwriters know that they don't need to worry about characterisation and plot as long as they get enough whizz-bang and technobabble in. As a consequence it appears likely that nothing like, say, 2001 or Bladerunner will ever be made again.

Their tastes are the reason that I have to walk past miles of rubbish in the bookstores to pick out the handful of decent writers that are managing to get published at any given time.

Battlestar Galactica is a case in point. I love that show - it's possibly the first pure SF series that appears to have been actually made for grown-ups. However, becasue of the nerd association, non-SF fans don't watch it, and because it looks insufficiently like Star Trek, nerds won't watch it. It serves only its niche - hence falling ratings, cancellation and, I should imagine, a hastier and less satisfying conclusion than we might otherwise have had.

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 03:06 PM
double post sorry pardon

Dunstan
29th October 2007, 03:14 PM
Sensible advice in terms of my own stability and sanity, Dunstan. It's how I'd answer me...

Except that I reckon they already do detract from my enjoyment, and yours. They are the reason that lazy. hacky directors and scriptwriters know that they don't need to worry about characterisation and plot as long as they get enough whizz-bang and technobabble in. As a consequence it appears likely that nothing like, say, 2001 or Bladerunner will ever be made again.

I really don't think that's true. There just aren't enough hard-core geeks to bother marketing a movie to. I called them the lunatic fringe because they're the fringe. Movie studios want to bring in the casual viewer who doesn't necessarily like sci-fi, and the studio execs think (probably rightly) that big special effects budgets will bring in those people. They don't care if the hard-core Tolkein fans are ticked off that Peter Jackson didn't put Tom Bombadil in the movies, because there aren't enough of them to matter, and even most of them will probably see the movie two or three times if only to further nitpick it.

Matt the Poet
29th October 2007, 03:24 PM
I really don't think that's true. There just aren't enough hard-core geeks to bother marketing a movie to. I called them the lunatic fringe because they're the fringe. Movie studios want to bring in the casual viewer who doesn't necessarily like sci-fi, and the studio execs think (probably rightly) that big special effects budgets will bring in those people. They don't care if the hard-core Tolkein fans are ticked off that Peter Jackson didn't put Tom Bombadil in the movies, because there aren't enough of them to matter, and even most of them will probably see the movie two or three times if only to further nitpick it.

Hmmph. That does make a certain amount of sense. I still maintain, however, that your casual viewer's wariness (and therefore the creative cowardice of those who pander to it) is magnified by their perceptions of the fringe - who may be quite small, but are highly visible.

That said, I suppose you're right. Until they actually stop publishing people like Adam Roberts and Ian McDonald it's not my problem...

rcronk
29th October 2007, 03:34 PM
Speaking as someone who frequents the Steve Jackson (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13) forums, out of my love for the GURPS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS) role playing system, I'm pretty sure I take offense at this.

In my personal experience, the stereotype of the average gamer is pretty much fiction. Not to say that there aren't "socially inept, unwashed nerds" that definitely play role playing games (and I won't even go into conventions, as I have no personal experience there), just as I cannot say that there aren't "brain-dead horny jocks" that play sports. Doesn't make anyone that plays football or any other sport the latter, though.

Then there's the "evil mad scientist" stereotype, which I'm pretty sure that Nicholai Tesla is the front runner of. Damn, those were the cool days for science.

What other stereotypes are there out there? Outside of racial and religious stereotypes, of course.

ETA: Of course, if you want to talk *just* about "socially inept" people, just remember that you're seeing socially inept people from all walks of life on this forum. There are some religious zealots that don't seem that they're leading a totally "socially ept" life that have probably never played a game of D&D in their life.

Good point - I was wrong to paint with such a wide brush - it wasn't my intent.

My comments are based on those who I personally know and is therefore only anecdotal and only applies to them. Again, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with any of this stuff (I enjoy a good SF book or movie too). Some people I've seen can use it to escape reality in such a way that stunts their emotional and social growth. And if someone's ok with self-stunting, that's fine too. I was really just trying to give Matt the Poet some ideas for self-inspection. Again, no offense intended.

fuelair
29th October 2007, 03:43 PM
Bingo.
I read a lot of Fantasy and Science Fiction,but avoid organized fandom because of the stupidity factor.
In fact a real problem is that a majority of the fans nowdays don't actually read Sci Fi,but just watch the movies and tv Shows.
There are SF cons for actual SF readers - and reading groups that read and discuss it. Media cons and the kind of people (money grubbers) that put them on got in the way.

dudalb
29th October 2007, 04:41 PM
There are SF cons for actual SF readers - and reading groups that read and discuss it. Media cons and the kind of people (money grubbers) that put them on got in the way.

The problem is a lot of the mainstream Sci Fi Cons, (Westercon,etc) have pretty much been taken over by the media freaks.

Bikewer
29th October 2007, 05:12 PM
I post on one sci-fi and fantasy bulletin board, and they have a "gaming" section. All the posts are in regards to RPGs.....

uruk
29th October 2007, 08:29 PM
I don't buy the idea that the socially inept will naturally read SF. Why not detective fiction or police procedurals? Or, indeed, techno-adventure thrillers of the Crichton kind? All of these, at their low end, provide the lack of troubling emotional complexity coupled with obsessive attention to detail that these people seem to crave? I don't think it is exclusive to Sci-fi. I was just using sci-fi as an example. It is that a particular type of the socialy inept gravitate towards sci-fi.
And they happen to be the most visible for some reason.

It could be that other onsessive fan who go gaga over detective and police programs are less ostracized because the shows or genera is more mainstream or they are less organized.
You see some of the fans that go nuts over CSI.



And on the flipside, how is it that nerdosity exists at all outside sci-fi. Are the buffoons who file around Dublin every Bloomsday in search of a cheese sandwich, or the Jane Austen wonks (truliy the Trekkies of 19th century litterature), going through the same psychological process? How can people with poor social skills even read Ulysses - it would surely require an understanding of the human condition that is beyond them? I don't think it is so much an issue of not understanding the human condition but rather an issue of execution of social skills in thier life.
I understand singing, I just can't sing worth a darn.

However, I suspect your penultimate paragraph is, depressingly, the key. Can it be just that there's money to be made from these people? A bit of laser-drenched hackwork, an afternoon signing autographs, cash in hand, ta? How awful...
Well sci-fi conventions are primarily organized by the vendors. The rabble use it to network socially.

For a good essay on Star Trek Fandom, watch "Trekkies 1 & 2" by Denise Crosby.

It is funny, sad, and scary all at the same time.

Fnord
29th October 2007, 09:26 PM
For a good essay on Star Trek Fandom, watch "Trekkies 1 & 2" by Denise Crosby. It is funny, sad, and scary all at the same time.


Does anyone have a link to William Shatner's Star Trek Convention skit from Saturday Night Live?

I laughed. I wept. I loaned my only copy and never got it back.

fuelair
30th October 2007, 05:43 AM
I don't think it is exclusive to Sci-fi. I was just using sci-fi as an example. It is that a particular type of the socialy inept gravitate towards sci-fi.
And they happen to be the most visible for some reason.

It could be that other onsessive fan who go gaga over detective and police programs are less ostracized because the shows or genera is more mainstream or they are less organized.
You see some of the fans that go nuts over CSI.



I don't think it is so much an issue of not understanding the human condition but rather an issue of execution of social skills in thier life.
I understand singing, I just can't sing worth a darn.


Well sci-fi conventions are primarily organized by the vendors. The rabble use it to network socially.

For a good essay on Star Trek Fandom, watch "Trekkies 1 & 2" by Denise Crosby.

It is funny, sad, and scary all at the same time.

Actually, the real SF conventions are organized by the fans (to use examples from when I did more of this: Kubla Khan, Necronomicon, Oasis, Rivercon, Marcon, Rovacon, Deep South Con etc.). The large Media conventions (Star Trek Cons, Mega-Con, Creation etc.) are organized essentially for vendors, sometimes by promoters - who must balance vendor needs and what will draw crowds and sometimes by persons who are also vendors.

Mobyseven
30th October 2007, 06:37 AM
Hmmm...I can't speak for America, but I can say that in Australia the face of sci-fi is changing. This is primarily because the face of geek/nerd-dom has also changed, most importantly through the discovery of exercise and deodorant.

I just watched an episode of Farscape. With two members of the opposite sex! See how things can change?

Jimbo07
30th October 2007, 06:42 AM
Does anyone have a link to William Shatner's Star Trek Convention skit from Saturday Night Live?

I laughed. I wept. I loaned my only copy and never got it back.

Ironically, even at his advanced age, Shatner seems to need Star Trek more than ever. He publishes books and wants to be involved in all the projects. Poor guy...

Magic 9-Ball
30th October 2007, 07:27 AM
Does anyone have a link to William Shatner's Star Trek Convention skit from Saturday Night Live?

I laughed. I wept. I loaned my only copy and never got it back.


Couldn't get the whole thing, but here's where Shatner goes ballistic. There was a part before the clip starts about one of the Trekkies asking about minute specifics of one obscure episode and Shatner of course couldn't
remember anything like that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wed_b6yShc

uruk
30th October 2007, 07:53 AM
Actually, the real SF conventions are organized by the fans (to use examples from when I did more of this: Kubla Khan, Necronomicon, Oasis, Rivercon, Marcon, Rovacon, Deep South Con etc.). The large Media conventions (Star Trek Cons, Mega-Con, Creation etc.) are organized essentially for vendors, sometimes by promoters - who must balance vendor needs and what will draw crowds and sometimes by persons who are also vendors.

I stand corrected.
The few conventions I have attended were of the second type you mentioned.

uruk
30th October 2007, 08:05 AM
Ironically, even at his advanced age, Shatner seems to need Star Trek more than ever. He publishes books and wants to be involved in all the projects. Poor guy...

I think Shatner realized at one point in his life that if he was forever going to be known as Captain Kirk, he might as well make it pay his bills.
Now he owns half a mountain and a bunch of horses in California.

More power to him I say. He's had a fairly good career. T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911, Tek Wars Priceline.com, Boston Legal, all those books. He's actually doing better now than he was back then.
I think he even got nominated or won an Emmy for Boston Legal. He also has his star on the walk of fame.

Even the rest of the actors are finding oppurtunities of thier own. Koening had BabylonV, Takei and Nichols are doing Heros.

I also read that the new Star Trek movie is supposed to be about Kirk and Spock's time back in the academy.
Nimoy has signed up to play Spock's older self. They have been hammering at Shatner to reprise the older Kirk, but so far he hasn't been interested.

Unless they plan to make it a surprise.

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 08:11 AM
Whoops.

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 08:16 AM
Sorry again. Tripple post I don't know how I did it.

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 08:20 AM
My problem that a lot of "fans" seem to believe that the Laws of Robotics are actual, real Laws that Robots will obey if you build them

(I don't like Asimov much, to be honest, being more of a New Wave man. Frankly, any worthwhile AI with that built into its system would go mental considering the ramifications the second you booted it up...).
Congratulations you just posted the exact theme of IRobot. Dam robots go crazy and nearly kill people by loopholes in the three rules.
Then there's the "evil mad scientist" stereotype, which I'm pretty sure that Nicholai Tesla is the front runner of. Damn, those were the cool days for science.
Who said the mad scientist stereotype is gone? It's not gone. We just aren't evil. PS. The mad scientist stereotype has been around for a long long long time.
Pretty much every hobby or pasttime has its weirdos. Go read a discussion board for a non-science fiction television show, and you'll find plenty of crazies there, too.
Except scientists and engineers are full of them. I don't know why. It's been pretty well documented.

Lonewulf
30th October 2007, 08:48 AM
Congratulations you just posted the exact theme of IRobot. Dam robots go crazy and nearly kill people by loopholes in the three rules.
That's a rather... simplistic and highly inaccurate way to describe I, Robot. Unless you're talking about the movie, and not the book, which was about as equivalent to Asimov's book as the methane from my rear end is equivalent to oxygen.

The book pretty much didn't have any cases where a robot killed a human. And when a robot went insane, there was a secondary reason (for instance, the robot that could read minds moved himself into a situation where he drove himself crazy with a logical loop... which was silly, IMO. Then there was the one that exposed to radiation, and the one that discovered religion because following a "higher authority" than humans was the only way it could perceive to protect humans by taking control of machinery that required more fine-tuning than humans could possibly create, thus saving more lives).

I, Robot essentially elevated the robot into a "greater-than-human" approach. If anything, it put them on a pedestal of worship, especially towards the ending of the book.

Then when the robots made a return in the Foundation series, they were far greater.

Who said the mad scientist stereotype is gone? It's not gone. We just aren't evil. PS. The mad scientist stereotype has been around for a long long long time.
I'm sorry, but from my perception, scientists are either seen as boring people without lives, or evil mad people that want to deny God and put out jellyfish gengineered animals to KILL OUR INSIDES!

Also, just a tip: It's generally wise to at least put down the name of the person you're quoting.

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 10:20 AM
he book pretty much didn't have any cases where a robot killed a human.
One robot dam well came close to killing Donnovan/Powell because of faulty logic in the three laws. Then another robot went insane because it theoretically killed/obliterated from reality Powell/Donnovan. Face it most if not all of the stories basically represent the three laws as logical fallacies.
I'm sorry, but from my perception, scientists are either seen as boring people without lives, or evil mad people that want to deny God and put out jellyfish gengineered animals to KILL OUR INSIDES!

ponderingturtle
30th October 2007, 10:41 AM
I really don't think that's true. There just aren't enough hard-core geeks to bother marketing a movie to.

You have never seen The Gamers then

ponderingturtle
30th October 2007, 10:48 AM
Then there's the "evil mad scientist" stereotype, which I'm pretty sure that Nicholai Tesla is the front runner of. Damn, those were the cool days for science.

I don't think so. He might well be the closest anyone has come to being what a fictional mad scientist is, but think about Baron von Frankenstien, wouldn't he count as a mad scientist?

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 10:55 AM
I don't think so. He might well be the closest anyone has come to being what a fictional mad scientist is, but think about Baron von Frankenstien, wouldn't he count as a mad scientist?
Let us not forget the absent minded professor which apparently was a movie.

Lonewulf
30th October 2007, 11:49 AM
One robot dam well came close to killing Donnovan/Powell because of faulty logic in the three laws. Then another robot went insane because it theoretically killed/obliterated from reality Powell/Donnovan. Face it most if not all of the stories basically represent the three laws as logical fallacies.
I'm sorry, I was under the impression that the book dealt with more than two robots, and that none of them ended up actually killing anyone.

Guess I read a different book than you did.

As for presenting the three laws as logical fallacies... did you read the same book I did? Why should I have to "face" what is apparently not true at all?

It presented some problems with the laws, but some of the mistakes came with new developments (telepathic radio ability), or with alterations to the three laws (The third law was bumped up a bit more, because the robot was worth a bit more). Then there's the fact that everything seemed to grow into a golden age once the robots discovered and implemented the Zeroth Law.

I honestly don't see the three laws presented as a bad thing. Just that they were explored and tested to their extreme limits. And most of the time, they worked just fine. In fact, I'll remind you, there were specific points in the book where innocent people (such as a child in the introduction) were saved primarily thanks to the three laws.

At no point in time did Asimov demonstrate that the three laws were inherently fallacious.

I don't think so. He might well be the closest anyone has come to being what a fictional mad scientist is, but think about Baron von Frankenstien, wouldn't he count as a mad scientist?
Flaunting that you have a design for an earthquake device and deathrays, as well as known for inventing this (http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s307/MSimon6808/Tesla18Week2FullBright3000_small.jpg) isn't close enough to count?

There's a famous image of him setting next to a tesla coil while READING A BOOK. If that's not mad, I don't know what is. :D

technoextreme
30th October 2007, 12:19 PM
It presented some problems with the laws, but some of the mistakes came with new developments (telepathic radio ability), or with alterations to the three laws (The third law was bumped up a bit more, because the robot was worth a bit more). Then there's the fact that everything seemed to grow into a golden age once the robots discovered and implemented the Zeroth Law.

Nope. The second story proved that the basic three laws could result in a robot killing someone. The slower robot obeying the first law went to save the engineer. If Speedy hadn't have been forced out of the rut he was in the engineer would have died. In reality the person I responded to is right.
Flaunting that you have a design for an earthquake device and deathrays, as well as known for inventing this isn't close enough to count?

Let us remember the guy probably went insane towards the latter part of his life so calling him a mad scientist wouldn't be that far of a strech.

Steve
30th October 2007, 03:18 PM
There are no books of "Dune" in my home.




Recently my 14 month old son got hold of my paperback copy of Dune (that I have had since the early 70's) and ripped off the front cover. This must mean something, but I have no idea what.

Lonewulf
30th October 2007, 11:06 PM
Nope. The second story proved that the basic three laws could result in a robot killing someone. The slower robot obeying the first law went to save the engineer. If Speedy hadn't have been forced out of the rut he was in the engineer would have died. In reality the person I responded to is right.
Whatever. :rolleyes:

I have better things to do than debate this with you.

DeVega
3rd November 2007, 05:27 AM
Hey there - back off! I LOVE 'fen' - but then, I am a Fantasy author.
I've been attending Conventions for about 12 years now - usually in equal balance of business and pleasure... My observations:

Here in the UK, even the 'biggest' Cons of the year - EasterCon, NovaCon & FantasyCon are small - tiny even - by US standards. These are fan-run Cons and concentrate quite intensively on the Literature of SFF. They have their pros and erm... cons. The problem (being currently debated on LJ) is one of stagnation. We often talk of "the greying of fandom." Problem is, the genre has changed/is changing - to a certain extent it IS mainstream now: movies, computer games etc - and young Fen coming up are just as likely to want to go to a Con to meet their favourite actor, animator or game guru.

So, increasingly, they (the young noobs) choose to go to "Media Cons" instead - the type of event where they charge you for the pleasure of breathing the same air as your heroes. It is an increasing problem & to be honest, I can't see British Fandom overcoming it anytime soon. For many people, the old-style traditional Cons are a comforting social thing - they attend as much to meet up with friends and network... see, they are not socially inept, they just want to hang out with other people who 'get them' - I can't see any problem with this myself... If you want intelligent, funny, insightful conversation, you're much more likely to find it in a Con bar than at a football match...

This year for the first time, I attended DragonCon in Atlanta - it was amazing! Such vibrant energy, such creativity - truly, mardi gras for us geeks. DragonCon is (as I understand it) a bit different from the other Media Cons in that it IS still run by Fans and volunteers - and kudos to them, because the logistics of 40k + people is mind-boggling! It was the first time I had encountered large numbers of fans such as Gamers (RPG, D&D etc) and they were good people too - I did think they missed out on a large part of the Con though because they just stayed in the Games room the whole time...

Where was I going with this again? Oh yeah. Fen CAN be all those cliches, but they are also some of the best people I know.

I [HEART] FEN!
So there!


PS: BTW, did you know that most Conventions donate all profits to their nominated charity?

Oroborus
3rd November 2007, 09:32 AM
Never mind ... I made my saving throw, and my character sees through the illusion.


A definate LoL.

Cheers

Charlie Monoxide
3rd November 2007, 02:20 PM
Why can't SF fans be more sophisticated like the people who read Dean Koontz and John Grisham?

Charlie (SF fan who bathes regularly) Monoxide

MG1962
3rd November 2007, 02:38 PM
Hmmm...I can't speak for America, but I can say that in Australia the face of sci-fi is changing. This is primarily because the face of geek/nerd-dom has also changed, most importantly through the discovery of exercise and deodorant.

I just watched an episode of Farscape. With two members of the opposite sex! See how things can change?

In Sydney and Canberra it has been quiet the reverse since the early days of Star Trek. That show saw a lot of women come into the genre, and it seems to be a tradition that continues to this day

fuelair
3rd November 2007, 02:58 PM
It was the first time I had encountered large numbers of fans such as Gamers (RPG, D&D etc) and they were good people too - I did think they missed out on a large part of the Con though because they just stayed in the Games room the whole time...

Where was I going with this again? Oh yeah. Fen CAN be all those cliches, but they are also some of the best people I know.

I [HEART] FEN!
So there!


PS: BTW, did you know that most Conventions donate all profits to their nominated charity?

The gamers have been a big part of even the small cons for 15+years now - the biggest problems with them are they pretty much do nothing but game (they almost never go to the dealer/huckster room even when there are dealers with gaming materials there - most no longer bother , they attend no programs nor do they tend to interact with other fans and, sometimes a big problem, they neglect hygiene considerations to keep on gaming [gamily]. There are exceptions but they max out around the 20% mark.

It reached the point that certain of us (dealers) began requiring conventions to let us know the number of gamer vs. regular attendees several years ago before we would purchase dealer tables. In the old days, all we needed to know was number of total tables and pre-reg membership to calculate quite accurately our income at a con. Gamers skewed that a large bit. Certain conventions did try lying/mis-stating about that but most of them are no longer with us.

For those who care: base formula was no less than ten attendees or more than twenty per available table if you went to make money - more precisely, 15 to 17 per. Since most dealer rooms tended to put in as many tables as they safely/legally could 20+ per resulted in a room the customers got jostled in, couldn't easily look at under the table stuff and were just uncomfortable

Mobyseven
3rd November 2007, 04:01 PM
In Sydney and Canberra it has been quiet the reverse since the early days of Star Trek. That show saw a lot of women come into the genre, and it seems to be a tradition that continues to this day

Ah, but in Melbourne?

For an extra kick - it was one of the girls who introduced me to the show.

jezcoe
4th November 2007, 07:42 AM
I think that this chart may answer a lot of questions
http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif

DeVega
4th November 2007, 09:09 AM
LOL! That's just brilliant Jezcoe!

(I've only just heard about Furries - there's nowt so queer as folk eh?)

fuelair
4th November 2007, 11:35 AM
LOL! That's just brilliant Jezcoe!

(I've only just heard about Furries - there's nowt so queer as folk eh?)
Ther's a wonderful episode of CSI that nails Furry conventions nicely!!!

fuelair
4th November 2007, 11:42 AM
I think that this chart may answer a lot of questions
http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif

Thank you - that is both scathing and brilliant. It is also perfectly correct - only missing a few groups!!

RebeccaBradley
4th November 2007, 01:57 PM
That chart is the funniest thing I've seen since Monty Python vanished into the aethers. :D

Anyway - like DeVega, I've been going to the cons for years as a fantasy writer, and I find them very enjoyable. I do a lot of panels, and have ended up discussing, with huge seriousness, everything from Buffy/Angel fanfic (a hobby of mine) to the interrelationships between morality, religion and spirituality - and in the latter, the most intelligent and penetrating questions came from a guy convincingly dressed as Boba Fett.

I don't think we geeks need to worry about our public image. EVERY subculture looks nuts to outsiders. Think Shriners. Or, god help us, political conventions. Urk.

Lensman
4th November 2007, 02:02 PM
I've never been to a convention & I've been a fan of SF & F for over 40 years.

Just how is it different for a Trekker to dress up as a Starfleet officer/Klingon to a soccer/football fan to strip half-naked & paint himself in his team colours? Both are just showing support for something they enjoy.

As someone pointed out, you're just as likely (maybe moreso) to find an intelligent conversation at a SF/F convention as you would at a soccer/football/baseball/hockey game.

DeVega
4th November 2007, 03:59 PM
Oh, absolutely - it really bugs me that football fans are allowed to dress up, paint their faces, bodies, whatever - and run around causing mayhem - but that is considered far more 'normal' than going to an SF Con. Just who desides what's normal anyway?

And Lensman - 40 years is far too long to wait! Get thee to a Con, forthwith! ;-) Eastercon is (somewhat bizarrely) at Heathrow next year!

hgc
4th November 2007, 06:14 PM
Analog and Astounding are the same magazine, the name Astounding was last used in the issue dated September 1960, in which it appeared faintly behind the new name of Analog...


(I am not a dork!)


You fell right into his trap, Dork.

Leif Roar
5th November 2007, 09:58 AM
As someone pointed out, you're just as likely (maybe moreso) to find an intelligent conversation at a SF/F convention as you would at a soccer/football/baseball/hockey game.

I don't know about that. The last time I tried to discuss the pros and cons of the line offside rule at a science fiction con the people there didn't exactly have much intelligent to say about it.

SRW
5th November 2007, 11:58 AM
As a big SF fan I just wanted you to know that we still support the team, we know Smith just is not ready yet and even though we lost to the lowly Falcons it is not the end... oh wait you were talking about SF Science Fiction

never mind

... Go 9'ers

Ryokan
12th November 2007, 06:35 AM
Whatever. :rolleyes:

I have better things to do than debate this with you.

In Asimov's Naked Sun, there actually is a robot that kills someone, within the three laws.