A Conversation for Talking Point: British Sci-fi vs American Sci-fi

US = straight sci fi

Post 21

Blues Shark - For people who like this sort of thing, then this is just the sort of thing they'll like

Hmm, yes Star trek did break a lot of taboos in it's day, and was pretty well written, if variably acted.

Interesting theory from Hoo, but, well, theories are good but the concrete proof is a little harder to come by. I think I'd have to stop some way short of believeing that someone as stupid as Harve Bennett (a man who can't hold a model the right way up) and a company so beholden to him that they couldn't *tell* him he was holding a model the wrong way up is capable of producing something that subtle and that interesting.

Besides, as we all know, the Borg are nothing but second rate Cybermen wannabes...smiley - winkeyesmiley - devil

smiley - shark

US = straight sci fi

Post 22


The Borg are such copies that they have to say 'Resistance is futile' rather than 'resitance is useless' so not to break copyright smiley - winkeye

US = straight sci fi

Post 23

Ferrettbadger. The Renegade Master

", in a way technology only can under an anti-technological communist style dictatorship."

As I understand it from my studys of the soviet block they were far from anti-technological, in fact quite the opposite leading the fields in early space flight, rocketry, laser optics ect. Mayhap you are thinking of Moaism hoo?

US = straight sci fi

Post 24


I thougth this was about US sci-fi, not Star Trek. Star Trek may have been a good show, but dont you think its time to move on? Communist or not, that show is quite old. Since it began there have been many new and better things out there. The fact that I cant name any is more part of the fact that I only have two television channels, not that I dont know what Im talking about. Now that I think of it, the show "Earth: Final Conflict" was a fairly good show. I think they canceled it part way through the second season, or at least they did on my channel.

Heres hoping for a new "cult" to replace Star Trek, as it annoys me greatly.

US = straight sci fi

Post 25


I'm a Yank, and I agree that Trek is highly political. I remember when Next Gen was coming out with new shows, you could apply the moral of the story to American news that week. I see many of the points about Trek being very communist, but the metiphore is not always so focused. When the Soviet Union was collapsing, Next Gen had a huge to do about Klingons that were basically intended to be the Russians going through political turmoil, and the Federation being the rich country that was going to sort it all out for them. So the metaphor is not always carried through with any fidelity. There are alot of writers and they are all writing with different world views. Thats more recent trek though.

I think why Americans put the military in space so often is that intersteller travel is seen as such a huge undertaking that only macro-organizations could get out there. A notable exception to that is Farscape (although in the beginning the main character is military). Although simmiler to Trek in the rolicking space opera sense, it is almost diametrically opposed to how it gets there.

On the point that thevery first post made about where ideas come from, very little that is popular is developed in a vacume. For me to accept an idea, I have to have some basis for understanding it. So do you. When a person is introduced to Dr. Who, the whole show seems either incoprehesible or just plain garbage. After watching ten or even twenty episodes, the person becomes familier enough that they start to appreciate it's uniqueness.

There also is a problem with framing this is topic in the present state of Sci-fi. Sci-Fi is currently being pitched to the American masses, who I have worn out my tounge saying, are stupid. Sci-Fi is nearly mainstream in America now. You couldn't say that five years ago. I think it will take time to deturmine what the future face of Sci-Fi is but I can say what Sci-Fi used to be in America and it is very different from what has been considered here.

Let me throw these titles into the fray
The Silver Surfer
The TICK (do Brits know about the TICK?)
The Twilite Zone
The Outer Limits

Mention these titles and you still get a little of the old stigma associated with Sci-Fi (less so with Spiderman and Superman, but I threw them in for name recognition).

Really what is being discussed here is only the most popular peices of the pie, and they are skewing the argument.

US = straight sci fi

Post 26

Blues Shark - For people who like this sort of thing, then this is just the sort of thing they'll like

Mmm, considering the shooting the air-time gap on a tv show in the states in so long, my guess is that any atempt to link a single Trek episode with the news event of the week is more in the mind of the viewer.

The reason that none of those shows has been discussed, I'd guess is because withourt exception, they are bilge that so few people have watched that the point is lost when talking about them. (And yeah, we've heard of the Tick. Like the Turtles, the comics are/were funnier)

I'd guess also that the reason the Federation is shown as a 'military' organization is that when the pilot episodes were written, those many moons ago, Nasa was basically recruiting military personnel only for the space programme. Civiliansd like Armstrong only got into the programme way after Trek was firmly set on course. At the time it was a logical piece of thinking.

smiley - shark

US = straight sci fi

Post 27

Blues Shark - For people who like this sort of thing, then this is just the sort of thing they'll like

Actually, I take that back. The remade Twilight Zone and Outer Limits are *utter* bilge, whereas the 60's originals were cool.

smiley - shark

US = straight sci fi

Post 28


"As I understand it from my studys of the soviet block they were far from anti-technological, in fact quite the opposite leading the fields in early space flight, rocketry, laser optics ect. Mayhap you are thinking of Moaism hoo?"

Well, I was thinking "communism" generally, so communist China works as well as Communist USSR.

But in any case, the USSR *was* anti-science:



"Lysenko argued [the Lamarckian] interpretation of evolutionary processes best corresponded to Marxist theory. The Stalinist regime agreed. ...he [Lysenko] rejected the existence of genes entirely...
By 1948, Lysenkoism represented the Soviet party line on evolution."

Their *engineering* wasn't bad - but their attitude to science was terrible.


US = straight sci fi

Post 29

Ferrettbadger. The Renegade Master


Look Hoo giving an example of how someone of prominance in the USSR was very unscientific does not equate to the soviet union being anti science.

I know about the example in the article (we covered it at uni last year) and it shows how shockingly badly the political patronage in a dictatorship/oligarchy can go wrong. However I feel that to use that as an example of how the USSR is anti-science is spurious at best.

US = straight sci fi

Post 30


smiley - shrug OK.

It's not like this is some kind of serious conversation or anything smiley - winkeye


US = straight sci fi

Post 31

Ferrettbadger. The Renegade Master

Fair enough!

US = straight sci fi

Post 32

Sneaky Pete

Well to be fair, the "USS" prefix today stands for "United States Ship". Compare that with the "HMS" (Her Majesty's Ship) the British have or the "HMNZS" (Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship) that we in New Zealand have.
What does the "USS" in "USS Enterprise" mean? Surely the appropriate prefix would be something like "UFPS" ("United Fedearation of Plantets Ship).

US = straight sci fi

Post 33


Das Mouldy Sandwich said: "The original Star Trek should be applauded for attempting to be so daring. It's just a shame that public opinion had to water it down."


In the pilot episode the captain is a white American male. The First Officer (i.e. second in command) is a white American female. Uhura (Black) and Sulu (Asian) were not even on the Enterprise at all. And it was the network that demanded changes, not the public.

See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/st/original/cage.shtml

Checkov, the Russian officer, was brought in after a year because Rodenberry wanted to demonstrate "the enormous political progress of the 23rd century. Although I seem to recall hearing this was actually prompted by someone pointing out the absence of any eastern Europeans in the crew (and Western Europe is only represented by Scotty who, again, hadn't been in the pilot). I'm not sure how that fits with the Federation = communist military culture theory but I bet it does.

Whilst the Kirk/Uhura kiss is widely regarded as the first interracial kiss on American televison it should be pointed out that I Love Lucy has a Hispanic/Caucasian kiss ten years earlier. So it depends entirely on your interpretation of "interracial".

US = straight sci fi

Post 34


Actually, one theory is that Chekhov is a takeoff on "Russian pride", hence the "it's always better in Russia" or "that was made in Russia first" attitude. (The story is that Pravda ran an article pointing out that, for all that it claimed to be "multicultural," Star Trek had no Russians.

(The former Soviet Union, if anyone cares, was socialist, not communist. It's a minor quibble, but it matters to me... Of course, it kicks that "red shirt" part of the theory in the crotch...)

Roddenberry had an ego roughly the size of Antarctica, but he liked to sneak things in past the networks while they weren't looking. One example: he got Uhura in as a character on the show by telling them "I want to introduce a little colour onto the set."

US = straight sci fi

Post 35


Thanks - for my member ship - I hope this will give me a Pleasure to join this!
smiley - smiley

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