Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Generic Science Fiction Story of the Future

I've been watching episodes of the old Buck Rogers serial, on TCM. Not regularly, but I've caught a few of the installments of the old Saturday matinee short feature.

The acting and cinematography are not up to Citizen Kane standards - but I've gathered that the 1930s Buck Rogers serial was more of a potboiler, than conceived as a great work of the cinematic arts. Special effects are, all things considered, pretty good.

Yes, they show Saturn appearing out of the clouds of outer space, spaceships sound like they're run by lawnmower engines, and we haven't had control systems that big and unwieldy for decades. But then, today's on-screen science fiction is - no, I am not going to get off-topic.

Been There, Read That

I know what "The Future" is supposed to look like: Buck Rogers' version; the Logan's Run effort; Escape From New York; A Boy And His Dog; and Escape From L.A..

Where, oh, where does Hollywood keep coming up with these new ideas? And that's yet another topic. Sort of.

The point is, we've got a fairly small number of standard-issue, generic, plug-in-your-character, science fiction "futures" by now. Nothing wrong with that, I think - as long as a writer - and readers - remember that science fiction/speculative fiction/whatever is a quite - mature? - genre by now.

I've been playing with a setting of the Buck Rogers/Star Wars flavor. (Yes - George Lucas knew about B.R., I've got fans in my family) I've mentioned Galaxy Cadet before. I'm fighting my OCD tendencies, successfully for the most part, and trying to remember how much fun I had, decades back, with the Star Trek universe. Pre-movies.

It's a good excuse for me to dust off my ambition to do a readable comic book.

These days, happily, I don't have to try to kid some publisher that it'll be the next [fill in your favorite series]. Yet one more topic.

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