Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tarantula Tuesday: Brief Post on Science Fiction

I really enjoy science fiction, as a genre and a guiding principle. I don't know what that means either as my brain functions have been compromised by what I hope is a simple ear infection and not one of the sandworms from Ceti Alpha Five. I don't need anyone planting simple suggestions in my brain and then letting me die off because I am only a tanshirt in my mind and in reality we all know that I am probably the reddist of redshirts. If you've ever played paintball with me, you'd know exactly what I mean. If you weren't raised by a family of volcanic rocks, you'd know exactly what I mean and I mean that I don't know where I'm going with this at all.

I will continue to let this post grow later in the day. For now, I forgot where I was in the stream and have lost sight of the banks and I think it's salt water which is impeding my analysis of the chapter and verse of my head. I think I just got back on track but I must leave you anyway. I have a meeting to attend which should be pretty outstanding and if I had a video camera, it would be the highest viewed youtuber minutes after being posted. I think I am expected to talk about something, which is nice since something is a topic about which I can blather on all the live long fucking day.

The thing about caffeine is that it frees you of something you may not want in you, like all other drugs. This one just happens to be legal although if the authorities knew what I was doing with it, they probably would ban it. I say that because Lenny Bruce had a point, as do many other fucking nut job right wingers, making yourself think that someone is after you vindicates those feelings of paranoia and self-importance that totally irrelevant and unimportant people feel to make themselves feel better about their totally anonymous and hopeless lives. Like when I was talking to some people in my first freshman year about how they just frigging knew that the FBI was keeping tabs on them1 because of their involvement in the BXXXX Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. I wasn't really talking, I was listening and trying to figure out how I could politely leave that boring conversation without resorting to shooting them in the communicator with a laser rifle or something. Eventually I just walked away from them, but later I learned to fling poop at people and they never bothered me again. What's good for the alpha male and all that. As someone who has actually received a variety of levels government clearances, I have no authority to tell people that the FBI cares about them. It's a fucking science fiction club, not Boy Scout Troop U-238.2 But these were the sort of people who thought the X-Files was the nightly news, so I guess everyone deserves their daydreams. I think I would throw myself off a bridge if I learned that I had lost the capacity to daydream.

That's basically all a role-playing game is, a collective day dream. Some people get together to watch sports, some people get together to talk sports, and some people get together to kidnap a rival corporation's agent, interrogate said agent in a situation involving moral ambiguities3, and then use the gathered information to steal a shuttle and destroy a transport ship of the previously mentioned corporation.

Despite the fact that society is currently undergoing the longest length of time4 without a new episode of Star Trek, this does not mean that we are completely bereft of science fiction. It does mean that the lazy geeks among us are left only with World of Warcraft, the H4LOEZ, EVE online, Surpreme Commander, Mass Effect, Bioshock, endless DVDs, new movies every month that kinda suck and are kinda cool, but that is basically the problem. It isn't that there isn't any new science fiction or that there isn't any easy to get good science fiction, it's that we're all fucking lazy. Role playing games are not easy to coordinate in my life. I am ready to go whenever, but other people in my group have wives, children, cars, orchids, dogs, overtime, taxes, and I have the World of Warcraft which consumes a set amount of time. While it may be fun, the last few weeks I have logged on, I have done exactly the same fucking thing. I do the same couple of quests to get fucking imaginary money to spend on imaginary fucking shit.5 I can pretty much only play on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the odd Sunday morning or Friday, but I can only afford to play the game anymore. I rationalize staying at home because I don't have any money to go out on Friday night. So help me Butterscotch Buddha, if the National Gallery of Art were open on a Friday night, I would go down there and stare at a different painting every Friday for hours on end until I could do nothing but write about it. I don't know if you would want to read that or even if I would, but I think that would be amazing. Maybe I'll do that this Saturday and maybe I'll sprout wings and leave this silent planet.6

Does it matter if Hollywood can't make a decent scifi movie to save the industry and genre? Do we really need science fiction on television? Are we so bereft of imagination that we can not survive without some other person's idea of what the 24th century will be? Are we capable of surviving without Gil Gerard's Awesomely Hairy Chest? If not, I volunteer to be the next to assume the mantle of Buck Rogers. I have all the credentials necessary: cheesy lines, humorously mild chauvanism, full chest of hair, wavy do, thumbs.

There are plenty of decent authors out there and even more less then decent. I, myself and me continue to not write my screenplays while I sit around notwriting dozens of books. Hell, if you want to get all interesting, you can get some friends together and waste some alien rebel scum with a pulse cannon in a game of Battlelords of the 23rd Century. Or perhaps an implosion field cannon-thingy. If you want to know what war will look like in the future, this is it, despite the fact that war never changes.7

There's also Spycraft for those that like their science fiction with a different flavor. Basically, if you don't like the science fiction that is being created by other folks for your easy consumption, make some yourself. That's the best way to cook anyway, toss the recipe into the shredder and throw random ingredients together until you have something that hopefully doesn't make you sick and tastes better than ramen. Also, don't bother reading EW, they wouldn't know decent science fiction if it walked up and sucked out their brains.

1 These days, however, if someone said it was the NSA, I'd just hang up.
2 That troop wins the Golden Matchstick every year for fastest fire lighting. Unfortunately, the last three jamboree areas were designated Superfund sites.
3 Everyone in the group looked at me when we learned we might have to interrogate the agent. I looked at Aristotle and he told me exactly what you think he told me. Not you, you're wrong, but you other people, you're right. I might have imagined this whole scenario, but that is the thing about RPGs. And caffeine.
4 This may or may not be true, I really don't care to verify it.
5 Cue Inevitable Backlash Music
6 Double reference to Christian Mythology on a Triple-Score Self-Deprecating Tile means I phail at life.
7 Turns out I know someone working on press sorta stuff on Fallout 3. I did a huge geekgasm when I found out. I won't break any confidence and neither will my friend, but I hope to view some content soon. I also retain hope that I will be able to waste some mutants on my lawn or cruise by my old video store and vaporize the ruins with a suped-up energy weapon.

12 comments:

Adorable Girlfriend said...

What?

This makes no sense.

billy pilgrim said...

Evolution will eradicate hairy chests.

Ergo, no Gil Gerard.

sci fi is instantly better.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Much better.

Maybe you could stop by RoD once in a blue moose, cornob.

billy pilgrim said...

Unless, of course, the Lost Tribe returns from Betelgeuse, where the Ancient Astronauts took them, to enslave all us Goyim.

In which case, all bets are off and it's time to see if Charlton Heston has one more end-Of-The-World pic in his creaking zombie bones.

Jenny said...

Don't forget all the peeps who KNEW they had an FBI file because they were members of SCA - 'cause, you know, that's the third largest armed militia in the country, dude! Even if it is mostly swords and stuff!

:P

Kathleen said...

Chuckles sets a false postulate in this post, and uses it to give himself a rhetorical advantage.

If you are going to frame the question as Does it matter if Hollywood can't make a decent scifi movie to save the industry and genre? Do we really need science fiction on television? Are we so bereft of imagination that we can not survive without some other person's idea of what the 24th century will be? then the question really should be does it matter what movies Hollywood makes? Do we need a television? The question isn't at all about survival, as Chuckles well knows. The limit of what is fair game for discussion isn't boiled down to Will I die without this?

And I can tell you right now that no matter how much I was disappointed with Neuromancer, there ain't no way I can write anything better. Maybe Chuckles can. Possibly. So I would rather keep reading, and keep watching, so that I can see some great things, some cool things, and some terrible things, be inspired, be questioned, be annoyed. What's the point of anything?

Chuckles said...

I was out of my gourd when I wrote this post. I am also rather puzzled with this one.

Chuckles said...

I think I may have been trying to say that movies and tv shows are not the only access we have to great science fiction. I'm not entirely sure. This post reads like something from WingNut Daily.

Mandos said...

You very nearly reached critical on the Swankometer.

Kathleen said...

I think it was just a way for Chuckles to work out his confused feelings for Gil Gerard.

Chuckles said...

All I had left to do was define someone as either a spaghetti puller or a spaghetti pusher and I would have pegged the Swankometer needle.

Mendacious D said...

I worked for a while as a spaghetti pusher. Weirdest summer job ever. Eventually we got run out by the ice cream cartels. Motto: it pays to diversify your portfolio.