Star Wars, Star Trek and other Sci-Fi

Orionblamblam

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Apparently, there is a "preferred list" of authors who wrote while stoned/high. And an "admiration society" here. None of the authors I know and have known did that. So, yawn.

Can't speak for sferrin, but Burroughs and his drunken ilk hold no appeal for me. However, the fact that I don't care for them says *nothing* about how good they were as authors, or how popular they are. Just as the shrieking ninnies constantly harping on about "that's not funny" regarding things that other people are laughing their asses off: *you* might not find them funny, or entertaining, or whatever, but others clearly do, and there's no objective excuse to declare that your opinion is better than theirs. *MY* opinion, on the other hand... direct pipeline to the wisdom of the ages.



My reference to "rocket science" alludes to the complexity of writing...

For which there is no comparison. No thermodynamics, no drag calculations, no cost estimations, no trying to figure out the lobbying strategies. Do you need to worry about whether the chlorine pentafluoride will react violently with your writing pen?

I don't know how many times I've spoken to beginning writers on the phone. Among the issues: the pacing is off, the tone, interlayering of story elements, and character development, among other issues. Spelling and grammar both come in at a distant 10th in importance.

*THOSE* are your concerns? Piffle. A rocket scientist/engineer has to worry about all of that just in putting together the initial proposal... never mind all the followup presentations to management, customers, Senators, etc. And then they have to do the actual work of rocket science.

Here's a test: how many "rocket scientists" wrote reasonably successful books without years of literature training? And then, how many authors, untrained as rocket scientists, built successful liquid propellant rockets?


A few years ago there was a short-lived network sci-fi series I believe called "Salvation." An asteroid or comet was detected on an impact trajectory with Earth. It was a planet killer. That's the basis for a good series, but of course the series was written by talentless hacks, so I dropped out early. What finally did it in for me: one of the strategies produced was to send an "ark" to Mars, using a Starship clone. That's fair enough, but where it fell down was the crew selection. Something like a hundred people could go, so a *college* *age* girl was chosen to select them. She rejected the notion of sending purely STEM types... you know, the people who could maintain the equipment, build new equipment, turn a lifeless patch of Mars into a colony capable of sustaining itself. Instead, she demanded - and IIRC actually got - provision for some sizable fraction of the passengers be chosen from the arts community. Because "telling stories" is important to the future of the species. Uhhh, sure. But engineers, scientists, doctors are all perfectly capable of telling stories and singing songs. You don't need training for that, especially when you can *easily* have the entire library of everything that mankind has ever written downloaded onto a tablet. nobody is going to die if you're singing voice kinds sucks, but if you can't maintain an airlock or a nuclear reactor? Better to stuff your ass into the woodchipper and feed you to the pigs. The first years, perhaps the first generations, of a small colony cut off from resupply will be a constant struggle just to survive. The arts will follow along when circumstances permit, but *only* if circumstances are made permissible by the people who and *do* do the hard work necessary.
 

edwest2

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The lack of understanding here... Anyway, for my purposes, the complexity of writing remains beyond the grasp of the vast majority of writers/manuscripts submitted to my company. The same with my movie script editor friend.

The "it's so easy, anyone can do it" as it applies to writing crowd does not impress me. The sheer tonnage of ebooks out there represent a haystack the size of the earth at this point. As in, how does anyone find *your* - referring to no one in particular - ebook? 'Me mum and friends read it and thought it was good.' Yeah - imagine floating in a sea of ebooks and deciding to grab one as thousands float past. Anyone can write something but there are thousands of people doing the same thing, followed by thousands more. And the ebooks just keep coming.
 

Orionblamblam

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The lack of understanding here...

That's ok, we forgive you. You could take some night courses to get trained up on the merest basics of rocket science; part time, you should be able to begin to get a handle on it in eight to ten years. Have fun with calculus and differential equations!

The "it's so easy, anyone can do it" as it applies to writing crowd does not impress me.

And yet, people with no particular literary training still conquer the literary world with regularity. I mean, look at Andy Weir: a computer programmer by day for Sandia National Labs, writing as a lark; now he's sold millions of copies of his novels and had had one of them made into a highly successful big-budget blockbuster. Both of his following novels have been optioned and are apparently in the process of being made into big budget movies; he has also optioned a sci-fi TV series. How this must grate on the "professional" writers who toil in obscurity.

And cool as Weir's story is, he kinda pales in comparison to "Twilight" and "50 Shades of Gray," the latter of which started off as fan fiction of the former. The literary professionals are doing a crap job of gatekeeping the rank amateurs from making *bank* on both the shelves and the screens.

People like what they like, not necessarily what they are told to like by their "betters." When the tools and platforms are democratized, you get some rampaging success stories: who would have expected that one of the most popular and, in the end, fabulously wealthy YouTubers would be not some media darling, but some seemingly random Swedish feller who plays video games. And who would have expected that one of the most popular movie and pop culture critics would be not some Properly Trained Literary Critic, but a Scottish feller who pretends to be drunk?
 

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A friend of mine was a script editor at a major Hollywood studio. We compared notes and out of 100 manuscripts, perhaps .05% were worth consideration.

And yet Star Trek Discovery gets a season 4. Manifestly, obvious, objectively crappy and awful can score you big, big paychecks if you check the right boxes.

[/QUOTE]
All depends on who is doing the considering.

Whilst STD had some good characters, with awful decisionmaking, the show truly jumped the shark for me when they had to have someone in a wheelchair zipping by in the background.

In Star Trek starships are places filled with danger, where even the able-bodied are at severe risk at times of crisis - which can occur at any time. The non-able bodied would be at worse risk to themselves and their crewmates, the latter from likely not being able to do their job in a crisis.

That was the last of a steady drip-drip of annoynaces (largely evident cool plot-twists or decisions avoided to make "worthy" statements) that spoiled the show for me. Does it show that I was once a safety engineer? ;)
 

edwest2

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The lack of understanding here...

That's ok, we forgive you. You could take some night courses to get trained up on the merest basics of rocket science; part time, you should be able to begin to get a handle on it in eight to ten years. Have fun with calculus and differential equations!

The "it's so easy, anyone can do it" as it applies to writing crowd does not impress me.

And yet, people with no particular literary training still conquer the literary world with regularity. I mean, look at Andy Weir: a computer programmer by day for Sandia National Labs, writing as a lark; now he's sold millions of copies of his novels and had had one of them made into a highly successful big-budget blockbuster. Both of his following novels have been optioned and are apparently in the process of being made into big budget movies; he has also optioned a sci-fi TV series. How this must grate on the "professional" writers who toil in obscurity.

And cool as Weir's story is, he kinda pales in comparison to "Twilight" and "50 Shades of Gray," the latter of which started off as fan fiction of the former. The literary professionals are doing a crap job of gatekeeping the rank amateurs from making *bank* on both the shelves and the screens.

People like what they like, not necessarily what they are told to like by their "betters." When the tools and platforms are democratized, you get some rampaging success stories: who would have expected that one of the most popular and, in the end, fabulously wealthy YouTubers would be not some media darling, but some seemingly random Swedish feller who plays video games. And who would have expected that one of the most popular movie and pop culture critics would be not some Properly Trained Literary Critic, but a Scottish feller who pretends to be drunk?

Methinks I see a bit of 'this is what I prefer.' Formal training is not acceptable.

I know about these things. J.K. Rowling et al. But I, and others, have been doing this for 40 years. And no one is forced to send us anything. We don't stop people from doing what they want.
 

Orionblamblam

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Methinks I see a bit of 'this is what I prefer.' Formal training is not acceptable.


One can theoretically train themselves to be an adequate "rocket scientist," but a good education is for all intents and purposes nearly necessary. The days when important scientific discoveries were made by enthusiastic laymen working from home are effectively long gone.

Unless, of course, you're referring to literature/art, which clearly does not require formal training to be successful at. I -and I imagine most normal people - have no preference about whether some bit of writing is the result of spending a fortune on an education, or on having talent. All most of us care about is *quality.*
 

Orionblamblam

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Whilst STD had some good characters, with awful decisionmaking, the show truly jumped the shark for me when they had to have someone in a wheelchair zipping by in the background.

Indeed. There have been many "disabled" characters on Trek before... Geordi being a prime example. But he wasn't left crippled; he was fixed and made even *better* than the average person. Some Starfleet officer so crippled as to require a wheelchair would either be fixed, or drummed out of the service: a preference for wheelchairs would make them a hindrance and a burden to others and would argue that said officer is screwed up in the noggin, and Starfleets record with insane officers is not spectacular. The same would seem to go for morbid obesity and the like: Trek-med should be adequate to fix whatever physical drivers of that there might be (for all I know they could beam the fat out of you). A suggestion: watch some TNG and/or DS9 alongside STD, and notice that people on the earlier shows were a lot thinner and more healthy-looking. Tilly woulda stood *way* out next to Major Kira...
 

Orionblamblam

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I would have thought that the tragic lack of seatbelts on the bridge might have broken the "willing suspension of disbelief"! :eek:
;)

I always thought using the bridge instrument panels as storage space for explosive devices was a dubious decision. That and filling the ceiling with concrete-based rubble...
 

T. A. Gardner

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I would have thought that the tragic lack of seatbelts on the bridge might have broken the "willing suspension of disbelief"! :eek:
;)

I always thought using the bridge instrument panels as storage space for explosive devices was a dubious decision. That and filling the ceiling with concrete-based rubble...
Or that everything in sight catches fire. You'd think they'd use materials that don't burn easily...
 

Orionblamblam

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Or that everything in sight catches fire. You'd think they'd use materials that don't burn easily...

Well, see, the thing with Star Trek is that it's set in a future *centuries* after the end of the fossil fuel age. As a result of petroleum no longer being pumped out of the ground and carefully managed, it's squirting out of the ground at random in vast quantities. Things have gotten so bad that the tar pits of Vegas and New New York have to be constantly scraped up, shipped to the San Francisco and Utopia Planitia shipyards and processed into the plastic used on starships as a way to ship the excess carbon compounds away from Earth. Oh, sure, Starfleet *says* they use duranium alloys to build their ships, but the dirty secret is that they are mostly cheap polystyrene with urethane foam insulation.
 

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[/QUOTE]
Aha, then you'll agree with my theory that the Enterprise could beat an Imperial Star Destroyer. One, the Federation has replicators; two, in 'The Trouble With Tribbles,' Scotty reveals that he can hack shields to transport tribbles into a Klingon vessel; three, the Empire likes shiny floors and deep pits with no guardrails. All the crew of the Enterprise has to do is replicate bananas, roller skates, ball bearings, floor wax, and what the Hell, whoopee cushions (the Imperials are a humourless lot) and beam them over.
 

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jeffb

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Writing is a funny business and very much a matter of luck whether you find an audience or not. One author I read a couple of years back lamented that his biggest writing success was the series of stories he'd written as practice pieces for the grand, sweeping, series of novels he had envisioned and that no one was interested in.
 

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Whilst STD had some good characters, with awful decisionmaking, the show truly jumped the shark for me when they had to have someone in a wheelchair zipping by in the background.

Indeed. There have been many "disabled" characters on Trek before... Geordi being a prime example. But he wasn't left crippled; he was fixed and made even *better* than the average person. Some Starfleet officer so crippled as to require a wheelchair would either be fixed, or drummed out of the service
Even on Discovery, the character of Airiam had a whole-body prosthesis after nearly being killed in a crash. Wheelchairs in that context make even less sense than hooks and peg legs. They may as well have a character suffering from scurvy.
 
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Orionblamblam

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sferrin

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Apparently, there is a "preferred list" of authors who wrote while stoned/high. And an "admiration society" here. None of the authors I know and have known did that. So, yawn.

Can't speak for sferrin, but Burroughs and his drunken ilk hold no appeal for me. However, the fact that I don't care for them says *nothing* about how good they were as authors, or how popular they are.
Had heard about it and decided to give it a read. Another author who used to dabble in mind-altering . . .materials:


"He was mathematically gifted and won a double first degree, which could have been the prelude to a brilliant academic career. Instead, he married his first cousin Frances Jane Lutwidge in 1830 and became a country parson"
 

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Always liked the Jim Burns cover for the Stainless Steel Rat gets drafted.

iu
 
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Justo Miranda

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I only write science fiction because it's fun, I have many ideas that it is not easy to express only with drawings and frankly I care very little if they are sold or not. I apologize for the simplicity and shallowness of my way of thinking.
 

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edwest2

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Writing is a funny business and very much a matter of luck whether you find an audience or not. One author I read a couple of years back lamented that his biggest writing success was the series of stories he'd written as practice pieces for the grand, sweeping, series of novels he had envisioned and that no one was interested in.

Luck? There is this wild idea that "All I need to do is get my foot in the door and success," followed by "If I'm lucky, my audience will find my book," followed by "Anything will sell if I market it the right way."

Would anyone here buy a book that's not written well?
 
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edwest2

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Justo Miranda

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Writing is a funny business and very much a matter of luck whether you find an audience or not. One author I read a couple of years back lamented that his biggest writing success was the series of stories he'd written as practice pieces for the grand, sweeping, series of novels he had envisioned and that no one was interested in.
A few years ago I worked as a tax advisor for large fortunes, I always asked my clients how they had achieved success and I only managed to lose most of my savings by investing them in Nokia stocks.:(

A famous porn actress who had made a lot of money and had business in Spain told me that the secret of her success was to know from the first moment that the public was not interested in anything she had to say.

The public is only interested in what celebrities think and when someone achieves fame they are not interested in what the public has to say, those are the rules: feathers or lead? The devil said.:)
 

Orionblamblam

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Would anyone here buy a book that's not written well?

*Lots* of badly written books sell like hotcakes. "Mein Kampf" springs to mind, along with virtually every religious text you care to mention. And I understand Mr. Chuck Tingle's works are both badly written and sell like mad, despite being totally whacko. And then there are your cheapo "romance" novels.
 

Justo Miranda

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I have bought, I have even read many books that I did not like, but I will not say which ones because I believe that authors deserve a second, and a third chance.
 

edwest2

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Would anyone here buy a book that's not written well?

*Lots* of badly written books sell like hotcakes. "Mein Kampf" springs to mind, along with virtually every religious text you care to mention. And I understand Mr. Chuck Tingle's works are both badly written and sell like mad, despite being totally whacko. And then there are your cheapo "romance" novels.

Romance novels have always sold well, but there's no such thing as an infinite number of romance novels. In order for any publishing company to stay in business, they have to pick the right books better than 99% of the time. That means they reject others.

Mein Kampf? It sold in large numbers and was translated into other languages. Something tells me no one here would be interested in something like this, except for purely historical purposes.

Your position on "used religions" is known.
 

edwest2

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I have bought, I have even read many books that I did not like, but I will not say which ones because I believe that authors deserve a second, and a third chance.

No one ever stopped you, and I'm sure the authors in question are grateful. However, in order to pay their employees, publishing companies must produce good, well-written books every year.
 

T. A. Gardner

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Writing is a funny business and very much a matter of luck whether you find an audience or not. One author I read a couple of years back lamented that his biggest writing success was the series of stories he'd written as practice pieces for the grand, sweeping, series of novels he had envisioned and that no one was interested in.

Luck? There is this wild idea that "All I need to do is get my foot in the door and success," followed by "If I'm lucky, my audience will find my book," followed by "Anything will sell if I market it the right way."

Would anyone here buy a book that's not written well?
I have a several of military history books I bought for the pictures that otherwise were horribly written... I bought this one solely to pan the author for writing a horrible book (second hand bookstore so he gets no royalties).

s-l400.jpg


Same thing with this one. The author's defense was an irrelevant appeal to authority. I have a PhD... like I care. His book is awful.

s-l300.jpg
 

T. A. Gardner

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Lets try to stick to scifi we think is good for a while, rather than complaining about culture wars stuff.
View attachment 668183
I guess in this future, thermonuclear weapons have been banned or something...
You mean like. . .today?
It's a bit different when it's one rock orbiting a distant star out of many rocks to choose from. Bugs on the planet and they're vicious? Slag the planet with nuclear weapons until they're all dead or mutated into peaceful plants or something. If it's mineral ores or whatever, bust the planet up into convenient sized airless asteroids that are easily processed into useful materials. The minor organic "surface nuisance" is taken care of along the way...
 

edwest2

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Writing is a funny business and very much a matter of luck whether you find an audience or not. One author I read a couple of years back lamented that his biggest writing success was the series of stories he'd written as practice pieces for the grand, sweeping, series of novels he had envisioned and that no one was interested in.

Luck? There is this wild idea that "All I need to do is get my foot in the door and success," followed by "If I'm lucky, my audience will find my book," followed by "Anything will sell if I market it the right way."

Would anyone here buy a book that's not written well?
I have a several of military history books I bought for the pictures that otherwise were horribly written... I bought this one solely to pan the author for writing a horrible book (second hand bookstore so he gets no royalties).

s-l400.jpg


Same thing with this one. The author's defense was an irrelevant appeal to authority. I have a PhD... like I care. His book is awful.

s-l300.jpg

I also buy some military history books for the pictures since some subjects are little known and rarely covered. In some cases, I will take a chance on a military history book that I judge contains enough information to interest me and to further my research. One book on the StG 44 rifle was richly illustrated and contained detailed information, but the author's writing was horrific. The photos showed me all the details I was looking for. On another World War 2 subject, I picked up a book that contained details I was looking for but I would describe the writing as torturous.

However, there is no direct comparison between writing about actual historical subjects and writing fiction. To be precise, some people will buy poorly written books on certain aircraft, for example, as long as it contains unpublished photos. In those cases, the photo captions and related text need to be accurate, and the photos themselves contribute to the historical record.
 
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Orionblamblam

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Romance novels have always sold well, but there's no such thing as an infinite number of romance novels.

Sure about that? AI have been slapping together romance novels for a few years now. Reportedly they *suck.* But just give it time, and there will be so many AI-enscribbled romance novels on the market that actual humans will have no chance whatsoever to bust into the market.


Mein Kampf? It sold in large numbers and was translated into other languages.

And it still sells.

Your position on "used religions" is known.

Ask me about my position on "new" religions. Nevertheless, the point stands: most religious texts are *awful.* One-dimensional characters, dropped plotlines and plot holes galore, *constant* deus ex machina, inconsistent tone, plots that are all over the place and often weirdly episodic with no overarching arc.
 

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