Monday, June 29, 2009

There's too much science in my fiction!

This isn't actually a post about comic books, technically, but I thought it was worth writing out. A lot of comic fans (this is a totally scientific estimation based entirely on my own opinions and experiences, and should therefore be completely respected and not argued with) seem to like science fiction, too. There's a lot of overlap, after all. Did you know Superman is an alien? Truth. And that the X-Men are genetic mutants? Seriously. That's, like. Science.

The real beauty of science fiction is that it tells universal (hah!) stories through a medium that makes it easier to, I don't know, deal with the infinite. Or our relationship to technology. Or each other.

So, long story short: I watched Virtuality yesterday (it's streaming on This is straight up sci-fi (not to be confused with SyFy, which is just confusing): it's a bunch of brilliant people on a deep-space mission to save the planet. Classic. This isn't Fringe sci-fi (or The X-Files sci-fi, which is Fringe sci-fi's gender-neutral parent) or LOST sci-fi, or even Pushing Daisies sci-fi. This is outer space. And science. And, oh yeah. Cameras.

I hear it tanked.

That's sort of a shame. I like having straight sci-fi. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the police procedurals or dramas set in modern times that just have Wierd Stuff Happening. But I dig outer space. I like technobabble. I like wondering wtf is wrong with these smart people going into airlocks without their helmets, or how anyone in the future can seriously say that VR doesn't count as real, so raping that twenty-four year old girl is just, you know.


Yeah, so everyone else got shot or pushed off a cliff or knocked into a reef; very impersonal, if brutal deaths. But the youngest crew member that's also a woman got tied up and raped. Collective WTF time. Meanwhile the straight couples (even the filanderers) are all over each other, but the gay guys mostly hug.

I think I went off on a "the representation of violence against women, women in general, and homosexuality in this show sort of sucks" tangent.

The funny thing is that for as much as I love straight sci-fi in books (though most of the sci-fi I've read in the past few years has been cyberpunk, steampunk, or vampirepunk) and tv that go into the future or outer space or both, in my comics I'd rather see them on Earth. I haaaaaaaaate how outerspacey things can get. One of the reasons I enjoyed Singer's X-Men adaptation (and one of the reasons I think it did so well) is that it really just... stuck with Earth. Granted, they sort of screwed that up with the Phoenix saga, but... that wasn't Singer, and it was still better than a giant space bird (THE GREAT BIRD OF THE GALAXY IS RODDENBERRY, AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT) that has wreaked havoc on the characters for thirty years. Giant. Space. Bird.

This, by the way, is why I'm sort of down on the whole New Krypton storyline happening throughout the Super-titles. Hey, look, I wrote about comics!

Seriously, though, I'm not sure why I prefer my comics to be Earthbound. Or at least Humanbound. Maybe because I feel that writers use the medium - which allows for pretty much anything - to push the boundaries visually and the reason I'm reading is to relate to characters and find analogies to my own life. And also good stories. Alienness does not make a good story.

Sort of like just having lots of cool tech and a neat out space idea doesn't necessarily make a good story. Which is probably why we won't be seeing any more Virtuality, and why Firefly and Battlestar Galactica were so damn good. It didn't matter that they were in space or in the future, it just mattered that good stories were told. Virtuality had an okay story, and maybe it was hurt by the fact that it should have been a pilot (seriously, the most interesting thing happened in the last minute) as opposed to a stand-alone. But still. If you've got 127 minutes of fiction, I shouldn't think 126 of it is throwaway.

Also I don't get why the Captain couldn't speak with his natural accent (Danish) when the Brits could.

Sometimes the future just makes no sense. Sure can't wait for it, though.

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