Discussion:
The Lensmen Series Is Pern for Boys
(too old to reply)
Joe Bernstein
2018-06-06 16:53:31 UTC
Permalink
Some time ago, I was informed by this group's resident troll that I'm
an idiot because I consider the Pern series science fiction.

Well, huh.

!!!!!EXTENSIVE!!!!!!! use of psionics? Check.

Problems with the physics of transportation? Check.

(Flying dragons vs. FTL via "inertialess" matter.)

Casual attitude towards orbital mechanics? Check.

(That silly periodicity of Threadfall vs. moving planets around to
smash worlds with.)

Stories in which major historical events revolve around the deeds of
a handful of manly men and, um, womanly women? Check.

Stories with weird sexual issues occasionally obtruding? Check.

"But wait," you object. "The Lensmen don't have dragons. They
include dragons instead."

No, they don't have dragons, Girls in our society have long dreamt
of My Little Pony; for quite a while now, boys haven't. To see what
boys dream of instead, just check the back pages of the magazines the
Lensmen series (and Pern) originally appeared in. And then it's
obvious.

The Lens, which is given considerably *less* scientific-sounding
explanation than the dragons, is the ultimate Super Decoder Ring *and*
Membership Card. Smith goes out of his way to explain it thus, over
and over again; he could hardly have been clearer without advertising
in those back pages himself.

More seriously, I distinguish, as usual, among modes, traditions, and
market categories. Both Lensmen and Pern have consistently been
published in the science fiction market category, as specifically
distinguished from the fantasy one at that. Both in fact began [1]
in the same magazine, though under different editors and a different
title. The Lensmen series is widely recognised as influential on
later writers of science fiction; in that sense, as well as some
others, I suspect it's more successful than Pern, but I also suspect
I've heard a great deal less about influences on writers who grew up
after Pern got going than about influences on older writers. I think
both series seriously belong in the science fiction tradition and
market category. Whether they belong in the science fiction mode
depends on how you define that mode, and I think defining literary
modes is a pretty pointless activity, but I admit that it's easier to
define the science fiction mode in such a way that neither the
Lensmen books nor Pern qualifies. And of course the easy way out is
important to this group's resident troll.

(It's also, I suppose, easy to read sexism into this whole thing:
the Lensmen series is science fiction while Pern is fantasy because
the Lensmen series *is*, rather blatantly, for boys, and Pern isn't,
though it also isn't all that obviously for girls. But this is all
rather vague, and I suspect sexism isn't actually the issue.)

Regardless, I'm not actually joking here. Whether you consider these
series science fiction like a sensible person, or fantasy like a
crabbed, stupid mode obsessive, they're essentially equivalent in
the relevant ways. I'd be mildly surprised if McCaffrey didn't have
the Lensmen books *somewhere* in the back of her mind in making Pern,
at latest when she came up with the later series's overplot.

Joe Bernstein

[1] Well, modulo the retconning of <Triplanetary> into the Lensmen
series, anyhow. The original version of that appeared before
<Galactic Patrol> in <Amazing>.
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
m***@sky.com
2018-06-06 17:32:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Some time ago, I was informed by this group's resident troll that I'm
an idiot because I consider the Pern series science fiction.
Well, huh.
!!!!!EXTENSIVE!!!!!!! use of psionics? Check.
Problems with the physics of transportation? Check.
(Flying dragons vs. FTL via "inertialess" matter.)
Casual attitude towards orbital mechanics? Check.
(That silly periodicity of Threadfall vs. moving planets around to
smash worlds with.)
Stories in which major historical events revolve around the deeds of
a handful of manly men and, um, womanly women? Check.
Stories with weird sexual issues occasionally obtruding? Check.
"But wait," you object. "The Lensmen don't have dragons. They
include dragons instead."
No, they don't have dragons, Girls in our society have long dreamt
of My Little Pony; for quite a while now, boys haven't. To see what
boys dream of instead, just check the back pages of the magazines the
Lensmen series (and Pern) originally appeared in. And then it's
obvious.
The Lens, which is given considerably *less* scientific-sounding
explanation than the dragons, is the ultimate Super Decoder Ring *and*
Membership Card. Smith goes out of his way to explain it thus, over
and over again; he could hardly have been clearer without advertising
in those back pages himself.
More seriously, I distinguish, as usual, among modes, traditions, and
market categories. Both Lensmen and Pern have consistently been
published in the science fiction market category, as specifically
distinguished from the fantasy one at that. Both in fact began [1]
in the same magazine, though under different editors and a different
title. The Lensmen series is widely recognised as influential on
later writers of science fiction; in that sense, as well as some
others, I suspect it's more successful than Pern, but I also suspect
I've heard a great deal less about influences on writers who grew up
after Pern got going than about influences on older writers. I think
both series seriously belong in the science fiction tradition and
market category. Whether they belong in the science fiction mode
depends on how you define that mode, and I think defining literary
modes is a pretty pointless activity, but I admit that it's easier to
define the science fiction mode in such a way that neither the
Lensmen books nor Pern qualifies. And of course the easy way out is
important to this group's resident troll.
the Lensmen series is science fiction while Pern is fantasy because
the Lensmen series *is*, rather blatantly, for boys, and Pern isn't,
though it also isn't all that obviously for girls. But this is all
rather vague, and I suspect sexism isn't actually the issue.)
Regardless, I'm not actually joking here. Whether you consider these
series science fiction like a sensible person, or fantasy like a
crabbed, stupid mode obsessive, they're essentially equivalent in
the relevant ways. I'd be mildly surprised if McCaffrey didn't have
the Lensmen books *somewhere* in the back of her mind in making Pern,
at latest when she came up with the later series's overplot.
Joe Bernstein
[1] Well, modulo the retconning of <Triplanetary> into the Lensmen
series, anyhow. The original version of that appeared before
<Galactic Patrol> in <Amazing>.
--
I think a lot of these similarities come from both being Science Fiction. I'm more familiar with the Lensman series than Pern, but (at least as finally edited and presented) it has an continuous story arc from before Atlantis to a galaxy-spanning future, and worldbuilding to match, including what at the time were visionary ideas, such as the Directrix, a command post enabling a single commander to control a very complex battle. I don't see a similar achievement in Pern.

(I'm not sure what XXX for Boys or XXX for Girls is supposed to mean these days, so I guess I can't comment on that. If XXX for Boys means less character development but a wider scope of vision and more attention to how and why things work I guess I agree for you).
p***@hotmail.com
2018-06-07 06:42:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@sky.com
I think a lot of these similarities come from both being Science Fiction. I'm more familiar with the Lensman series than Pern, but (at least as finally edited and presented) it has an continuous story arc from before Atlantis to a galaxy-spanning future, and worldbuilding to match, including what at the time were visionary ideas, such as the Directrix, a command post enabling a single commander to control a very complex battle. I don't see a similar achievement in Pern.
(I'm not sure what XXX for Boys or XXX for Girls is supposed to mean these days, so I guess I can't comment on that. If XXX for Boys means less character development but a wider scope of vision and more attention to how and why things work I guess I agree for you).
Actually, it's XY for boys and XX for girls.

Peter Wezeman
anti-social Darwinist
David DeLaney
2018-06-08 01:58:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@hotmail.com
Post by m***@sky.com
(I'm not sure what XXX for Boys or XXX for Girls is supposed to mean
Actually, it's XY for boys and XX for girls.
Unless they're birds, which I don't remember most of the Lebensraummen being,
in which case it's WW and WZ, I think?

Dave, just because it's DNA and RNA all thr way down doesn't mean it's
interconnectible
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-06 17:48:13 UTC
Permalink
I gotta be honest, here: Lesnman isn't (to me) science fiction
either. It's space opera. Which is a subset of science fantasy, like
Star Wars. Not terribly plausible scientifically when it was written,
either, but a hell of a romp nonetheless.

So no, I don't consider Pern science fiction. And I don't care if you
do. If you like it, read it, and if you don't, don't. But anybody who
cares how *I* categorize it is more interested in waving their tiny
little penis at the world that they do what constitutes science
fiction.

Ask a hundred people to define "science fiction" and you'll get two
hundred different answers. Ask again tomorrow, and you'll get two
hundred more.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-06 18:41:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I gotta be honest, here: Lesnman isn't (to me) science fiction
either. It's space opera. Which is a subset of science fantasy, like
Star Wars. Not terribly plausible scientifically when it was written,
either, but a hell of a romp nonetheless.
So no, I don't consider Pern science fiction. And I don't care if you
do. If you like it, read it, and if you don't, don't. But anybody who
cares how *I* categorize it is more interested in waving their tiny
little penis at the world that they do what constitutes science
fiction.
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Ask a hundred people to define "science fiction" and you'll get two
hundred different answers. Ask again tomorrow, and you'll get two
hundred more.
Too true. I feel, however, that in judging the SF-ness of a
particular work, one should take into consideration when it was
written. I think we should be lenient regarding works that were
in line with what was scientific theory at the time of writing
and has since been superseded.

Since we're talking about Smith, consider his "Two thousand
million or so years ago two galaxies were colliding; or, rather,
passing through each other." This is from _Triplanetary_, of
course, first published in book form 1948. A few paragraphs
later Smith hedges his bets with "Another school of thought
holds that ... all suns have planets as naturally and inevitably
as cats have kittens."

So far as I know, Smith brought in his galactic collision in
order to populate our (and another) galaxy with lots of planetary
systems in which to have adventures, in the context of a theory
that planets only formed when a star experienced a near-miss by
another star, pulling solar matter into space that would coalesce
into planets. *

A theory, in fact, at least as old as I am, and now discarded.**
Two galaxies colliding or even approaching each other distorts
both galaxies and generates enough radiation to fry any life that
might try to exist there.

So my opinion is that if it was SF at the time of writing, we can
still call it SF. If you don't wanna, you don't hafta.

I expressed a similar opinion, some time ago, as to whether
Dante's _Commedia_ was SF.

_____
*Which also resulted in the notion that the inner planets were
younger than the outer planets: hence, dinosaurs on Venus and
venerable ancients on Mars. Not true in both cases, but we got
some interesting stories out of it.
**I, on the other hand, have not been discarded quite yet.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Quadibloc
2018-06-06 19:32:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I gotta be honest, here: Lesnman isn't (to me) science fiction
either. It's space opera. Which is a subset of science fantasy, like
Star Wars. Not terribly plausible scientifically when it was written,
either, but a hell of a romp nonetheless.
So no, I don't consider Pern science fiction. And I don't care if you
do. If you like it, read it, and if you don't, don't. But anybody who
cares how *I* categorize it is more interested in waving their tiny
little penis at the world that they do what constitutes science
fiction.
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
Quite right. I take a permissive definition of science fiction.

Of course Star Wars was science fiction: Luke Skywalker had those fancy
electronic binoculars, the Millenium Falcon flew through space through some
technological process, and so on.

So, since the dragons in Pern were created artificially, and Pern was reached
though advanced space travel, the Pern books clearly qualified, in a technical
sense, as science fiction as I define it.

But Pern _is_ a special case. Reading the Pern books doesn't feel like reading
most books categorized as science fiction; it feels like reading many books
categorized as fantasy. Clearly, they're "science fiction for people who prefer
fantasy instead". Well, science fiction is a versatile genre. So Isaac Asimov
wrote some detective stories that were science fiction. Good for him.

Now, of course, while I include space opera as being a kind of science fiction,
I also recognize the importance of the distinction between all science fiction
and "hard science fiction", where the author is at pains to get the science
right... but even more (since some technothrillers qualify as hard science
fiction) I feel the most important distinction is between what qualifies
technically as science fiction and that which passes the "makes you think" test.

It's the science fiction that tries to address questions like "what will this
scientific advance do to us", or "what will alien contact really mean", and so
on and so forth that raises the genre above just being another escapist category
of genre fiction.

John Savard
Scott Lurndal
2018-06-06 20:18:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
Quite right. I take a permissive definition of science fiction.
As Justice Potter Stewart famously said, "I know it when I see it".
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-06 21:41:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
Quite right. I take a permissive definition of science fiction.
As Justice Potter Stewart famously said, "I know it when I see it".
But consider Damon Knight: "Science fiction is what we point at
when we say 'science fiction.'" "We," please note, not "I".
Post by Scott Lurndal
There would appear to be a middle-of-the-road definition of
any term that is generally accepted by the group, and definitions
further out in one direction or another that are held by a few,
and this will generate discussion. The discussion can stop short
of "lambasting" if both sides try to keep their language moderate
and their tone polite, as, "Well, I just don't consider X an
example of Y," and "Well, you're going to get a fair amount of
disagreement then, because most of us do."
[The context was one poster arguing that he didn't consider
Sword&Sorcery a subset of Fantasy.]
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Joe Bernstein
2018-06-07 03:48:07 UTC
Permalink
[Definitions of science fiction and such]
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
Quite right. I take a permissive definition of science fiction.
Of course Star Wars was science fiction: Luke Skywalker had those fancy
electronic binoculars, the Millenium Falcon flew through space through
some technological process, and so on.
So, since the dragons in Pern were created artificially, and Pern was
reached though advanced space travel, the Pern books clearly qualified,
in a technical sense, as science fiction as I define it.
But Pern _is_ a special case. Reading the Pern books doesn't feel like
reading most books categorized as science fiction; it feels like reading
many books categorized as fantasy.
One thing I think of as important to magic, I've mentioned here
before, I think: that it cares who does it. We like to tell stories
about how technology does too - that one person can work wonders with
a [VCR / computer / answering machine / automobile / anvil / chipped
flint] and another person can't. But in reality most people can, in
fact, work whatever technology matters to them about as well as that
matters to them. Whereas in most fantasies (and most historical
ideas about magic as a real thing) only Some People can do magic.
(Or, equally person-specific, in some fantasies everyone has a
different, putatively unique, kind of magic. Xanth, the Dubious
Hills, I forget what-all else.)

This is part of why the people who insist on classifying non-hard
science fiction outside the field entirely are so *extra* offended by
psionics - like magic, it very strongly tends to care who does it.
(Personally, I've always had some trouble with psionics partly
because, to me, it feels like pseudo-magic from the other direction,
an inadequate equivalent, and partly because it usually seems poorly
thought through. But that isn't the same thing.)

So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it. (Dragons, Lenses, and light
sabers, IIRC; if I'm wrong about that, I'm wrong, because I have a
hard time seeing the Force as technology.) I wonder whether, in each
case, that was a conscious decision on the author's part.

(Snipped your suggestion that real science fiction makes us think.
I generally have problems with this sort of definition - see <The
Encyclopedia of Fantasy> for an example of one used for fantasy, or
perhaps more to the point see all the definitions tossed around that
read swords and sorcery out of *that* field. There's nothing wrong
with saying "Good science fiction normally makes us think"; and that
gets at a genuine flaw of the Pern series. What I'm urging against
is things like "Only stories that make us think are science fiction",
or "Only stories that feature wrongness, thinning and pastoral are
full fantasy".)

(and another thought on:)
Post by Quadibloc
But Pern _is_ a special case. Reading the Pern books doesn't feel like
reading most books categorized as science fiction; it feels like reading
many books categorized as fantasy.
One reason I get all agitated about the classification of Pern is
that calling it fantasy refuses McCaffrey her due. At a time when,
in particular, Marion Zimmer Bradley was hitting it big with another
psionics-drenched series that in fact *did* cross the line into
fantasy more than once, McCaffrey not only doubled down on her magnum
opus's scientific (gobbledygook) underpinnings, but set out on a
genuinely ambitious theme *meant* to make us think, depicting a
scientific and technological revolution. She was so very unequal to
that theme that it can obscure the sheer insane ambition of it, an
ambition she deserves at least respect, if not gratitude, for. She
*cared* about the science, for all that her creations violated it,
whereas for Bradley it was never more than generic convention. So I
think it's *wrong* to stick them into the same bucket.

Joe Bernstein
--
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>
James Nicoll
2018-06-07 03:58:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Whereas in most fantasies (and most historical
ideas about magic as a real thing) only Some People can do magic.
(Or, equally person-specific, in some fantasies everyone has a
different, putatively unique, kind of magic. Xanth, the Dubious
Hills, I forget what-all else.)
One interesting exception from the roleplaying world was Runequest,
where pretty much everyone could do so called battle magic, a lot
of which was utilitarian stuff people might actually use magic
for if they had it. The main bottleneck was finding someone to
teach the various spells; the major religions used their monopolies
on specific sets of spells to attract would be cultists.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-07 04:12:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces... any
way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person and
lock it away from others.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-07 15:31:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces... any
way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person and
lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once you
have a device attuned to a specific individual, another indvidual
will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to deny it to the
authorized user).

I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-07 15:55:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces... any
way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person and
lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once you
have a device attuned to a specific individual, another indvidual
will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to deny it to the
authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.

There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had his
own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and tries
to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's identity.
You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if you like.

I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show has
its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals drifting
together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time machine that
takes the observers there to watch it.)

You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is "Time
can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt improves the
flavor.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-07 16:46:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person
and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once
you have a device attuned to a specific individual, another
indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to
deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had his
own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and tries
to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's identity.
You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is "Dr
Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who called it
that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show has
its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little "filler
because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any genre
and established itself as unique. Anything you can legitimately
compare it to is something that's trying be like it (and probably
failing miserably).
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Dimensional Traveler
2018-06-07 20:58:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person
and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once
you have a device attuned to a specific individual, another
indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to
deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had his
own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and tries
to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's identity.
You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is "Dr
Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who called it
that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show has
its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little "filler
because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any genre
and established itself as unique. Anything you can legitimately
compare it to is something that's trying be like it (and probably
failing miserably).
IIRC the BBC classifies it as a "kid's show". (Or at least did at one
point.)
--
Inquiring minds want to know while minds with a self-preservation
instinct are running screaming.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-07 21:54:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
In article
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and
<Star Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them
feature (*besides* psionics) technology that cares who
wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single
person and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that
once you have a device attuned to a specific individual,
another indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it
themselves, or to deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had
his own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and
tries to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's
identity. You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if
you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is
"Dr Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who
called it that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show
has its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little
"filler because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any
genre and established itself as unique. Anything you can
legitimately compare it to is something that's trying be like
it (and probably failing miserably).
IIRC the BBC classifies it as a "kid's show". (Or at least did
at one point.)
IIRC, originally, it was classified as a kid's educational show
(because they intended to show a lot of history).

I'd say they have exceeded expecations somewhat.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Moriarty
2018-06-07 22:11:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
In article
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and
<Star Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them
feature (*besides* psionics) technology that cares who
wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single
person and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that
once you have a device attuned to a specific individual,
another indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it
themselves, or to deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had
his own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and
tries to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's
identity. You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if
you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is
"Dr Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who
called it that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show
has its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little
"filler because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any
genre and established itself as unique. Anything you can
legitimately compare it to is something that's trying be like
it (and probably failing miserably).
IIRC the BBC classifies it as a "kid's show". (Or at least did
at one point.)
IIRC, originally, it was classified as a kid's educational show
(because they intended to show a lot of history).
That's true. The original intention was for the TARDIS to take on the appearance of a local object from the appropriate period of history they were visiting. That idea was quickly junked to save costs.

It was the success of the second story "The Daleks" that made the producers partially abandon the historical educational focus. As you know Bob, the first series had roughly half the stories set in our historical past and the others set in outer space.
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I'd say they have exceeded expecations somewhat.
Just a bit.

It's with some trepidation that I await the next series. All the fanfare has been around the casting of a woman to play the Doctor, but unless they also took steps to employ some different/better scriptwriters, it's going to suck as bad as the last series did.

-Moriarty
Juho Julkunen
2018-06-07 22:39:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
In article
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and
<Star Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them
feature (*besides* psionics) technology that cares who
wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single
person and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that
once you have a device attuned to a specific individual,
another indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it
themselves, or to deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had
his own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and
tries to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's
identity. You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if
you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is
"Dr Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who
called it that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show
has its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little
"filler because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any
genre and established itself as unique. Anything you can
legitimately compare it to is something that's trying be like
it (and probably failing miserably).
IIRC the BBC classifies it as a "kid's show". (Or at least did
at one point.)
IIRC, originally, it was classified as a kid's educational show
(because they intended to show a lot of history).
That's true. The original intention was for the TARDIS to take on the appearance of a local object from the appropriate period of history they were visiting. That idea was quickly junked to save costs.
It was the success of the second story "The Daleks" that made the producers partially abandon the historical educational focus. As you know Bob, the first series had roughly half the stories set in our historical past and the others set in outer space.
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I'd say they have exceeded expecations somewhat.
Just a bit.
It's with some trepidation that I await the next series. All the fanfare has been around the casting of a woman to play the Doctor, but unless they also took steps to employ some different/better scriptwriters, it's going to suck as bad as the last series did.
It's a change of management all around, innit? Moffat out and Chibnall
in. There's no guarantee they won't mess it up, of course, but I'm
quite looking forwards to the next series, hoping for a change of pace.
I liked Capaldi's Doctor, but, yeah, the writing wasn't always there.
--
Juho Julkunen
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-08 00:57:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Moriarty
It's with some trepidation that I await the next series. All the fanfare
has been around the casting of a woman to play the Doctor, but unless
they also took steps to employ some different/better scriptwriters, it's
going to suck as bad as the last series did.
IMO the tenth series didn't have as many really excellent
episodes as the ninth, but the ninth was particularly
outstanding. "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" was probably the
best of the tenth. The finale, "World Enough and Time," was like
the curate's egg: parts of it were excellent. The meeting of the
First and Twelfth Doctors, both seeking to die rather than
regenerate, was splendid in concept, not so good in execution,
but it had its moments: David Bradley's performance as well as
Capaldi's; the (real, historic) Christmas Day Truce, and Doctor
Twelve's advice to his successor. The base concept, that all we
have in the end are memories, might also have been better
executed, but it's still true. E.g., I hadn't seen Karen
Anderson for years before she died, but we worked together in the
1960s and 1970s with the SCA College of Heralds, and I still have
those memories.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
m***@sky.com
2018-06-08 04:13:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Moriarty
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
In article
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and
<Star Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them
feature (*besides* psionics) technology that cares who
wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single
person and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that
once you have a device attuned to a specific individual,
another indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it
themselves, or to deny it to the authorized user).
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Hmmmm.
There's a Doctor Who episode wherein the Doctor, having had
his own sonic screwdriver confiscated, grabs the Master's and
tries to attack him with it, but it's keyed to the Master's
identity. You can certainly call Doctor Who heroic fantasy if
you like.
I believe the genre I'd put Dr Who in (if you insist I do) is
"Dr Who." But I certainly wouldn't quibble with someone who
called it that.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I prefer "soft and squishy science fiction" myself; the show
has its hard-sf moments, such as observing the planetesimals
drifting together to form the Earth. (Never mind the time
machine that takes the observers there to watch it.)
That's not "hard-sf", that's "eye candy f/x," with a little
"filler because the script is a little short" for seasoning.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
You have to take with a grain of salt a show whose basis is
"Time can be rewritten; except when it can't." But salt
improves the flavor.
I'm inclined to see Who as having exceed the bounds of any
genre and established itself as unique. Anything you can
legitimately compare it to is something that's trying be like
it (and probably failing miserably).
IIRC the BBC classifies it as a "kid's show". (Or at least did
at one point.)
IIRC, originally, it was classified as a kid's educational show
(because they intended to show a lot of history).
That's true. The original intention was for the TARDIS to take on the appearance of a local object from the appropriate period of history they were visiting. That idea was quickly junked to save costs.
It was the success of the second story "The Daleks" that made the producers partially abandon the historical educational focus. As you know Bob, the first series had roughly half the stories set in our historical past and the others set in outer space.
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I'd say they have exceeded expecations somewhat.
Just a bit.
It's with some trepidation that I await the next series. All the fanfare has been around the casting of a woman to play the Doctor, but unless they also took steps to employ some different/better scriptwriters, it's going to suck as bad as the last series did.
-Moriarty
Doctor Who is too prominent for its own good, and the BBC has a message it wants to transmit through all its programming - it may not be a vehicle for teaching history, but it certainly is a vehicle for teaching the BBC's approved social attitudes and opinions (if you look at the BBC's policies and funding request documents online you can actually find text offering to help government shape opinions and attitudes, and find text committing the BBC to various quotas of all of the various interest groups that make up diversity). If Doctor Who is any good, all of the stuff we used to hear about the need for artistic freedom is disproved.
David DeLaney
2018-06-08 02:06:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces... any
way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person and
lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once you
have a device attuned to a specific individual, another indvidual
will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to deny it to the
authorized user).
So you do it differently - personalize the UI. If it doesn't make sense to
anyone else, perhaps because (like tracesets or Moran's Players' Images) it
interacts with your own brainwaves and structures, someone else first has to
hack how to _be you_...
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Not quite heroic, more epic magical, but look at the The Wizardry series by
Rick Cook, magic-as-programmable. Also Vinge's True Names.

Dave, and the various settings where the Wizard Guild has some way to lock away
a mage's power, or strip them of it entirely; in White Wolf that's Gilgul
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-08 15:17:53 UTC
Permalink
On 2018-06-07, Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star
Wars> - border problems, because *all* of them feature
(*besides* psionics) technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces...
any way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person
and lock it away from others.
But an inherent part of a technology based setting is that once
you have a device attuned to a specific individual, another
indvidual will be able to hack it (to use it themselves, or to
deny it to the authorized user).
So you do it differently - personalize the UI. If it doesn't
make sense to anyone else, perhaps because (like tracesets or
Moran's Players' Images) it interacts with your own brainwaves
and structures, someone else first has to hack how to _be
you_...
And someone will.
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done something similar with
straight-up heroic fantasy, but it's not common.
Not quite heroic, more epic magical, but look at the The
Wizardry series by Rick Cook, magic-as-programmable. Also
Vinge's True Names.
I didn't say I was looking for it, just that I was sure someone had
done it. Someone has done a lot of things I'm not interested in
reading.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
J. Clarke
2018-06-07 22:45:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Joe Bernstein
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it.
Although one could build technology that *acts as though it
cared* who wields it. Voiceprint, thumbprint, EEG traces... any
way you can reasonably attune a gadget to a single person and
lock it away from others.
Weapons shops.

And in the real world there's an effort in progress to make guns that
are keyed to their authorized user.
h***@gmail.com
2018-06-07 06:25:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
One thing I think of as important to magic, I've mentioned here
before, I think: that it cares who does it. We like to tell stories
about how technology does too - that one person can work wonders with
a [VCR / computer / answering machine / automobile / anvil / chipped
flint] and another person can't. But in reality most people can, in
fact, work whatever technology matters to them about as well as that
matters to them. Whereas in most fantasies (and most historical
ideas about magic as a real thing) only Some People can do magic.
(Or, equally person-specific, in some fantasies everyone has a
different, putatively unique, kind of magic. Xanth, the Dubious
Hills, I forget what-all else.)
This is part of why the people who insist on classifying non-hard
science fiction outside the field entirely are so *extra* offended by
psionics - like magic, it very strongly tends to care who does it.
(Personally, I've always had some trouble with psionics partly
because, to me, it feels like pseudo-magic from the other direction,
an inadequate equivalent, and partly because it usually seems poorly
thought through. But that isn't the same thing.)
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it. (Dragons, Lenses, and light
sabers, IIRC; if I'm wrong about that, I'm wrong, because I have a
hard time seeing the Force as technology.)
Pern has only particular people being able to communicate with dragons
only a lensman can use their lens
I've never seen anything to suggest that lightsabers behave any different with a jedi than with anybody else, the difference is that the jedi can do things nobody else can.
If a non-jedi managed to get a lightsaber in the way of a blaster both it'd still be deflected
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-07 20:33:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by Joe Bernstein
One thing I think of as important to magic, I've mentioned here
before, I think: that it cares who does it. We like to tell stories
about how technology does too - that one person can work wonders with
a [VCR / computer / answering machine / automobile / anvil / chipped
flint] and another person can't. But in reality most people can, in
fact, work whatever technology matters to them about as well as that
matters to them. Whereas in most fantasies (and most historical
ideas about magic as a real thing) only Some People can do magic.
(Or, equally person-specific, in some fantasies everyone has a
different, putatively unique, kind of magic. Xanth, the Dubious
Hills, I forget what-all else.)
This is part of why the people who insist on classifying non-hard
science fiction outside the field entirely are so *extra* offended by
psionics - like magic, it very strongly tends to care who does it.
(Personally, I've always had some trouble with psionics partly
because, to me, it feels like pseudo-magic from the other direction,
an inadequate equivalent, and partly because it usually seems poorly
thought through. But that isn't the same thing.)
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it. (Dragons, Lenses, and light
sabers, IIRC; if I'm wrong about that, I'm wrong, because I have a
hard time seeing the Force as technology.)
Pern has only particular people being able to communicate with dragons
only a lensman can use their lens
I've never seen anything to suggest that lightsabers behave any different with a jedi than with anybody else, the difference is that the jedi can do things nobody else can.
If a non-jedi managed to get a lightsaber in the way of a blaster both it'd still be deflected
Although traditionally a Jedi builds their own lightsaber,
with special characteristics. But, yeah, it's just a
sort of homicidal flashlight.

Then again, it's often the case in fantasy that anyone
can read aloud from the magic book and do things.
Although being a virgin frequently helps.

With some exceptions, the point of magic words is -
explicitly or implicitly - someone is listening to
what you say.

In Harry Potter, I think it's yourself.
David Johnston
2018-06-07 22:20:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by Joe Bernstein
One thing I think of as important to magic, I've mentioned here
before, I think: that it cares who does it. We like to tell stories
about how technology does too - that one person can work wonders with
a [VCR / computer / answering machine / automobile / anvil / chipped
flint] and another person can't. But in reality most people can, in
fact, work whatever technology matters to them about as well as that
matters to them. Whereas in most fantasies (and most historical
ideas about magic as a real thing) only Some People can do magic.
(Or, equally person-specific, in some fantasies everyone has a
different, putatively unique, kind of magic. Xanth, the Dubious
Hills, I forget what-all else.)
This is part of why the people who insist on classifying non-hard
science fiction outside the field entirely are so *extra* offended by
psionics - like magic, it very strongly tends to care who does it.
(Personally, I've always had some trouble with psionics partly
because, to me, it feels like pseudo-magic from the other direction,
an inadequate equivalent, and partly because it usually seems poorly
thought through. But that isn't the same thing.)
So this makes the entire set so far - Pern, Lensmen, and <Star Wars>
- border problems, because *all* of them feature (*besides* psionics)
technology that cares who wields it. (Dragons, Lenses, and light
sabers, IIRC; if I'm wrong about that, I'm wrong, because I have a
hard time seeing the Force as technology.)
Pern has only particular people being able to communicate with dragons
only a lensman can use their lens
I've never seen anything to suggest that lightsabers behave any different with a jedi than with anybody else, the difference is that the jedi can do things nobody else can.
If a non-jedi managed to get a lightsaber in the way of a blaster both it'd still be deflected
Although traditionally a Jedi builds their own lightsaber,
with special characteristics. But, yeah, it's just a
sort of homicidal flashlight.
Then again, it's often the case in fantasy that anyone
can read aloud from the magic book and do things.
Although being a virgin frequently helps.
With some exceptions, the point of magic words is -
explicitly or implicitly - someone is listening to
what you say.
In Harry Potter, I think it's yourself.
I've seen fantasy settings where all it takes is the willingness and resources to study and practice for years. Then there was Wizard's Bane where any idiot could do magic but it took years of practice under careful supervision to avoid endangering yourself or others with a sloppy pronunciation or gesture.
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-07 15:29:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
This is part of why the people who insist on classifying
non-hard science fiction outside the field entirely are so
*extra* offended by psionics - like magic, it very strongly
tends to care who does it. (Personally, I've always had some
trouble with psionics partly because, to me, it feels like
pseudo-magic from the other direction, an inadequate equivalent,
and partly because it usually seems poorly thought through. But
that isn't the same thing.)
A hundred years ago, even 50 years ago, one could speculate (if not
very convincingly) that there might be mental abilities we just
haven't observed under controlled conditions yet, and therefore,
psi might plausibly be classified as science fiction.

Now, we have decades of high quality research, and 100% of it has
found nothing. That is why some people, at least, consider it
fantasy.
Post by Joe Bernstein
(Snipped your suggestion that real science fiction makes us
think.
Most science fiction makes me think. Makes me think "what a load of
crap."
Post by Joe Bernstein
One reason I get all agitated about the classification of Pern
is that calling it fantasy refuses McCaffrey her due. At a time
when, in particular, Marion Zimmer Bradley was hitting it big
with another psionics-drenched series that in fact *did* cross
the line into fantasy more than once, McCaffrey not only doubled
down on her magnum opus's scientific (gobbledygook)
underpinnings, but set out on a genuinely ambitious theme
*meant* to make us think, depicting a scientific and
technological revolution. She was so very unequal to that theme
that it can obscure the sheer insane ambition of it, an ambition
she deserves at least respect, if not gratitude, for. She
*cared* about the science, for all that her creations violated
it, whereas for Bradley it was never more than generic
convention. So I think it's *wrong* to stick them into the same
bucket.
it depends on how you define your bucket. I'd put Pern in the "this
is a pretty guud read" bucket (at least the first few books), and
pretty much anything by Bradly as "Sturgeon was an optomist." So
not the same bucket at all. (And honestly, what other buckets
matter?)
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
David DeLaney
2018-06-08 02:02:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Bernstein
Post by Quadibloc
So, since the dragons in Pern were created artificially, and Pern was
reached though advanced space travel, the Pern books clearly qualified,
in a technical sense, as science fiction as I define it.
(and another thought on:)
Post by Quadibloc
But Pern _is_ a special case. Reading the Pern books doesn't feel like
reading most books categorized as science fiction; it feels like reading
many books categorized as fantasy.
One reason I get all agitated about the classification of Pern is
that calling it fantasy refuses McCaffrey her due. At a time when,
in particular, Marion Zimmer Bradley was hitting it big with another
psionics-drenched series that in fact *did* cross the line into
fantasy more than once, McCaffrey not only doubled down on her magnum
opus's scientific (gobbledygook) underpinnings, but set out on a
genuinely ambitious theme *meant* to make us think, depicting a
scientific and technological revolution.
... so can we get everyone combined in being angry at me, if I say we ought
to classify them as biopunk?

Dave, with unnecessary decorative minilizards even
--
\/David DeLaney posting thru EarthLink - "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
my gatekeeper archives are no longer accessible :( / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.
Mike Van Pelt
2018-06-12 20:42:04 UTC
Permalink
So Isaac Asimov wrote some detective stories that were
science fiction. Good for him.
I always wanted to see "A Whiff of Death" done as a Columbo
episode. The denouement was so pure Columbo that I always
heard the detective's "Is there something wrong with this
gas cylinder?" in Peter Falk's voice.
--
Mike Van Pelt | "I don't advise it unless you're nuts."
mvp at calweb.com | -- Ray Wilkinson, after riding out Hurricane
KE6BVH | Ike on Surfside Beach in Galveston
Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
2018-06-06 20:17:01 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
I gotta be honest, here: Lesnman isn't (to me) science fiction
either. It's space opera. Which is a subset of science fantasy,
like Star Wars. Not terribly plausible scientifically when it
was written, either, but a hell of a romp nonetheless.
So no, I don't consider Pern science fiction. And I don't care
if you do. If you like it, read it, and if you don't, don't. But
anybody who cares how *I* categorize it is more interested in
waving their tiny little penis at the world that they do what
constitutes science fiction.
It depends in part on where along the spectrum of "diamond-hard"
to "soft and squishy" you draw the line between SF and non-SF.
That is the point, yes. And everybody is at a different spot, which
rather makes the whole discussion pointless.
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Jibini Kula Tumbili Kujisalimisha
Ask a hundred people to define "science fiction" and you'll get
two hundred different answers. Ask again tomorrow, and you'll
get two hundred more.
Too true. I feel, however, that in judging the SF-ness of a
particular work, one should take into consideration when it was
written. I think we should be lenient regarding works that were
in line with what was scientific theory at the time of writing
and has since been superseded.
Lensman was pretty specious as hard science, then, too. But then,
so is nearly everything published today as "hard sf." The cloest to
hard sf is, perhaps, The Expanse book, and they have radiation
eating protomolecule and inertia ignoring reactionless space
drives.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Robert Carnegie
2018-06-06 20:23:51 UTC
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If Dragon = Lens, a difference is that some dragonriders
are jerks. Male and female. Also disloyal, and political.

Having said that... there was an Evil Lensman. So maybe
it doesn't count as a difference.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-06-06 21:45:37 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
If Dragon = Lens, a difference is that some dragonriders
are jerks. Male and female. Also disloyal, and political.
Having said that... there was an Evil Lensman. So maybe
it doesn't count as a difference.
Well, there was a Boskonian with something near-equivalent to a
Lens.

Which sort of fits, when we consider that the entire History of
Civilization consists of a billions-year-long arms race, with each
side trying to out-invent the other.

I can't really speak comprehensively about Pern, since I stopped
reading it before McCaffrey stopped writing it.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
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