Better Plots, Better Stories

  Even the least interested science fiction fan over the last century could tell you that plots are becoming more complex and interesting.  The updates between versions of Battlestar GalacticaStar Trek, and V are only the three most obvious examples.  Watch the original Flash Gordon and compare that to Sliders.  Buck Rogers against Stargate.  You get the idea.

So why is it that aliens aren’t a mainstay?  You can’t argue there aren’t any different sentient species out there.  Even the most conservative estimates are that there should be thousands of different species in our galaxy alone.  Nor can you say that they don’t make the plots more interesting.  Watch an episode of even the original Star Trek and try to make the argument that the constant clashing of different cultures isn’t the best part of the show.

You might argue that even the grandmaster of science fiction, Isaac Asimov, didn’t feature them.  That’s true, but it’s also true he had stories with aliens.  The atmosphere of the time was a fear of the unknown, so any plots where aliens weren’t technologically inferior or comical were generally rejected.

  We have no excuse now.  Again, Stargate was immensely successful and it had humans confronting technologically superior aliens nearly every week.  Edge of Tomorrow and Independence Day both featured superior aliens and both have sequels coming.

Why aren’t they a mainstay?  Just a suggestion here, but generally either a story (t.v. show or movie) has been about either humans fighting each other or their creations, OR about humans united against a common foe.  The plots couldn’t have handled both.  But with the storytelling we’ve seen now with BSG, Gotham (from what I’ve been told), and a couple of the new crop of shows on Sci Fy, I think the storytelling has reached a point where it can accommodate both at one time – and I can’t wait to see what comes out of it.  Imagine meshing the depth and variety that would be possible.  Well, you imagine.  I’ll wish my mind was capable of seeing all the possibilities.

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About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well; https://cianbeirdd.wordpress.com/cian-beirdd/
This entry was posted in Frank Herbert, George Lucas, Star Trek and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Better Plots, Better Stories

  1. I don’t think of Gotham as science fiction, though I suppose it could be dumped into the genre. It’s pure comic book and rather (in my opinion) creepy. Garry loves it. Me, not so much.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      I try to separate the two, but it popped into my head as I was writing as a great example.

      • The borders of the genre have both expanded and gotten kind of fuzzy. Science fiction has become a bit of a dumping ground for anything that isn’t obviously something else. The whole business of genres has gotten weird, probably because publishers try to make things more salable by finding as many categories as possible in which to sell it.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I hadn’t thought of that. In my mind anything without fully developed characters and horrible attempts to explain science is probably comics. A reasonable attempt preferably by someone who knows science is scientific. If they chalk it up to magic its fantasy. Strange, isn’t it? Anything to make a little extra money.

      • In defense of the publishing industry, these days they need all the help they can get. Books don’t sell like they used to.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I suppose not. Too bad, too. I enjoy the tactile sensation. There is a lot stuff in a book that a t.v. show just can’t manage either.

      • I’m sentimental about books, but finding it hard to read (print) is common among we older folks. It gets hard to focus for long periods and our eyes don’t focus well on print. It really IS age-related, especially for those of us who have always worn eyeglasses. Near and far-sighted are equally affected. So although I still buy hardcover books of my favorite authors, I don’t actually read them. i just collect them. The books I’ve managed to get through are short. I could count on the finger of one hand, even if I’d lost a few fingers. It’s frustrating, too because I WANT to read. I miss reading. I was such an ardent reader from a very early age, it is hard to imagine myself without a book in one hand. I am extremely grateful for the evolution of audiobooks. Without them, my world would be bleak indeed.

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I’m sorry. If it makes you feel any better, movies and t.v. are catching up. I doubt they could ever as good, but …

  2. Loki says:

    “either humans fighting each other or their creations, OR about humans united against a common foe. The plots couldn’t have handled both.” -> Curious if “Age of Ultron” will handle both. I somehow suspect it might.

  3. Loki says:

    Unsure if I’d go so far as to say one thinks of comics as behind the curve with such developments, but it’s probably safe to say that one thinks of superhero comics like that, yes. 🙂

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