Episode 479 - Big ideas in fiction

May 18, 2020

My original idea for this Quackcast was: “Genre fiction is the best place to explore ideas, straight fiction doesn't do it as well” What I meant was that diverting from straight reality in fiction makes it easier to conceptualise, simplify and explain complicated ideas to a general audience for a whole number of reasons. There was some disagreement between Tantz and I because I expressed myself poorly so she'd thought that I was saying it was much easier to write SciFi and fantasy (Genre fiction), and it was easier to write about big ideas, while straight fiction wasn't good for that- Which is fair enough! My initial statement is so badly worded that's a valid interpretation! Fortunately Banes and Pit were on hand to smooth things out and explain things properly. Pit mediated between us and Banes conceptualised my concept FAR, far better than I did! Unfortunately you don't get much of that disagreement on the Quackcast. You DO get a bit of it on the PATREON only video however ^_^

Topics and Show Notes

To get back to things though: Diverting from straight reality in fiction, whether that's into a full on genre style or just adding unrealistic elements, allows you to symbolically handle big ideas like death, mortality, racism, slavery, predestination, religion etc in a way where you can be very specific about what you want to say about those ideas, more so than in straight fiction because you have more control over the world you're presenting. That's not to say that all “genre” fiction tackles big ideas or is always good at doing it when it does, or that straight fiction doesn't tackle big ideas or does it badly when it tries to. “Genre” fiction also has the advantage of being able to separate its ideas from current realities of politics and culture which might get in the way of people being receptive to the ideas that it presents.

A Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), is a good example of this: The big idea presented in the book is that women's place in society, their rights and humanity, can so easily be wiped out overnight, the experience is dehumanising and horrible, and it can happen anywhere at any time. It uses a Scifi setting to do this, which makes the scenario seem very possible but also accessible to a mass audience. There have been numerous realistic and true stories written about the experience of women when Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, or when the Taliban took over in Afghanistan in the 90s, and yet none have had the reach or the general acceptance of A Handmaid's Tale.
The closest would be Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi), but in it's case it still employs diversions from reality in its style, and since it's specifically about Iran people are far less likely to apply those ideas more generally.

Early Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes were goldmines for “Big Ideas”! What're some of your fave “genre” fiction that tackles big idea better than other kinds of fiction?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Fated Feather: Come aboard me hearties! Cast off and sail away into the balmy tropical sunshine, as warm waters lap the hull, the bow wave glitters in the sunshine, the rigging creaks in the warm breeze, and seafoam floats by in our wake. Today is the time for adventure on the green seas.


Topics and shownotes

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Tangkal English - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/may/12/featured-comic-tangkal-english/

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Special thanks to:
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Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

Episode 477 - Darkest before dawn

May 4, 2020

5 likes, 2 comments

Today on this glorious date we chat about that part in stories where everything turns to crap for the protagonists, just before the run up to the climax where they find their inner strength again and regain their powers so that the climax is even more effective than it would normally be… just BEFORE that moment. Everything is finally going well for our characters, their relationship is amazing, they have all the money they need to keep the clubhouse open, they're going to win the big game, they have the magic sword to kill the dragon with, they have the fastest car in the race, the bombs are all set to destroy the alien mother-ship, and the band is finally going to make it to the big time! ...BUT...

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2 likes, 0 comments

What happens to characters after the big action scene or climactic moment? This could be anywhere in the story but it's usually close to the end. Do they process any of the things that have happened to them to lead them up to that point or do they just forget about everything and simply act as if nothing except the last 4 seconds matter? The later seems to be the trend in a lot of badly written fiction, and it's a notable trope in 80s style action films. Death of family members or lovers are irrelevant when you have a hot action star standing next to you!

Episode 464 - The current digital art landscape

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4 likes, 3 comments

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Episode 459 - 2019 Year in review!

Dec 30, 2019

6 likes, 4 comments

It's been a great year! DD has continued to grow bit by bit, we've been stable and a great host for many many webcomics. DD is one of the only truly independent community focused webcomic hosting sites left. Most of the rest are commercial hubs that are not community centered. Part of our commitment to the community on DD is showcasing our best webcomics every week, which we've been doing for 17 years now, and I've personally been doing that for about 13.

Episode 454 - Are Marvel movies "Despicable"?

Nov 24, 2019

2 likes, 0 comments

This week we look at the famous quote by respected film director Martin Scorsese that “Marvel movies aren't Cinema” and also the quote by fellow director Francis Ford Coppola that Marvel films are “despicable”. We try and look at the proper context of these remarks outside of the twitter garbage and social media outrage to see if either had any point or whether they're way off the mark and deserving of criticism.

Episode 453 - Lost in Translation

Nov 18, 2019

2 likes, 0 comments

Where does your main audience come from? And how do you change your work to accommodate them? For a lot of us it's north Americans (mainly from the USA), which is interesting, especially for those of us outside of there because our cultures are slightly different. We THINK we totally understand each other but there ARE differences. So to make ourselves properly understood with the original intent of the story we often have to translate things slightly (much more in Tantz's case!). This goes doubly when a story is set in a different era. How much do you localise your story for the audience, how much SHOULD you?

Episode 452 - Storytelling styles change!

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3 likes, 0 comments

Storytelling styles change over time for various reasons: fashion, audience expectations, competition for audience attention due to increased choice and availability of media, technological limitations and abilities, and culture. We chat about the reasons for the changes and how styles have changed.


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