Episode 530 - What is SciFi?

May 10, 2021

So what IS SciFi? Well it's a pretty wide umbrella term and contains a lot of different things. In some senses it's just an imaginative fiction story where science replaces magic. SciFi can simply be a sciencey setting where genre stories take place (romance, adventure, nior, horror). It can be a magical fantasy space opera with a futuristic skin (Star Wars), it can be “hard SciFi” where the story is set in the future but the science is completely plausible, it can be written with strong themes that examine philosophical questions and make interesting points about the nature of humanity, and it can be so many more things too. It's a broad church!

Topics and Show Notes

Where did SciFi begin? Basically it all started in the 1920s. The “pulp” magazines were super popular. People just couldn't get enough of them. Publisher Hugo Gernsback found a niche re-publishing old speculative fiction stories ( Jules Verne, HG Wells, Mary Shelly etc), in some of his publications, and single handedly created the “Science Fiction” genre as a way to sell them. Pretty soon a new crop of writers was producing new stories specially to be a part of this genre and to go in his magazines, these were the first SciFi writers… Among them EE Doc Smith, Isaac Asimov etc. And the genre was born.

It's currently popular to say that Mary Shelly was “the first SciFi writer”, I'd counter that and say not really… It was a big step on the road but what her Frankenstein character was most influential with was monster fiction, she created the “mad scientist” subgenre that has been hugely influential in horror fiction. But when you're talking about the “first” of something the problem is that you can ALWAYS come up with earlier examples, which is why I list Gernsback in the 1920s as the true creator of the genre.

For example, the stories of E. T. A. Hoffmann pre-date Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and out of them we have stories of a scientist creating a lifelike clockwork robot, becoming Operas and the famous ballet Coppélia. And if we want to go back to the earliest primordial SciFi origins what comes to my mind is many of the Greek myths: the famous Scientist Daedalus who created wearable flying wings, animated toys, the Labyrinth, even the ability for a woman to mate with a bull! Then there's Archimedes (a real person) with SciFi stories of his accomplishments like the creation of a sun-powered ray to destroy warships or a giant claw machine that plucked them out of the water… Or the stories of the ships built by the Phaeacians (in Homer's Odyssey), they're able to travel as fast as a falcon to any destination you can think of since they know all the cities of the world and can navigate automatically. SciFi has a LONG history for something that wasn't codified till the early 20th century.

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This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Starlights, Gunwallace says: “Had some time this morning. Here's a theme for Starlights. In my head I'm imagining you with your new guitar dressed in the white dandy costume playing the solo.”
My description: A dandy gent in bright white frock coat and tricorn hat festooned with giant ostrich feathers stands outlined against the stormy grey sky… He shoulders a cream coloured stratocaster, and shreds, ripping out a soaring solo against the growing winds of the coming storm -


Topics and shownotes

Kawaii's newspost on the Beauty of SciFi - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/may/02/the-beauty-of-science-fiction/

Featured comic:
Cupcake War Machine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/may/04/featured-comic-cupcake-war-machine/

Featured Music:
Starlights - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Starlights/ - by Kawaii Triangle, rated M.

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

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Episode 525 - Sexual Tension

Apr 5, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

Sexual tension between characters is a great way to augment the conflict that drives a story. The audience really wants that to resolve into a relationship or at least an assignation of some sort… The longer it goes on though, the bigger they want the coming together to be, which can be dangerous for the creator because it's so easy to disappoint. it's usually better to resolve the tension earlier than later, OR keep it going forever but keep it interesting and don't ever sour it or make it turn stale.

Episode 522 - The fall of a politician and a furry, The ballad of Grey Muzzle

Mar 14, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

Today we chat about the disappearance of another Drunkducker. This fellow was a politician in his daily life and a furry in his downtime. On DD he was the author of the adult furry comic Tina's story, an exceptionally well written slice of life comedy comic with adult elements, staring an anthro poodle lady and her human partner. This man had his online activity taken and used to destroy his political career. The comic which was his passion was used as ammunition to ruin him. We chat about this in our Quackcast! In light of what happened to Gina Carano for her silly words this is interesting.

Episode 518 - Gina Carano, no more right to bare arms!

Feb 15, 2021

5 likes, 2 comments

Gina Carano who plays Cara Dune in the excellent Star Wars franchise Mandalorian has been fired, as we all know by now… It's a great series, really one of the best incarnations of Star Wars since the original trilogy, and Cara's character was pretty cool. Though I personally didn't really like her lunk-head costume- Fully dressed characters in SciFi with bare biceps always look stupid to me for some reason. Doesn't matter if they're men, women, anthros etc, it's just ugly, especially when they're wearing armour. UGH! Be that as it may Gina said some pretty silly things on social media, and kept saying them after she got in trouble for it aaaaaand then Disney booted her.

Episode 517 - money in Scifi Utopia

Feb 8, 2021

3 likes, 3 comments

Weird one this week! A monneyless system in a working Scifi utopia. This was based on an idea Banes came up with talking about Star Trek and how the federation has “evolved beyond money”, We discuss if this is possible, why it is and how it is. That means no need for money substitutes like credit or barter either. It's a really interesting topic and a brave choice for a world setting. The most common type of scifi world by FAR is a dystopia so the fact that Star Trek is a working utopia (at least in the original and 1990s series) is a very brave and unique choice and the idea that it functions without money is even more clever and interesting.

Episode 511 - TENSION

Dec 28, 2020

5 likes, 5 comments

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Blame Mr Banes for this one, he's also the man responsible for the great cover art! Haha, he originally came up with the Quackcast topic: How do you build tension in a scene? There are a lot of ways! We talk about some of them here… Time limits on a scene, impending deadlines, a character dying but they can still be saved, misunderstandings, something the audience knows but the characters don't, decompressed scenes, closeups of faces, weird angles…

Episode 502 - Definitive character moments!

Oct 26, 2020

3 likes, 3 comments

What is the most definitive version of your character? Where does it pop up in your comic? What part of your work most defines your main character and why? What about TV, movie, comic, and story characters?

Episode 495 - A fan of fanfiction?

Sep 7, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

Fanfiction is a massive subject, there are so many aspects to it, from the bad stuff with the Mary Sues, rampant shipping, author inserts and wish fulfilment etc to homages and great works that extend the story and characters beyond what they were in the original and add interesting and fun aspects to fan favourites. There are many good reasons to do fanfiction: It's fun, you're inspired and want to use that inspiration, all the characteristics of the story are readymade so you don't have to do world building or character development, the work has a built in audience so you're going to have readers no matter what and hopefully some feedback, it can help make you more popular as a creator because of the fans of the original work, and you get to experiment because you can't sell the work or do anything serious with it so you may as well have fun and enjoy it!


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