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 493 - Use existing IP to explore new things?

Aug 24, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

First up… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TANTZ! This Quackcast is about the topic of whether it's right to change an established character just to fit with the ideas and styles of a new creator or change them in accordance with an idea or political position you want to explore, OR should you instead create a whole new character or story to do that with? Bane's newspost gave the example of the ersatz justice league created for The Boys, where Homelander =/= Superman. The series was made to look at the dark side of superheros, but it doesn't ruin established and much loved heroes to do that…

Episode 490 - Genres of webcomics!

Aug 3, 2020

5 likes, 11 comments

Aren't genres great? They're so useful for categorising what we like and selling our work. Today we're chatting about all the genres that are popular in webcomics now, that we know of. Back in the day webcomics were mainly defined by TWO genres: slice of life, and gaming. And out of those two gaming was king! Actually a lot of comics combined the two. The biggest were things like 8 Bit Fantasy, PVP, Penny Arcade, and Ctrl Alt Delete.

Episode 483 - Burnt out

Jun 15, 2020

2 likes, 0 comments

Emma Clare posted about avoiding burnout on Friday and we thought we'd steal that subject to chat about it. Burnout is something that can affect all of us, most especially when you're stuck at home with lots of time to create, funnily enough. When there's a lot of pressure on you to create it often makes you STOP creating. But there are a lot of ways to void burn out and when it actually does happen to you there are a lot of ways to come back from it and rekindle those exhausted flames of creation. How do YOU come back after being burnt out? What was your longest burnout?

Episode 472 - CoVid-19-cast

Mar 30, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

In this strange time of global pandemic it'd be crazy NOT to acknowledge what we're all experiencing together, so that's what we're talking about today: How the virus stuff is affecting us. Pitface joins us once again so today the quartet is complete: Pitz, Banes, Oz, and Tantz!

Episode 466 - And then What?

Feb 16, 2020

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 458 - fave Christmas stuff?

Dec 23, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Hey! Merry Xmas! Happy Hanukkah! Merry Kwanza! Merry Festivus! Happy Yule! Happy Saturnalia! Winter Solstice and all the rest ^_^ In this Quackcast Banes, Tantz, and I chat about our fave Christmas stuff, from films to music, to what we like to do on the day and the popular Christmas traditions of our parts of the world- Australia for me Greece for Tantz, and Canada for Banes. What is your fave xmas movie, music, or activity? What's you fave things to do at this time of year? Do you have any rituals or practices that are particular to your part of the world? Let us know! :D

Episode 448 - King of franchises: Star Wars!

Oct 14, 2019

5 likes, 1 comment

Continuing on our focus on movie franchises for the month of October, THIS time we focus on the king of them all: STAR WARS! This was a genre defining series, not only for movies but for space opera, “SciFi”, and science fantasy on all media! The original trilogy was quite a milestone. Predictably further instalments weren't quite as well received but it still remains popular even so! Currently it's having a resurgence in popularity once more.


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