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 486 - Discordia! Chatting real time

Jul 6, 2020

5 likes, 3 comments

Today we chat with BoundBun, Damehelsing, and Bluecuts34. Who are they? Well they're 3 Drunk-Duckers and they manage our Discord server! Yes, we do have a Discord! You can visit it and chat with them in person! - or become a patron and see them on video ;)

Episode 343 - sexy Drawings

Oct 9, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

How do YOU feel when drawing or writing about something sexy? That was the question put to the erotically charged ladies and guys of DD, who answered in a full frontal, frank and unashamed manner! It's a harrrrd question to answer but we were wiiiide open about it. ;) Does writing sexy stories and doing sexy art make you feel erotically charged, leave you feeling cold, or a little pervy? I contend that if you're doing it right then it should turn you on just as much as you intend to turn on the viewer! Pit, Tantz and Banes agreed with me… but many DDers did not and we read out their comments on the subject. *A few new comments were posted after we'd already done the Quackcast so we couldn't get to them. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to 9th Life: A warm symphony of interlacing guitars, weaving their riffs ecstatically in and out and around each other into a self supporting tower of pure cool.

Episode 336 - Side romance

Aug 21, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Romances don't always have to be the main focus of a story, infact you can have richer, more interesting romances if they occur in support of a bigger plot issue. It can lend them and the story more weight if they're in a secondary position. Characters can form natural, less forced relationships with each other, and this can give the wider plot of the story more urgency or meaning because it has a direct bearing on the health of their union. You can reward fans with a wished for or unexpected blossoming of love between two favourite characters without having the same inevitability that a straight out romance has. Really, there are so many things you can do! This was inspired by Tantz's Saturday newspost. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Mindfold: A tune that fits very well with its title! You can feel your mind folding with this gorgeous, echoing, evocative multicultural influenced sound, featuring all manner of crystalline ringing synths, soaring violins, drums and so much more. This would fit well with a high concept cyberpunk anime.

Episode 253 - narrative order and the flashback

Jan 11, 2016

6 likes, 6 comments

Doing stories that start with the climax, then flash back, tell what happened to get there: the old narrative style of switching the first few chapters around to make a more interesting story. Sometimes it works GREAT because it throws you right into the middle of things and you have to work your way back to that point… It works very nicely in The Hangover for example! Often it's used very badly- in anime particularly, where they use it for foreshadowing and a tease to try and get you interested in the rest of the story- but anime story structure is so formulaic that all it really does is give you a cheap spoiler. Other times it doesn't work well is when the writer isn't very good so the viewer loses their way in the plot… If the writer is GOOD though you end up with Pulp Fiction. You'll love Gunwallace's theme here- a super funky jazz track for the comic Nothing Important Happened Today. Enjoy!

Episode 223 - Collaborating with the Aliens

Jun 15, 2015

4 likes, 6 comments

On today's Quackcast I, the marvellous Ozoneocean am speaking to the equally marvellous Trevor Mueller of Albert the Alien! This fine chap is returning to the Quackcast (was on Quackcast 184), to chat with me about the process of collaborating from the point of view of a writer who's working with an artist. Trevor also he another Kickstarter for the second volume of Albert the Alien out now so please consider contributing to that. Trevor is a highly acclaimed writer of a fantastic and funny all ages comic and his artist on Albert the Alien, Gabriel Bautista, is an award winning successful comic creator in his own right. Trevor brings a LOT of experience to the topic of collaboration. Catch the great theme for The Ink by our very own Gunwallace!

Episode 146 - The SantaCast!

Dec 16, 2013

5 likes, 11 comments

It's that time of year again, when we do all our traditional celebration stuff and get silly about Santa, Father Christmas, Saint Nick, Papai Noel, Viejo Pascuero, Dun Che Lao Ren, Kerstman, Joulupukki, Weihnachtsmann, Mikulas, Babbo Natale, Hoteiosho, Julenissen, Swiety Mikolaj, Ded Moroz, Jultomten... Hanukkah has been, Winter Solstice is coming up, then Christmas, then Kwanzaa, then the best party of the year: New Years!!! Hooray! For this Quackcast Banes Interviews the jolly bearded man in the red suit, Christmas comics are discussed, Secret Santa comics, and finally the The 2013 DD Radio Play!


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