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 527 - Evil superheroes unneeded

Apr 19, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Evil superheroes are a stupid fad, that's my contention. My opinion. They've been around for a long time but now they're so popular it's becoming a bit of a fad and might turn into its own genre. I suppose Marvel and others have saturated the superhero market so to stay relevant other companies are doing “twists” on that traditional genre, hence the evil superheroes.

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 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 516 - comics and your mental state

Jan 31, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

Pitface asked people how doing webcomics has helped to shore up your teetering mental state this past year. We got some responses to that and we also added our own thoughts to it. It's an interesting question though isn't it? This is a webcomic focused site, we're all creative people so webcomics tend to be a big outlet for us. How does having personal control over something YOU create and that YOU are responsible for, help you stay stable and centered when the rest of the world has seems pretty chaotic, with the crazy virus and the even madder, childish politics coming from the top leadership of the world's biggest superpower?

Episode 508 - Fan Service

Dec 6, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

The Mandalorian on Disney Plus is a very popular series, it's particularly known at the moment because of the “fanservice”, i.e. fan rewards in the second series. a couple of Clone Wars characters are in it now… but we won't spoil that. Tantz, Banes and I chat Fan Service! What IS Fan Service and why is it a thing? When did we first learn about it?

Episode 507 - Say my name again!

Nov 30, 2020

4 likes, 1 comment

Coming up with character names isn't easy. It can actually be really, really hard! Tantz did a couple helpful Newsposts about it and we decided to spin that into a fun Quackcast about naming and names! The names behind stuff often has interesting stories, the Quackcast itself is no exception. When Wowio told us we had to do a podcast back in the day we tossed around a few names and the one they came up with was “Quackcast”, because of the whole “duck” theme we have going here. I protested because there was a highly regarded skeptical medical podcast with that name already run by Dr Mark Crislip, but I didn't have any real say and so the name stuck! When I DID have the power to change it, it was already way too entrenched.

Episode 506 - The fightcast

Nov 22, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Today we chat about fight scenes! This was spurred by a post in our forums about how bad fight choreography can spoil a film. Our Patron vid was mainly about fights in our comics, while the Quackcast is more about fights in movies. One of the things about REAL fights is that they're usually very fast, ugly, stupid looking, and not very exciting. It's important to remember that boxers and UFC fighters are entertainers and sports people, those people are performing for an audience - their fights are real but they're designed to be showy and exciting, whereas true fighting on the street or in war etc is very different, it's more deadly and more stupid looking.


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