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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Links

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

Featured music:
Fated Feather - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Fated_Feather/, by Iagojester, rated T.

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
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

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 457 - Religion in fiction 2

Dec 16, 2019

5 likes, 4 comments

2 weeks ago we discussed the topic of religion in fiction: basicaly how we use real world religions to inform the perspectives of our characters and make the worlds more real, how we use religion in fiction, and how we make up religions for our worlds. We had so many great responses to this in the forum and about the Quackcast that we thought it'd be great to feature and chat about them! DD is a community after all and we love our community members to be a part of the Quackcast!

Episode 456 - Smackdown on Quackjeeves

Dec 8, 2019

6 likes, 4 comments

Smack Jeeves has been sold out from under its community to a Korean mobile content provider company NHN. The same company approached us last year but the deal didn't go through because we were too strict on retaining control of the site and protecting our community, SJ apparently didn't have those same concerns for the people that made the site so special and that is a huge shame. What's happened now is that NHN is streamlining the site, minimising the creative members who host their comics there and turning it into a content delivery site for its hand-picked pro work, turning it into another souless clone corporate of Webtoons or Tapas.

Episode 455 - Religion in fiction

Dec 2, 2019

4 likes, 2 comments

We're talking about how religion is portrayed in fiction and a bit about WHY. This was a surprisingly fascinating topic. I came up with the idea while watching the old 2000s SciFi series Andromeda: one of the alien characters there is sort of a space Buddhist, and I felt like that was a pretty common thing in American TV Scifi, so I wondered about what other kinds of religious tropes exist in contemporary fiction, fantasy and other SciFi worlds.

Episode 427 - Betrayal

May 20, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Betrayal is an interesting thing to use in fiction. You can have betrayal of your nation, your organisation, friends, lovers, religion, beliefs, self. In stories it can be used to add a nasty twist or completely change the flow of events and alter the balance of power in a dramatic way! It can be devastating in relationships. The story of Judas betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver is one of the most famous betrayal stories and became so iconic that the phrase “30 pieces of silver” or just the word “Judas” became synonymous with the act. Of course the inspiration for the best treachery and betrayal comes from real life and the names of the betrayers often echo down through history. IFrom Rome we have Brutus, in the USA the name “Benedict Arnold” has a similar meaning to “Judas”, the 20th century gave us the term “quisling” after the Norwegian political leader Vidkun Quisling who sold his country out to the Nazis.

Episode 424 - Selling your creative dish

Apr 29, 2019

3 likes, 4 comments

On one side we have creators of content and on the other we have the consumers. The consumers number in their billions and they're voraciously hungry for constant stimulation! Pretty much all creators are consumers too… So why don't they want the beautifully made, clever, spicy, artisanal dish you're selling? Why do they prefer the nice, bland, familiar mass-market high in fat, sugar and salt fast-food of the mainstream instead?

Episode 324 - The *Bleeping*cast!

May 22, 2017

5 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss the interesting notion that censorship can actually be a positive force for creation. Sometimes working WITHIN restrictions of censorship can make you more creative and your work a lot more individual, special and more interesting. I came to this subject after reading a review of how Canadian standards forced very specific and particular changes on the TV show Reboot. Had it been made without the censorship restrictions then it would have been more of a generic show, because the methods they had to use to get around or appease the censors helped to differentiate it from similar children's shows. We also discuss how metaphor in song lyrics and symbolism in art and movies are used to talk about restricted subjects like sex, drugs, politics, and religion and how this is another example of how censorship has given rise to interesting creations. Great examples of obvious coded messages about sex are the song lyrics of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin. We also talk about howl ove songs with secret political messages were used in Greece to foment political revolution. And lastly we mention Heintai and ecchi in Japanese comics and anime and the Drunkduck ratings standards. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Silly Sweetie, it's a dreamlike tour through clouds and wide heavenly vistas, this in turn leaves you feeling warm and refreshed!


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