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 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 503 - Changing attitudes

Nov 1, 2020

5 likes, 1 comment

An old man tries to explain modern culture to an even older man… Attitudes change! Things don't stay the same, culture moves on and when we try to hang onto old ideas we can look like idiots, and even worse than that we can hold up cultural progress and hurt people. That's what we're trying to talk about…

Episode 452 - Storytelling styles change!

Nov 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Storytelling styles change over time for various reasons: fashion, audience expectations, competition for audience attention due to increased choice and availability of media, technological limitations and abilities, and culture. We chat about the reasons for the changes and how styles have changed.

Episode 327 - Flashback heart-attack!

Jun 12, 2017

5 likes, 4 comments

FLASHbacks… you have to do them right or they will screw up the flow of your story. That's the theme of the newspost by Tantz Aerine that we stole this podcast topic from. :) Flashbacks can be expository, they can explain story elements and plot to you, they can push the narrative forward in a (seemingly) non-linear way, they can do all sorts of things, but one of the very worst is when they ruin the flow of your story and irritate your audience! That's what we're chatting about today, the poorly handled flashback and how to avoid it! Now let me tell you about that time… JUST KIDDING! Our music theme by Gunwallace this week was Galactic Nebula Race. This is all about speed! Racing, acceleration, hyper-velocity!! Watch those lights fly past faster and faster until they become just a single coloured blurred line… only to see your rival speed past as if you were standing still.

Episode 306 - Culture club

Jan 16, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Patriotism, flags, nationalism, religion, politics, national symbols hijacked by racists! These are some of the unique aspects of our cultural identity and national differences we chat about on this quackcast. I was inspired by HippieVan's newspost on Friday (about Cultural identity and how it defines our writing), to dive further into the subject of cultural differences. We all share the illusion of a single, global culture, but there are regional differences for all of us that mean we don't see things the same way, and often some of the stuff we mean in our comics is influenced by where we come from in a way that people from elsewhere would never quite get in the same way. We chatted about how the use and wearing of national flags is very different depending on what country you're in. For example, in the USA proudly displaying the national flag is seen as normal and mundane, while elsewhere displaying the national flag can be seen as a sign of extreme conservatism or militant nationalism. Wearing the US flag in most countries is seen as something of a fashion statement, a very commercial one; wearing the flag of the USSR is seen as a statement of ironic rebellion; wearing the Union Jack is punk; but wearing the flag of your own country in Australia, Greece, Canada, Cambodia etc (and many other places) is seen as a gauche statement of too-overt patriotism, even though wearing the flags of the USA, USSR or UK is perfectly acceptable. These and other interesting facets of culture are what we chatted about. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Ayla Speaker For The Dead, it's a sad, sepulchral, grieving dirge-like requiem, with an uncomfortable sting of evil jazzy trumpet.

Episode 269 - Historical Accuracy VS Story Needs

May 2, 2016

6 likes, 4 comments

Never let historical accuracy get in the way of a good story… at least that's what Bravo proposes. We stole his thought provoking forum post subject for the topic of this Quackcast. This is how Bravo goes on to explain it: “So how do feel about that? Should exact adherence to the historical record be allowed to wreck your wonderful fiction? If so how much dramatic license is too much? What are your favorite examples of how they got it wrong and how they got it right? And what if just a touch more research would have revealed that the historical story was better than what the fiction writers concocted? How tragic is that? And what about the usage of known historical mythology/hoax as in the Da Vinci code?” The frisson between story requirements and known historical record is pretty interesting. In Hollywood the former wins out EVERY single time and usually it doesn't result in a better story anyway, but as we discuss in the Quackcast there are OTHER reasons than simple bad writing choices for not sticking to the real story and trying to hammer everything into the Hero's Journey template.

Episode 265 - Drunk Duck updates and the future

Apr 4, 2016

3 likes, 4 comments

For Quackcast 265 I wanted to steer the direction toward the idea of future fixes and features for Drunk Duck! We talked a bit about the 2nd wave of fixes that will be happening now- HippieVan worked to gather people's suggestions for the most important bugs that needed fixing (with our limited funds), and features people want added, and then did a survey to find what people though were the highest priority. It was a lot of work and took a few weeks to come up with the results. Bellow is a summery of what she learned:


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