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 521 - bluecuts34 on X comics

Mar 8, 2021

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Today we're interviewing Bluecuts34 who is one of the crew assembling the DD horror anthology to raise money for Drunk Duck! They are the author of an adult comic (Castle of Joy), so Bluecuts34 is on today to talk about adult comics in general! The discussion between Pit, Tantz and Bluecuts34/Mal was fascinating, tackling all different aspects of erotic and porn comics. Castle of Joy is a fantasy X comic with action happening between two characters: one lady and one non-binary. Subscribe to our Patreon bellow to see Bluecuts34 on video and hear them tell us what they think of Milo Manara and his erotic comics!

Episode 520 - Fans!

Mar 1, 2021

3 likes, 1 comment

Today we're talking fans! Isn't it great to have them? We're all fans of something, but as webcomicers having fans means they're a dedicated audience who care about your creative output and send their love and appreciation to you- this really helps you stay motivated and inspired to keep on creating and producing new work. Here we talk about our experiences with fans and of BEING fans. It helps that we're fans of each other. But we also chat about some of the things we're fans off. What are your fan experiences and what are YOU a fan off?

Episode 512 - Fire and Ice Commentary

Jan 3, 2021

3 likes, 1 comment

Happy 2021 everybody!!!!! For this fun first of year Quackcast We do a commentary and reaction to the Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta classic sword and sorcery animated movie from 1983, Fire and Ice! Tantz and Banes have never, ever seen it before so it was a new experience to them and maybe to YOU as well? Fire and Ice is a simple fantasy story about evil prince Necron who wants to rule over all the lands using his control of a huge glacier. Brave Princess Teegra, Larn (mullet head), and Darkwolf (the Deathdealer), team up to battle to stop him destroying the southern lands. It was done with rotoscoped animation which made the figures look quite realistic. Rotoscoping is basically filming real actors and then taking out the background and painting over their bodies and turning them into cartoons. It's an analogue old fashion way of doing motion capture, like they do in modern 3D CGI animation.

Episode 509 - Saltcast

Dec 13, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Escapist fiction Vs Gritty and real style fiction… Furwerk-Studio made an interesting post about this subject. They were annoyed at people who dismiss escapism as something lessor or inferior to more gritty and realistic work, so we decided to tackle both sides and take some extreme views on the subject, both for and against! A few years ago Simon Peg made some comments related to this very subject and got a bit of backlash (links in the notes). The idea is that escapist stuff keeps us infantile and malleable… It's actually a really old idea anything that isn't realistic is childish and bad for you while things that are heavier and more adult in tone (whether escapist or not), are far more worthy.

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 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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