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 361 - Primordial Creations

Feb 12, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

Today we talk about where our characters began, not their origin stories or why we started writing them but rather what they used to look like! Pitface was inspired to create a thread based on this idea by Emma Clare's newspost series of origin stories. So we just HAD to have Emma Clare along with us to discus this too! Pit, Tantz, and Emma discuss their bishie origins and talk about maybe doing a bishie DD calendar… We HAVE to make them do that! Emma Clare of course does our Friday newsposts as well as the comic Puppets and Strings and is the artist on Constellation Chronicles. What did your character look like when you first started? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme Wolf Moon - A slow, rich acoustic beginning lulls you calmly, then we roar into a rough, electric feast, a veritable tidal wave of sound washes over you and carries you out to sea.

Episode 360 - How did you start in webcomics?

Feb 4, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast I thought we'd chat about Emma Clare's great and thoughtful topic of webcomic origin stories: Basically, what was happening to make you start your webcomic on DD, all that stuff in your life back when you first began posting… Emma's newsposts are a great read and they made us all think back to how we began. Pit, Tantz and I have a long talk about our comicing origins. What were YOU doing when you started webcomics? What made you begin? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to NanoCritters. It's a minimalist white expanse, dotted with mysterious little marks of sound. What do they mean, what do they represent, is it code? Read NanoCritters to find out! Also included in the Quackcast are extracts from a lovely Starwars themed rap that Tantz's Greek students performed in English.

Episode 193 - Representing inner turmoil in comics

Nov 17, 2014

4 likes, 4 comments

The idea for this Quackcast came from a newspost by HippieVan. She had just read a comic version of Frankenstein and was disappointed at the simplistic way that the character's inner turmoil was rendered. She wondered about the different ways that "inner turmoil" is portrayed in comics. The lovely and highly intellectual duo of Tantz Aerine and Pitface join Banes and I to discuss farts... and after that we tackle the subject of portraying inner turmoil in comics. Each person brought some rather interesting examples to the table, and we all talked about the many different ways such internal emotional and intellectual changes can be visually depicted on the page for the reader without being stupidly obvious about it.

Episode 128 - Ozone and Banes Print Comic Origins

Jun 3, 2013

6 likes, 3 comments

Like Quackcast 127, 128 is about early print comic influences, except this time it's the influences of Banes and Ozoneocean. We have a good long chat together about some of the old print comics that had the biggest influences on us in our early days of comic making... and reminisce about good old fun times reading those great comics like Mad Magazine and what we learned and took away from those experiences in art style, genre, comedy, and writing style.

Episode 112 - Live play: Operation MOON!

Feb 11, 2013

6 likes, 11 comments

We live up to the promise of two Quackcasts ago: We have a LIVE play for your listening torture! A comic play written by Ozoneocean, full of horrible jokes and starring 5 wonderful duckers all playing their parts to perfection in Operation MOON! It also includes a lot of talk about the origins of our names, ideas for future play based Quackcasts, and a special edition second version of the play done full of giggling! We hope you enjoy this special presentation.

Episode 64 - Of Gods and Superheroes

Feb 14, 2012

6 likes, 12 comments

Superheros Banes and Ozoneocean have it out in a titanic, world-shaking battle complete with sparkly flying electricity vividly written sound FX and a laser light show to see who will be top-dog in the Gothic metropolis of Quackcast city. Ozoneocean attempts to lull the audience into a false sense of security by reciting everything he knows about superheroes and various gods and then comparing the two in his echoy, god-like voice. Meanwhile, banes counters with the rather unusual tactic of trying to entertain them with his hilarious wit and clever improvisations. We discus the origins of superheroes, superheroes movies and everything in between in the first of this two part Quackcast marathon. Re-issued episode 64! We discuss superheros


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