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Topic: Literary Sci-Fi VS Television Sci-Fi Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 31 May 2018 at 4:48pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Here's a view from J. Michael Straczynski about TV sci-fi VS literary sci-fi, as told to BABYLON 5 MAGAZINE #15 (1999):

"It's been pointed out that TV-SF is generally 20-30 years behind print SF. In the 1960s or so, along came the New Wave of SF, which eschewed hardware for stories about the human condition, set against an SF background. And the fanzines and prozines and techno-loving pundits of hard-SF declared it heresy, said it wasn't SF, this is crap. And eventually they were steamrolled, and print SF grew up a little."

I don't feel qualified to talk about that, so over to you.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 31 May 2018 at 4:48pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 31 May 2018 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I remember John Campbell editor of Astounding/Analog was sort of 'in trouble' with those hard SF folks for publishing stories and features on psychokinetics, telepathy, even dowsing. Plus stories by Anne McCaffery and George R.R. Martin were considered somehow 'fuzzy' in the letters section. I think it did start with writers like Dick, Bradbury, Kornbluth, Ellison, Van Vogt and Sturgeon before the New Wavers in England, but maybe they went further inward and into even more subjective universes. I did read a fair bit of plain strange experimental things from Disch, Moorcock and Aldiss, but my favorite UK novel of the late '60s-'70s would be The Embedding by Ian Watson. I loved the sheer alieness of the aliens, no longer being projections of Roman army ants writ large across a galaxy. I'm sure LSD played it's part (certainly with Dick).
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 31 May 2018 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

There is a reason my favourite science fiction stories are from the 40's and 50's. I find the later works, on average, to be more pessimistic.  Always exceptions of course. 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 31 May 2018 at 9:25pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Continuing on the magazine line I was on... a basic rundown of things... there was Galaxy starting in 1950 in the U.S. (later joined by (Worlds Of) If which had been under another publisher) and The Magazine Of Fantasy & Science-Fiction from 1949 that both distinguished themselves by publishing stories centered on the 'soft' sciences of sociology, anthropology etc. which was followed to a degree by John W. Campbell in Astounding/Analog. In England another old timer magazine on a fairly irregular schedule titled New Worlds acquired a new editor in 1964 named Michael Moorcock who began publishing people named Disch, Ballard, and Aldiss alongside his own work and who came to be referred to as the 'New Wave'. For awhile there was a U.S. edition of New Worlds, I had a couple of these, but the financing seemed to be about as shaky as for the British original at the time. This was the age of the digests which had a sort of uptown/high street literary veneer over the larger raggedy-edged pulp sci-fi of the '20s-'40s. Ray Bradbury was being published in what were called the slicks; mainstream magazines with large general circulations and collected into hardcover and then paperback fairly quickly.


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 31 May 2018 at 9:28pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 02 June 2018 at 12:51pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Lost In Space and Star Trek were separated by very little in actual time. One became a bad monster of the week joke of a sf series with a monkey in a costume for an alien, and the other just had a few dodgy episodes. The initial Space Family Robinson idea by Danish Ib Melchior was a bit cliched to start with but his version was rather starkly realistic in places like his Robinson Crusoe On Mars and Time Travelers films. Gene Roddenberry said he pitched Trek as a Wagon Train to the stars, but looking at the original pilot he was also more realism-minded. They put a lot of thought into their work only to have the networks want to take a lot out, and in Lost In Space they took out what guts remained well after creator Melchior was permanently written out (there were still the Gold Key comics though).
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