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Through a Scanner Dorkily: Sci-Fi Blunders

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  • Through a Scanner Dorkily: Sci-Fi Blunders

    Nothing dates science fiction quicker than its vision of the future.

    Just been reading a couple of classic books that exemplify this:

    Lord of Light - Everyone's smoking!

    Neuromancer - Everyone's excited about 3MB of RAM!

    What other howlers have you seen?

    Des
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  • #2
    Well acording to 2001 a Space Odyssey we were supposed to have reached Jupiter 7 years ago and so far it dosn't look likely that we're going to reach Mars anytime soon.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by UncleDes View Post
      What other howlers have you seen?
      When Isaac Asimov's technicians or pilots have to do a tricky calculation, they usually reach for their slide rules...

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      • #4
        1984 signs on the tower of the Ministry Of Truth proclaim...
        "War is Peace,"
        "Freedom is Slavery,"
        "Ignorance is Strength."
        Strong yet underestimative foresight George.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johneffay View Post
          When Isaac Asimov's technicians or pilots have to do a tricky calculation, they usually reach for their slide rules...
          Same with Heinlein's fiction. I remember in 'Starman Jones' they keep book after book of tables.

          The whole premise of Space 1999 is pretty gone too.
          You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

          -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

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          "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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          • #6
            WHERE IS MY JETPACK!?!?!

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            • #7
              Presumably we're not talking about using an Apple Mac Powerbook to cripple an alien invasion fleet, right?

              Computers that still use punchcards or 'Winchester' hard disks are another thing altogether.
              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                Presumably we're not talking about using an Apple Mac Powerbook to cripple an alien invasion fleet, right?
                No, Dave, that would be the "nuke the fridge" moment in an otherwise entertaining movie.

                Computers that still use punchcards or 'Winchester' hard disks are another thing altogether.
                Yeah. Steampunk is deliberately excluded here, as it reinterprets the past, not "wildly misjudges the future".

                Des
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                • #9
                  Actually, and I don't think this takes away from the fun of this thread, but I don't believe the purpose of science fiction is to correctly predict the future. It's to explore possible futures, and it doesn't date a book like 1984 that what it predicted for 1984 hadn't completely occurred at that particular date. The warning is still very valid.

                  There are books like Earth by David Brin that did an accurate job of predicting the Worldwide Web, but if you look for discrepancies in it, you will surely find many more than actual realities that came to be.

                  The way I read science fiction books where the author has missed out on an important technological revolution, but still provided a strong story (say the use of "tape" for entertainment and education in C.J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union books) is to view it along the lines of one of Mike's alternate timestreams.
                  My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

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                  • #10
                    I agree, DA, I see things like 2001, The Forever War, The Expendables series, etc, etc, as alternate futures/presents. They are what happened when things went slightly differently.
                    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                    -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                    Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                    :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                    "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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                    • #11
                      Obviously you can't blame a SF writer for not having predicted the world Wide Web (with a few exceptions like James H Schmitz, also, who depicted a similar system) or the fall of the USSR ( how many "sovietic" agents, colonies, etc. in the far future, obviously on alternate Earths), or 9/11, and so on. You could as well blame Leigh Brackett for not having depicted Venus and Mars as we now know they are (Her alternative Venus and Mars are among the best in worldbuilding. I'd have loved her Venus)
                      To me, the real blunders are:
                      - Aliens identical to humans save a trifling detail or two;
                      - Instant linguistic comprehension between beings of different planet, time and space without explicitly mentioned use of translators, babel-fishes or similar devices;
                      - Ancient weapons or devices unused for millennia that function perfectly the moment they are activated ( As in dan Simmon's Endymion, when a portal unused for generations starts to function the moment Endymion operates it.Energy leakages, wheather decay aren't considered)
                      and similar mistakes.Not to mention the VISITORS TV series, where a girl was conceived in the intercourse between an human woman and an alien reptiloid...
                      Last edited by Dorian-Hawkmoon; 08-13-2008, 06:41 AM.
                      Don't believe everything you hear, but not disbelieve anything, either
                      Calanthe Har Aralis har Varr har Uigenna

                      This is not the Tanelorn I was searching for
                      Dorian Hawkmoon

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                      • #12
                        The Cybermen, to the best of my knowledge, never did atatck the Earth in 1986. I waited up all of Dec. 31st, 1985, just to make sure I wouldn't miss that. Sadly, apparently I should have been at the South Pole.

                        I'm still waiting on my subscription to the Karkus as well.
                        "Self-discipline and self-knowledge are the key. An individual becomes a unique universe, able to move at will through all the scales of the multiverse - potentially able to control the immediate reality of every scale, every encountered environment."
                        --Contessa Rose von Bek, Blood part 4, chapter 12

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dorian-Hawkmoon View Post
                          Not to mention the VISITORS TV series, where a girl was conceived in the intercourse between an human woman and an alien reptiloid...
                          D-M this counts as a spoiler


                          Des
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                          • #14
                            non est gustandum

                            Originally posted by UncleDes View Post
                            D-M this counts as a spoiler


                            Des
                            but then I say that about practically every US SF and/or other film, TV show, and almost every book. I was blown away with "American Beauty", because I wasn't previously aware that US studios were capable of doing that sort of film. Written US SF gets a waiver, because they're not all Military SF, which I now regard as some sort of pernacious infectious meme.

                            Swordfish was cringeworthy. Matrix was empty-headedly enjoyable. And there was that all-time anus horribilis of a fantasy film in thei eighties, with those metallic cyborgs and those one-eyed cyclopeans, and that plot that stopped me from trying my hand at wriitng fantasy out of a well-founded terror that anything i produced would be that ghastly ... It really is terrible how the US film industry insists on trying for Darwin-Award-worthy plots.
                            sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                            Gold is the power of a man with a man
                            And incense the power of man with God
                            But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                            And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                            Nativity,
                            by Peter Cape

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by In_Loos_Ptokai View Post
                              but then I say that about practically every US SF and/or other film, TV show, and almost every book. I was blown away with "American Beauty", because I wasn't previously aware that US studios were capable of doing that sort of film. Written US SF gets a waiver, because they're not all Military SF, which I now regard as some sort of pernacious infectious meme.

                              Swordfish was cringeworthy. Matrix was empty-headedly enjoyable. And there was that all-time anus horribilis of a fantasy film in thei eighties, with those metallic cyborgs and those one-eyed cyclopeans, and that plot that stopped me from trying my hand at wriitng fantasy out of a well-founded terror that anything i produced would be that ghastly ... It really is terrible how the US film industry insists on trying for Darwin-Award-worthy plots.
                              What did you think of Babylon 5?

                              Des
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