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9Captain k'alaa's Corner for August, 2003

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  • kalaahod
    Aug 7, 2003
      Science Fiction Genres -- Is Comparison Really Necessary?

      (For the purpose of this article, "story" means any book, television
      show, movie, or form of media that conveys the ideas, characters and
      plots of science fiction or any fictional work).

      Do we, as science fiction fans actually need to compare one science
      fiction story to another? I know that everyone has their preferences,
      and to me, that is a wonderful thing (it proves we're paying
      attention) However, if we as fans subscribe to the notion that "my
      favorite story is better than yours" - aren't we really wasting time?
      Is it truly necessary to believe that some other story isn't
      as "good" as the one we like the most?

      I know many people will use comparisons, such as special effects,
      writing, and popularity. After all, if one story is more popular than
      another, shouldn't it logically be more fun to watch?

      On the face of it, popularity (as a comparison) is a reasonable
      argument. Television can popularize a good story in an amazing short
      space of time. However, television can also steam roll most people's
      attentions away from other science fiction, such as books, audio
      dramas and even movies. Should this really be a criteria for
      comparing favorite stories? Should there be a comparison at all?

      My own personal opinion is there is nothing wrong with having a
      favorite story or stories, as long as we can keep our minds open to
      other possibilities. Because, after all, that is what science fiction
      brings us. Other possibilities!

      As a teenager, I started reading Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein as
      school assignments, and kept reading their books out of the sheer
      entertainment the stories gave me. However, if I hadn't been a Star
      Trek fan first, I don't think I could have appreciated Heinlein or
      Asimov as much. After that, Arthur C. Clarke, Ben Bova and the
      science fiction novels of C.S. Lewis (Perelandra is one example)
      carried me further into other worlds and other imaginations. However,
      if I had never read Heinlein, I would never have thought to read the
      others. (Can anyone spell "snowball effect"?)

      Will you, as a science fiction fan, allow yourself to watch, read or
      otherwise absorb a science fiction story other than that of your
      favorite? How many science fiction stories can one person care about?
      Is it the genre you love, or will only one story fit into your life?
      If you have an opinion about this subject, we'd love to publish it in
      the August, 2003 edition of the Admiral Mudd and Friends Site Ring
      Newsletter. All direct, intelligent responses will be included. The
      deadline for all responses is August 18, 2003.