Oct 202013
 

A while back, I wrote a post about aesthetics vs. practicality in designing science fiction spaceships, which also extends to any sort of speculative design.

Recently, a discussion exploded on the same board over an initially small misunderstanding that went rampant really fast. You can read about it here, if you care to (it spans three pages). The short version is that I pointed out some conceptual flaws in this particular artist’s explanation for how the FTL1 drive works. After some back and forth, wherein the artist got increasingly hostile to having their idea poked at, they fired off a massive post/rant. I almost gave into the temptation to respond to it, but that little voice in the back of my head said, “Dude, get real. They’re not listening. They’re not going to listen. They’ve got too much baggage going into this for your points to get through. Just leave it.” So I did. I apologized for upsetting them, restated that my only goal was to share information/correct misconceptions, complimented them on their model, and wished them well on their worldbuilding. Then I bowed out.

This all played out from 10/17 to 10/18. Yet I’m still thinking about it. I don’t feel any better now than I did when it all played out; if anything, I might be feeling even worse. Enumerating all of the reasons why would take too long, but there’s one point that I wanted to home in on because I see it everywhere and it needs to die.

in case nobody told you…the FI in sci fi means Fiction!!! The concept of this system is based on an assumed understanding of physics that guess what? We don’t and may never have

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. The fiction in science fiction serves the exact same role as it does in fantasy fictioncrime fiction, literary fiction, romance fiction, and every other stripe of fiction out there: it serves to indicate that the story, characters, and setting are made-up. Period. Done.

The science in science fiction clarifies the broader genre: these are made-up stories, characters, and settings where science is the driver behind what is different. New technologies, alien species, and so on; just as magic–the truly fantastic–drives fantasy fiction. There can absolutely be overlap: technological magic, magical technology, whatever you like. But these are the distinguishing features of the genres that give them a unique place.

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  1. That’s “faster than light”…but if you’re not familiar with that term, then most of this post is going to seem even more ridiculous to you. []
Sep 182010
 

Part of my prolonged absence from the blog here (other than the obvious excuse of being lazy), is that one of the most momentous days in my life transpired recently. Cody and I got married!

Though things were frantic as hell from Thursday 8/5 through Saturday 8/7 (the day of the wedding), the ceremony went off without a hitch and was absolutely perfect. Cody’s bridesmaids and my groomsmen processed to the opening title of Star Trek: First Contact, while Cody and her father processed to Hyperspace (which features the Binary Sunset/Force theme) from The Empire Strikes Back.

Our parents each read one of our four readings, with my mom starting with the Declaration of Principles (of the Interstellar Alliance) from Babylon 5, my dad following with a slightly edited-down version of Scalzi’s 15 Years post, Cody’s dad with Taylor Mali’s Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, and Cody’s mom finishing with Us Two by A.A. Milne.

I wrote my vows fairly early on, which highlighted two major things: that I could never adequately express in any volume of words the depth of my love for Cody, and that the duties of a husband were not unlike those of a starship. Cody’s vows were finalized the day of, and I had no idea what they would be like until she spoke them during the ceremony. They were heartbreakingly beautiful, while still containing a wonderful amount of humor (promising to heal me when I wasn’t feeling confident in my tanking, to smile and laugh even when I repeat my latest catch phrase for the 100th time, and similar). I definitely got choked up.

We recessed to “Wander My Friends” from Battlestar Galactica and kicked off the biggest party of our lives. The food was amazing, the place was amazing, our photographer was amazing, our wedding party (and our extended wedding party — I’m looking at you, Sarah, Lisa, and Sally!), our family and friends — all amazing. Evidently, Cody and I managed to make it through our first dance without me making us look like total fools. Becky gave an adorable speech, despite laryngitis, and Nick and Jeff followed with possibly the greatest best man speech in the history of best man speeches. No, I’m not kidding. It was epic.

The party lasted until we had to shut down around 11pm or so, and then we simply relocated to the hotel to continue the festivities. Eventually, that party wound down too. The next day, many of us reconvened at Cody’s family’s cabin on Lake Monomanoc. On the way home, Cody, Kt, Ron, and I developed the epic mythos of GRO-TON while passing through Groton, and its neighboring towns of Littleton and Acton (pronounced “Action”). We also had Fras and Jess over to play Rock Band the next day. All in all, a splendid time.

And then Cody and I went on our first cruise. How to describe a cruise to someone who’s never been on one before? It’s more than just being “on a boat” and going somewhere tropical (Bermuda, in our case). To me, as a sci-fi fan, it was a fantasy-indulging taste of what it might be like to be aboard a futuristic spaceship (one featuring artificial gravity, for instance…). It was also a taste of peace. When we weren’t sleeping or eating, Cody and I spent most of our time just sitting on our balcony, overlooking infinite blue, reading. We had no other concerns. Just be with each other, read a book, and look out on the water. Incredible.

We’ve already been stirring the waters (har har) amongst our friends and family to do an epic group cruise at some point. We’ve also talked about making cruising an annual thing. It was that good.

So, all in all, the wedding was a phenomenal success and without a doubt counts as the happiest day of my life1.

  1. Subject to revision on the birth of children, whenever we get around to it! []