June 19, 2016

Scifi worlds of idiots and lazy writers

There are two extremes of know how in fictional writing. There is the world filled with idiots and worlds where the heroes are highly to insanely competent.

Fictions of competence are the CSI shows, Sherlock Holmes, Stargate SG1 and the old Star Trek TV shows.

Fictions of worlds mostly filled with idiots or technological savages who stumble upon technology that they clearly had no way of creating are the Battlestar Galactica reboot and Star Wars.

David Brin has pointed out that the idiot filled plots are a sign of very lazy writers. Having magical competence where things work when they really had no chance is another form of lazy writing.

The writers do not bother to do any research to construct scenarios aligned with physics or self consistency.

Battlestar Galactica reboot was actually somewhat like the Mad Max movies. They start out 1000 times ahead of where we are now, but then blow themselves to a population 100,000 times less than what we have now. Then they stumble around from one disaster to the next and fight over the scraps. The people involved clearly were incapable of building the technology that they had.

Star Wars has some trappings of technology like space ships but it is all treated as magic and the plots do not even have Lord of the Rings effort to have battles that make military sense. In Lord of the Rings, there is an effort by Rohan to raise ten thousand men to break the lines of their enemy. In Star Wars, you get together thirty teddy bear Ewoks and 8 logs and slingshots and you are ready to roll over your Storm Trooper enemy.

In the most recent Star Wars movie at least had enjoyable characters if you did not think about what was happening. However, what was happening was the main character, Rey, basically went from a person rolling a shopping cart around collecting cans and bottles in the desert to instantly become a universe conquering hero who suddenly could not make mistakes in repairing and flying spaceships or becoming a Jedi.

The Star Wars Universe also became tiny like a small town in a western. Everyone instantly knew about a missing robot, because that never happens in a galaxy of thousands of worlds.

On the flip side, the heroes in Star Gate SG1 or CSI are able to solve any puzzle whether technological, strategic or scientific. Laziness would be if no effort or research went into the construction the problem or the solution by the writer.

BTW- I am not saying that people who like Star Wars are idiots. I am saying the characters and the villains are dumbed down or take nonsense actions. Star Wars stories are like fables. Take the Rabbit vs Tortoise. The rabbit character is silly and does not just finish a race so that the inferior Tortoise can win.

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