Genre Insights: Science Fiction

Science fiction is a genre that is rarely tapped into for machinima. The one example that I wanted to share, Regarding the Dreams of Lisa Century by MsRocktheClock has been removed from YouTube. Sadly, she’s removed all of her machinima from her channel. I remember being very excited that something science fiction had been done. Much like the western, this is an untapped machinima genre.

So what makes science fiction, well, science fiction? The science fiction genre encompasses so many things from stories that take place in outer space to dystopian futures. Star Wars and Mad Max have more in common than you might think. They both have dark and shadowy villains, near impossible quests, improbable settings, and they both embrace the archetype of the hero warrior.

SOME TYPICAL ELEMENTS OF SCIENCE FICTION

• Setting in an alternative world
• Non-Human characters
• Science and Technology
• Quasi-scientific
• Time Travel
• Fantastic Journies
• Advanced Technology Gadgets
• Allegory

• Dystopia
• Age of Reason
• Fanciful, Imaginative Settings
• Impossible Quests
• Improbable Settings 
• Dangerous and Sinister Nature of Knowledge
• Conspiracies

• Existential Loss of Personal Individuality
• The Place of Mankind in the Universe
• Prophetic Nature/Story
• Mutant Monsters
• Technology that can Destroy Humankind
• Good vs Evil

• Recognizable Archetypes/Warriors
• Expresses Societies Anxieties about Technology & the Future
• Dark and Shadowy Villians

 
A Voyage to the Moon, a 14 minute groundbreaking movie, was made by a French filmmaker in 1902.  However, sci-fi didn’t catch on until until after WWI when it was used to show the anxiety that society was having about technology getting out of control. Many of these films featured mad scientists, androids with superhuman strength and power, and the evils of technology. This time also seen the rise of our first sci-fi heroes, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Most movies of the time, especially science fiction, were more light-hearted, to provide people with a way to loose themselves briefly and forget the war. The war also was reflected in the low budgets of these movies.

During and after WWII science fiction took a turn to the mix of sci-fi and horror, focusing on mad scientists, with movies like Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and Doctor X. Much of it was an allegory for what was going on in the world. In fact, much of science fiction still remains a societal allegory. In the United States vampire movies become more popular when Democrats are in office, and likewise, when Republicans are in office, there is a rise of zombie movies. You don’t need to look any further than Star Trek Franchise to catch glimpses of what the concerns of society were when each of the episodes were made. Speaking of Star Trek, it came to life as a result of mankinds ventures into space.

The Cold War was also reflected in movies and gave us such classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide, and This Island Earth, a movie that was released again in the 90’s via the heckling and often satrical hands of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  We can’t talk about this era of science fiction without bringing in Toho Studios from Japan and their “creature features” staring Godzilla, Mothera, Gamera, Rhodan, and all their friends on Monster Island. 

As movie making technology advanced, more and more was able to be done with the science fiction genre because it relies heavily on special effects to create worlds and characters. The movies also became more and more expensive to make. We went from low budget, yet popular movies such as The Blog, to things that cost a small fortune to make like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars. Each movie cost more and more to make, with the exceptions of the direct to DVD releases.

Science Fiction has found it’s place in both pop culture and many classic science fiction movies are being remade with a much bigger budget than the originals such as Planet of the Apes and Mad Max.

Between what Maxis/EA has given us and the custom content out there, science fiction machinima should be easy enough to make, especially in The Sims 3, with Lunar Lakes and Into the Future at ones disposal, and yet, we don’t see much of it. SimsFilmFest needs more sci-fi! Just sayin’. I wouldn’t say no to a dystopian futuristic creature feature that has a love triangle between a mad scientist, his android creation, and the story’s hero.

sims 4 wasteland

 

 

One thought on “Genre Insights: Science Fiction

  • January 12, 2019 at 7:22 PM
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    “I wouldn’t say no to a dystopian futuristic creature feature that has a love triangle between a mad scientist, his android creation, and the story’s hero.” Hmmmmm, story springs to mind…

    Reply

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