What Sci-Fi got Wrong

  • #51
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- characters speaking weird made-up dialects - i get that people in the future space empire might have different languages and dialects, but dont try to make them up and inflict them on the reader
It works quite well in A Clockwork Orange.

I once saw a Vince Diesel SF action movie that had been dubbed into a language I didn't recognize at all. It made it a lot more exotic and alien, very effective. It really seemed like something from another planet.

It turned out to be Thai, but not the polite Thai that foreigners are exposed to.
 
  • #52
Ivan Seeking
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Remember in K-Pax, prot explains the sunglasses, "I forgot how bright it is on this planet" (or something along those lines...
That's what I love about PF. It takes a true nerd to go directly from cool sunglasses to K-Pax.

It's something I would do and then get strange looks from the non PF people around me.
 
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  • #53
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That's what I love about PF. It takes a true nerd to go directly from cool sunglasses to K-Pax.

It's something I would do and then get strange looks from the non PF people around me.
I realize the comment wasn't aimed at me. Still, you wouldn't believe some of the strange looks I get from my immediate circle of acquaintances, not to mention complete strangers. Without even opening my mouth! :)
 
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  • #54
Ivan Seeking
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I realize the comment wasn't aimed at me. Still, you wouldn't believe some of the strange looks I get from my immediate circle of acquaintances, not to mention complete strangers. Without even opening my mouth! :)
I have to be very careful. I am an extrovert with a wicked sense of humor. And I can take over a room and have everyone cracking up. But my sense of humor can cross the line for some people. And if I say what I'm really thinking, most people would have no idea what I'm talking about.

Most people probably wouldn't know K-Pax. "K-Pax what? Is that a rap singer?"
 
  • #55
gmax137
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It takes a true nerd
Thanks! I take "nerd" as a compliment, unlike "dork" or "dweeb."
 
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  • #56
Ivan Seeking
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Thanks! I take "nerd" as a compliment, unlike "dork" or "dweeb."
Me too. I often refer to myself as a nerd, and proud of it!
 
  • #57
In the movies we are almost always able to put up a fight against invading aliens. There is almost no chance that we would be anywhere close to evenly matched. It would likely be like ants rising up against humans.

And any invading aliens probably have antivirus software in the mother ship. Don't expect Jeff Goldblum to save you.
The aliens from Independence Day seemed to be brainwashed; they have no reason for antivirus, because nobody had ever thought about viruses. Computer viruses wouldn't exist in their civilization, no reason for them to
 
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  • #58
Ivan Seeking
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Here is something they almost always get wrong. In fact I don't think I've ever seen it done correctly. Whenever we see a show or movie using an MRI scanner [Magnetic Resonance Imaging for medical purposes], they imply or write the plot suggesting the magnet doesn't turn on until they start the scan. FAIL! The magnet normally remains on indefinitely. The only thing involved in a scan is the emission of RF to wobble your Hydrogen atoms; and then detecting the emissions back from those atoms.
 
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  • #59
Science fiction books, at least the ones I've read, tend to get known science right, and whatever hypothetical science is needed for the story, well, it doesn't matter, that's up to the author.

Science fiction television and most movies, however, are replete with errors. A specific example would be an episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Data says the surface temperature of a planet is something ridiculous below -273°C.

More general examples of consistent errors I have posted elsewhere and reproduce here. I call these my Rules of Hollywood Science, which movies and television shows seem to follow religiously:
  • Sounds must always be present in the vacuum of space.
  • Lasers must make interesting noises.
  • The light of a laser beam must be brightly visible even in a vacuum, and it must travel slower than the speed of light, so that viewers can get a sense of the beam's trajectory over a couple frames of film.
  • Ships maneuvering in a weightless vacuum shall bank when they turn, as if they are flying through an atmosphere in a gravitational field.
  • Camera shots of an actor's face in front of a video display should show what's being displayed projected onto the actor's face, in focus, as if the display were projecting through a lens. It is not necessary for the projection to be reversed.
  • Control panels must have high-current power running through them, so that when disaster strikes, the control panel emits showers of sparks.
  • Two or more ships in space must always orient themselves as if there is a universal "up" direction agreed upon by all.
  • When a ship flies by the camera while orbiting a planet, the viewer must see the ship fly along a curved path, as if the planet is small enough for an observer to notice the curvature before the receding ship becomes too small to see.
  • Actors should wear helmets with bright internal lights that illuminate their faces, thereby preventing them from seeing anything in low-light environments. They have directors to tell them what to do; they don't really need to see.
  • Aliens are always humanoid.
  • A person escaping from an underwater confined space must be able to hold breath during extreme physical exertion longer than is humanly possible.
  • Language barriers usually don't exist.
  • Sound travels at infinite velocity. The sound from events (such as explosions) visible far away in the distance must be heard simultaneously with the event.
  • Computers must always make cute little noises when keys are pressed or when characters or images appear on the display.
  • Text communication via computer must appear on a display at average human reading speed, as if being transmitted by a 1970s-era 300 baud modem.
  • Real space-time communication delays due to astronomical distances can be safely ignored.
  • During any countdown sequence (such as with a bomb on a timer), it is permissible for each one-second time interval to contain dialog and action that far exceeds one second in duration.
  • the list goes on....
My rules:
Sounds, of course, are not present in space; the viewer can hear them, but nobody else should respond unless they are connected via platform
Lasers do make interesting noises...
Lasers of course travel at the speed of light, but plasma guns don't
Space travel is complicated
Can you fix that?
It takes a lot of energy to power a spaceship, and there is a safety warning
They don't need to be oriented, but there IS a universal Up, just like there's a universal North, East, South, West, and Down
I agree, this needs to be fixed.
I agree, this needs to be fixed.
There are pigs, and spiders, and birds, and trees; most of them are humanoid because the evolution stops with humans.
I agree, this definitely needs to be fixed
Translators
I agree, this needs to be fixed
It has the same purpose as the ping you sometimes get on your phone
This can be fixed, depends on timeline
This should definitely be fixed, quantum communication is the way to go
This should be fixed and applied to all movies (Looking at you James Bond)
 
  • #60
pinball1970
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The thing that always gets me is where the alien is a monster that constantly drools acid or some other fluid and you never see them off-screen chugging gatorade to replenish their bodily fluids.

Dallas: 'ive only ever seen that with molecular acid...'
 

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