View Full Version : Sci-fi show smash-up!

2011-May-14, 08:28 PM
A) If you could steal any idea from a sci-fi movie and reuse it any way you liked what themes, tech, stories, etc. would you choose?

B) And on the flip side, what sci-fi idea would you refuse to use?

For A)

Character based stories without the tortured individual angle.
I would also take a little bit of self-referencing humor like Sam from Tron trying to use the lightcycle bar as a lightsabre and Wash from firefly claiming psionics is pure science fiction.
I would also reuse the idea of multi year missions like Star Trek TOS.
Silence in space.
Actually have a Buck Rodger Ray gun. I have no idea how it would work but it is too cool to ignore.


No tortured individual is participating in high risk missions ala Battlestar Galactica.
No long missions without food and water like SGU or Voyager.

What do you guys have on the list?

Paul Beardsley
2011-May-14, 09:46 PM
A) The TARDIS! I know it originated on TV, but it featured in two movies in the 1960s, so it counts.
I'd work out the full extent of its capabilities and limitations, and stick with them. (This doesn't mean having a character explain them all to the audience.)
Stories would begin with a sense that the TARDIS has been travelling for a day or two, and we are just about to land... somewhere. This "somewhere" will usually be somewhere other than Earth; if it is Earth, it will usually be somewhen other than near-contemporary times.
The TARDIS pilot (whether the Doctor or someone else) will be somewhat aloof and mysterious (and not silly), and the other travellers will be people we can easily relate to.
I'd keep as much of the science real as possible. People buy into fantasy more readily when the mundane stuff is believable.
And yes, the silence of the vacuum can make for good drama.

B) I am really tired of time travel stories in which the course of history is changed. This is especially irritating when it's established that the time traveller was known to have been present at some point in history even before we see him set off on his journey, because it raises the unanswerable question, "So when did the original version of events happen???"

2011-May-15, 07:37 PM
- I'd like to have a lightsaber. Pretty self-explanatory.
- A major female character with no love interest who gets along perfectly fine, thank you.
- High-tech underwater habitats.
- Silence in space.
- Communication with ETI via radio telescope.

- It's fine to have some personal/emotional drama (I don't mean people being emotionally disturbed, just having backstories and strong personalities) to make a story more interesting, but I'd never have the soap opera stuff eclipse the larger plot. Yes, yes, you love each other, I get it, now let's go save the day!

mike alexander
2011-May-15, 08:20 PM
A) Double tap. When the evil enemy goes down, for heaven's sake make sure he stays down. This applies to SF and nonSF.

B) Devices that have unlimited energy and reaction mass. Like the guns that never run out of bullets or autos that never run out of gas, it begins to wear on me.

2011-May-15, 11:18 PM
Oh, I think we can have TV and books too.

There is a C.J. Cherryh novel where the ships are FLT capable, but don't use it to fly right up to the enemy. Instead they deploy just far enough away for there to be time lag on detection and use the time to fire and retreat. They can see the damage they do, without getting shot up themselves. Then they repeat it. Sort of like the shark in Jaws taking a little taste before moving on to the main course. I would like to see that on screen.

I think we may see a change in the way the TARDIS is used based on the last episode of Doctor Who. The Doctor might not be so inclined to risk it having actually spoken to it and he is likely going to be on a "low" for awhile since he can't have a discussion with her anymore.

Red Shirt
2011-May-16, 09:01 PM

Lightsabers. I desperately want(ed) to put lightsabers in the stories I write and give them to certain Nobles of one of my alien races as both a weapon and a 'badge of station.' Some of my earliest drafts still have references to 'energy swords' in them. My recent retconning has had me replacing them with either actual swords or 'folding sabers' (akin to the Minbari fighting pike) depending on the circumstance.


Stories that tie up nicely and bookend one hour of TV.
Moral/Tactical/Political decisions that are Black & White.
When to many plots and threads are left unresolved. I'm looking at you Lost. :naughty:
Utopic, goodie-touchy-feelie happily ever after plots & scenarios. Something I've called in my head 'Disnyic.'

A) Double tap. When the evil enemy goes down, for heaven's sake make sure he stays down. This applies to SF and nonSF.


Indeed. And don't go up and poke 'the greasy thing that man was not meant to know' just to check. That's a fast track to lunch.

2011-May-17, 12:30 AM
Indeed. And don't go up and poke 'the greasy thing that man was not meant to know' just to check. That's a fast track to lunch.
If you want to know if it's dead, shoot it again. If it doesn't react, assume it's dead as a good first approximation. If reacts, shoot it until it doesn't, wait a bit, then go back two sentences and start over.

Van Rijn
2011-May-18, 12:59 AM
What I'd like to use is something I've rarely seen done well in books, even less in TV: A future where there is no FTL, but there are thousands or millions of large habitats in the solar system, with more humans living off the Earth than on it. That can be a very interesting story environment.

What I would never, ever want to use: time travel for a Deus ex machina plot fix. Or, in general, almost any time travel story. There is the occasional time travel story that is done well and surprises me, but that only happens when the author works very hard and very carefully to avoid the pitfalls and cliches.

2011-May-18, 01:08 AM
I'd try to come up with something original, rather than snag bits of what's been done before. I may not succeed in doing so, but I'd try.

2011-May-18, 01:20 AM
Well, there's "Star Wars-Meets-Star Trek-meets-DUNE"....Now that would be fun, with a side plot of Battlestar Galactica.....something for everyone, except anime fans...

Picard chases the Borg-Flying-Yuppie-Condo into a wormhole......while one of the Navigators has too much Wild Turkey, and imagines the wrong universe... Luke and the gang take a wrong turn at Albuquerque....and they all meet when the Galactica shows up at Earth.....Meanwhile, the Borg try to assimilate the Homo Neanderthalis, the time travelling Nazis show up, and only Picard knows who they are....then Doctor Who tries to sort it all out....but there are no sidewalk cafes to meet at, so they use the Holodeck Frisco Program, and get into a gun fight with the Mafia and the SFPD....What else?? They have to use the virtual Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein programs to straighten it out....All of this while "Paul Muadib-uh" is trying to convert the Homo Sapiens to his religion, he fights the Borg with Wierding......etc etc..The Borg leave, looking for the Upper Eastside and some Condos to rent or buy....."Princess Lay-ah" wants to get here hair done properly, Luke is confused, Han Solo and Chewbacca go looking for some loot to steal--sorry! "Appropriate" for the rebuilding of Planet Coursein, Spock and Kirk show up looking for some whales, followed by the Klingons who want their ship back.............Feel free to add on....:)

When Gurney Halleck meets Jean Luc Picard, the resulting matter/anti matter explosion destroys the universe!!


2011-May-18, 08:51 PM
B) And on the flip side, what sci-fi idea would you refuse to use?
Ridiculous staffing, command structures, and use of personnel. Star Trek is particularly bad for this. There seems to be one NCO for one hundred officiers, and no enlisted personnel. The Captain or First Officier are sent into high risk combat situations for no obvious reason (or even more stupid, the episodes where they have to be spies or engage in covert operations).