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View Full Version : What are the more effective ways of saving the world?



tashirosgt
2011-Jun-02, 02:14 AM
Many science fiction films involve world threatening plaques, invasions, catastrophes. Sometimes the world is not saved (e.g. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers). When it is saved, it is usually saved in some simplistic manner.

In science fiction literature (as opposed to films) does the same hold true? Are quick and simple solutions the most effective from the literary point of view?

HenrikOlsen
2011-Jun-02, 03:11 AM
Many science fiction films involve world threatening plaques,...
Calling all dentists. Calling all dentists! It's HERO TIME!


Sometimes the world is not saved (e.g. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers).
The book, as far as I remember ends with the implication that it is saved, as does the 1956 movie version, the 1978 movie version implies that it isn't.

tashirosgt
2011-Jun-02, 03:39 AM
Calling all dentists. Calling all dentists! It's HERO TIME!


An interesting coincidence, I just has $2165 worth of gum surgery last week.

grapes
2011-Jun-02, 03:43 AM
It must be on your brain. One of those fraudian slips.

What do you call simple? OK, War of the Worlds was a virus. What are your examples/complaints?

Solfe
2011-Jun-02, 03:51 AM
I think in literature, you can leave the reader "hanging" without a specific walk through of the closing solution, where as a movie almost has to close everything up. Movies tend to use these endings for huge special effects, a wow factor.

If the author frames the story correctly, then they can completely avoid having a "solution" at all. The Postman by David Brin does this while leaving the reader satisfied with a very hopeful ending. There is no neatly tied up ending, it sort of hangs an ideal out there. The movie on the other hand... eventually ends. If you don't know how it ends, don't ever waste the time. It is lousy.

The Doomfarers of Coramonde (Brian Daley) has an odd ending, the bigger than life fantasy characters are left in limbo (no details) while the more gritty real life characters have a very neat and simple ending.

Sphere both in the movie and the book has a very simple and neat ending, ASSUMING you ASSUME all of the characters are honest. I though this was very creative, effective, and chilling. The Abyss does the opposite, the movie is not so clear as to solving all the problems while the book implies that every problem is solved, including all of those NOT a part of the story.

Tom Clancy has a knack for wrapping up each book (The ones he writes anyway) with a clever and sometimes surprisingly tight ending, while still having some place else to go with a follow up book. Clancy's Red Storm Rising is his exception, being a WWIII novel it doesn't have a solution for each presented problem and this is even hinted at in other books. The events described may or may not have occurred in the Clancy-verse at all!

I rather like some speculation at the end of a book.

tashirosgt
2011-Jun-02, 04:19 AM
What do you call simple?

I call the method simple if it is conceptually simple and relatively quick. It might involve a massive industrial or military effort, but (in films) the details of that can be handled with a few scenes of busy activity. One frequent dramatic theme is that the solution is all set up and all that needs to be done is for someone to do something like press a button. Then there is some conflict and suspense about getting the button pressed.

I have no complaints about simplicity. I'm merely wondering if the methods of saving the world in contemporary sci-fi literature parallel what I see in fllms. (I've hardly read any contemporary sci-fi literature.)

Noclevername
2011-Jun-02, 06:27 AM
In much, if not most, modern science fiction literature the world is not in danger-- at least not our world. There are exceptions, of course, but most of the problems are more personal in scale.

mike alexander
2011-Jun-02, 04:53 PM
I suppose my favorite book in this area is George R. Stewart's Earth Abides, in which a plague kills most of humanity. The story relates how the remainder of humanity adapts to a pretechnological existence. The title is from Ecclesiastes: "Men go and come, but Earth abides."

profloater
2011-Jun-02, 05:45 PM
The Triffids and Death of Grass nearly wiped us all out. Now it may be E.Coli?

TrAI
2011-Jun-03, 05:04 AM
It must be on your brain. One of those fraudian slips.

What do you call simple? OK, War of the Worlds was a virus. What are your examples/complaints?

As I recall the book, it wasn't viruses, but rather that the Martians and had no resistance to the microorganisms that cause decay in dead tissue, so they decayed while still alive. The same killed the Red Weed.

SkepticJ
2011-Jun-03, 06:57 AM
As I recall the book, it wasn't viruses, but rather that the Martians and had no resistance to the microorganisms that cause decay in dead tissue, so they decayed while still alive. The same killed the Red Weed.

That's right.

In the novel, it's not a deus ex machina resolution. It's speculated at, long before the end of the novel, that the Martians haven't encountered microorganisms before.

ggremlin
2011-Jun-03, 09:55 AM
Well, I always thought the reverse switch on the vacuum was a good idea, for the heroes that is. The handy self-destruct device also helpful.

Seriously, Project Orion as used in "Footfall" was the most realistically attempt to save the world, I have read. Would it have worked or would the aliens have let us build it, I doubt it.

Cruithne3753
2011-Jun-17, 11:23 PM
Usually the ones that take less than 14 hours... :)