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SkepticJ
2006-Jan-18, 06:11 PM
Two categories here, soft sci-fi and hard, list them correctly.


Hard:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ghost in the Shell
Contact
Blade Runner

Soft:
Serenity
Star Trek: First Contact
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
A.I.
Forbidden Planet
War of the Worlds(old or new)

Chip
2006-Jan-18, 07:23 PM
Of course Id have to add This Island Earth.

It would be with another old favorite Forbidden Planet under "Soft" if I'm interpreting your categories, "Hard" and "Soft" as Hard = more science, less assumptions and errors, Soft = more assumptions, fantasy and mistakes, though both might have good films.

baric
2006-Jan-18, 09:09 PM
Some of my favorites, from the top of my head...

The Day the Earth Stood Still
Planet of the Apes
Alien
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Contact

Not really sci-fi, but worth mentioning:
Apollo 13

Gemini
2006-Jan-18, 10:29 PM
Not really sci-fi, but worth mentioning:
Apollo 13

Unless you're an HB :D

Inferno
2006-Jan-19, 01:31 AM
Some more...

Gattaca
John Carpenter's The Thing
2010 .... I'm one of the few that really enjoyed it.
Brazil (does it count?)
The Dead Zone

V-GER
2006-Jan-19, 01:44 AM
Soft scifi:
(in no particular order)

Star Trek: First Contact
The Empire Strikes Back
Aliens
Cowboy Bebop
Chronicles of Riddick
Event Horizon
Predator
Tron

Hard scifi?:

well, only Blade Runner and Ghost in a Shell really...

Launch window
2006-Jan-19, 09:39 AM
Hard scifi?:

well, only Blade Runner and Ghost in a Shell really...

Ghost in the Shell hard sci fi ? I wouldn't consider it to be hard sci fi at all, with lines in the animated-film like :
'the near future, corporarte networks reach out to other Suns & companies flow through the universe, computerization has not yet killed ethnic groups'
- it would be more in line with other Godzilla tv, cyberpunk video-games, Japan-anime, Comic Book Superheros, Matrix movies...

and Blade Runner, yes Ford played a wonderful Deckard but we can't get Hauer ( Roy ) to travel light years without breaking the laws of physcis

Hard-Scifi I would class as sci-fi which has nothing that conflicts with the known math/astronomy, no FTL without time travel, and almost nothing that condradicts with the laws of physics, chemistry, biology etc, perhaps some of the work by Paul Anderson, Greg Egan, Baxter, Bova, Bear, Alistair Reynolds, Olaf Stapledon, Iain Banks, Jack McDevitt, Arthur C Clarke or some films like the 1920s Metropolis or 2001: A Space Odyssey

Maksutov
2006-Jan-19, 10:52 AM
Of course Id have to add This Island Earth.

It would be with another old favorite Forbidden Planet under "Soft" if I'm interpreting your categories, "Hard" and "Soft" as Hard = more science, less assumptions and errors, Soft = more assumptions, fantasy and mistakes, though both might have good films.Same here. Despite pointing out, in another thread, the various cheesy aspects of a scifi/fx movie that's 50 years old, I still enjoy TIE immensely.

It even has a line that separates the men from the boys regarding an ability to sense and enjoy irony:


Dr. Ruth Adams (the beautiful Faith Domergue): It's only Neutron. We call him that because he's so positive. To think some reviewers called that a "goof". (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047577/goofs)

One of the few mistakes MST3K ever made. And it had to be for their movie!

V-GER
2006-Jan-19, 10:53 PM
Ghost in the Shell hard sci fi ? I wouldn't consider it to be hard sci fi at all, with lines in the animated-film like :
'the near future, corporarte networks reach out to other Suns & companies flow through the universe, computerization has not yet killed ethnic groups'
- it would be more in line with other Godzilla tv, cyberpunk video-games, Japan-anime, Comic Book Superheros, Matrix movies...

It has a "hard subject", does a machine have a soul? etc. as for math/physics you're right but it's really a matter of one's criteria.

SkepticJ
2006-Jan-19, 11:34 PM
Ghost in the Shell hard sci fi ? I wouldn't consider it to be hard sci fi at all, with lines in the animated-film like :
'the near future, corporarte networks reach out to other Suns & companies flow through the universe, computerization has not yet killed ethnic groups'
- it would be more in line with other Godzilla tv, cyberpunk video-games, Japan-anime, Comic Book Superheros, Matrix movies...


I own the movie, where does it say that?

Count Zero
2006-Jan-20, 12:15 AM
I liked Brainstorm because it took a speculative idea, and examined the commercial and social implications. The premise was "suppose someone invented a machine that could record thoughts, experiences and emotions that anyone could playback later?" This was long before anyone had heard of "virtual reality". It did have some Hollywood silliness, but it was a rare and earnest attempt at hard SF.

James_Digriz
2006-Jan-20, 01:05 AM
Hard-Scifi I would class as sci-fi which has nothing that conflicts with the known math/astronomy, no FTL without time travel, and almost nothing that condradicts with the laws of physics, chemistry, biology etc, perhaps some of the work by Paul Anderson, Greg Egan, Baxter, Bova, Bear, Alistair Reynolds, Olaf Stapledon, Iain Banks, Jack McDevitt, Arthur C Clarke or some films like the 1920s Metropolis or 2001: A Space Odyssey

I agree. Forbidden Planet, War of the Worlds and Serenity are Hard Sci-Fi.

SkepticJ
2006-Jan-20, 02:57 AM
I agree. Forbidden Planet, War of the Worlds and Serenity are Hard Sci-Fi.

*Maybe* the first two, but not Serenity. Sure, there's no sound in space in the movie, but River Tam has psychic powers. How many real psychics do you know of?

Gemini
2006-Jan-20, 03:19 AM
2010 .... I'm one of the few that really enjoyed it.


I liked it.

eburacum45
2006-Jan-20, 12:48 PM
I like 2010.
(or 'ten past eight' as my missus calls it)


Hmm... Forbidden planet wasn't really hard sci-fi;
the Earthling ship used some strange sort of superluminal drive which required the crew to travel in stasis, and Altair probably couldn't support a habitable planet anyway (wrong kind of star).

soylentgreen
2006-Jan-20, 05:20 PM
2010 .... I'm one of the few that really enjoyed it.

I really enjoy it as well. I can never understand why so many people give it a hard time. Sure, it's different than the novel, but like MISSION TO MARS(unfortunately, a far inferior film) it's heart was in the right place.

Roy Scheider, I thought, was perfect for the Floyd character's personality. Bob Balaban is a robot ( ;) ). John Lithgow also did very well. I've always felt the final moments between HAL and Bowman to quite moving.

Plus Helen Mirren is always great to see. :o

Channel 11 refers to it as "...coming up next on WPIX...TWENTY TEN!"

SkepticJ
2006-Jan-20, 05:59 PM
I own the movie, where does it say that?


Nevermind, I found it. Here's the full text that comes up before the movie starts: "In the near future - corporate networks reach out to the stars. Electrons and light flow throughout the universe. The advance of computerisation, however, has not yet wiped out nations and ethnic groups."

There's nothing in the movie itself that isn't hard sci-fi, so if one wanted to edit that text to read: "In the near future- corporate networks reach across the Earth. The advance of computerisation, however, has not yet wiped out nations and ethnic groups."
I do wonder if the text is supposed to be entirely literal as well. I'm the first one to jump on apologists when they rear their shameless heads, but on this one, read the text. It says: "electrons and light flow throughout the universe", has to be a figure of speech. So too could be "reach out to the stars", as in just reaching out into space; communication satellites anyone? It's supposed to take place in 2029, no mention is made of space travel outside of this solar system etc. Can the text be taken literally? Now in the case of Blade Runner, I'd agree, mention is made of them coming from lightyears away. I didn't catch that part in the movie, I've only seen Blade Runner once.

Launch window
2006-Jan-20, 06:19 PM
I own the movie, where does it say that?

I think it says it at the start of the comicbook or the very first seconds of the movie

I would class 'Hard' as some movie which does not conflict with the known math/astronomy, no faster than light, no people timetraveling or coming back from the dead and almost nothing that condradicts with the laws of physics, chemistry, biology etc

you could have maybe 2 or 3 types of 'hard-scifi'

truly-Hard : ( nothing or very little that condradicts with the laws of physics/biology and astronomy ) example Failsafe the movie, 1920s Metropolis, Forbidden Planet, 2001: A Space Odyssey and some written work by Bova, Jack McDevitt, Arthur C Clarke, Bear, Alistair Reynolds, Iain Banks, Olaf Stapledon...

kinda-Hardish : Attempts to be hard such as the physical appearance of the Babylon-5 space station, or no sound in space during Firefly/Serenity
but most of these sci fi fail to be really 'hard' for some number of reasons such as psychic powers, robo-super powers, alien culture and psychology is all extremely uniform, anti-gravity in small ships,
technobabble rather than true science, ships that only move forward when you press the turbo button otherwise they slow down, in a vaccuum, in deep space...

not-Hard ( more fiction than science ) : Star Trek's lack of money - warp drive and time travel, fictional worlds in the Superman/Fantastic-Four comics, rubbish science in the Andromeda the tv show, sci-fi in computer games ....

Launch window
2006-Jan-20, 06:45 PM
darn I missed your reply SkepticJ

I would agree that Ghost in the Shell is certainly harder than a lot of other sci-fi but it wouldn't rank up with some of the work by Arthur C Clarke, Bear, Bova, Alistair Reynolds..

Apart from my 3 other silly classifications of 'truly-hard', 'kinda hard' and 'not-hard'

You could perhaps add another rank for sci-fi that has very little accurate science in it
very 'soft' Sci-fi such as Tomb Raider, lost in space tv show, Final fantasy, the Core, twilight zone

However hard scientific facts in a movie are not needed for it to be enjoyable or a big sucessful hit

SkepticJ
2006-Jan-20, 07:40 PM
I would agree that Ghost in the Shell is certainly harder than a lot of other sci-fi but it wouldn't rank up with some of the work by Arthur C Clarke, Bear, Bova, Alistair Reynolds..


Well, it's not up to the same level of writing as those, is that the reason, or the science itself? Thermoptic camoflage isn't that far off. The US military already has a highly folded fabric suit that hides the wearer from IR detection. Active optical camoflage is in the works too. The super strong strength of the cyborgs? Look at work being done on synthetic muscles. Asimov was wrong, we're going to have small, light, fast and very, very strong robots. He didn't know engineers wouldn't be limited to hydrolics and pneumatics:)

Count Zero
2006-Jan-20, 09:51 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Deep Impact yet. That was excellent Hard SF

Of course, the standard disclaimer applies: Sure it got some technical details wrong. So did 2001, Apollo 13 and From the Earth to the Moon.

I give credit for the "Hard SF" label if it's clear that the the filmmakers made an earnest effort to get it right (I also cut them a lot more slack). For example, in Deep Impact when the ship moves in close to the comet and fires pitons to reel itself down, I wanted to cheer.

Babylon 5 fought a war with itself between accuracy and cinematic "coolness". There were many occasions where they got something right, and then changed it further down the road:

- In the pilot episode, "The Gathering", the tram cars along the station axis had zero-g restraints for the passengers, but in later episodes people simply sat on padded benches that didn't even have seat-belts.

- In "The Fall of Night", Sheridan has to jump out of one of these cars to avoid a terrorist bomb. This led to a situation that was both visually spectacular and mostly right, from a physics standpoint. He isn't falling in the conventional sense that we are used to, i.e he isn't accelerating towards the inner floor of the station. Instead, he's moving in a constant direction at a constant speed according to Newton's second law, but his life is in danger because the floor of the station is moving horizontally to his vector at over 60mph.

- "The Long Twilight Struggle" had the only space battle I've seen anywhere that had the opposing sides beyond visual range of each other. This did not in the least diminish the drama of the scene. Later battles reverted to the usual Star Trek-style "starships at twenty paces" look.

- The Earth Alliance "Starfuries" were little Newtonian marvels. I smiled every time they yawed 180 degrees (using attitude jets, no less) and thrusted back along their direction-of-motion to slow down and change course. By the fourth season, they were doing airplane-style bank-turns.

In the end, I guess coolness won. Still, the effects were a distant third priority for this series, behind a good story and solid performances. I still own it, watch it, and recommend it to friends & strangers alike.

V-GER
2006-Jan-20, 09:52 PM
rubbish science in the Andromeda the tv show.

Well at least it didn't have FTL without time travel, so the science wasn't all that rubbish was it?

James_Digriz
2006-Jan-21, 03:13 AM
*Maybe* the first two, but not Serenity. Sure, there's no sound in space in the movie, but River Tam has psychic powers. How many real psychics do you know of?

Hey, the Russians took Psi research very seriously during the Cold War. Anyway, it still counts. Larry Niven, considered by many to be among the greatest Hard Science Fiction writers of all time, had psychics in his stories. Gil Hamilton and the Thrint.



Hmm... Forbidden planet wasn't really hard sci-fi;
the Earthling ship used some strange sort of superluminal drive which required the crew to travel in stasis, and Altair probably couldn't support a habitable planet anyway (wrong kind of star).

It's been a while. I'll buy that.

SkepticJ
2006-Jan-21, 06:06 AM
Hey, the Russians took Psi research very seriously during the Cold War. Anyway, it still counts. Larry Niven, considered by many to be among the greatest Hard Science Fiction writers of all time, had psychics in his stories. Gil Hamilton and the Thrint.


Oh, I hope you're joking here... I know you're not about the research and the writers, but about that appeal to authority fallacy making it realistic.

James_Digriz
2006-Jan-21, 03:50 PM
Oh, I hope you're joking here... I know you're not about the research and the writers, but about that appeal to authority fallacy making it realistic.

Yes im joking about the Russian part. Your the only other poster I have seen besides me who uses the Logical Fallacy list (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html#index) in his debates. I love crushing illogical posters with that stuff.

You hardly see it here on a Science site but on the political boards? For the love of Pete. I quit them becuase I got tired of the rampant use (non-use?) of that list. Seems most people have no clue that there are rules for fighting with words that are just as concrete as those for fighting with swords.

Roy Batty
2006-Jan-21, 04:20 PM
Yes im joking about the Russian part. Your the only other poster I have seen besides me who uses the Logical Fallacy list (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/index.html#index) in his debates. I love crushing illogical posters with that stuff.
You'll find it's use soon enough if you peruse JayUtah's (http://www.bautforum.com/member.php?find=lastposter&t=37153) postings (usually on the Conspiracy Theories forum) :)

I won't enter any opinion on whether Blade Runner is hard or soft Sci-fi... except to say it's a personal favorite of mine ;)

nomuse
2006-Jan-23, 10:09 PM
What about a different list? "Best" movie lists always fall down to questions of individual taste.

I'd like to see a list -- and one that is willing to go outside the usual boundaries of genre "science fiction" -- of movies that treat scientific concepts, method, and/or the activities of scientists in an interesting but fair manner.

Discounting bios and documentaries, could you include perhaps "Contact" (for what appears a decent depiction of people trying to do science within large organizations and under the limelight of public interest), or....and I wrack my brains trying to think of a film that really does justice to a concept or field; so many are of the "Volcano" or "Meteor" ilk where an honest start in describing a subject is derailed into absurdities long before the finish.


Another, and very different, list would be one that treats with only such films that honestly represent what written SF has been able to do. "Lathe of Heaven," perhaps. "Solaris" (at least the older one) certainly. One would look both for films that dared put intellect over explosions -- that even dared to be boring -- but one would also look for accurate translations from the page; works that kept the spirit of the original book (even if the book was not that wonderful in the first place).