SciFi Ideas Podcast Extra (Ep#7.1)

Here’s a 10 minute snippet of conversation that was cut from the end of the last episode of the podcast.

We record a lot of discussions for the podcast, and we tend to spin off on a tangent, so many don’t make it into the final cut. As you will be able to tell from the clip, we’re not even sure if we’re actually recording for broadcast or just having a chat. But I thought this was an interesting discussion, and worthy of sharing as an added extra.

In this miniature slice of podcast we talk about The Planet of the Apes, Klingons, and why reading makes you less creative.


You can watch the Planet of the Apes teaser movies here: http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/planet-of-the-apes-short-films/

  • John H Reiher Jr

    Klingons aren’t aliens, they are humans with strange foreheads. Only a couple of aliens in Star Trek are what I’d call truly alien aliens: the Horta and the Tholians. The rest are humans, and according to canon, the humanoid races are all related to each other thanks to a forerunner species.

    Besides, I’m not mister Grumpy Pants. 🙁

    I always say that limitations force you to come up with unique ways to get around them. If you don’t obey scientific laws, then you’re writing fantasy, science fantasy.

    • I’m with you, John, and I feel bad for not sticking up for you more.
      Not everything needs to be scientificly explained and justified, but it does need to make sense, and the more effort we put into scientific justification the readers will “believe” in our creations.

    • That begs the question what is an alien or who is alien? Boa constrictors in the Florida swamps are Alien invaders. Those guys standing outside Home Depot waiting for day labor jobs are probably even illegal aliens, even Sting the front man of the group Police was a Legal alien in New York. On the other hand the face hugger and Riddley Scotts monster is technically not an alien, but Ellen Louise Ripley is. You know technically and by definition, an Alien is an organism introduced into an environment not native to it. If we be technical correct indeed, all samples presented in Alien August (including mine) are not Aliens but very native and we the imaginary visitors into their worlds are the Aliens.
      Now that awful movie with that long neck alien that has a flashlight in its finger..is an Alien.So was Mork from Ork and that cat eating fury creature from Melmac.
      As a matter of fact, right now I am an alien, because I work and live in LA, but I am from Texas…and by golly there are some weird creatures in West Hollywood, I tell you.
      So perhaps we need an Extra Terrestial September?

  • Actually there were “two” forerunner” species in Star Trek canon:
    First the Aldean Progenitors (TOS) who moved a native American tribe to another planet and the not named “ancient humanoid” in STNG “The Chase”.
    But Ronald D. Moore suggested that the Preservers mentioned
    in TOS are the Ancient Humanoid seen in The Chase, It should be also noted that only the Humans considered it to be possible that they “seeded” human life and the Klingons rejected it, but then they also reject Dentists from the looks of their teeth (Perhaps the Klingons and Brits have some common grounds)

    VR

    • Oi! There’s nothing wrong with British dentistry. We just don’t obsess over flossing like Americans.

      What are your thoughts on the old parallel evolution excuse?

      • Paralell Evolution, uhm yes..

        Well since you asked, I am not entirely
        sold on the evolution theory by good old Darwin. You do know there is
        actually no scientific proof that evolution , at least the one
        postulated by the formentioned bearded Englishman.

        Charles Darwin was the first to
        formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means
        of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is a process
        inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are
        produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals,
        leading to different rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait
        differences are heritable.[4] Thus, when members of a population die
        they are replaced by the progeny of parents better adapted to survive
        and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection takes
        place.

        That evolution in some form happens is
        of course not questioned, but the reasons it does.

        But yes I am subcribing to one simple Universal law, that of Cause and Effect. And with this I can for example answer with simple logic the age old question: What came first, the Egg or the Chicken.

        It was the Egg. Whatever creature laid the first egg form which a Chicken hatched was not a chicken, but a
        step towards that creature we identify as a chicken.

        With that said, lets go back to Cause
        and Effect.

        I believe some paralell evolution
        traits must evolve for a creature to become part of a tool using
        civilization.

        Take Dolphins for example. They
        certainly have the intellect or are developing towards a cognitive
        state, but even if a Dolphin could come up with this thought: Cogito
        ergo sum and thus being able to recognize itself as person and take
        the step towards sentience. It would be unable to take the step
        towards a civilization. Because it exists in an environment where the
        first step of discovering fire is impossible, or having hands to
        manipulate tools. Or stereoscopic eyes

        Cats seem to be the best candidates for
        becoming the next candidate for a sentient tool building society, but
        you know …no opposing thumb

        So yes I belive a sentient extra
        terrestial life form that rises to become a starfaring species must
        have some sort of manipulators, eyes or similar senses to percieve
        the environment and live in an environmnet where fire is possible

        • Aha. I was going to ask about cats. Feline aliens seem to be very common in science fiction. You think that’s realistic (or reasonably so, at least)?

          I don’t get what it is that you disagree with about evolution. Just the means of selection? How/why do you think selection happens if not through death and sex?

          • Well cats are human companions (as well as dogs) for a long time, and I am talking about domesticated cats ,
            not wild ones and not feline species on other planets.
            They are observing us using tools and have a much lesser threshold to fire than wild animals. But cats more so than dogs are inqusitive, nosy and curious and that are important steps or pre condition to sentience.
            But the many cat like animals in Scifi are simply there because writers often have cats, like cats,
            observe cats.( that is my opinion at least) I doubt there will be a real cat evolving on any other planet, but perhaps a species with cat like traits (The Togar of
            mine for example http://galnet.wikia.com/wiki/Togar.)
            No I am not against Darwin or its theory but his theories have not panned out. Survival of the fittest has been replaced by Survival of the most adaptable bio form.
            I adhere to a evolution theory where not only a bio genetic selection process creates evolution but also
            external influence such as radiation affecting genes and creating mutations. Radiation is part of nature and not made by man, but does not occur uniformly to be a steady, constant motor of evolution.

            I believe the rise of man and its alteration of living things is part of evolution.This is an external process and not a selection process inherent to all things alive.
            For example , the constant use of Antibiotics, the inoculation against Virae, even cybernetic alterations
            are evolution. I believe Evolution is not limited to life but is a Cosmic law that is a condition of the mega cosmos.Suns evolve and die, the planets evolve and get destroyed . The very matter all suns convert …… Right now Hydrogen is the most abundant matter, but in a few billion years form now heavier elements become more abundant and instead of Carbon, life might evolve on such right now Exotic materials as Germanium.
            I believe the very Universe evolves from whatever beginning to whatever end, and all the parallel
            universes do the same. I believe the very fabric of time and space evolves, that Tachyons had different properties at the beginning of time than they have now ,or will have.
            To me time flow itself is neither a flow nor a constant, but a variable that is not monolinear but omnidirectional in an N-Dimensional continuum.
            So yes I am not agreeing with Darwin,
            as it is to exclusive and also mono linear based on one effect (that of selection)
            So if something can evolve, can it also Devolve?
            And is the product of a certain evolution process superior to the bioform that came before.
            Is a Poodle indeed superior to a Wolf? Granted it is man made breeding, but does it not also influence
            the entire canine genus, and thus become a part of Evolution?
            What if I say that the very word Evolution conjures a positive term. It evolves from a more primitive state – and I do not call the ostrich or that Chicken you had for dinner necessarily a better design than the dinosaur it replaced.
            It is almost proven that a big asteroid
            collided with Earth (digging the Golf of Mexico) and caused a mass extinction. But hardly anyone knows that since life began on Earth, several major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, which occurred approximately 66 million years ago
            (Ma), was a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. In the past 540 million years there have been five major events when over 50% of animal species died
            So why did these extinctions occur?
            Darwin’s theory can not explain it and thus it is a theory and will remain one,

        • But evolution doesn’t attempt to explain why mass extinctions occur, only the results.

          • Darwin’s evolution theory does…”Survival of the fittest” can not be used as an explanation for mass extinction events. I am not saying evolution is not happening. I am saying the final word as what causes it and how it is defined is still not explained or understood. So in conclusion : Evolution happens. :}

            • And I’m sure it happens for many and various reasons too numerous and complex to specify

            • And we came to a common consensus…Perfect conclusion of a nice discussion

      • Don’t take my reply serious…..all tongue in cheek…orally speaking
        So the Image is just…that a poke …and I expect back poking 😉
        VR

      • Don’t take my reply serious.all tongue in cheek…orally speaking
        So the Image is just…that a poke …and I expect back poking 😉
        VR.

        • This is a weird obsession Americans have with teeth. From our perspective, Americans are obsessed with having impossibly perfect teeth, and wealthy Americans look fake as a result.
          I would have thought that Americans in general actually have worse teeth because of all the hill billies, meth addicts, etc. And the huge rich-poor divide, of course.

          What’s wrong with Ricky Gervais’ teeth? They’re natural.

          • Now that was a good “hit” back. So yes one could say there is an obsession perhaps even an unnatural one.
            In my Universe this was taken to an extreme and led to the cookie cutter people where everyone was perfect. Leadiing in turn to the Natural Grow movement. … But this is another story…And yes I really enjoyed your reply

  • ralok

    Well…

    Magic… in a universe with magic… Is part of the natural physics of the universe, therefore it can be understood with that Universes science.

    Any Sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science… doesnt make it not “make” anymore than understanding what fire is… makes it not fire.

    • ralok

      you know in this sense, all fantasy can be seen as a form of science fiction where the native physics of a universe stunt natural development of technology.

      • Good point ralok. I could stubbornly argue by saying “no, science is science”, but I won’t because fictional science is fictional science, and that’s just fine for science fiction 🙂

        I do also enjoy fantasy worlds in which clear rules / physical laws are established and adhered to. In fact, that sort of thing gives me a kick when it’s done well.