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Science Fiction or Space Fantasy - what is Star Wars — Page 5

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yotsuya said:

DominicCobb said:

yotsuya said:

(and Star Wars has no aspects or tropes of fantasy)

Blatantly untrue.

Name one trope that is fantasy that isn’t better fit with a space opera trope?

Despite your refutations the force is not a version of ESP. It is a power one taps into external from yourself. It is a vast power encompassing the universe. This is pure fantasy.

Much of SW IS space opera…of that there is no doubt but there are fantasy elements throughout it.

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 (Edited)

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

TV’s Frink said:

chyron just put a big Ric pic in your sig and be done with it.

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DominicCobb said:

Just pure lunacy. It is one thing to disagree about what the primary genre is, but to pretend like it is only one genre, with no elements of any other genre present is just ridiculous. Either you’re being willfully ignorant/obtuse, or you seriously need educate yourself better on Lucas’s influences. He wasn’t just taking from “space operas,” and I think you know it.

Yes, but when you are talking about SF vs. fantasy, he was only taking from SF. I have never heard of a single fantasy that inspired him. Not one. Myths, yes. Samurai, yes, Cambell, yes. Fantasy, no. When it comes to genre, Star Wars is 100% science fiction with no fantasy influences at all. Not one. And as I’ve pointed out many times, myths and legends and even religion has been fodder for science fiction forever. He specifically drew from Flash Gordon (which was a copy of Buck Rogers so even if he didn’t directly borrow from Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon had already done that), Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, and Star Trek (which itself was a copy of Forbidden Planet - at least partially). The Star Wars universe benefits from this and the technology is solid and realistic (as much as any science fiction is).

Your take that the Jedi are wizards ignores the decades of similar characters in science fiction. Your take that the force is magic ignores the decades of fantastic powers in characters in science fiction. Your take that the story structure is a fantasy quest ignores the decades of science fiction quest stories. You are focused on it being fantasy because Lucas said so and have this image of science fiction as a genre based on realistic science and we all know how well Lucas can BS and very little science fiction is based on realistic science but rather pseudoscience extrapolated from possibilities that can range from likely to near impossible. There is nothing in Star Wars that deviates from the Space Opera standards.

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genres are used to provide a classification for a movie, so in my mind they are fluid.

For example.

if you are trying to decide what part of a product catalog to list it in, you will be using one set of criteria, and will probably list it as Sci Fi

if you are talking to a friend and comparing Star Wars to any other sci-fi movie, you are then more likely to reach for more descriptive, specific genres, and will say that Star wars is more of a Space Fantasy than your typical sci-fi story.

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dahmage said:

genres are used to provide a classification for a movie, so in my mind they are fluid.

For example.

if you are trying to decide what part of a product catalog to list it in, you will be using one set of criteria, and will probably list it as Sci Fi

if you are talking to a friend and comparing Star Wars to any other sci-fi movie, you are then more likely to reach for more descriptive, specific genres, and will say that Star wars is more of a Space Fantasy than your typical sci-fi story.

Agree 100%

<span style=“font-size: 12px;”><span>We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.</span></span>

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chyron8472 said:

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

The question is not about how it is written. The way Lucas crafted the Force encompasses ESP, meditation, samurai training (trust your feelings), and be one with nature. But the things you can equate with magic are all standard ESP based science fiction tropes. And when you look at how the force is described - every living thing has an energy field. And not just living things, but rocks, ships, planets, etc. - what you get is something that you can find in science.

Isaac Asimov addressed this layering in Foundation’s Edge in 1982. It is based on the Gaia theory (for which he named the planet and can be found in detail here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis). Asimov had his characters propose to extend this to the galaxy. But in Star Wars this very thing already exists on a weak level (the Force in Star Wars is no where near what Asimov came up with at the end of Foundation’s Edge). Couple that with ESP (telepathy, telekenisis, teleportation, mental projection, conjuration, and more) and you have all the components of the Force and force powers. And while not widely accepted as solid science, these have long been staples of science fiction. You have an energy field created by everything in the universe and then a way for some to tap into that energy field and use the power to do things. Again, nothing new or unusual for science fiction.

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yotsuya said:

chyron8472 said:

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

The question is not about how it is written. The way Lucas crafted the Force encompasses ESP, meditation, samurai training (trust your feelings), and be one with nature. But the things you can equate with magic are all standard ESP based science fiction tropes. And when you look at how the force is described - every living thing has an energy field. And not just living things, but rocks, ships, planets, etc. - what you get is something that you can find in science.

Isaac Asimov addressed this layering in Foundation’s Edge in 1982. It is based on the Gaia theory (for which he named the planet and can be found in detail here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis). Asimov had his characters propose to extend this to the galaxy. But in Star Wars this very thing already exists on a weak level (the Force in Star Wars is no where near what Asimov came up with at the end of Foundation’s Edge). Couple that with ESP (telepathy, telekenisis, teleportation, mental projection, conjuration, and more) and you have all the components of the Force and force powers. And while not widely accepted as solid science, these have long been staples of science fiction. You have an energy field created by everything in the universe and then a way for some to tap into that energy field and use the power to do things. Again, nothing new or unusual for science fiction.

I understand your point but when one engages with the life force of an object we cannot move spaceships, influence thoughts or communicate over hundreds of thousands of miles (as in hearing their voice in your head) in reality (even improbably). It would be impossible, which places it firmly within fantasy.

You can apply your ideas about “magic” being science with Gandalf to some extent if you try harder.

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dahmage said:

genres are used to provide a classification for a movie, so in my mind they are fluid.

For example.

if you are trying to decide what part of a product catalog to list it in, you will be using one set of criteria, and will probably list it as Sci Fi

if you are talking to a friend and comparing Star Wars to any other sci-fi movie, you are then more likely to reach for more descriptive, specific genres, and will say that Star wars is more of a Space Fantasy than your typical sci-fi story.

Unless you are familiar with what the rare SF/Fantasy cross over story looks like. It looks nothing like Star Wars. There is no subtle attempt to disguise extraordinary power and it is pure magic let loose. I’m a long time fan of Asimov, Heinlein, Brooks and Tolkien and I have never considered Star Wars anything other than science fiction.

One of the key tropes/hallmarks that makes most Epic Fantasy is the nature of the forces of evil. Not only is their leader corrupt and twisted, but the forces themselves are corrupt and twisted. In both mind and body. At times they stories verge on horror due to the nature of the evil that infest the armies and agents of the chief antagonist. And typically the side of good is relying on some great talisman. This deep and pervasive evil is completely missing in Star Wars. Palpatine is relying on the force, but also on human frailties. He plays politics and uses his skill in that area to maintain control while pretending to be the puppet instead of the puppet master. Stormtroopers are just soldiers. It is about humans subverted by an evil leader, not by evil itself which is where most fantasy takes you. The struggle in fantasy brings the good and evil battle into the world where Star Wars puts the battle internal to each individual. So to me, Star Wars is nothing like any fantasy story I’ve encountered. It is too rooted in reality.

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Creox said:

yotsuya said:

chyron8472 said:

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

The question is not about how it is written. The way Lucas crafted the Force encompasses ESP, meditation, samurai training (trust your feelings), and be one with nature. But the things you can equate with magic are all standard ESP based science fiction tropes. And when you look at how the force is described - every living thing has an energy field. And not just living things, but rocks, ships, planets, etc. - what you get is something that you can find in science.

Isaac Asimov addressed this layering in Foundation’s Edge in 1982. It is based on the Gaia theory (for which he named the planet and can be found in detail here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis). Asimov had his characters propose to extend this to the galaxy. But in Star Wars this very thing already exists on a weak level (the Force in Star Wars is no where near what Asimov came up with at the end of Foundation’s Edge). Couple that with ESP (telepathy, telekenisis, teleportation, mental projection, conjuration, and more) and you have all the components of the Force and force powers. And while not widely accepted as solid science, these have long been staples of science fiction. You have an energy field created by everything in the universe and then a way for some to tap into that energy field and use the power to do things. Again, nothing new or unusual for science fiction.

I understand your point but when one engages with the life force of an object we cannot move spaceships, influence thoughts or communicate over hundreds of thousands of miles (as in hearing their voice in your head) in reality (even improbably). It would be impossible, which places it firmly within fantasy.

You can apply your ideas about “magic” being science with Gandalf to some extent if you try harder.

You are ignore a century of science fiction full of force like abilities. You are also using the hard science fiction parameters instead of the general science fiction parameters. And the thing you can’t do with Gandalf is say how he does it. There is zero explanation of his magic. Ben starts to explain the force and Yoda further explains it. Most magic is not explained in fantasy and is left mysterious and magical whereas in science fiction all such powers are explained in some way. When you tell how the magic works, it isn’t magic any more.

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yotsuya said:

DominicCobb said:

Just pure lunacy. It is one thing to disagree about what the primary genre is, but to pretend like it is only one genre, with no elements of any other genre present is just ridiculous. Either you’re being willfully ignorant/obtuse, or you seriously need educate yourself better on Lucas’s influences. He wasn’t just taking from “space operas,” and I think you know it.

Yes, but when you are talking about SF vs. fantasy, he was only taking from SF. I have never heard of a single fantasy that inspired him. Not one. Myths, yes. Samurai, yes, Cambell, yes. Fantasy, no. When it comes to genre, Star Wars is 100% science fiction with no fantasy influences at all. Not one. And as I’ve pointed out many times, myths and legends and even religion has been fodder for science fiction forever. He specifically drew from Flash Gordon (which was a copy of Buck Rogers so even if he didn’t directly borrow from Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon had already done that), Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, and Star Trek (which itself was a copy of Forbidden Planet - at least partially). The Star Wars universe benefits from this and the technology is solid and realistic (as much as any science fiction is).

To say that Lucas took more from Asimov than fantasy is not only absurd on the face it of, but factually untrue. I don’t recall ever hearing that Lucas was inspired by Foundation. There doesn’t seem to be any influence from Star Trek that I can tell (besides what not to do), and I’ll give you Forbidden Planet, but even then we mustn’t forget is just an adaptation of The Tempest.

On the other hand, one of Star Wars’s most well documented influences was Hidden Fortress, a fantastical fairy tale. Little spoken of, but Lucas also screened Fellini’s Satyricon - a fantasy drama - for his crew during the production of the original film. Not to mention Wizard of Oz, whose similarities in storytelling to Star Wars are incredibly obvious. With the myths and legends of Campbell, I’d think those all fall under the purview of fantasy (even if many weren’t technically written as such at the time, they have become the basis for the storytelling and structure of the fantasy genre). And then there’s, of course, Tolkien - not only is it common knowledge that Lucas took inspiration from him (and it’s easy to see the parallels), but there’s direct evidence of such in the third draft script (a near direct lift from the Hobbit):

BEN
Good morning!

LUKE
What do you mean, ‘good morning’? Do you mean that it is a good morning for you, or do you wish me a good morning, although it is obvious I’m not having one, or do you find that mornings in general are good?

BEN
All of them altogether.

https://www.starwarz.com/starkiller/the-star-wars-from-the-adventures-of-luke-starkiller-third-draft/

Your take that the Jedi are wizards ignores the decades of similar characters in science fiction. Your take that the force is magic ignores the decades of fantastic powers in characters in science fiction. Your take that the story structure is a fantasy quest ignores the decades of science fiction quest stories. You are focused on it being fantasy because Lucas said so and have this image of science fiction as a genre based on realistic science and we all know how well Lucas can BS and very little science fiction is based on realistic science but rather pseudoscience extrapolated from possibilities that can range from likely to near impossible. There is nothing in Star Wars that deviates from the Space Opera standards.

It’s one thing to say that none of the fantastical things in Star Wars disqualifies it as sci-fi, because there’s precedent for those things in sci-fi. But it’s another thing entirely to pretend that the fanatical things in Star Wars have nothing to do with fantasy at all and are “100% sci-fi.” No one in their right mind would look at a wizard character and think first of the handful of examples of that from “space operas.” That’s a fantasy archetype, plain and simple. To say it’s not is intellectually dishonest, at best. Anyone with any bit of sense would recognize that Ben Kenobi fits far more into the mould of Gandalf and Merlin than Gary Mitchell.

Which is to say nothing of the other genres that Star Wars encompasses. To simplify it all as “space opera” is incredibly reductive. And then to say that because it is “space opera” makes it 100% sci-fi is incredibly debatable. If anything I’d say space opera is too diverse a style to shoehorn into merely a sub-genre of sci-fi. And I really don’t give a shit how Amazon classifies them. There is no remotely infallible way to label and categorize everything. Especially once you have things that straddle multiple definitions, it’s entirely unfair to pretend like they can fit into just one category and fit perfectly there.

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DominicCobb said:

yotsuya said:

DominicCobb said:

Just pure lunacy. It is one thing to disagree about what the primary genre is, but to pretend like it is only one genre, with no elements of any other genre present is just ridiculous. Either you’re being willfully ignorant/obtuse, or you seriously need educate yourself better on Lucas’s influences. He wasn’t just taking from “space operas,” and I think you know it.

Yes, but when you are talking about SF vs. fantasy, he was only taking from SF. I have never heard of a single fantasy that inspired him. Not one. Myths, yes. Samurai, yes, Cambell, yes. Fantasy, no. When it comes to genre, Star Wars is 100% science fiction with no fantasy influences at all. Not one. And as I’ve pointed out many times, myths and legends and even religion has been fodder for science fiction forever. He specifically drew from Flash Gordon (which was a copy of Buck Rogers so even if he didn’t directly borrow from Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon had already done that), Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, and Star Trek (which itself was a copy of Forbidden Planet - at least partially). The Star Wars universe benefits from this and the technology is solid and realistic (as much as any science fiction is).

To say that Lucas took more from Asimov than fantasy is not only absurd on the face it of, but factually untrue. I don’t recall ever hearing that Lucas was inspired by Foundation. There doesn’t seem to be any influence from Star Trek that I can tell (besides what not to do), and I’ll give you Forbidden Planet, but even then we mustn’t forget is just an adaptation of The Tempest.

On the other hand, one of Star Wars’s most well documented influences was Hidden Fortress, a fantastical fairy tale. Little spoken of, but Lucas also screened Fellini’s Satyricon - a fantasy drama - for his crew during the production of the original film. Not to mention Wizard of Oz, whose similarities in storytelling to Star Wars are incredibly obvious. With the myths and legends of Campbell, I’d think those all fall under the purview of fantasy (even if many weren’t technically written as such at the time, they have become the basis for the storytelling and structure of the fantasy genre). And then there’s, of course, Tolkien - not only is it common knowledge that Lucas took inspiration from him (and it’s easy to see the parallels), but there’s direct evidence of such in the third draft script (a near direct lift from the Hobbit):

BEN
Good morning!

LUKE
What do you mean, ‘good morning’? Do you mean that it is a good morning for you, or do you wish me a good morning, although it is obvious I’m not having one, or do you find that mornings in general are good?

BEN
All of them altogether.

https://www.starwarz.com/starkiller/the-star-wars-from-the-adventures-of-luke-starkiller-third-draft/

Your take that the Jedi are wizards ignores the decades of similar characters in science fiction. Your take that the force is magic ignores the decades of fantastic powers in characters in science fiction. Your take that the story structure is a fantasy quest ignores the decades of science fiction quest stories. You are focused on it being fantasy because Lucas said so and have this image of science fiction as a genre based on realistic science and we all know how well Lucas can BS and very little science fiction is based on realistic science but rather pseudoscience extrapolated from possibilities that can range from likely to near impossible. There is nothing in Star Wars that deviates from the Space Opera standards.

It’s one thing to say that none of the fantastical things in Star Wars disqualifies it as sci-fi, because there’s precedent for those things in sci-fi. But it’s another thing entirely to pretend that the fanatical things in Star Wars have nothing to do with fantasy at all and are “100% sci-fi.” No one in their right mind would look at a wizard character and think first of the handful of examples of that from “space operas.” That’s a fantasy archetype, plain and simple. To say it’s not is intellectually dishonest, at best. Anyone with any bit of sense would recognize that Ben Kenobi fits far more into the mould of Gandalf and Merlin than Gary Mitchell.

Which is to say nothing of the other genres that Star Wars encompasses. To simplify it all as “space opera” is incredibly reductive. And then to say that because it is “space opera” makes it 100% sci-fi is incredibly debatable. If anything I’d say space opera is too diverse a style to shoehorn into merely a sub-genre of sci-fi. And I really don’t give a shit how Amazon classifies them. There is no remotely infallible way to label and categorize everything. Especially once you have things that straddle multiple definitions, it’s entirely unfair to pretend like they can fit into just one category and fit perfectly there.

So we have one line of dialog in one version of the script that was cut. Okay. What other way did Tolkien influence Star Wars? And I own Hidden Fortress and it is not a fantasy. Just a solid samurai drama. From Foundation comes the galactic empire. Tyrannical Emperors. Great Imperial fleets fighting rebellion… basically most of the setting. From Dune you get a desert planet, mystic religions with strange powers, the voice, and a young boy thrust into the spot light. From Hidden Fortress you get the journey (one of the drafts is virtually a direct copy of Hidden Fortress) and the droids (typical Japanese comic relief characters). And there is so much taken from Flash Gordon (Which I would say is the main inspiration for the entire idea of Star Wars) which has Ming the merciless, princesses, and epic fight against incredible odds, and so much more. Flash Gordon runs closer to (but not overlapping) fantasy than Star Wars does. Lucas made Star Wars much more grounded, gritty, and realistic.

I’ve always taken Owen’s use of the word Wizard in referring to Ben as an insult and not a reflection of his role in the story. In the Campbell structure, he is the mentor. He is less magical than he is mysterious. I’ve always considered the Jedi as powerful warriors and see the little force tricks as nothing terribly important for pinning the genre. In the end, nothing about the story is determined by exhibitions of the force. And wizard’s don’t typically do battle with swords. Ben is an old knight, not an old wizard. He is more veteran samurai than Merlin.

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As for genre classification, well, space opera is 100% a sub-genre of science fiction. It always has been. In some ways it is the oldest and definitely the most prolific. It was born from the Planetary Romance genre which gradually expanded from settings on a planet to different planets and then different planets in far flung system. The nature of the stories remained largely unchanged. The supernatural is a frequent trope as is swashbuckling adventure. Asimov tended to do more cerebral puzzles in his space opera, but his technology was no less improbable or fantastic.

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 (Edited)

yotsuya said:

dahmage said:

genres are used to provide a classification for a movie, so in my mind they are fluid.

For example.

if you are trying to decide what part of a product catalog to list it in, you will be using one set of criteria, and will probably list it as Sci Fi

if you are talking to a friend and comparing Star Wars to any other sci-fi movie, you are then more likely to reach for more descriptive, specific genres, and will say that Star wars is more of a Space Fantasy than your typical sci-fi story.

One of the key tropes/hallmarks that makes most Epic Fantasy is the nature of the forces of evil. Not only is their leader corrupt and twisted, but the forces themselves are corrupt and twisted. In both mind and body. At times they stories verge on horror due to the nature of the evil that infest the armies and agents of the chief antagonist. And typically the side of good is relying on some great talisman. This deep and pervasive evil is completely missing in Star Wars. Palpatine is relying on the force, but also on human frailties. He plays politics and uses his skill in that area to maintain control while pretending to be the puppet instead of the puppet master. Stormtroopers are just soldiers. It is about humans subverted by an evil leader, not by evil itself which is where most fantasy takes you. The struggle in fantasy brings the good and evil battle into the world where Star Wars puts the battle internal to each individual. So to me, Star Wars is nothing like any fantasy story I’ve encountered. It is too rooted in reality.

In the OT at least, nothing of what you said about Palpatine is true. He is everything the corrupt and twisted force of evil you describe. Whether the stormtroopers are just soldiers doesn’t matter, as we don’t know anything about their nature. Although if you want to bring the prequels into it, the clones are very much suggested to be twisted corrupt drones who operate on Palpatine’s whim.

And the battle of good vs. evil is not just internal in Star Wars. The Force is explicitly a power that binds the fate of the galaxy together. Palpatine is not just “an evil leader,” he is a literal Force for evil itself - the dark side.

You also seem to have a weird definition for fantasy, wherein only the most rigid and narrow storytelling aspects fit the genre, whereas with your definition of sci-fi, pretty much anything goes. I guess I just don’t know How It Works when you’re in the unimpeachable world of publishing.

yotsuya said:

DominicCobb said:

yotsuya said:

DominicCobb said:

Just pure lunacy. It is one thing to disagree about what the primary genre is, but to pretend like it is only one genre, with no elements of any other genre present is just ridiculous. Either you’re being willfully ignorant/obtuse, or you seriously need educate yourself better on Lucas’s influences. He wasn’t just taking from “space operas,” and I think you know it.

Yes, but when you are talking about SF vs. fantasy, he was only taking from SF. I have never heard of a single fantasy that inspired him. Not one. Myths, yes. Samurai, yes, Cambell, yes. Fantasy, no. When it comes to genre, Star Wars is 100% science fiction with no fantasy influences at all. Not one. And as I’ve pointed out many times, myths and legends and even religion has been fodder for science fiction forever. He specifically drew from Flash Gordon (which was a copy of Buck Rogers so even if he didn’t directly borrow from Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon had already done that), Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, and Star Trek (which itself was a copy of Forbidden Planet - at least partially). The Star Wars universe benefits from this and the technology is solid and realistic (as much as any science fiction is).

To say that Lucas took more from Asimov than fantasy is not only absurd on the face it of, but factually untrue. I don’t recall ever hearing that Lucas was inspired by Foundation. There doesn’t seem to be any influence from Star Trek that I can tell (besides what not to do), and I’ll give you Forbidden Planet, but even then we mustn’t forget is just an adaptation of The Tempest.

On the other hand, one of Star Wars’s most well documented influences was Hidden Fortress, a fantastical fairy tale. Little spoken of, but Lucas also screened Fellini’s Satyricon - a fantasy drama - for his crew during the production of the original film. Not to mention Wizard of Oz, whose similarities in storytelling to Star Wars are incredibly obvious. With the myths and legends of Campbell, I’d think those all fall under the purview of fantasy (even if many weren’t technically written as such at the time, they have become the basis for the storytelling and structure of the fantasy genre). And then there’s, of course, Tolkien - not only is it common knowledge that Lucas took inspiration from him (and it’s easy to see the parallels), but there’s direct evidence of such in the third draft script (a near direct lift from the Hobbit):

BEN
Good morning!

LUKE
What do you mean, ‘good morning’? Do you mean that it is a good morning for you, or do you wish me a good morning, although it is obvious I’m not having one, or do you find that mornings in general are good?

BEN
All of them altogether.

https://www.starwarz.com/starkiller/the-star-wars-from-the-adventures-of-luke-starkiller-third-draft/

Your take that the Jedi are wizards ignores the decades of similar characters in science fiction. Your take that the force is magic ignores the decades of fantastic powers in characters in science fiction. Your take that the story structure is a fantasy quest ignores the decades of science fiction quest stories. You are focused on it being fantasy because Lucas said so and have this image of science fiction as a genre based on realistic science and we all know how well Lucas can BS and very little science fiction is based on realistic science but rather pseudoscience extrapolated from possibilities that can range from likely to near impossible. There is nothing in Star Wars that deviates from the Space Opera standards.

It’s one thing to say that none of the fantastical things in Star Wars disqualifies it as sci-fi, because there’s precedent for those things in sci-fi. But it’s another thing entirely to pretend that the fanatical things in Star Wars have nothing to do with fantasy at all and are “100% sci-fi.” No one in their right mind would look at a wizard character and think first of the handful of examples of that from “space operas.” That’s a fantasy archetype, plain and simple. To say it’s not is intellectually dishonest, at best. Anyone with any bit of sense would recognize that Ben Kenobi fits far more into the mould of Gandalf and Merlin than Gary Mitchell.

Which is to say nothing of the other genres that Star Wars encompasses. To simplify it all as “space opera” is incredibly reductive. And then to say that because it is “space opera” makes it 100% sci-fi is incredibly debatable. If anything I’d say space opera is too diverse a style to shoehorn into merely a sub-genre of sci-fi. And I really don’t give a shit how Amazon classifies them. There is no remotely infallible way to label and categorize everything. Especially once you have things that straddle multiple definitions, it’s entirely unfair to pretend like they can fit into just one category and fit perfectly there.

So we have one line of dialog in one version of the script that was cut. Okay. What other way did Tolkien influence Star Wars?

The influence is clear. The wizened mentor. The nobody kid hero. The secret mission to destroy an evil and powerful weapon. The rogue in the bar. Etc. Much of the commonalities are fantasy/fairy tale tropes and not specific to Tolkien but they are fantasy/fairy tale storytelling tropes and they are in Star Wars.

And I own Hidden Fortress and it is not a fantasy. Just a solid samurai drama.

Since apparently it’s a requirement to talk about it, yes I own it too and have seen it multiple times. Calling it a “samurai drama” is somewhat inaccurate, yes there are samurai in it but it is very firmly a fairy tale story with a mystical vibe (even if admittedly there are no explicit supernatural elements - though there are other Kurosawa and samurai pictures that contain as much).

From Foundation comes the galactic empire. Tyrannical Emperors. Great Imperial fleets fighting rebellion… basically most of the setting.

I’ve never heard of Lucas taking inspiration from Foundation. The similarities you state are things that are pretty common in all different types of genres, not specifically sci-fi. It’s entirely likely that both Lucas and Asimov took inspiration from historical and otherwise mythical Empires.

From Dune you get a desert planet, mystic religions with strange powers, the voice, and a young boy thrust into the spot light.

I’d say Dune faces a similar question to Star Wars in regards to genre classification.

From Hidden Fortress you get the journey (one of the drafts is virtually a direct copy of Hidden Fortress) and the droids (typical Japanese comic relief characters). And there is so much taken from Flash Gordon (Which I would say is the main inspiration for the entire idea of Star Wars) which has Ming the merciless, princesses, and epic fight against incredible odds, and so much more. Flash Gordon runs closer to (but not overlapping) fantasy than Star Wars does. Lucas made Star Wars much more grounded, gritty, and realistic.

Again, Flash Gordon is somewhat of a genre-bender. It fits into “space opera” but that is a very kitchen-sink sort of category, and not wholly science fiction, despite what Amazon and bookstores tell you.

And while it is true that Lucas started out wanting to simply do Flash Gordon, what he eventually came up with was much more unique and a pastiche of loads of other things - not just space opera serials. I’d say Star Wars’s rugged, grounded approach has more to do with the influence of western, war films and other non-genre pictures than sci-fi works. Remember that at the time Lucas’s decision to make it “gritty” was going against the grain of typical sci-fi.

I’ve always taken Owen’s use of the word Wizard in referring to Ben as an insult and not a reflection of his role in the story. In the Campbell structure, he is the mentor. He is less magical than he is mysterious. I’ve always considered the Jedi as powerful warriors and see the little force tricks as nothing terribly important for pinning the genre. In the end, nothing about the story is determined by exhibitions of the force. And wizard’s don’t typically do battle with swords. Ben is an old knight, not an old wizard. He is more veteran samurai than Merlin.

Yoda literally outright dispels the notion that Jedi are simply “powerful warriors.” As I’ve said before, the story is all about the Force, far beyond the “little tricks” you mention. And using a sword is by no means a disqualification for being a wizard. Not to mention, what you claim he is instead - a samurai - still has nothing to do with sci-fi. So any reasonable person would recognize him as a samurai-esque wizard, and nothing at all like the “ESP” using characters in other sci-fi you’ve mentioned (there are essential zero similarities of any importance to Gary Mitchell, who you constantly bring up).

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yotsuya said:

Creox said:

yotsuya said:

chyron8472 said:

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

The question is not about how it is written. The way Lucas crafted the Force encompasses ESP, meditation, samurai training (trust your feelings), and be one with nature. But the things you can equate with magic are all standard ESP based science fiction tropes. And when you look at how the force is described - every living thing has an energy field. And not just living things, but rocks, ships, planets, etc. - what you get is something that you can find in science.

Isaac Asimov addressed this layering in Foundation’s Edge in 1982. It is based on the Gaia theory (for which he named the planet and can be found in detail here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis). Asimov had his characters propose to extend this to the galaxy. But in Star Wars this very thing already exists on a weak level (the Force in Star Wars is no where near what Asimov came up with at the end of Foundation’s Edge). Couple that with ESP (telepathy, telekenisis, teleportation, mental projection, conjuration, and more) and you have all the components of the Force and force powers. And while not widely accepted as solid science, these have long been staples of science fiction. You have an energy field created by everything in the universe and then a way for some to tap into that energy field and use the power to do things. Again, nothing new or unusual for science fiction.

I understand your point but when one engages with the life force of an object we cannot move spaceships, influence thoughts or communicate over hundreds of thousands of miles (as in hearing their voice in your head) in reality (even improbably). It would be impossible, which places it firmly within fantasy.

You can apply your ideas about “magic” being science with Gandalf to some extent if you try harder.

You are ignore a century of science fiction full of force like abilities. You are also using the hard science fiction parameters instead of the general science fiction parameters. And the thing you can’t do with Gandalf is say how he does it. There is zero explanation of his magic. Ben starts to explain the force and Yoda further explains it. Most magic is not explained in fantasy and is left mysterious and magical whereas in science fiction all such powers are explained in some way. When you tell how the magic works, it isn’t magic any more.

Is the “force” really an answer to how the Jedi get their power? I mean, it’s an answer to be sure but no different imo than saying it’s “magic”.

“The force is an energy that exists in and around all things.”

“Magic is a force that one taps into that exists since the beginning of time.”

Sounds pretty similar and one that you could mold any way you want.

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I bring up Gary Mitchell because what he does makes the force powers look like pre-school tricks.

And again, space opera is science fiction. It is a sub genre of science fiction. That is not me, that is not Amazon, that is the entire speculative fiction arm of the publishing industry, along with the writers, readers, and reviewers. You are arguing against an entire industry that uses that sub-genre on a daily basis. Space Opera is not genre bending. It is a long establish sub-genre of science fiction. You can choose not to agree with them, but as they are the experts it is kind of silly. If you want to have a serious discussion about genres, you need to know the genres, their history, and what separates them. Do some stories cross genres? Yes, but they usually don’t do very well because they aren’t what people are expecting. Dune’s genre is not questioned, Flash Gordon’s genre is not questioned (being from the 30’s and predating Space Opera, it is a planetary romance).

And the only people who insist that science fiction must be totally believable are those fixated on hard science fiction being the only true science fiction. They are wrong and being snobs about something that has a lot more variety than that. Or just misinformed. Very little science fiction adheres to strictly scientifically possible ideas and most extrapolates where science and technology can take us. A lot of space opera puts the science in the background and focus’s on the story and let’s the setting take care of the science.

And like any genre, science fiction can take inspiration from other areas. History often has given a story its structure. Different authors are inspired by different cultures (sometimes their own and sometimes others). It is pretty obvious that Herbert was inspired by the Arabs for Dune. Asimov was inspired by The Rise And Fall of the Roman Empire. Heinlein was inspired by his military service. Lucas was inspired by samurai films (and Toshiro Mifune in particular). Ben is even dressed in samurai like robes (some of the unused art has it far closer to what samurai wore). He even considered hiring Mifune, but language was an issue. Sure, on the surface Star Wars looks like wizards in space, but when you dig and examine all the things that Lucas was inspired by, it goes much deeper than that. Jedi are warrior monks (from Japanese culture) and Luke is a small town hot rodder. Han is a space pirate (and part hot rodder). Chewbacca is Lucas’s dog, Indiana. R2 and Theepio are comic relief and lifted almost exact from Hidden Fortress. Vader is based on all the henchmen from Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, but tied in as an evil version of warrior monk. The force came from a desire to have morality for good and evil without invoking any real religion. You can see it mature in the drafts and the powers grow. You see mythic structure inspiring the story, but you don’t see fantasy. The final product is considered science fiction and specifically space opera. When people in the industry want to cit an example of space opera, they use Star Wars.

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Creox said:

yotsuya said:

Creox said:

yotsuya said:

chyron8472 said:

How could you possibly think the Force is simply a way to have telepathy, telekinesis and ESP?

Ben Kenobi from Star Wars, Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, and Luke from The Last Jedi specifically say that it is not, and Luke directly chastizes Rey for assuming that it is.

The question is not about how it is written. The way Lucas crafted the Force encompasses ESP, meditation, samurai training (trust your feelings), and be one with nature. But the things you can equate with magic are all standard ESP based science fiction tropes. And when you look at how the force is described - every living thing has an energy field. And not just living things, but rocks, ships, planets, etc. - what you get is something that you can find in science.

Isaac Asimov addressed this layering in Foundation’s Edge in 1982. It is based on the Gaia theory (for which he named the planet and can be found in detail here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis). Asimov had his characters propose to extend this to the galaxy. But in Star Wars this very thing already exists on a weak level (the Force in Star Wars is no where near what Asimov came up with at the end of Foundation’s Edge). Couple that with ESP (telepathy, telekenisis, teleportation, mental projection, conjuration, and more) and you have all the components of the Force and force powers. And while not widely accepted as solid science, these have long been staples of science fiction. You have an energy field created by everything in the universe and then a way for some to tap into that energy field and use the power to do things. Again, nothing new or unusual for science fiction.

I understand your point but when one engages with the life force of an object we cannot move spaceships, influence thoughts or communicate over hundreds of thousands of miles (as in hearing their voice in your head) in reality (even improbably). It would be impossible, which places it firmly within fantasy.

You can apply your ideas about “magic” being science with Gandalf to some extent if you try harder.

You are ignore a century of science fiction full of force like abilities. You are also using the hard science fiction parameters instead of the general science fiction parameters. And the thing you can’t do with Gandalf is say how he does it. There is zero explanation of his magic. Ben starts to explain the force and Yoda further explains it. Most magic is not explained in fantasy and is left mysterious and magical whereas in science fiction all such powers are explained in some way. When you tell how the magic works, it isn’t magic any more.

Is the “force” really an answer to how the Jedi get their power? I mean, it’s an answer to be sure but no different imo than saying it’s “magic”.

“The force is an energy that exists in and around all things.”

“Magic is a force that one taps into that exists since the beginning of time.”

Sounds pretty similar and one that you could mold any way you want.

How to describe gasoline in fantasy: a mysterious liquid that you put in your car and it makes your car go when you turn it on.

How to describe gasoline in science fiction: a liquid refined from crude oil which was originally swamp plants burried in the ground for a million years.

How Tolkien describes magic in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: … he doesn’t.

How Lucas describes the force in ANH: The force is what give the Jedi his power. It is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
How Lucas describes the force in TESB: Life creates it, makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you…me…the tree…the rock…everywhere! Yes, even between this land and that ship!

In fantasy, powers just are. In science fiction they must be given a reason. That reason may be tenuous and might be as simple as just saying a character is a telepath, but in fantasy while a given character might be given a reason they can use magic, the magic itself is left undefined. That reason vs. just being is one of the main differences between science fiction and fantasy and horror.

Good vs. evil is another. Fantasy tends to take the evil and personify it and make the good vs. evil an epic battle. Science fiction, if it deals with it, internalizes it. Good or evil is in each of us and we choose which path to follow. The force has a light side and dark side and it is up to the individual which path to take. There is no evil force horde. There is no light force to come and rescue you. Even Palpatine had to make that choice and he choose great evil and has made the practice of subverting others (not so much making the choice for them as persuading and coaxing). The nature of good vs. evil in Star Wars is exaggerated, but follows the real world where in fantasy it would have been expanded and the stormtroopers would have been an extension of the evil as the Orcs and goblins were in Tolkien. Instead they are pattered after (and named after) Nazi soldiers.

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Personally I do not think film genre classification should be constricted by the apparently rather narrow rules set forth by the publishing industry. To say that a space opera is only sci-fi and therefore has no elements whatsoever of any other genre just seems patently false to me. You state yourself that the genre was born out of planetary romance. Well then, would you mind telling me what what the genre of romance is?

If we’re going to operate solely with in established definitions, here’s from Wikipedia:

Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking.

Hmm, chivalric romance…

Romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a chivalric knight-errant portrayed as having heroic qualities, who goes on a quest… Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, and history to suit the readers’ and hearers’ tastes…
(interestingly enough the page goes on to reference Tolkien and The Tempest…)

Now about “planetary romance”

Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy

Science fantasy?

Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. In a science fiction story the world is scientifically possible, while a science fantasy world contains elements which violate the scientific laws of the real world. Nevertheless the world of science fantasy is logical and often is supplied with science-like explanations of these violations.

Weird.

Side note: Wikipedia actually presents a convincing argument for Star Wars fitting best into another genre: mythopoeia (a phrase created by Tolkien).

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The “explanation” given in Star Wars is by no means scientific. And the idea that in fantasy you can’t explain magic is a rule that you just made up and is far from always true.

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Someone has to be in charge of genre definitions. And if you read what I’ve posted, I listed publishers, writers, readers, and reviewers. Not just publishers. The industry is more than just the people who publish writer’s works.

Yes, a romance is the old name for adventure fiction. All of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are technically romances by the definition of the day. Today they are science fiction. Just as the Barsoom series were Planetary Romance in their day are are not science fiction. The term science fiction for the genre came into being in 1926 with the publication of Amazing Stories. If you read through the stories today, you might think it was some other genre. But that is the origin of science fiction and many sub-genres carry on with the fanciful imaginings that filled the pages back then. This was one of the magazines that Isaac Asimov grew up on and then submitted stories to. The early years feature names modern readers don’t recognize, but when you get into the late 30’s and 40’s, the names become more familiar. You don’t get magazines dedicated to publishing fantasy until after WWII. The Hobbit was considered a children’s book and The Lord of the Rings was when they first realized it might be more. Before that you have plenty of what are called High Fantasys. Tales of Merlin and things of that sort. David Eddings was the last big name I heard of in that sub-genre.

But when you really look at the books the get published (because, let’s face it, there aren’t that many movies or TV shows in either SF or fantasy), there is a distinct difference between science fiction (primarily space opera) that edges a bit too soft and fantasy that tries to be realistic. Song of Fire and Ice is probably the series with the least amount of magic and based on real history (the War of the Roses) that I have encountered in recent years. Tolkien tended to lean to mythology (specifically Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Finnish) and also kept magic to a minimum… most of the time. But he is the father of the different races that has been so prevalent in many later works, like Brooks.

If you read and study the genres, it is pretty clear what is what. In general, stories with a high technology setting with space travel or computers are science fiction. Stories with a medieval setting with magic and royalty are fantasy. There isn’t much cross over and when it is it is very clear which genre it belongs in. See, in a fantasy setting, the magic isn’t just one or two characters. It permeates the world. It dictates the plot. The Hobbit is driven by a dragon and a magical crystal. Gandalf doesn’t lend too much help. The Lord of the Rings is driven by the one ring. In both you have magical creatures, both good and evil. Brooks copied that and made the magic even more pervasive. In science fiction you can feel technology dominate the story. Technobabble and faux terms and hightech names. As Mark, Carrie, and Harrison have said, normal people don’t talk like that. Yes, the force is key to the story, but it is the tech and the war the drives the story. It is the death star and destroying it that the first movie is about. The force is there and it is part of Luke’s journey, but it isn’t the be all and end all of the OT. The rebellion is. The rebellion succeeds because Luke beheads the empire with his actions. But his actions are not governed by the force, but by human emotions. Magic does not win the day like it does in fantasy. Even LOTR, where Frodo destroys the ring, it is still the ring being destroyed that wins the day. In the end he could not do it and it took Gollum to do it for him. But in Star Wars Luke and Anakin take the actions that win the day. That is very science fiction.

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yotsuya said:

Someone has to be in charge of genre definitions.

I mean…do they, though? Isn’t genre kind of a nebulous thing?

If this is true, who made up all the eight billion subgenres of heavy metal and where can I find them so I can end them send them a strongly worded letter?

a trolling bantha

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ChainsawAsh said:

yotsuya said:

Someone has to be in charge of genre definitions.

I mean…do they, though? Isn’t genre kind of a nebulous thing?

If this is true, who made up all the eight billion subgenres of heavy metal and where can I find them so I can end them send them a strongly worded letter?

there was a website that listed every single genre in spotify. it’s honestly one of the most ridiculous things i’ve ever seen. hundreds of metal subgenres alone. and i’m talking about stuff like “90’s chicago garage metal”. like, seriously.

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Nah. That’s reasonable. Why have subgenres. BECAUSE SOMEONE WHO LIKES IRON MAIDEN WOULD TOTALLY LIKE MORBID ANGEL BECAUSE THEY ARE TOTALLY BOTH THE SAME TYPE OF MUSIC AM I RIGHT.

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The cat in question