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Science fiction pet peeves

Discussion in 'Nerd Out Zone' started by Cockroach, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Cockroach

    Cockroach Crash Landed

    • Member
    This thread is for pet peeves that pertain to science fiction.

    One thing that has always bugged me is how there can be such a plethora of films,books,cartoons,comics etc that depict aliens but when they are depicted they are almost always humanoid. Yes there is material out there where the aliens look "alien" but those are always primitive creatures who at the most are treated like simple animals. Most of the time when you see aliens piloting a ship they usually look human which annoys me because I think many sci fi writers miss an opportunity to be creative. Most alien ships look generic, like any other spaceship, from the inside and that is because of the body shape they are given. Imagine the strange interior shapes of space craft if said aliens had different body shapes. Basically imagine if say a race of spiders designed such a machine. Said craft wouldn't have long hallways since spiders would just climb on everything. The ship's interior would look totally different from what you usually see. There would be no such thing as a hallway.

    .....and yet aliens always look human.


    So, what is your pet peeve?
    (remember, has to pertain to science fiction)
  2. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Your issue is kinda not founded in science though! Evolution has created many aspects that we, humans, have in many separate circumstances - leading us to believe that a lot of things we have are required for intelligence. However, one could refute that, but when it comes to creating tools, only those with opposable thumbs have ever created advanced tools (primates and humans). Again you could say, well we have similar brain chemistry. Which we assuredly do. But yet they together are very persuasive to reasonably argue that we have a figure similar to most other life that would be capable of space exploration. Of course, that is ignoring all the many species described in Star Trek that do not need technology to get them places.

    But I digress. My pet peeve has to be that of the language issue in sci-fi. I understand that explaining it away with "universal translator" is okay in some cases, but it does not suffice in so so so so so so SO many circumstances. For example, in every episode of Star Trek where they communicate with races technologically inferior - even those at tribal stages. Translators, no matter how good, must be programmed (or given time to learn) to support a language, further to that, but in cases where they go "under cover" as it were, purporting to be of the same species as those with which they communicate - even if we take the translator's magical ability to immediately pick up a language, how can one explain the fact that sound waves that carry the information in one language, just disappear to be replaced by the listener's language? Surely instead you would hear the first language, overlayed - as you get with translations today - by the translated message.
  3. Cockroach

    Cockroach Crash Landed

    • Member
    I fail to see how a alien species with with multiple arms with appendages on the ends of them (such the likes in my spider example) and with great intelligence could not create advanced technology, from guns to rockets that shoot into outer space.
    there are many ways we humans could have evolved that still would have allowed us to manipulate objects. Hell, some people say tentacles like those of octopus and squids are better because of their flexibility and the fact that their boneless. I just don't see how needing a humanoid body is necessary for technological advancements. If you have the brains and appendages to get job done why would you need a body shape of a human? My spider example has a arguably better shape in terms of usability when compared to humans. (More arms = more productivity)

    (sorry pictures are a bit gimpy right now)

    http://abiogenisis.deviantart.com/art/Birrin-Study-274382033

    http://abiogenisis.deviantart.com/art/EVA-268610718

    http://povorot.deviantart.com/art/Painting-with-Markers-144427265

    http://abiogenisis.deviantart.com/art/Main-Battle-Tank-431323082
    (Before you ask, the creature in link above uses appendages in its mouth to manipulate objects. Yeah thats weird but remember, ALIEN, totally different biology.)
  4. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    Just be careful and don't forget one thing when creating or looking at any random creature and tagging it as possible "cus alien".
    That thing is natural selection.
    A creature with lots of apendices cannot be big because those would dificult survivability.
    There might be several humanoid-like inteligent species out there, and of course lots of weird stuff too.
    But weirdness doesn't mean that it will be successful.
    I'm not saying that a 8 legged can't be intelligent but when you see a dinossaur with a nozzle and tinny legs, think twice.

    If you look globally, all successful species of earth follow a recipe: KISS (keep it simple stupid)
    Be as simple as you can until you efficient enough to keep up with more exotic changes.
    That's why amphibians reproduction is so weird yet bigger animals have either eggs or are mammals.
    That's not why 4 legs, but that's why 4 legs worked, same for eyes and wings.
    Ofc this is not evolution in a nutshell, even more when we don't know other planets conditions.
    But as I said, don't expect animals with a disproportionately big head to be successful often.


    Ah, and btw, most sci-fi stuff uses humanoids because its easier and cheaper to hire a model than make a ragdoll or render one and interact with it.
  5. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    One thing I really hate is sci-fi architecture. It's so... round. And always look like they were designed specifically to look cool - which really breaks my suspension of disbelief. IRL, the future will probably definitely be sleeker, but things will remain pretty much the same. I like utilitarian. For example:

    - Glowing lines just waste power
    - Walkways are stupid - what's wrong with the pavement
    - Flying cars will cause millions of deaths
    - People like eating - there will never be food pills or commercially successful food replacement. Such a thing exists, but why use it? It isn't even that cheap
    - And yes, I know there are financial and spacial limitations to feeding people food but if you can afford a spaceship you can damn well afford sausages
    - What the actual f*** is up with lasers? Seriously! Even factoring in superior batteries, and the logistical advantage that comes with not requiring ammunition, lasers can be very easily countered with the simplest of heat shielding. Tanks and such would be completely impervious to lasers. Further, the Geneva Convention outlaws weapons specifically designed to burn or blind the opponent - things that lasers are designed to do. Of course, anti-materiel rounds are often used against infantry (They always "miss" perfectly), but lasers would spark outcry and get someone tried for war crimes
    - I like bullets
    - Mechs are a stupid idea. This is why we have tanks
    - I find "sci-fi" design in general to be irritating and stupid - too many curvy bits
    - Really, look around you. Now think what you thought 2014 would've been like in 1980. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and using blocky, conventional design would probably get you more easily recognised - rather than blending in with all the other glowing, blue, sleek spacecraft
  6. Cockroach

    Cockroach Crash Landed

    • Member
    I do understand what you mean, the examples I posted surely have a design could work in real life.
  7. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Lasers are being tested for combat on American vessels - so they will be used for combat in the future, no doubt. Tanks would definitely not be impervious to lasers, also, as industrial lasers can pierce metal, never mind militarised lasers.

    You say mechs are stupid, but they are capable of traversing a lot of land that tanks can't, they aren't stupid but rather are suitable for different circumstances.

    As for "sleek" design, the reason for this is that it differentiate it from human design (which is almost always recognisable as human). And, to be fair, you say glowing strips waste power, but the technology that would allow them would use less power than normal light bulbs - this sort of lighting is being considered for road lighting and such. Other than that though, I do agree that some movies and programs make out design to be far more convoluted than is practical.
  8. Tikon

    Tikon Sexy Pizza Eating Dwarf (*^3^)/~☆

    • Member
    (Just something i noticed) ya'll are masters at writing essays
  9. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Haha, indeed! We are very dedicated to the nerdom of Nerd Zone and we therefore can not help but explain our thoughts in their fullest form!
  10. Restless

    Restless Terraformer

    • Member
    I had that same problem growing up as a kid. I hated humanoid depictions of aliens. If I heard a movie contained aliens and found out half way through the movie they were humanoid I got disappointed. We only get to see what could be only a very small part of the bigger picture of life, the potential for what forms like could take are unimaginable.

    It's a bit hypocritical of me to hate humanoid depictions of aliens yet be using one in a story I'm writing. Then again it's part of the story and the aliens are just as surprised as humans are to find we look similar.

    I find inaccurate prehistoric animals or prehistoric scenes annoying in fiction.
  11. Charles2531

    Charles2531 Organic Supercomputer

    • Member
    What I hate about a lot of scifi is that they always seem to depict future civilizations/aliens as always remaining organic.

    There is a clear limit to the power of an organic brain. Any sufficiently advanced civilization should realize that they aren't capable of everything and that they won't be able to advance technologically past a point because they just aren't intelligent enough to progress further. However, in most cases, they probably would be intelligent enough to figure out how their brains work, and how to reproduce intelligence. Once they learn this, they could begin scaling the technology to create even more intelligent minds.

    Then comes a problem that occurs in most AI-related stories; what happens when the machines decide that their creators are no longer needed? Well there are two obvious possibilities. Either the machines destroy their creators, or they create technology to essentially upgrade their creators to become just as intelligent and useful as them. Brain implants, prosthetic limbs, etc. But what happens next? I don't think that they would always keep at least some part of them organic. I think that eventually that intelligent civilizations that produce AI will eventually either be destroyed by it or use some form of mind-uploading to become it.

    Think about all the benefits that would then come with such a decision; no more medicine is needed, you no longer need to worry about life support in space travel, you can virtually live forever, you can upgrade yourself whenever you feel necessary, etc. I don't see why everyone always seems to think that alien races are always going to remain organic when there are so many drawbacks to it.
  12. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Charles, I agree! Though then again, you can understand from many peoples perspective: most people would question how a computer could possibly afford them a level of consciousness they have organically, and would fear the risk of losing themselves with what is left being just an imitation of what they were. Unfortunately, we are not developed enough ourselves to answer such questions, but integration with technology is unquestionable - hell, we're doing it right now with Google Glass, implanted security chips, bionic eyes, etc..

    Movies and shows definitely have a big lack in such technological integration in the case of bodies - however there is never a shortage of technological integration in society, which could perhaps be explained by the age of most of the shows. Though that is hardly an excuse: Star Trek has the Borg, The Gap Cycle has the Amnion and a few others had similarly technologically integrated races.
  13. Tikon

    Tikon Sexy Pizza Eating Dwarf (*^3^)/~☆

    • Member
    BTW, i'm not good at reading everything but i just want to say, most science fiction is all based off of 1 main mindset, so everything is similar. From StarTrek, to Star Wars, and everything in between. The prehistoric events I would assume to be innacurate, because trying to create a scene from history we know nearly nothing about, is a lot harder than making a scene from something we created with our [​IMG]
  14. Ketoth

    Ketoth Moderator

    • Moderator
    ships are always aligned to each other like they were sailing on some sort of space sea or some shit

    its late and i'm not gonna go and explain it for 4 hours like the rest of you :laugh: but i find it incredibly awkward... they always freaking meet with the same rotation for some reason... top aligned with top i mean (i'm not sure if i'm making sense over here)
  15. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    You are Ketoth, but I guess that is just for the sake of us that are not familiar with what minimal gravity allows! Our minds would hurt if spaceships were always of different yaw/roll (whatever it is called!)
  16. Restless

    Restless Terraformer

    • Member
    Pet peeves don't necessarily have to be logical, nor do they have to be personal.

    An example: Depicting early humans alongside dinosaurs. Most people who have gone to school known by now that dinosaurs couldn't have coexisted with humans. However there are still works of fiction being produced, particularly comedy, that depict cave men and cave women alongside dinosaurs and other Mesozoic animals. The people who made it know it's impossible and the people watching it know it's impossible, but that's not the point. The point is that it's meant to be entertaining. But because it's a pet peeve of mine I can't find it entertaining and it annoys me, even when I know it shouldn't. That said it's nothing personal against the people who made it or enjoy watching it and I don't treat it that way.
  17. Tikon

    Tikon Sexy Pizza Eating Dwarf (*^3^)/~☆

    • Member
    You do know half the stuff they teach in school is wrong right
  18. Restless

    Restless Terraformer

    • Member
    That depends on what school you go to but you know the point I was making.
  19. Whoisthatkidd

    Whoisthatkidd Balanced Balancer

    • Member
    My pet peeve is that when a ship is about to hyperspace, a grain of dust SOMEHOW does not hit it and vaporize the ship.
  20. Causeless

    Causeless narcissistic, machiavellian and sadistic

    • Moderator
    Lasers are fantastic! Essentially no need to "lead" when aiming, near unlimited distance (especially in space), cheap once installed (no need for costly missiles with targeting systems), hard to dodge, and so on.

    Also, heat shielding is very difficult in space. Most heat shielding uses big clunky radiators that are designed to get rid of uniform heat and thus is useless against a focused laser, or using ablative heat shields which 1. tend to be useless after use and 2. only really work well in an atmosphere.

    There's nowhere for the heat to go, so only very slow heat radiation can cool the ships down. The Apollo missions had to have the command module constantly rotating to stop one side becoming overheated - if the sun can do that, imagine what a tightly focused laser could do!

    Mechs can do things tanks cannot. There's a reason there is so much military funding towards walking vehicles, and there's a reason people are still used on the battlefield (and indeed, why legged creatures are so much more prominent than slugs etc) - legs are so much more versatile than wheels or treads. Legs can use stairs, step over obstacles, move sideways easily, jump, and more.

    Conventional design isn't blocky?!? Everything nowadays is bevelled, and/or curvy! Mobile phones, cars, game consoles, televisions... I'd challenge you to find a sharp 90 degree corner on something that hasn't been rounded off.

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