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To Channel Your Inner Sci-Fi Moojoo, You Must Swim With the New Media

December 05, 2008  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Plot, Setting, The Craft   5 Comments

Some of the best science fiction stories lately do not come from books. While it seems that some authors are trying to grasp a straw from the playbook of the golden years of science fiction Grandmasters, there are visionary people working outside of traditional story-telling to deliver the goods. Interactively.

Take for instance, Portal. Portal is a three-dimensional puzzle computer/console game that requires spacial thinking. But it also tells a story, and is vaguely connected, in a creepy way, to another great science fiction story from a computer game, Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Set in the grand and so very bleak Half-Life universe, Portal is, at its heart, a complex tale filled with tension, foreshadowing and base malevolence hidden behind sarcastic humor. Over the course of the game, you are slowly fed this story and if you do not pay attention you can even miss it! And when you escape from the clutches of the antagonist, your are not really too sure escaping was a good idea.

My point is thus: If you want to write science fiction (and the Bunny Trouble story is science fiction which is why this subject is dear to my heart), then you have to play and understand the appeal of these games. For they are very good, and very compelling. They tell a story in such a way as to draw you in and keep you thinking about it long after it is done, much like a good science fiction book does. That is caused not just by the game itself, but in large part from the pure science fiction goodness presented to the player.  If you do not understand the appeal of the great  stories, in their complex universes, such as Half-Life 2, Portal, Mass Effect, etc., your future audience is limited, your readers left wanting for more.

Evolve or die.

From Portal

Still Alive
Lyrics by Jonathan Coulton

This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here:
It’s hard to overstate
my satisfaction.
Aperture Science
We do what we must
because we can.
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.
But there’s no sense crying
over every mistake.
You just keep on trying
till you run out of cake.
And the Science gets done.
And you make a neat gun.
For the people who are
still alive.

I’m not even angry.
I’m being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart.
And killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because
I was so happy for you!
Now these points of data
make a beautiful line.
And we’re out of beta.
We’re releasing on time.
So I’m GLaD. I got burned.
Think of all the things we learned
for the people who are
still alive.

Go ahead and leave me.
I think i prefer to stay inside.
maybe you’ll find someone else
to help you.
maybe Black Mesa…
Anyway this cake is great.
It’s so delicious and moist
look at me still talking when theres science to do
when i look out there
it makes me glad I’m not you
i’ve experiments to run
there is research to be done
on the people who are
still alive.

and believe me I am still alive
I’m doing science and I’m still alive
i feel fantastic and I’m still alive
while your dying ill be still alive
and when your dead i will be still alive
still alive
still alive

5 comments on: To Channel Your Inner Sci-Fi Moojoo, You Must Swim With the New Media

  1. J.C December 5, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    While I have never tried my hand at a sci-fi novel, I have dabbled. Makes me happy to say I’ve actually played Portal and Mass Effect! Though I haven’t played around with Half Life or HL 2 yet.

  2. Anthony December 5, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    OMG, JC, the story in HL and especially HL2 and the episodes are so good it hurts.

    HL2 is pure, pure dark CREEP. It is the few games I used to dream about.

    Maybe when the baby is a sleeper. :-p

    Sooooo… who did you sleep with in Mass Effect?

  3. J.C December 6, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Doesn’t everyone opt for the alien??? I mean really… lol Something you CAN’T do in the real world right!?
    We have so many games around the place… I’m trying to branch out and learn to be good at all the typical boy games, but yeah the baby factor certainly limits my time for those things!
    I wonder if playing more sci-fi games would make me have more ideas for those kinds of stories? I’ve mostly played MMORPG’s for the last… ug *doesn’t want to think of how many years*, which has probably influenced the whole fantasy thing. And I love reading horror in general so….
    I should read more sci-fi. I adored David Zindell’s books, I think those were the last ones I really got into. Recommendations welcome, I need to read more in 2009!
    I’ll quit rambling now….it’s late, lol don’t hold it against me.

  4. Anthony December 6, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Mmmmm Liara mmmmmmm. I played the game, slept with Liara, and fell in love with the side boob and blue butt. Every time I replayed it, I HAD to choose her. When my Shepard and her kissed (Shepard being a woman), that was so hot!

    I’m so lame. It helps that Liara turns into a blood-thirsty killer, mowing down everyone in her path. I usually just sat back and watched.

    “Ready for round two?”


    He he he.

    ANYWAY. Have you read any David Weber? I would start with On Basilisk Station and work your way up.

  5. J.C December 6, 2008 at 11:55 am

    lol I appreciate your unabashed male-ness. Hubby played through it one time as a woman as well – I didn’t catch whether he went for the girl on girl action or not tho! Most likely.
    I haven’t read any David Weber, so thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on some.

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