Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sci-Fi



The term "sci-fi," is usually attributed to Forrest J. Ackerman. Forry, aka 4E, and "The Ackermonster," was a long time fan of fantasy and science fiction, a member of First Fandom, and a publisher, writer, and collector of science fiction movie memorabilia. By the time he died, he had a museuem of stuff in his house, including some pretty famous props ranging from King Kong to one of the Gort suits from The Day the Earth Stood Still.

"Sci-fi" the term thus had an honorable genesis. However ...

Along the way, and partially because the "mundanes," i.e., those who weren't science fiction fans, coƶped the term and began mis-using it, it came to mean something different to hardcore fans of the genre.

"Sci-fi," when used among the propellor beanie set, means bad science fiction movies, ala Godzilla or Mothra or the first Star Trek movie ...

Everybody in the field knows this. The more profane among us play with it. I once had vanity plates put on my Volvo that said "Sci Fi," just to tweak folks. And it is also fun to use the other term that fans detest, "skiffy," when in an iconoclastic mood.

I bring this up for two reasons: First, I don't care if folks call it sci-fi, because I know the ones who don't know any better don't mean anything by it. Second, if you use the term in the presence of somebody who visibly winces when s/he hears you say it, that's the reason. For them, you call it ess-eff, or speculative fiction -- spec-fic sounds like a disease, don't it? -- or just science fiction. Sci-fi rings their bell.

Long ago and far away, the producer of the first Star Wars movie journeyed to Miami, to the World Science Fiction Convention, to accept a special award for the picture. During his acceptance speech, he used the term "sci-fi," and was roundly booed for it. He didn't know any better. He had an excuse.

The fans? They were just boors, no excuses for them ...

10 comments:

Worg said...

usually people whose bells are rung by that sort of thing are people who deserve to have their bells rung (metaphorically, sometimes physically...)

This sort of hairsplitting and insane obsessive-compulsive categorization are a couple of the reasons why I can't stand a lot of sci fi people.

I remember being at a con and thinking "This is an Asperger's convention."

I love sci fi. I write sci fi. I am NOT a member of fandom. I see them around town, you can identify them from a quarter mile away, shambling around in their trenchcoats and weird widebrimmed hats. Then you get closer and you see that they're 45 year old men carrying Sailor Moon pillows.

I feel like I'm more like normal people than I am like them... and that's really saying something.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

I agree with Worg: People need to get a life.

If it has anything to do with Lasers, boobies in zero-G, Isaac Asimov, space station sex, The H.A.L. 9000 series, rocket ships, warp drive, Oolong Khalufids runaway best seller trilogy (Respectively; Where God Went Wrong, More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is This God Person Anyway?), two robots that spoof "B" grade movies every Saturday morning or hyperspace, IT'S SCI-FUCKING-FI!!!

That does it. I'm getting some T-shirts printed with that on the front.

Worg said...

I wanna see a Yellow Bamboo Kerambit-spinning dvd from you.

Steve Perry said...

Jeez, I try to educate you guys and it's like talking to a pile of bricks.

Or two closet fanboys ...

You speak the term in the wrong place, bang, bang, Maxwell's Silver Hammer comes down your head ...

Of course, hitting a rock with a hammer doesn't do as much damage as it does to a human skull ...

Still,, those guys in the stormtrooper armor are my people -- they pay the rent around here.

Worg said...

I will know I've arrived when I'm tapped for a starwars cosplay calendar, hold the cos.

They'd have to go to a doublewide format for me though. Not really but I'd be much better served by going out and running or something...

Now I need to tell Ensign Stephanie to throw some hotpockets in the replicator.

Dosbears said...

Haven't you heard? It's SyFy now. :rolleyes:

Bobbe Edmonds said...

>"Yellow Bamboo Kerambit-spinning dvd "<

That was just RUDE, Worg, no excuses. I can't believe you would desecrate the holy name of Yellow Bamboo so dismissively.

Fucking unbelievers. One day, I will crush you all.

Using invisible force fields.

With a wave of my hand.

From a distance.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

>"It's SyFy now"<

*Bobbe puts barrel in mouth*

SKABOOM!

It's sad when I have to justify the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" by saying "At least it's not the sebum they put out on the Sci-Fi channel."

Steve Perry said...

You spelled it wrong: It's "bamboozle ..."

Steve Perry said...

And *nothing* justifies the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Syfy. More for the post-literate society. I think Stephen Colbert nailed that one -- "Good for you, nerd-network ..."