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Charles Stross hates TNG, B5 and everything else

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  • Charles Stross hates TNG, B5 and everything else

    (If this should go to General Discussion, please move it. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

    Thought this might turn a few stomachs: sci-fi writer Charles Stross explains why he hates Star Trek, Babylon 5 and every other science fiction TV show in the universe:

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog...star_trek.html

    Later in the comments it turns out he's never seen a single episode of any of these, and believes it's impossible to do good science fiction on TV.

    The comments include a fair bit of discussion of Babylon 5.


    Edit: I'm not trying to get people to flame Stross. Just thought this might be interesting for purposes of discussion.
    Last edited by Jonas; 10-14-2009, 05:49 PM.
    Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

  • #2
    Yeah, I see B5 got defended right off the bat.

    I only read the first 40-odd comments. He really said he hadn't watched most of them at all? In his original post he said that he enjoyed Trek TOS when he saw it originally but hated Next Gen.

    If he's really passing judgment on shows without seeing them, somebody should remind him of what Harlan's said: You're not entitled to your opinion, you're entitled to your informed opinion.

    ETA: Sigh...I succumbed to temptation and posted a comment.

    Jan
    Last edited by Jan; 10-14-2009, 09:29 PM.
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

    Comment


    • #3
      He sure seems like an idiot. He reminds me of Orson Scott Card. And that's not a good thing. Meh. They can keep on with their ignorance, and I'll continue avoiding their books. Keeps everyone happy.
      "Jan Schroeder is insane" - J. Michael Straczynski, March 2008

      The Station: A Babylon 5 Podcast

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, he hit the nail on the head in ONE regard. The technobabble thingy in ST:TNG and following shows. "Oh yeah, let's send a Verteron impulse of exactly 3.7575875875 seconds into that whole in time-space fabric to close this friction.
        And how many times have I slapped my forehead thinking stuff like:"Okay, why does this ship actually have a chief engineer when the Captain an android or even the doctor knows everything he does, or knows even better?!"
        But I was willing to disregard all that for a nice storyline and character interaction, which TNG had in most episodes as opposed to the first three seasons of DS9 and all of Voyager IMHO.
        Putting B5 in the same pot as ST however is comparing apples to oranges to say the least.
        And as shallow as it might be, Eureka is quite entertaining thanks to the comedy factor.
        But hey! I even liked the first season of Sliders, so what do I know?
        What's up Drakh?

        Comment


        • #5
          He seemed to waffle around a bit there. One post, he hadn't watched most of the shows, another, he'd watched 'enough' to form an opinion. I'm certainly not one to insist that he spend lots of time deciding whether he liked a show or not but it seemed pretty obvious that he hadn't even watched a couple of B5 episodes. Can anybody remind me of *any* B5 episodes where the story or solution to a problem was the tech of the week? I sure can't think of one.

          I'm in the camp of posters who said that as long as whatever technology was presented was consistent, they could accept it and enjoy the story.

          Jan
          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jan View Post
            He seemed to waffle around a bit there. One post, he hadn't watched most of the shows, another, he'd watched 'enough' to form an opinion. I'm certainly not one to insist that he spend lots of time deciding whether he liked a show or not but it seemed pretty obvious that he hadn't even watched a couple of B5 episodes. Can anybody remind me of *any* B5 episodes where the story or solution to a problem was the tech of the week? I sure can't think of one.

            I'm in the camp of posters who said that as long as whatever technology was presented was consistent, they could accept it and enjoy the story.

            Jan
            No, B5 never did "tech of the week."

            An interesting detail: according to the comments, what Ron Moore was talking about was something that he always hated about Star Trek. So it really can't be taken as representative for the way the rest of sci-fi TV (especially BSG) works. Not that I'm not critical of BSG, and I think TNG is still the best of the Star Trek shows, but still. If you're going to bash something, bash it for the right reasons!

            I managed to become involved in a discussion as to whether B5 portrays cultures as monolithic or not. I feel rather strongly that it doesn't, so I find it quite strange that so much emphasis is placed on this accusation. I've tried presenting some arguments about how art fuctions by implication rather than by exposition, but they don't seem to be getting through. I fear too many sci-fi readers are used to getting ten thousand pages of exposition about every subject rather than to more subtle ways of storytelling.
            Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

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            • #7
              Well he's certainly never seen Babylon 5:

              I can just about forgive the tendency of these programs to hit the reset switch at the end of every episode,
              Sometimes they make at least a token gesture towards a developing story arc
              And apparently this commenter didn't really pay attention to the show when she watched it:

              But more to the point, the telepaths ... were just [deus] ex machina used freely right and left any time the writers got themselves into a hole.
              Last edited by JoeD80; 10-15-2009, 12:34 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                [quote]
                Originally posted by JoeD80
                And apparently this commenter didn't really pay attention to the show when she watched it:
                But more to the point, the telepaths ... were just [deus] ex machina used freely right and left any time the writers got themselves into a hole.
                That one I can *almost* give her, depending on which episodes she saw. Lyta did tend to get called in a lot. When they needed Kosh II decoyed, when they needed her to read the Centauri teep who'd broken Brother Edward's mind wipe, etc. There needed to be a number of 'use the teep and than ignore her' incidents, though, or her finally getting mad about it wouldn't have been believable. As it was, it seemed too subtle for a number of people.

                Jan
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jan View Post
                  When they needed Kosh II decoyed
                  Her growing powers was something that had been built up for years to solve the problem; though if you hadn't watched the show I suppose you wouldn't have seen the buildup. I was mostly thinking Psi Corps rules tended to keep deus ex machina out of the stories. The telepaths were hardly "used right and left" anytime Joe needed to solve a story problem though. Stuff like Sheridan using the comatose telepaths was a solution, but it wasn't pretty, and:

                  Originally posted by Jan View Post
                  when they needed her to read the Centauri teep who'd broken Brother Edward's mind wipe, etc.
                  they were using Lyta to get around Psi Corps rules, but that didn't actually end up solving the problem, since Edward was already crucified and dying when they found him.
                  Last edited by JoeD80; 10-15-2009, 01:29 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I compleely agree (of course ). But to a casual viewer I can understand why she might think the way she did. Was it she who said you could skip all of season 5, though? Some people...

                    I had to smile at just how much of that thread ended up being about B5. And laugh at the folks who think that those of us who like the show think that B5 is perfect.

                    I doubt if I'll be searching out Stross's books. I doubt his style would suit me.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, like I said a few times before: The first time I saw a couple of B5 eps I thought it to be a soap in space. So I quit watching. Hence I can understand the misinterpretation "space station opera; check. Babylon Five" given that the blogger himself only saw a few eps at best.
                      But in general stating that one hates a show (no matter for what reasons) shows that this person is a bit overboard. I mean: If I can't stand to watch a show I simply don't like it. But I don't hate it...
                      What's up Drakh?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by I love Lyta View Post
                        Well, like I said a few times before: The first time I saw a couple of B5 eps I thought it to be a soap in space. So I quit watching. Hence I can understand the misinterpretation "space station opera; check. Babylon Five" given that the blogger himself only saw a few eps at best.
                        But in general stating that one hates a show (no matter for what reasons) shows that this person is a bit overboard. I mean: If I can't stand to watch a show I simply don't like it. But I don't hate it...
                        He actually tells that he has never seen a single episode of B5, so I agree he is overboard, totally.

                        Actually, if I read his blog entry correctly, not a single one of the ST weaknesses he complains about is present in B5 - "technobabble", "reset button" and "cardboard characters". it is clear that he has dismissed B5 (and *all* other space TV series) in the belief (and belief is all it is) that it is the same as ST.

                        He essentially makes the assesment that *all TV SciFi "Space Opera"* is the same as Star Trek TNG. He has simply got the facts wrong.
                        Jan from Denmark

                        My blog :

                        http://www.babylonlurker.dk

                        "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In the reply I posted over there I quoted Harlan's "You'r not entitled to your opinion, you're entitled to your *informed* opinion."

                          If he'd even watched a few episodes, as I love Lyta did, that would be one thing. But to have not watched any and decide that they're all lousy because they're not like the books he writes...that's just ignorant.

                          Jan
                          "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jan View Post
                            In the reply I posted over there I quoted Harlan's "You'r not entitled to your opinion, you're entitled to your *informed* opinion."

                            If he'd even watched a few episodes, as I love Lyta did, that would be one thing. But to have not watched any and decide that they're all lousy because they're not like the books he writes...that's just ignorant.

                            Jan
                            This reminds me a bit of the first time I ever saw anything B5 (The Gathering).

                            I did not like the pilot, but gave it the chance when it came on TV here in The Netherlands. After "Midnight..." and "Soul Hunter" I was happy I did, and having seen the rest many times now I never looked back.

                            Actually, I tried watching the pilot episodes for B5 and DS9 back-to-back the other day, and I still find that the I like *pilot* for DS9 more than that for B5. For the series as a whole it is the other way around.

                            ... and Jan , I did see your comment and agree totally on that one.
                            Jan from Denmark

                            My blog :

                            http://www.babylonlurker.dk

                            "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jan View Post
                              I doubt if I'll be searching out Stross's books. I doubt his style would suit me.

                              Jan
                              You know what is *really* ironic ?

                              I read his latest novel (as part of my voting for the Hugo Awards), and guess what ?

                              First he says he hates Space Opera - then he goes on to write one (Saturn's Children) - albeit with a special twist. I read it and it is not bad.

                              I have a nagging suspicion that he was out to provoke a debate - he certainly got one.

                              I am tempted to write a comment in the thread pointing out this irony, plus the irony of dismissing something he has not seen.

                              By the way I met him at a con 2 months ago and he does not strike me as being that stupid or arrogant.
                              Jan from Denmark

                              My blog :

                              http://www.babylonlurker.dk

                              "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

                              Comment

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