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2000 AD => News => : dweezil2 25 August, 2016, 06:10:29 PM

: Pat Mills on Action article.
: dweezil2 25 August, 2016, 06:10:29 PM
For those who missed it, this makes for a very interesting read:

https://bigmouthmag.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/action-comic-britains-brutal-weekly-real-70s/
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Tjm86 25 August, 2016, 07:18:16 PM
Thanks for that, and yes it does make for interesting reading.  As does Action itself.  From a modern perspective it seems incredibly tame (I'm fairly sure I've commented as such before), particularly in light of nearly 40 years of tooth.  I'm not sure I agree with Pat on Sci Fi / Fantasy as a retreat.  It takes a real talent to twist the reality of the contemporary the way so many of Sci Fi's greatest have managed, particularly some of the writers we have had the pleasure of over the years.  As a cultural artefact though I would argue that it is profoundly important.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: vark 26 August, 2016, 10:12:53 PM
You have pointing out the most interesting part of what Pat had to say (IMO). Here is the almost complete quote:

“Science fiction is not the same. I remember thinking, If we say it’s science fiction, if we say they’re robots or androids or whatever, we can get away with so much more. But it was a retreat. I always see science fiction as a retreat. People always say how profound a science fiction or fantasy story is, but I’m not convinced that a satire or an allegory can every be as potent as actually telling it like it is on the streets.”

Talent of sci fi writers is not a stake here I think, it is more a question of touching people. For me indeed The Wire is the most moving and potent thing I have ever seen (I would have liked to find other examples in comics or books but nothing comes to mind for the time being).
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: The Adventurer 26 August, 2016, 10:38:20 PM
That quote explains so much about Pat Mills and why I have such a general dislike of his brand of science fiction.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Jim_Campbell 26 August, 2016, 11:39:28 PM
Odd how Mills can be revered amongst squaxx despite not actually liking SF, but when certain other droids express a not dissimilar opinion, the ECBT crew clamour for their instant expulsion from the prog.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 27 August, 2016, 12:03:02 AM
Odd how Mills can be revered amongst squaxx despite not actually liking SF, but when certain other droids express a not dissimilar opinion, the ECBT crew clamour for their instant expulsion from the prog.

Is Mills really saying he doesn't like sci-fi, though? I just get he's disappointed the topics he wants to discuss need to be shrouded in sci-fi in order to be presented, and that's mostly down to Action getting pummelled in the media.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Jim_Campbell 27 August, 2016, 12:23:49 AM
Is Mills really saying he doesn't like sci-fi, though?

" I always see science fiction as a retreat."
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 27 August, 2016, 12:52:47 AM
Is Mills really saying he doesn't like sci-fi, though?

" I always see science fiction as a retreat."

I just think that quote can be interpreted in different ways, Jim. Bearing in mind Mills is discussing topics he really wanted to depict and he feels portraying those topics in a sci-fi setting is a retreat from a 'real' setting, but I don't necessarily read he doesn't like sci-fi from it.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 27 August, 2016, 12:53:24 AM
Is Mills really saying he doesn't like sci-fi, though?

" I always see science fiction as a retreat."

I just think that quote can be interpreted in different ways, Jim. Bearing in mind Mills is discussing topics he really wanted to depict and he feels portraying those topics in a sci-fi setting is a retreat from a 'real' setting, but I don't necessarily read he doesn't like sci-fi from it.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 27 August, 2016, 07:11:24 AM

I love Pat Mills:


"Arthur C Clarke may be a smart-ass and he knows all these things about this, that and the other, but a lot of his characters are boring and wouldn't make good comic material. 2001 was a brilliant film but the characters are lousy. In a comic, you start with good, strong characters"

p.35, Judge Dredd: the mega-history, Jarman. C & Acton. P, Lennard Publishing, 1995


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: TordelBack 27 August, 2016, 07:55:59 AM
Well he's not wrong. Characters wouldn't be Clarke's strong suit. For well-realised and fully developed original situations, though, he's hard to beat.

FWIW Pat is wrong about SF. I know what he means by having to use it to being a 'retreat', but the same true of almost all fiction, all entertainment.  The indirect approach can sidestep otherwise immovable preconceptions, and create allegories that  far outlive the context of their creation: Gulliver's Travels, Frankenstein, 1984, Farenheit 45, Judge Dredd, there's a reason these are all part of our cultural and conceptual lexicon.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: TordelBack 27 August, 2016, 07:57:34 AM
'Farenheit 451'. In the name of COBOL why does autocorrect insist on 'correcting' strings of numbers?
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: JayzusB.Christ 27 August, 2016, 09:37:26 AM
The podcast linked to in the same article is great too.  It's inspired me to listen to The Fink Brothers' Mutants in Mega City 1 for the first time -  I don't really like Madness but this is great.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: IndigoPrime 27 August, 2016, 04:43:26 PM
Did Mills say he considers it a retreat always, or was he specifically referring to 2000 AD? Because in the latter case, he's right in that 2000 AD's propelling everything into sci-fi-land was clearly a shield and a means of dealing with censorship from idiots. But if he means in a global sense – that all sci-fi is a retreat from 'proper' writing – that would be odd, not least if you only consider Nemesis.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: dweezil2 27 August, 2016, 07:29:39 PM
I really don't think that he's saying he doesn't like Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Besides, his body of work would suggest otherwise.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: sheridan 28 August, 2016, 04:29:06 PM
I really don't think that he's saying he doesn't like Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Besides, his body of work would suggest otherwise.
It's quite clear to me from the entire quote that he was talking about avoiding questions in the House of Commons by shooting robots instead of people and showing oil on the page instead of blood.  Outside of 2000AD he's co-created on Metalzoic, Marshal Law, Vampire Knight - all after he was famous / established enough to have more choice over what he produces.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: sheridan 28 August, 2016, 04:30:01 PM
'Farenheit 451'. In the name of COBOL why does autocorrect insist on 'correcting' strings of numbers?
Oh, that's what the Lords of COBOL in BSG was all about?  I wonder if the Cylons followed the Lords of FORTRAN?
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 07:29:36 AM
.
Leaving aside the question of Pat Mills's regard for sci-fi, was Pat Mills's 2000ad (the first 12 issues) a sci-fi comic?

His brief was to cash in on the expected success of Star Wars, but the only story in the launch line up that looks like it might even be trying that is poor old Dan Dare.

The rest of the comic looks a lot like any other IPC title of the seventies, with an even less sci-fi version of Lee Majors (acupuncture instead of bionics) running around in flares, a thug with a shotgun chasing Russians round the East End, and a dinosaur strip.

Harlem Heroes has jetpacs and a brain in a jar, but it's a lot like any other sports strip. Even Mills stories that come along later in the first year, like Shako, were tied to the seventies. The comic doesn't get an all sci-fi line-up until the 200s.

Basically, did Mills blow the brief of creating a sci-fi comic?


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: The Enigmatic Dr X 02 September, 2016, 07:52:54 AM
Reading this makes me thing that Bishop had to be the best editor ever of 2000ad. After all, unlike Mills, Bishops love sci-fi.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Greg M. 02 September, 2016, 12:31:41 PM
Basically, did Mills blow the brief of creating a sci-fi comic?

Well, no. Not unless you deliberately avoid mentioning key sci-fi elements of the stories in the original line-up. Time-travel? Man / machine symbiosis? Is that not sci-fi? You’re correct to say that much of the prog wasn’t particularly Star Wars-y – I'd suggest that was something to be thankful for.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: JayzusB.Christ 02 September, 2016, 01:40:34 PM
Reading this makes me thing that Bishop had to be the best editor ever of 2000ad. After all, unlike Mills, Bishops love sci-fi.

 :lol:

I got the reference.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Satanist 02 September, 2016, 01:57:55 PM
Reading this makes me thing that Bishop had to be the best editor ever of 2000ad. After all, unlike Mills, Bishops love sci-fi.

How's it goin Len?
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 02:04:30 PM
Time-travel? Man / machine symbiosis? Is that not sci-fi? You’re correct to say that much of the prog wasn’t particularly Star Wars-y – I'd suggest that was something to be thankful for.

I think early 2000ad was a bit Star Wars-y, in that both used stock sci-fi ideas as a springboard to tell a familiar story, the appeal of which was primarily character and action*.

The episodes of Flesh I've read weren't really about time travel - they were about cowboys being eaten by dinosaurs. The stories were certainly made possible by a traditional sci-fi concept, but that was just the initial impetus.

Maybe they came back to time travel ideas later, and Claw Carver discovered he was his own great-grandfather or something, but I haven't read those episodes.


* I suppose the sci-fi/not sci-fi debate can be summed up by the question of whether Predator is a sci-fi film or an action movie into which a single sci-fi element has been introduced. If lobbing an alien into a recognisable genre movie turns it into sci-fi, then Superman and Alf are sci-fi
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Richard 02 September, 2016, 05:31:48 PM
This is the most ridiculous "debate" I've ever seen.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 02 September, 2016, 05:48:41 PM
Time-travel? Man / machine symbiosis? Is that not sci-fi? You’re correct to say that much of the prog wasn’t particularly Star Wars-y – I'd suggest that was something to be thankful for.

I think early 2000ad was a bit Star Wars-y, in that both used stock sci-fi ideas as a springboard to tell a familiar story, the appeal of which was primarily character and action*.

The episodes of Flesh I've read weren't really about time travel - they were about cowboys being eaten by dinosaurs. The stories were certainly made possible by a traditional sci-fi concept, but that was just the initial impetus.

Maybe they came back to time travel ideas later, and Claw Carver discovered he was his own great-grandfather or something, but I haven't read those episodes.


* I suppose the sci-fi/not sci-fi debate can be summed up by the question of whether Predator is a sci-fi film or an action movie into which a single sci-fi element has been introduced. If lobbing an alien into a recognisable genre movie turns it into sci-fi, then Superman and Alf are sci-fi

Flesh is a sci-fi story. Unless you can find another genre for time-travelling cowboys sending meat back to the 23rd century from the Cretaceous. The story doesn't have to be about time-travel per se, it can be the element that brackets the story but that still qualifies it.

MACH 1 features an artificially modified superhuman with an artificial intelligence implanted into his body.

Interesting you don't mention Judge Dredd amongst the first twelve issues. Is that not sci-fi also?

Superman would also qualify. Predator too, although it straddles the line between sci-fi and action flick. Still qualifies. Alf is a sitcom with a sci-fi element. Because aliens.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 02 September, 2016, 05:57:01 PM
From that bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia:

"Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is related to, but different from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated physical laws (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).

The settings of science fiction are often contrary to those of consensus reality, but most science fiction relies on a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader's mind by potential scientific explanations or solutions to various fictional elements. Science fiction elements include:

A time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record.
A spatial setting or scenes in outer space (e.g. spaceflight), on other worlds, or on subterranean earth.
Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots and other types of characters arising from a future human evolution.
Futuristic or plausible technology such as ray guns, teleportation machines, and humanoid computers.
Scientific principles that are new or that contradict accepted physical laws, for example time travel, wormholes, or faster-than-light travel or communication.
New and different political or social systems, e.g. utopian, dystopian, post-scarcity, or post-apocalyptic.
Paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, telekinesis (e.g. "The Force" in Star Wars).
Other universes or dimensions and travel between them."
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 06:59:01 PM
This is the most ridiculous "debate" I've ever seen.

But we have no idea why, buddy! To pick up on Blackmocco's points, if Flesh and Mach-1 are sci-fi, they're a very different kind of sci-fi to Star Wars or Judge Dredd.

Something like Mach-1, where he's an MI5 agent thwarting terrorists at Farnborough airshow, wouldn't have been out of place in trad titles like Valiant or Lion. The talking computer that helps him beat the baddies is as sci-fi as Knight Rider (not very).

Please note, I'm not arguing early 2K strips aren't sci-fi* at all, I'm just saying they're not much more sci-fi than stuff nobody really considers sci-fi.

Within a few years, the comic was full of stuff like The VCs, Rogue Trooper, and Stainless Steel Rat, that are set on other planets and feature the plethora of spaceships, aliens, and lasers you would expect to find in a comic trying to appeal to kids who fancy more Star Wars.



* ... or that they're not any good
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Colin YNWA 02 September, 2016, 07:03:27 PM
Time-travel? Man / machine symbiosis? Is that not sci-fi? You’re correct to say that much of the prog wasn’t particularly Star Wars-y – I'd suggest that was something to be thankful for.

I think early 2000ad was a bit Star Wars-y, in that both used stock sci-fi ideas as a springboard to tell a familiar story, the appeal of which was primarily character and action*.

The episodes of Flesh I've read weren't really about time travel - they were about cowboys being eaten by dinosaurs. The stories were certainly made possible by a traditional sci-fi concept, but that was just the initial impetus...


* I suppose the sci-fi/not sci-fi debate can be summed up by the question of whether Predator is a sci-fi film or an action movie into which a single sci-fi element has been introduced. If lobbing an alien into a recognisable genre movie turns it into sci-fi, then Superman and Alf are sci-fi

I think you're on a pretty sticky wicket here Butch Frank or Frankly Butch whatever you moniker is these days. I mean I think, useless my history (and pre-history) is getting VERY shakey the very fact that cowboys and dinosaurs are embracing in a deadly game is completely dripping with Sci-Finess. How can it not. Its not like time travel is casually implied and then dismissed its there everytime Reagan slashes around at beastie with his goud (spelling?).

Its also a little disingenuous to suggest they just cowboys, even if that is the short hand used. Again apologise for shakey history if I'm wrong but actual wild westy cowboys didn't have great big luna buggie type things and laser defense walls and robot sheriffs and gravity trains and Tefal headed boffins and killdozer meat chopping thingies and... well you get the idea. Sci-fi, sci-fi, sci-fi its drippin' in sci-fi.

Pretending M.A.C.H. 1 isn't sci-fi isn't up to your normal standard either. I mean you imply he popped to his local acunpture parlour and came out all super-powered up. As opposed to have a computer stuck into his dying frame which just happened to be power by the pocky machine.

Aeroball not sci-fi? Really? Dan Dare you gave us. Dredd, okay Prog 2 but SCI-FI. So that leaves Invasion and while yeah that one you could get when you look at the sci-fi that surrounded the comic it kinda in the 70s it kinda falls into line. So yeah different brands and types of sci-fi but I'd say all pretty safely sci-fi.

Maybe as you say Star Wars sci-fi but I suspect the remit was to catch the sci-fi wave driven by Star Wars rather than Star Wars  itself. After all we had Star Wars for that and didn't need anything else.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Colin YNWA 02 September, 2016, 07:05:31 PM
Oh and others beat me to my point and probably said it better than me BUT I wasn't typing all that nonsense and just deleting it cos it had become repetative... I'd have only 12 posts if I lived by those standards!
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 02 September, 2016, 07:17:09 PM
This is the most ridiculous "debate" I've ever seen.

But we have no idea why, buddy! To pick up on Blackmocco's points, if Flesh and Mach-1 are sci-fi, they're a very different kind of sci-fi to Star Wars or Judge Dredd.

Something like Mach-1, where he's an MI5 agent thwarting terrorists at Farnborough airshow, wouldn't have been out of place in trad titles like Valiant or Lion. The talking computer that helps him beat the baddies is as sci-fi as Knight Rider (not very).

Please note, I'm not arguing early 2K strips aren't sci-fi* at all, I'm just saying they're not much more sci-fi than stuff nobody really considers sci-fi.

Within a few years, the comic was full of stuff like The VCs, Rogue Trooper, and Stainless Steel Rat, that are set on other planets and feature the plethora of spaceships, aliens, and lasers you would expect to find in a comic trying to appeal to kids who fancy more Star Wars.



* ... or that they're not any good

Knight Rider qualifies as sci-fi. An artificial automated intelligence. Your definition of sci-fi seems a little conservative, Frank. Star Wars is sci-fi. But so is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Guardians Of The Galaxy is. But so is Under The Skin. It's a very large umbrella the genre sits under. It's not really much of a debate.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 07:35:02 PM
Maybe as you say (not) Star Wars sci-fi but I suspect the remit was to catch the sci-fi wave driven by Star Wars rather than Star Wars  itself.

Yeah, Mills was probably trying to paint on a broader canvas than pure space opera, in the hope of giving the comic some longevity. I'm sure he thought Star Wars would be a flash in the pan, and - as Mills always points out - Mach-1 was the biggest hit with readers.

Those early strips do seem more like sci-fi themed versions of typical seventies stories though. Recognisable real world situations or familiar genre material with an added sci-fi element - as opposed to something like Nemesis, which is just alien in every sense of the word.


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Colin YNWA 02 September, 2016, 07:50:19 PM
Oh and also meant to say isn't ALF Sci-Fi as well? 'Comedy' sci-fi but sci-fi?
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: M.I.K. 02 September, 2016, 07:52:01 PM
Leaving aside the question of Pat Mills's regard for sci-fi, was Pat Mills's 2000ad (the first 12 issues) a sci-fi comic?

Yes.

Basically, did Mills blow the brief of creating a sci-fi comic?

No.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Spikes 02 September, 2016, 08:18:57 PM
I remember sci-fi (was it even called sci-fi then?) that was aimed at kids in the 1970's.

Invariably it looked like this.

(http://i.imgur.com/Vt4LM2W.jpg)


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 08:23:49 PM
Knight Rider qualifies as sci-fi

You're a more generous soul than me, Blackmocco, and will live a longer, happier life as a result.

Star Wars is sci-fi. But so is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Guardians Of The Galaxy is. But so is Under The Skin.

You're outlining a benign version of the one drop rule (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule), where everything's either one thing or the other. You picked really great films as examples, but if a single conceit allows sci-fi to claim a relationship drama as its own, we have to clutch Adam Sandler's Click (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWBXMNcKhj4) to our bosom with equal enthusiasm.


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 02 September, 2016, 08:39:34 PM
Knight Rider qualifies as sci-fi

You're a more generous soul than me, Blackmocco, and will live a longer, happier life as a result.

Star Wars is sci-fi. But so is Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Guardians Of The Galaxy is. But so is Under The Skin.

You're outlining a benign version of the one drop rule (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule), where everything's either one thing or the other. You picked really great films as examples, but if a single conceit allows sci-fi to claim a relationship drama as its own, we have to clutch Adam Sandler's Click (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWBXMNcKhj4) to our bosom with equal enthusiasm.

Not at all. Some of these movies straddle the genres. Eternal Sunshine is also a romance movie, and possibly a comedy too. Certainly some satire in there too. But it also falls under sci-fi courtesy of the movie's main concept: technology that erases people's memories. Click is a comedy but also can be defined under a sci-fi bracket. I'm not saying these movies are purely sci-fi but that's the joy of the genre. Just like heavy metal covers everything from Burzum to Sabbath to KISS to Cinderella. It's a nebulous definition as a genre but no less part of it.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: WhizzBang 02 September, 2016, 09:02:51 PM
I agree with the post earlier which said this thread was ridiculous but I thought I would shove my oar in anway because I have had a drink or two.

Star Wars is not sci-fi - it is fantasy. It may be space themed but it is still basically about wizards, monsters, magic, evil villains with dark fortresses, princesses and young boys having adventures to save stuff. There is no plausable scientific reality within it at all.

Pat Mills is the very reason why we are here and this website and 2000ad exist at all. He has always had a slight confrontational edge while also knowing how to reign it in for commercial reality reasons. I think it is a shame people often moan about his stuff and his views when it is really to his credit that he can produce good and confrontational copy for interviews while still producing stuff like the recent Defoe, Robusters and Slaine which vastly outshine many contemporary strips I will not mention explicitly.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 09:08:33 PM
I'm not saying these movies are purely sci-fi but that's the joy of the genre

Agreed! And half of the launch line up stories weren't very sci-fi: Mach-1's maybe a 2/10 on the sliding scale of sci-fidom, Flesh seems like a 5*, and Invasion only registers a single point for predicting a prime minister and a BBC factual channel.

To adopt your terms, they're Bon Jovi to the Rammstein of Halo Jones Book Three.


* Thanks mainly to Colin telling me it featured a robot sheriff - I hope his name was Garry Copper
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Jim_Campbell 02 September, 2016, 09:57:33 PM
Star Wars is not sci-fi - it is fantasy. It may be space themed but it is still basically about wizards, monsters, magic, evil villains with dark fortresses, princesses and young boys having adventures to save stuff. There is no plausable scientific reality within it at all.

Aliens. Independently reasoning robots. Energy weapons. Holography. Faster than light travel. Of course it's science fiction.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: WhizzBang 02 September, 2016, 10:24:02 PM
Aliens. Independently reasoning robots. Energy weapons. Holography. Faster than light travel. Of course it's science fiction.
Not really. Aliens are just the space fantasy replacement for monsters. The robots are just quirky characters who are only robots because of the space theme. The energy weapons are the kind of things fairies/wizards shoot energy out of wands. The faster than light travel is not utilised as science fiction as it ignores the time dilation impacts of this and is merely a device to allow the story to move from one setting to another.

Irvin Kershner and George Lucas were both quite vocal about Star Wars not being science fiction.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Jim_Campbell 02 September, 2016, 10:36:31 PM
Not really. Aliens are just the space fantasy replacement for monsters. The robots are just quirky characters who are only robots because of the space theme. The energy weapons are the kind of things fairies/wizards shoot energy out of wands. The faster than light travel is not utilised as science fiction as it ignores the time dilation impacts of this and is merely a device to allow the story to move from one setting to another.

Absolute rot. "If we discount all the SF elements, this is just a western/horror/romcom." If we discount all the fantasy elements, Lord of the Rings is a war story. 'Hard' SF has its place, but its adherents frequently attempt to proscribe the entire genre within the confines of their preferred definition. Under this sort of definition, the Lensman novels aren't SF, the Stainless Steel Rat novels aren't SF, fucking Star Trek isn't SF.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Modern Panther 02 September, 2016, 10:37:51 PM
wizards, monsters, magic, evil villains with dark fortresses, princesses and young boys having adventures to save stuff. There is no plausable scientific reality within it at all.

Dune.

It depends in your interpretation of sci fi.  Lucas was heavily inspired by Joseph Campbell's work on historical mythology, which is probably why he would use "fantasy" rather than "science fiction".  Plenty of modern commentators would combine the two, since they both deal with world's that are not real, with everything else being interchangeable. 

My favourite definition of the two is from Prof Gary Wolfe, who said that sci find happens "on a planet" (or "somewhere out there"), but fantasy happens "in a world" (that isn't, and could never be).  It demonstrates the paperthin division between the genres. 
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: blackmocco 02 September, 2016, 10:57:34 PM
I'm not saying these movies are purely sci-fi but that's the joy of the genre

Agreed! And half of the launch line up stories weren't very sci-fi: Mach-1's maybe a 2/10 on the sliding scale of sci-fidom, Flesh seems like a 5*, and Invasion only registers a single point for predicting a prime minister and a BBC factual channel.

To adopt your terms, they're Bon Jovi to the Rammstein of Halo Jones Book Three.


* Thanks mainly to Colin telling me it featured a robot sheriff - I hope his name was Garry Copper

Ehh. We'll just have to accept how we define sci-fi is very different. To address your original point though regarding 2000AD, I'd have to disagree though.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 02 September, 2016, 11:08:30 PM
Pat Mills is the very reason why we are here ... I think it is a shame people often moan about his stuff

I'm not having a go at Pat Mills or the launch line up stories.

What interests me is the disparity between the original inspiration for 2000ad - which as well as Star Wars must include Kelvin Gosnell's memo proposing they adapt the work of legit sci-fi authors like Clarke, Asimov and Bradbury - and the pulp line up of prog 1.

I think the Mills quote I posted before explains the journey 2000ad went on between December 1975 and February 1977. Mills understood that action and character endeared strips to readers, and prioritised those over involved sci-fi concepts.


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Colin YNWA 03 September, 2016, 07:07:52 AM
I think the Mills quote I posted before explains the journey 2000ad went on between December 1975 and February 1977. Mills understood that action and character endeared strips to readers, and prioritised those over involved sci-fi concepts.

While understanding that the two were in no way mutually exclusive, in fact they worked well together and was thus able to produce a clearly Sci-Fi comic with great action and characters.

Phew there we're sorted. Glad we got all that out the way...

...what hold on now Star Wars isn't sci-fi what new poppycock is this....
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 03 September, 2016, 09:22:12 AM
.
I started Steve MacManus's book last night:


"To my mind, 2000ad was not a science-fiction comic, it was a comic that took traditional adventure stereotypes and recast them in the future .... call it what you will, but it wasn't science fiction. For example, the early issues featured future cops, future sportsmen, future warriors. The comic explored time travel and featured robots and cyborgs, but the thrills came from the heroes and the situations they found themselves in, not from the dull thud of hard science fiction"
p.78. McManus, Mighty One, 2000ad, 2016


McManus is using a very hard line definition of what sci-fi is*, favouring the dense and cerebral to the exclusion of the pulpy fantasy that makes up much of the genre, but he makes a good point regarding what the point of the story is.

The GSVs and drones are so specific and central to the narrative drive and themes of a Banks Culture novel, it's impossible to imagine them being rewritten as Viking adventures (for example), with long boats and slaves taking the place of sci-fi tech.

John Probe, on the other hand, could easily be transformed into a superhero (with a magic crystal that gives him powers) by the application of patch paper on just a few speech balloons. The tech element is window dressing, an aesthetic upon which the story is hung.

Whereas Blade Runner and Ex-Machina explore what it is to be an artificially created person, Mach-1 explores what it's like to karate kick someone really hard in the face.


* Discussing the VCs, McManus goes on to clarify what he means by opining that Gerry Finley-Day's experience of writing WWII strips for Battle "could be applied to this similar scenario, but set in the future" (p.124).
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Will Cooling 03 September, 2016, 09:28:32 AM
Time-travel? Man / machine symbiosis? Is that not sci-fi? You’re correct to say that much of the prog wasn’t particularly Star Wars-y – I'd suggest that was something to be thankful for.

I think early 2000ad was a bit Star Wars-y, in that both used stock sci-fi ideas as a springboard to tell a familiar story, the appeal of which was primarily character and action*.

The episodes of Flesh I've read weren't really about time travel - they were about cowboys being eaten by dinosaurs. The stories were certainly made possible by a traditional sci-fi concept, but that was just the initial impetus.

Maybe they came back to time travel ideas later, and Claw Carver discovered he was his own great-grandfather or something, but I haven't read those episodes.


* I suppose the sci-fi/not sci-fi debate can be summed up by the question of whether Predator is a sci-fi film or an action movie into which a single sci-fi element has been introduced. If lobbing an alien into a recognisable genre movie turns it into sci-fi, then Superman and Alf are sci-fi

Flesh is a sci-fi story. Unless you can find another genre for time-travelling cowboys sending meat back to the 23rd century from the Cretaceous. The story doesn't have to be about time-travel per se, it can be the element that brackets the story but that still qualifies it.

MACH 1 features an artificially modified superhuman with an artificial intelligence implanted into his body.

Interesting you don't mention Judge Dredd amongst the first twelve issues. Is that not sci-fi also?

Superman would also qualify. Predator too, although it straddles the line between sci-fi and action flick. Still qualifies. Alf is a sitcom with a sci-fi element. Because aliens.

Ignoring Dredd is even crazier when you consider that Pat was the one who pushed the strip further into future and ran with the Carlos' outlandish designs. He commissioned a poster of Mega-City One because he loved how Carlos drew the futuristic buildings for Christ's Sake!
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 03 September, 2016, 10:08:05 AM
Ignoring Dredd is even crazier when you consider that Pat was the one who pushed the strip further into future and ran with the Carlos' outlandish designs.

See my remarks above about the difference between window dressing and theme*.

Maybe it would help if we made a distinction between genre and story. Temporal location and technology mean many of the launch line up strips can be accommodated within the sci-fi genre. That doesn't mean they're sci-fi stories.

They're heist stories, sports stories, creature features, and invasion stories.


* Those massive blocks would eventually become thematically important, but not for another 3 and a half years, and in the hands of Wagner and Grant (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/7d/7c/72/7d7c725f959daf6d2ccd8809adf79243.jpg)
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Greg M. 03 September, 2016, 10:14:29 AM
So, by your definition, which 2000AD stories are sci-fi stories? Not VCs / Bad Company / Rogue Trooper / Halo Jones Bk 3, which are all war stories. Not Strontium Dog - western. Seems John Smith might be the go-to chap for sf concepts - Firekind and Indigo Prime: Killing Time probably meet your criteria. Moore's Chronocops? Innumerable Future Shocks and Time Twisters fit the bill. Personally, it all seems a bit of a reductive exercise though.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Jim_Campbell 03 September, 2016, 11:14:10 AM
Almost all literature, genre or otherwise, is really about something else. If we're going to ignore 'window dressing' and define a work in terms of subtext, metaphor or allegory, then we end up in a stupidly reductive cycle of stripping away layers until just about everything is really just a story about the human condition. If we have a definition of science fiction that excludes the examples I mentioned above, then, I'm sorry, it's a stupid definition.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: JOE SOAP 03 September, 2016, 11:19:50 AM

I'm not concerned about genre definitions as long as something entertains or stimulates but if it mattered to me there could be certain definition of strict or hard Sci-Fi that is dependent on whether a new technology, setting or discovery created a moral/philosophical conundrum that previously didn't exist for us as evolving humans e.g. the artificial intelligence and cybernetics of Blade Runner; space-travel and encounters with unfathomable higher beings in 2001. Of course it's a shifting perimeter as there's always the idea that we're now living in what in the past would be considered a Sci-Fi world.

2000AD did act as a wolf in sheep's clothing using the skin of Sci-Fi to tell more layered action stories often with political and satirical overtones and the element of futurism adds a cosy distance with a heightened, attractive aesthetic for an action comic, but it was never too concerned with being hard Sci-Fi because as a definition that gets limiting pretty quickly so it's a broader definition of sci-fi that involves certain aesthetic features.

As always, this is all by degrees and there's the constant coalescing with other genres, but barring Sci-Fi props like time-stretchers, dimension jumps and mutant psychics, plenty of Judge Dredd stories could easily have a modern day setting and still work and the central theme in Flesh is at its core ecological and functioned more as latent subtext in a man tames beast story - but 2000AD has always been irreverent and it just looks better to have Joe firing 6 types of bullets while riding a suped-up chopper and have time-travelling cowboys fighting dinosaurs.


: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Magnetica 03 September, 2016, 12:15:20 PM
For me it all depends on your definition of the term.

For example I used to read SFX magazine and they had a pretty broad definition of what they would cover - they used the term "genre" and it would cover everything from Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, to Star Trek, Star Wars, 2000 AD, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, James Bond, Buffy, Angel. So a load of stuff that could be classified as fantasy or horror rather than Sci-Fi.

Now look at Bond as an example - you could make a case for early bonds featuring not yet invented gadgets as Sci-Fi, but the later Daniel Craig films are about as Sci-Fi as Spooks or 24 and there was no way they were going to cover them.

To me there is a clear distinction between things that  explore the consequences of science extrapolated into the future (or even advanced civilisations set in the past) and things that have Sci-Fi trappings as a means of advancing the plot. Take Dr Who as an example. Throughout most of its history the Tardis has merely been a device to enable the story to the set in a particular place and time (and indeed had a rule that they can't just pop back a couple of hours to undo their mistakes as that would just destroy any dramatic tension.) It is only recently - as far as I know but I'm not as big an aficionado as some - that they have started to explore the consequences of time travel with the so -called fixed points in time. Even the regeneration is just a device to allow the series to continue with a new actor.

At the end of the day, I don't think it really matters - I know what I like, and don't sit there watching it or reading it attempting to classify it. And more to the point I know what others classify as Sci-Fi, as in "oh we don't have to watch that Sci-Fi rubbish do we....". :lol:

And as the idea that Sci-Fi features "plausible" future technologies...well not always. Yes some technology that exists now actually far exceeds what was shown at the time - take the tablet computers and data recorders in Star Trek TOS as an example, but other things are still mostly (probably) impossible e.g. warp drive, the transporter etc and it's not just me saying that...read the physics of Star Trek book - it would take longer than the universe has existed to scan you into the transporter, more energy than in the whole universe to accelerate to warp speed etc - but as I say they are actually just plot devices.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Frank 03 September, 2016, 04:31:25 PM
So, by your definition, which 2000AD stories are sci-fi stories? ... it all seems a bit of a reductive exercise

I'm happy with my definition of the launch up as not very sci-fi*, or no more sci-fi than adventure stories like The Steel Claw, which nobody considers sci-fi. The idea that some stories are more sci-fi than others doesn't seem controversial.

That doesn't mean anybody failed, or that the stories weren't up to scratch. As Magnetica points out, it's not really important, but then absolutely nothing we talk about here is. I thought it was interesting and I enjoyed talking about it.


* Indigo Prime (10); Chronocops (10); VCs (3) because of its off world settings & spaceships; Bad Company (5) off world setting and the pathetic fallacy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathetic_fallacy) of Ararat; Rogue Trooper (3) being generous because of concepts like biowire and the biochips; Halo Jones Bk 3 (8) off world and spaceships are fine, but the depth of thought the boy Moore brings to the battle in Jupiter's space/time bumps up its score; Strontium Dog (3), but only because of the original concept of the time bomb.

On that scale, Dare would be a (3) for the spaceships and aliens, Flesh would be a (2) for the time travel, Harlem Heroes would be a (2) for the jetpacs and vague future setting, Mach-1 scores (1) for his computer, and Bill Savage scores hee-haw. Dredd's basic setting & tech is worth (3), with that score fluctuating each week depending on whether the crime being investigated revolves around a future technology or if it's just about Dredd being mean. That was silly, but fun - it doesn't mean anything.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: M.I.K. 04 September, 2016, 01:19:26 AM
or no more sci-fi than adventure stories like The Steel Claw, which nobody considers sci-fi.

Say what? A bloke with a bionic hand that has the power to turn him into an invisible man after an accident in a laboratory isn't science fiction?
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Richard 04 September, 2016, 11:59:41 AM
Say what? A bloke with a bionic hand that has the power to turn him into an invisible man after an accident in a laboratory isn't science fiction?

That sums up exactly why I said that this whole debate is ridiculous.
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: Richard 04 September, 2016, 12:22:55 PM
On further reflection, isn't this more about what is "proper" sci-fi and what isn't -- there are degrees of SF? Rather than "it's not SF at all."
: Re: Pat Mills on Action article.
: A.Cow 05 May, 2017, 03:21:08 AM
On further reflection, isn't this more about what is "proper" sci-fi and what isn't -- there are degrees of SF? Rather than "it's not SF at all."

People are arguing at cross-purposes here.  And a lot of people seem to have the hang-up that there is some kind of objective committee-set strict definition for things.  Well, that's fine in engineering & science but in the real world most dictionary-style definitions are driven by consensus, which means there will always be debate and woolliness.

As a sound editor once said to me, "One man's reverb is another man's drainpipe."