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View Diary: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club: Open Thread: SF vs Fantasy (65 comments)

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  •  A Good Example..... (13+ / 0-)

    Of something that straddles the line between fantasy & science fiction is "Doctor Who." It's considered a classic science fiction TV series, but some years back Sir Terry Pratchett put out a blog post in which he argued "Doctor Who" is NOT science-fiction. Basically, when you get down to it, The Doctor functions as a wizard, his sonic screwdriver is his magic wand, and his companions are his sorcerer's apprentices.

    Doctor Who is ludicrous and it breaks most of the laws of narrative... The unexpected, unadvertised solution which kisses it all better is known as a deus ex machina – literally, a god from the machine. And a god from the machine is what the Doctor now is. A decent detective story provides you with enough tantalising information to allow you to make a stab at a solution before the famous detective struts his stuff in the library. Doctor Who replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that wonderful element "makeitupasyougalongeum". I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would dare try to jump-start a spaceship that looks like the Titanic by diving it into the atmosphere... but I have to forgive the Doctor that, because it was hilariously funny.

    People say Doctor Who is science fiction. At least people who don’t know what science fiction is, say that Doctor Who is science fiction... I just wish that it was not classified as science fiction. Much has been written about the plausibility or otherwise of the Star Trek universe, but it is possible to imagine at least some of the concepts becoming real. But the sonic screwdriver? I don’t think so. Doctor Who’s science is pixel thin. I’m sorry about this, but I just don’t think that you can instantly transport a whole hospital onto the moon without all of the windows blowing out. Oh! You use a force field, do you?! And there’s the trouble; one sentence makes it all okay.

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