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Author Topic: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?  (Read 3954 times)

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leapinlew

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Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« on: March 05, 2018, 06:32:09 pm »
My friend and I were talking shows and we both liked Stranger Things and he said "it's a good sci-fi" and I said, "it's horror, or fantasy, right?". In the old days, we would've debated it for a while, but nowadays we pulled out our cell phones and I found out it was indeed sci-fi. I must have my genres mixed up because to me, the show is clearly based in fantasy.

There's lots of shows that blur the lines, but to me, Stranger Things is 60% fantasy and 40% sci-fi.

Makes me wonder what else I have mis-categorized.

shponglefan

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 07:26:09 pm »
I find terms like "science fiction" and "fantasy" are so nebulous, it's not even worth worrying about.  Everyone has their own definition of each and categorize accordingly.

And a lot of shows I find tend to blend elements from both like X-Files, Stranger Things, Star Trek, etc...

I'm not entirely sure it's possible to find a truly pure example of each depending on how one categorizes the various elements of each genre.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 07:29:11 pm by shponglefan »

Vigo

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 07:28:31 pm »
Sci fi is sorta a dumping ground genre. Thatís said I donít fully dispute it. Kinda fringe or x files sorta sci-fi. The portal is man made, they explore telekinesis and sensory deprivation tanks, there is a science teacher to explain things all sciency.

Above anything it is horror though. Sweet primal lovecraftian horror.

Malenko

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 08:39:00 pm »
bigger question is, why do people think its good?
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leapinlew

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 09:10:44 pm »
bigger question is, why do people think its good?

I enjoy the setting. It's not like, the best thing ever, but it's a good fun watch.

yotsuya

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2018, 10:10:13 pm »
Itís a fun show. Why do you hate fun, Malenko?
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Howard_Casto

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 10:15:43 pm »
It's clearly not fantasy, there is no debate.  Fantastical things happen in all three genres, the explanation given for the fantastical things defines the genre.  If science is used as an explanation, then it's sci-fi.  If magic is explanation then it's fantasy.  If the occult is the explanation and/or if there is a high body count and there is an emphasis on scary/bloody events then it's horror.  Strangers things uses stuff like alternate dimensions and esp to explain away it's monsters, so it's sci-fi.  There are plenty of deaths though and I suppose to children it might be scary, so you might argue that it is horror, but definitely not fantasy as no magic is used and there isn't an orc, elf or dragon in the whole thing. 

Malenko

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 09:06:29 am »
I enjoy the setting. It's not like, the best thing ever, but it's a good fun watch.
No doubt that they nailed the atmosphere of the mid 80s. I mean other than Barb driving around a 1988 VW Rabbit in 1983 , people interrupting each other on Walkie Talkies, and the side folding stock MP5s/airsoft guns, there was nothing glaringly bad.


Itís a fun show. Why do you hate fun, Malenko?

It's not bad, it's just not that good. No one who likes the show ever thinks anything is bad, like they can't admit the episode that focused on Kali and her gang was god awful. Hopper is *easily* the best thing about that show.
No matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites us all.

pbj

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 11:03:27 am »
They play D&D and Galaga for 30 seconds and anything nerd culture is automatically called scifi these days.

I stick to the definition of a technological twist gives us the opportunity to explore moral issues, pointing towards Frankenstein as the wellspring, but that hasn't been the norm in scifi movies or books for decades.  Robert Sawyer is the only contemporary author I can think of in that area now.


« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 11:57:49 am by pbj »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 01:01:47 pm »
They play D&D and Galaga for 30 seconds and anything nerd culture is automatically called scifi these days.

I stick to the definition of a technological twist gives us the opportunity to explore moral issues, pointing towards Frankenstein as the wellspring, but that hasn't been the norm in scifi movies or books for decades.  Robert Sawyer is the only contemporary author I can think of in that area now.

Heh... you can stick to that definition, but it isn't correct.  What I explained above is correct.  It's not my definition, but rather the only definition that various genre writers are willing to agree upon.  All three are essentially the same genre, but which mythos they draw upon for thier rules determines the sub-genre.  Moral questioning can't define scifi because those same moral questions are often explored in Horror and Fantasy as well.  I mean even your example contradicts it as Frankenstein is considered Horror and not sci-fi. 

pbj

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 02:07:57 pm »
I fall along the lines of thinking that science fiction is a progression of the gothic novel, which seems to be a well represented viewpoint on the 'history of science fiction' wikipedia page. 

If you want to say "ray gun = scifi, wand = fantasy" then fine, knock yourself out.




dkersten

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 02:46:41 pm »
It's clearly not fantasy, there is no debate.  Fantastical things happen in all three genres, the explanation given for the fantastical things defines the genre.  If science is used as an explanation, then it's sci-fi.  If magic is explanation then it's fantasy.  If the occult is the explanation and/or if there is a high body count and there is an emphasis on scary/bloody events then it's horror.  Strangers things uses stuff like alternate dimensions and esp to explain away it's monsters, so it's sci-fi.  There are plenty of deaths though and I suppose to children it might be scary, so you might argue that it is horror, but definitely not fantasy as no magic is used and there isn't an orc, elf or dragon in the whole thing.
Orc, elf, dragon, etc. is purely a Tolkien thing, not a Fantasy thing per se.

They can't explain the girl's ability to use telekinesis with science, nor her ability to see into the other dimensions, so this straddles the line. 

Is Thor (or any Marvel movie) Fantasy or Sci-Fi?  In the movie they state that Magic is just Science that people don't understand.  The line is pretty blurry.

In terms of marketing, everything Sci-fi is marketed alongside Fantasy, so even there the lines are blurred.  My books are sci-fi even though 95% of the story is really about  the people, relationships, morality, and survival in a post apocalyptic world.  The only thing "science fiction" is the fact that some of the science doesn't exist (yet), which ends up defining the entire story as science fiction.  Yet readers whose preferred genre is Romance rate my book an average of 4.5 stars, where readers who prefer Science Fiction rate it 4.2 stars.  If it is most popular among Romance readers, has Action and Adventure as the primary attribute, and is set in a fictional future, what genre is it?  Easy, it's science fiction because that's what you dump everything into that doesn't fit exactly into our current world following our exact history and current scientific capabilities.  Everything else is a sub-genre from there.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 03:44:38 pm »
It's clearly not fantasy, there is no debate.  Fantastical things happen in all three genres, the explanation given for the fantastical things defines the genre.  If science is used as an explanation, then it's sci-fi.  If magic is explanation then it's fantasy.  If the occult is the explanation and/or if there is a high body count and there is an emphasis on scary/bloody events then it's horror.  Strangers things uses stuff like alternate dimensions and esp to explain away it's monsters, so it's sci-fi.  There are plenty of deaths though and I suppose to children it might be scary, so you might argue that it is horror, but definitely not fantasy as no magic is used and there isn't an orc, elf or dragon in the whole thing.
Orc, elf, dragon, etc. is purely a Tolkien thing, not a Fantasy thing per se.

They can't explain the girl's ability to use telekinesis with science, nor her ability to see into the other dimensions, so this straddles the line. 

Is Thor (or any Marvel movie) Fantasy or Sci-Fi?  In the movie they state that Magic is just Science that people don't understand.  The line is pretty blurry.


Of course Orcs, elves and Dragons are more of a Tolkien thing, but not exclusively.  I was joking about that bit anyway.  As for Stranger Things....Nope, wrong.  It doesn't matter that ESP isn't real in our world, rather that it is real in the fiction and is explained away with science rather than magic.  It's Science fiction after all, not science fact. 

Thor is neither sci-fi or fantasy, it's a super-hero movie.... different troupes and thematic rules, ect... 

Understand that what you, as the viewer, consider the character/film in terms of genre is completely and utterly irrelevant.  Ditto in terms of how it is marketed.  It's how the author, and as a consequence, the characters in the story, consider the story's events to be explained as that will introduce various plot structures and troupes into the story.  In other words the way the story is told is effected and it's the story format that defines the genre. 

It's important to make these distinctions because as you point out, Sci-fi has become a dumping ground for any genre stories that don't easily fit into other categories.  We can do better than that. 

But these are just tools used for critics and scholars to analyze stories so for us dumb schlubs it isn't relevant to the conversation anyway.  I only brought it up because Stranger Things is clearly not a fantasy show.  It doesn't follow the fantasy show format. There isn't a chosen one, or a prophecy.  They don't go on a quest, ect.  There's the self-sacrifice of the main heroine which is also present in fantasy shows, but that clichť is found in a lot of genres. 

pbj

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 04:00:43 pm »
Stranger Things got boring for me once it devolved into a run away from a screeching monster show.  So about halfway through season 1, then I skimmed the final episode.

Then, hey, season 2, it's time to give it another chance.  And... after it's well established that super powers and interdimensional monsters that can barely be beaten exist, one of the kids takes home a violent alien snake and turns it into a pet.

-CLICK!-




Le Chuck

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2018, 07:10:30 pm »
Reasons why I like the show:

The cast. Hopper is fantastic. Decidedly so. It's nice to see Wynona out of the tabloids and back on the screen. Those kids are wonderful IMO, just a real joy to watch. Millie is half Deaf so as a Deafie family it's nice to have role models - even if she isn't signing.

The music. I like what they've done there, great atmosphere and a good hook.

Teen/Preteen angsty drama mixed with monsters. It's a niche but it's my niche.

There are misses for sure, but it's worth my time. I'm a fan. If you had asked me before what genre it was I would have said fantasy. Just me but an invitro drug and a shady government experiment do not science fiction make but who am I. Sci-fi it is

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2018, 07:29:15 pm »
bigger question is, why do people think its good?

yeah what the hell ???

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2018, 08:04:53 pm »
My 11 yr old said horror out of the 3 choices.
He says everyone in school was talking about it.
He started getting suspicious on why I was asking so I left it at that.


I'll ask my 9yr old when he gets out of the shower.
edit: he says it's science fiction.


« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 08:46:50 pm by nitrogen_widget »

shponglefan

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2018, 09:17:19 pm »
n'mind...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:19:32 pm by shponglefan »

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2018, 12:50:15 pm »
was Doctor Strange more Sci-Fie because they tried to explaine magic or was it more ---simply the best thing ever---? I am going with ---simply the best thing ever---.

Why does Star Wars Scream Fantasy when it is all droids, spaceships and lazer guns?


I just looked at Doctor Stange and it is listed as Fantasy/Science fiction film so aparentely you can be both if you want.

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Re: Why is Stranger Things sci-fi?
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2018, 09:01:44 pm »
it's non-fiction.  ;D

Then there is high-fantasy and hard science fiction which follows certain formula's you have to adhere to or your lifeline (fans) will take their neck-beards somewhere else.



  
 

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