Tuesday, January 4, 2011

SF Fans, Geeks and Creative People ...

I'm a fan of IT Crowd.

'It's too real, Roy!'


I came across this, Geeks in the Mist - A whimsical look at how gamers and computer geeks don't fit into the main stream.

'Though Geeks are an easily identifiable species, very little observational data on these often misunderstood and sometimes reviled creatures has been collected in its natural habitat. This 15 year study follows a bachelor tribe of Geeks from adolescence to maturity, charting the adaptive behaviors of the group as its members move from the sheltered nursery of the university habitat to the wilder ecosystems of the world.' (The Escapist is free to subscribe).

It made me realise that I could write something similar over a 35 years period, since I've been involved in Spec Fic fandom since I was 18 and turn 53 in February. Most everyone I know are happily non conformist SF Fans, Geeks and Creative People.

Here Gordon Torr talks about creative people. He says there are three things that distinguish them from non creatives. See full article here.

Biology is one and the other two are:
  • Motivation
    Building on the work of Harvard Business School Professor Theresa Amabile, which demonstrates that creativity is strongly linked to intrinsic motivation, Torr argues that creative people are distinguished by ‘an all-consuming preoccupation’ with creative work, regardless of whether it brings them money or fame.

(Had to laugh at this one. I used to make a 'starving' as a graphic artist. And now I just limp by as a writer. But I wouldn't - couldn't - live any other way).
  • Personality
    We all recognise the classic description of the creative personality as childlike, impulsive, fantasy oriented, emotionally sensitive, anxious and ambitious. Torr cites several personality studies as evidence that ‘creative people conform almost perfectly to their popular stereotype’.'
(LOL, wouldn't you know it?)

And here's a post about motivating creative people. They say :

Intrinsic Motivation Leads to Creative Excellence

It's mainly for a work environment, but I can see how finding intrinsic worth in what you do would be a high motivating factor.




As for SF fandom, I didn't discover it until I went to Melbourne when I was 18. At last, people I could talk to. It was wonderful to find a group where I didn't have to pretend to be something I wasn't. I remember when the first Star Wars movie came out and all the fans were raving about it. They couldn't believe SF was going mainstream.

You know your sub group have become mainstream when there is a Wiki page on them.

And here is a list of 10 SF movies every SF Fan should watch. Have you seen them? Do you agree? Are there any films you would add to the list? how can you stop at 10?

15 comments:

MataPam said...

Fascinating list of movies, totally lacking the sense of wonder and the desire for exploration, the thrill of discovering new things.

Mind you, once you limit yourself to movies, you've automatically eliminated most of that.

Star Trek, which despite it's faults did directly go out and look for cool stuff, and found Hortas and tribbles. Perhaps a 10000 Leagues under the Sea movie adaptation?

No Andre Norton Free Traders, no Retief, no Shakespere quoting rats.

What a grim collection.

MataPam said...

Oh, beyond, or before that.

Creativity, yep. Totally agree on almost everything. Especially the self motivating aspects of creativity.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam,

I really like Red Dwarf for a piece of fun SF, that isn't afraid to play with the tropes.

Chris L said...

Hi Rowena,

It's my kids I feel sorry for. They didn't stand a chance. At least I chose to become a fan of SF rather than having it thrust upon me by a crazy parent. Now they have no hope of ever fitting in.

I totally disagree with almost that entire list. Sure Blade Runner and 12 Monkeys (possibly the Matrix if you can ignore the sequels) - but the rest? I think not.

No one will ever agree, but you have to pay hommage to the greats and the stayers, even if it ain't cool.

You've got to have Star Wars, and probably The Wrath of Khan (actually strike TWoK, but you know what I mean), but what about Donnie Darko? And where's Flash Gordon? Say what you like about that movie, but I watched it the other day and it was the funniest thing I'd seen in a long, long time.

And what about Barbarella? What about the Fifth Element? What about Forbidden Planet? Le Voyage dans la lune? No one ever mentions that one any more.

I could go on and on...

And on.

Stephen Simmons said...

That list was written by a film-student who has read some en vogue work that he (or she? I didn't notice) was told could be considered representative of the genre, in my estimation. NOT a bone-deep SF-geek. Like Pam and Chris said, there are far too many meat-and-potatoes SF staples missing.

Creative people being "differently-brained"? Nah, the kid who was sent up from fourth grade to observe his brother's senior-class physics labs wouldn't know anything 'bout that ...

Kate said...

The list? Meh. Most of what's on it is nothing more than various flavors of disaffected angst in a science fiction wrapper.

For my money, in no particular order:
- Forbidden Planet
- Star Wars (yes, it's a classic quest fantasy. It's also space opera. Deal.)
- 2001
- E.T.
- any of the good Star Trek movies.
- Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
- Some of the best Doctor Who stories make a movie-length story and bloody good science fiction at that (some of them are drek, of course - but a series that long is going to have a mix)
- Minority Report (despite some laughably bad stuff)
- Total Recall (ditto)
- Matrix

Creativity - anyone can use it, with encouragement and a bit of practice. A very few are it - they're the ones that can't turn the weird off. Not that I'd know anything about that. Oh, no. Not at all.

Kate said...

Oh, yes. And one can't possibly forget the ultimate SF classic, Santa Claus versus the Martians.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris L,

I know what you mean about your kids. All my kids are fans of spec fic without even realising it. That and black English humour.

My daughter says we've ruined her for normal people. She went to Spiderman, the one where he goes to the bad side and becomes a Jazz singer and she laughed so much, but no one else in the audience got it. Sigh.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Stephen,

I think SF fans are basically iconoclasts. They can't help themselves.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate,

I saw Forbidden Planet when I was about 10 and I was fascinated by the idea that a monster from someone's subconscious could come after them!

Yes, the list was very generic. Did not strike me as the work of a fan steeped in the genre.

Mike said...

Hey, Kate? While we're picking on Star Wars -- Japan had all six episodes, back to back, on TV recently, and I watched them that way. Somewhere in that time, I said, "Wait a minute, this is steam punk!" Walkers, everything clanks and whirrs and whistles... What do you think? Does that explain the sounds of outer space in Star Wars? It's just the steam escaping?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Very cheeky, Mike.

Mike said...

But it's true! You got the strange, massive machinery creaking and groaning, you have the evil villains shrouded in dark, you have heroes with swords, you got those wonderful costumes... compare it with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or whatever list of steampunk features you like, and see how they stack up. I think you may be surprised at how well they fit the genre.

MataPam said...

Stealth steam punk. Scary. But it would explain the sounds.

Brendan said...

I would keep The Matrix, Blade Runner and 2001, but 12 Monkeys? If you are putting in a Terry Gilliam, why not Brazil?

Others I would include are:
Forbidden Planet
Metropolis
Soylant Green/Planet of the Apes(basically for their last scenes)
Empire Strikes Back(I thought everyone knew that was the best SW film :) )
Wrath of Khan(gets the nod for Spock's death scene and KHAAAAN!)
TRON