Friday, October 21, 2011

Some Popular Themes of Science Fiction Series

I've been watching Science Fiction movies and TV series for quite some time. Apart from original 6 movies of Star Trek I watched whole series of Start Trek The Next Generation (it was the most favourite of mine), and now I am watching Start Trek Deep Space 9 plus Star Gate SG1. Though Star Gate is different science fiction universe, but the themes behind Star Trek and Star Gate are usually similar. They might be implemented in different ways in each series, season or franchise but the idea can be extracted. For several weeks I wanted to write something about it, and looks like it's about time.
  • The change of personality of a person is common. The consciousness of a human either transmitted to computer or other human. There are cases when more than one consciousnesses can reside in same mind. Both Star Trek and Stargate presented this theme several times. ST used Hollow Deck or Hollow Suit for the implementation of the idea, SG applied it though alien technology or alien beings residing in the body of an SG personnel.
  • Time travel is very common in such fictional series. Especially ST ships have a tendency to go to past every now and then whenever they encounter a temporal anomaly. While SG use the circular object of shimmering water i.e. Star Gate to travel past. Sometimes aliens possess this technology and SG personnel travel to past. The main concern in such episodes is not to change timeline, because if past is changed present would change as well. So they are always trying to restore the timeline or struggle to stop other enemies who are trying to change it.
  • There are parallel universes in each science fiction universe. The characters have a tendency to be trapped into an alternate reality every now and then. It happened several times in SG when SG1 encountered a mirror which could trigger alternate realities. On the other hand ST DS9 has got several episodes on alternate universe. Quite frankly whenever I suspect an episode to be based on this idea I skip it. Because in DS9 it's quite the same every time, go there save someone, or loose someone. So I leave those episodes.
  • Beings of another dimension or beings of energy is a very interesting theme which is used in such series. The characters encounter strange beings which are either beyond human or linear understanding of time (e.g. Q and Prophets of Bajor in ST, and Ancients of SG). They are superior, they are hostile or friendly, kind or ruthless, caring or uncaring, that all depends on the kind of species. Other than that there may be energy beings which can convert into solid beings at any time, but its not mentioned whether they are beyond human understanding of time and space. SG and ST has got plenty of episodes on such themes when characters encounter energy beings.
  • The theme of a parasite living in humanoid body i.e. symbiont is a reality in ST and SG universes. The parasites live in the body, they give strength, intellect and long life. Both parasite and humanoid combine to create a new personality (Trills in ST and To'kra/ Goa'uld in SG). The parasite is preserved on the death of host and is passed to another one, thus its life goes on and it can live of several life spans of humanoid hosts. The knowledge and intellect plus memories pass from one to another host. It's considered an honour to have a symbiont (in ST, and in human slaves of SG so to become system lord).
  • The characters of such stories are explorers. They travel to new planets watching and learning about new worlds. In ST the travel is through space ship (ST Next Generation) while in SG its through Star gate. They encounter various races which are physiologically different from humans. ST depended a lot on changing face of the characters to create aliens and used makeup techniques. While in SG, they have mostly the excuse that humans were enslaved by Goa'uld and taken to other planets. So others would be humans as well. But some races are different e.g. Jaffa, Asgard of SG1. The explorers frequently become saviours for the races they meet. They might free them from an enemy (as it happens most of the time in SG1 to liberate people from Goa'uld) or it may be to save them from natural calamities. In the second situation the planet is usually dying so the explorers help them relocate (through ship in ST and through Stargate in SG).
  • Super Human mind abilities is also a popular theme for such fictional stories. There are beings which can control the mind of others/ or transmit and receive thoughts  though their brain power both in SG and ST. ST has beings like Volcans and Betazoids who possess telepathic and empathic powers. While SG has the being like Ori or the Path of Origin who possess strong mental abilities. Occasionally there are experiments to create superhuman in SG, which can possess brain power to control things just by their thought (tele-kinetic).
  • Interstellar travel, wormholes, space ships, artificial gravity, energy weapons, force fields instead of iron bars and doors in prisons, sub space communication (faster than light communication), faster than light travel, worp drive/ hyper drive are popular concepts which help build these fictional universes.
All this looks weird, dream, far from reality and truth, part of a dreamer's world. But who knows someday it may come true. Some grand son of my great grand son might be able to see the distances of the universe shrunk by technology. And perhaps my eyes through his eyes would see the wonders that I can never see in my life time. Perhaps....if this planet survived from the hostilities of its very own creation, the humans, perhaps then humankind may be able to see all these wonders.

1 comment:

Beccah_x said...

Thanks for this Muhammad! Interesting points you've brought up and it's helped me gain inspiration for my university work! Thanks :D

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