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A few thoughts on Mass Effect and Space Operas

First, read this.  Or skim it.  Or take in the title.  Whatever.

http://www.popbioethics.com/2012/02/why-mass-effect-is-the-most-important-science-fiction-universe-of-our-generation/

I caught wind of this via io9.com (here).

Now, I’ll start out by saying that, yes, for all the reasons above and a few more, Mass Effect is a compelling and fascinating piece of sci-fi literature.  At its core, it is the natural progression, and the shiniest of the new-series space operas.

However, (and here comes the kicker) anyone who is foolish enough to hail Mass Effect as the most important SF Setting of our generation hasn’t been getting out enough.  Mass Effect is fundamentally built upon the foundations laid by the current generation of Space Opera writers.  Authors like Iain M. Banks, Alistair Reynolds, and to lesser extents, Peter F. Hamilton and Ken MacLeod have been toying with the ideas present in Mass Effect for more than two decades.  But if Mass Effect was simply reaching great heights by standing on the shoulders of giants, I wouldn’t have a problem.  The flaw of any media is that in order for it to be successful, it must appeal to its audience.  Mass Effect has had to dull the edges of its social commentary, its science, it’s very philosophical message in order to be a marketable version of its predecessors.  It may hold up to the even more popularized television and film worlds, but to hold it up as superior, simply because it is closer to the goal than its ugly cousins is an affront to the literature and to our intelligence. Read the rest of this entry

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CBRIII Maneuver #12 – Logicomix

Target: Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou’s Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Profile: Graphic Novel, Philosophy, Nonfiction

Summary: From the inner cover, “This innovative graphic novel is based on the early life of the brilliant philosopher Bertrand Russell and his impassioned pursuit of truth.  Haunted by family secrets and unable to quell his youthful curiosity, Russell became obsessed with a Promethean goal: to establish the logical foundations of all mathematics.  In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.  But the object of his defining quest continues to loom before him.  Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatened to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

Read the rest of this entry