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Firefly, Science Fiction

Battlestar Galactica vs. Star Trek

Great little article by Sam J. Miller over at mental_floss Blog » Battlestar Galactica vs. Star Trek looking at the difference in anthropologies underlying Star Trek (pretty positive) and the new Battlestar Galactica (pretty negative). Worth a quick read.

Miller argues that Galactica doesn’t hide the warts or flaws in human nature and relationships, or paint a rosy picture of some kind of trajectory towards perfection achievable through the myth of progress. He says of that,

Galactica is sci-fi without that BS. Sci-fi with all the anger and stupidity and sadness that real people experience. Sci-fi without the conviction that we will conquer our own ugliness. Sci-fi for the age of peak oil and 9/11 and natural disasters compounded by climate change to the point where they can completely destroy major cities. Galactica’s message is that unless we come to terms with our own history, we are doomed. Mankind created the Cylons to fight our wars and to do our grunt work for us. Eventually they rose up and wiped out 99.999% of us. This basic lesson is one we still haven’t learned: that exploitation leads to exploitation, that if you oppress someone you sow the seeds of your own oppression. “You can’t play God and then wash your hands of the things you’ve created,” says the Galactica’s commander, William Adama. “Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.”

It’s similar to the flaws in humanity that Joss Whedon brought out in Firefly or J. Michael Straczynski kept in Babylon 5.

Hat tip to Exploring Our Matrix: Around the Blogosphere (The End of the Banana Argument)

Related link: Greenflame · Science fiction as safe(?) space to explore unpleasant questions

1 Comment

  1. Doctor Zee

    And so, Battlestar Galactica is reduced to a simple fable – we run from our past, believing the future holds something better for our species, while praying we can rise above our dark “human nature” before we do ourselves in. This episode was a mirror, showing how despite hope for a bright technological future, we’re simultaneously on the knife’s edge of destruction.

    In one episode, Battlestar Galactica moved beyond the addictive, nit-picky details like “who is the last Cylon?” and “how did Tigh get Six pregnant?” and reminded me of the big picture – our irrepressibly hopeful yet frustratingly misguided humanity.

    Enter Doctor Zee – The Fifth Cylon

    “The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

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