Tag Archive: dyson sphere


Rival Ideas

di_fate_niven orbitsvillen370The Science Fiction and Fantasy genres are largely idea driven. A story can dangle on the end of a good idea and experience a sort of half-life without the need for full characterization and even a terrible plot – if the idea is good enough. There is then, a race for the best ideas – the most ambitious, the most interesting, the most realistic, the most prophetic. Most authors won’t readily admit to this, but it’s there all the same. Its a guilty pleasure to follow a nice new idea and mine out a seam of something related to it, perhaps spring boarding into another sub-genre entirely – space opera, steampunk, urban fantasy, victorian SF…

We are, of course, excited by ideas. If  the idea wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be science fiction of fantasy, it would just be… fiction: stories about people in a world we are familiar with. Even then, there needs to be an idea, right at the center of it all, driving the whole thing.

Author’s covet their own ideas, of course. An idea does more than just belong to an author, it is part of them, so they’ll always be special. But – what happens when someone else has the same idea?

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It has been almost two weeks since the latest Halo game, imaginatively titled “Halo 4”, was released and since I am a long time Halo fan, I felt that I was somewhat obliged to talk about it. As usual, this won’t be a review – that’s not my kind of thing and Halo seems to be one of those games/series that tends to polarize players. You either like the series or you don’t, and I do. I guess I still do, but the developers are making it harder and harder to do so.

As a science fiction fan, the original Halo captured my imagination with its broadstroke space opera, highly influenced by authors like Iain M. Banks and the like: enormous mysterious space artifacts, fascinating alien cultures and ancient secrets about to be uncovered. It was Aliens meets Forbidden Planet. As a first person shooter fan, it introduced a lot of ideas that would mold what people expected from the genre, such as having every weapon you’ve collected at your disposal all the time, regenerating health and enemies that required forward thinking. The day it came out – the launch day of the first Xbox – I watched someone else play it for an hour,  then had to go buy the console and the game. I haven’t looked back.

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