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March 23 2006

Serenity gets nominated for a Hugo Award. It's up against 'Batman Begins', 'Harry Potter', 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' and 'Wallace and Gromit'.

Don't know much about one of sci-fi's most prestigious awards? Then go read the relevant Wikipedia entry.

And here's how Joss' tv shows fared in the previous years.

2005: Smile Time and Not Fade Away nominated.

2004: Chosen, Heart of Gold and The Message nominated *.

2003: Conversations with Dead People wins. Waiting in the Wings and Serenity also got nominated.

2002: Once More With Feeling nominated **.

* They lost out to Gollum's acceptance speech at the MTV awards
** This was for the Best Presentation Category, after 2002 the award was split in two. One for film, the other for television.

Shiny!

(Well, someone had to gorram say it.)
Well looking at all the nominees in that category, Serenity was the most dramatic one, on and off the screen.
Great for Serenity. But I wouldn't call The Witch or Harry Potter sci-fi, more like fantasy. And Batman and Wallace have gadgets all right, but so does James Bond. I personally would ask for a little more context of elaborated science in the realms of fantasy or speculation to call it sci-fi. Or is this award including fantasy as well? I am not sure.

Apart from Serenity, I think that movies like Steamboy were far better. And if you want gadgets, no other has better gadgets than Willy Wonka. Wasn't this year Star Wars' year? Oh, yeah, I know. We hate George. Only I don't. Not a very popular choice, I am aware of it. But my choice. Otomo is god in Japan, George certainly does not need anybody's award to survive, and Tim will have his admirers, myself included, with or without awards.

Batman was superficial and weak in its intentions, dramatics and sense of fantastical narration. Bad script. Good actors. Nolan not at his best. Wallace was entertaining but ultimately childish. In the worst way. Harry Potter's adaptations have no substance nor goal. Clover is not doing a great job. Directed professionally. But this is art. And the Witch was a disappointing film. Too superficial, again. The themes were too big for the director, who is certainly not in the same league of Lewis, not that I expected him to be, Clive is too mucho Clive, but, at least, in some sort of vicinity...

So my prize goes to Serenity. It's neither worse nor better than the best, but it's the only one that actually needs awards to get attention. The kind of attention it deserves.

[ETA: It'd be helpful to break out your paragraphs for ease of reading. Thanks.]

[ edited by SoddingNancyTribe on 2006-03-23 03:44 ]
Yes, the award is for sci-fi or fantasy. Simon's Wikipedia link about the Hugo is interesting/informative on the history of how they've integrated fantasy into the awards.
The winners in 2002 (American Gods - fabulous), 2004 (Paladin of Souls - bloody brilliant) and 2005 (Jonathan Strange - haven't read this yet) are all fantasy.

Ooohh. Reviewing this list is bringing back great memories!
1999 - Say Nothing of the Dog - also fab
Yes, the Hugo's are very prestigious awards, but the Gollum fiasco brought them down to Teen Choice Awards level. They have some good nominations this year, here's hoping Ashton Kutcher doesn't vote this year.
As much as I love Serenity and as gritty as it is? It's science fantasy. That Mister Universe Planet with the 'ion cloud' alone qualifies. In fact much about Serenity doesn't hold up to actual physical laws, nor should it. That's a part of its charm. The odds of humans ever finding a group of planets and moons so conveniently close together for terraforming without having major issues regarding electro-gravitational anomalies and regular celestial impacts in less than five centuries? We got a better chance finding Little Green Men. Seriously.

Still, if Serenity is on a list for an award with Bob Kane, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling? I think Joss & Co are in pretty good company. ...as for 'Wallace and Gromit'? I plead the fifth on my opinion there.
Great for Serenity. Narnia's nominations continue to astound me -- it's a decent film, no more, no less. Very much on par with the first Harry Potter movie.
What isn't mentioned in the wikipedia article is that Buffy was one of the arguments for the category being split into long form and short form.
ZachsMind, all those things you specified I think still fall under science fiction category. If they said the planetary system was created by waving a magic wand, I'd agree with you.
So...I'm wondering...besides the Firefly eps getting beaten by Gollum's acceptance speech (*cringe*), what did the others possibly lose out to?
Sex and the City
I'm really tired and had a brain fart. Was it the Hugo or the World Fantasy Award that gave Gaiman best short story for A Midsummer Night's Dream and then immediately changed the rules? Ya, I could look it up myself, but I'm lazy and I'll bet a large percentage of you know the answer to the question.
"Sex and the City" a fantasy show? Yeah, I guess....for certain reasons.
But I'm surprised a spinoff of "The Incredibles", "Jack-Jack Attack", is being pitted against some Doctor Who shows and BSG.
I'm hoping Serenity does win, though.
I was speaking half-jokingly. Whedon's admitted in the DVD commentaries that the 'science' in science fiction is something he doesn't take very seriously. If it gets in the way of storytelling, it flies out the window. Like the moment in the film when Serenity is barrelling down on the Operative's ships with a full contingent of Reavers hot on their heels? He makes it very clear that he throws away all science and physics and logic happily to get a moment like that. And I do too. =)

Most science fiction IS science fantasy. Ringworld's roughly sword and sorcery on a scientific mental exercise.
It was the World Fantasy Award, Tycho.

I tend to agree that the Narnia adaptation was underwhelming, if quite prettily done.
This is the first film awards catagory I've seen all year in which I actually went to all of the movies.

I think Serenity has a decent shot here. But the hype on all of the other films was bigger. And as much as I loved Serenity, I also have to say I loved the others as well. Particularly The Curse of the Wererabbit.

I'm gonna be pulling for Serenity, and am completely joyous that it was actually nominated, but I won't be devastated if it loses, unlike seeing the Saturn Award nominees come out and finding Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon not even nominated. (I would have also liked to have seen Adam Baldwin or Alan Tudyk, but I can get over that.) That was a travesty.

Besides the Hugo people seem to like Whedony things. I bet it stands a decent shot at an award.
The planetary science of the Serenity solar system was discussed here last summer (and I'm too lazy to look up the link tonight). Short answer is that it's impossible; the habitable zone around a star is too narrow to accommodate that many planets, and putting that many planets into such close orbits is gravitationally very unstable. They would have collided or tossed each other out of orbit within a few million years of planetary formation.

But yeah, "science fiction" allows for a lot more flexibility than that. In science fiction, you make things out of glass and metal; in fantasy, you use wood and stone. Other than that, there's usually not a lot of difference.
Bloody hell, I will only say that Serenity was such an astounding work of tremendous beauty, one that re-told an ancient tale of humanity and hubris in the most provocatively gorgeously fashion...perhaps the oldest story of all time, told again, in so shiny a fashion.

Big hug and kiss to all involved.

And I ain't alone!
When somebody says something is impossible, ninety-nine times out of a hundred all it proves is they don't have the imagination to see how to do it. Doing the "impossible" is what this show is all about.

Anyway, if you have the technology to alter gravity, then in principle you have the technology to move planets closer to a star and to compensate for their orbital instability.
The Saturns dissed Joss and Nathan?!! I don't pay much attention to those things, but I was actually sorta kinda almost present at the creation of the Saturns and was even on an awards comittee when I was much too young to be doing such things. Not that that means anything, but I thought I'd mention it anyway and say, "grrr."

Nevertheless, while I'm no longer a big SF reader, the Hugos are far more venerable and prestigious and they seem to reward mostly quality material. My hunch is that this will be between "Gromit" and "Serenity", with "Serenity" getting the sentimental edge.
In Isaac Asimov's book Extra-terrestrial Civilizations he talks about the 'ecosphere' or today what's more commonly known as a Circumstellar Habitable Zone which is allegedly between Venus and Mars in our solar system. The mechanics behind Whedon's 'verse for Serenity is perhaps plausible, but not if it's only one star. Conservative thinkers may see the ecosphere as being only small enough for one planet per system, but I'm not very conservative. Earth happens (by coincidence or divine intervention) to be in the ideal position for carbon-based life. Still, if Whedon's verse has thirty planets? You'd need at least six stars. They'd all have to be close enough for interstellar flight to not involve faster-than-light speed, yet far enough away from each other to avoid one another's gravitational pull.

The ones closer to the sun would be trickier to create an habitible environment. Venus is unhabitable currently because its magma contains too much heat and that causes volcanic activity, which spews more gases and heat into the air, but if there were some man-made way to safely release all that, it'd be plausible over a couple few centuries to make at least parts of the planet habitable. It'd take more resources than mankind has right now, but then we used to believe man couldn't fly. Anything's possible if you put your mind to it.

Colder planets further out from a star are easier actually to terraform and maintain, but again you'd need to have the resources. Mars needs more of an atmosphere. Actually if one could mine the right elements from Venus or Jupiter, and transport that stuff en masse to Mars, you'd be set. Something a lot of people forget is there's a whole asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. With present science we have no way of knowing if that's always been that way, or if at one time it was a planet itself, and something caused it to explode. If it hadn't blown up, might that planet between Mars and Jupiter been hospitable for life? We can only speculate.

So maybe its possible to expand an ecosphere with mankind's help, and a Circumstellar Habitable Zone could actually hold up to four planets. Maybe five. If man assisted nature and terraformed the planets to make them habitable, you'd have it made, but it'd take engineering and sciences that we haven't figured out yet. Maybe in five hundred years we will. It's pretty impressive how far mankind has come only in the past five hundred years.

May 20th, 1506, Christopher Columbus passed away, so The New World had only been a reality for people of Europe a scant few decades. Heck, the idea of Earth being round and not flat was still being contested, even though Columbus and others had recently offered that evidence. Nicolaus Copernicus had only just started his work On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres in 1506, and he finished it in 1530. Galileo wouldn't have his theological and philosophical battle with the Roman Catholic Church for another century.

If we ever sought man-made spaceflight outside our solar system, it'd make sense to head towards the center of the galaxy, where stars are more plentiful and closer together. Perhaps there exists today the solar systems that could comprise Whedon's vision of the 'verse in his fiction. There are approximately three hundred BILLION stars in the Milky Way, and there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
"Serenity" is easily the best of the films nominated.

And the BSG episode "Pegasus" deserves to win the short-form award.

Hmmm, Angel's "Not Fade Away" lost to BSG's "33", which doesn't seem right. 33 played as a bridge episode between the mini-series and the ongoing series and wasn't wholly satisfying in itself. NFA might have been Angel's finest hour.

[ edited by Keith G on 2006-03-23 10:09 ]
UnpluggedCrazy - the wikipedia has a page listing the full results for pzst 'shot form' awards here.

The 'run off' results for 2004 are detailed here. If you look at the detailed results for short form you can see that The Message did not win because fans of Chosen had not put The Message as their 2,nd, 3'rd etc choice. Whether this was because there is less overlap amongst these fans than we would have thought or because people were confused by the voting system I don't know.

I'm kind of obsessive about these figures as we were helping out at the winner's party and looking forward to seeing Joss there.
I'm attuned to (hard) science fiction and liberties that Serenity takes are hard to swallow, but grumpily I'll have to admit that even with them it's sooo good. But understand: if you care about those things like astrophysics and biological possibilities, playing loosely with them is as grating as watching psychologically unplausible characters making stupid decisions is for normal viewer. Scenery is a character -- Serenity the ship was, but so is the space where it travels. So, Joss, please, I understand where you're coming from, but if you don't care about getting the science right, next time hire someone to do that part for you. Combination would be awesome.
Science fiction does not need to be scientifucally acurate. In fact the diference between fantasy an sci-fy are really very dim. You could say that the big diference is that science fiction fantasies with the science, even if its completely out of any resemblance with reality, while fantasy works with the way the worlds natural and essential rules are. If i create a gun ray that elaborates doubles of me, its science ficcion, because its about a machine. If there are angel like creatures living in a garden with flowers that have lion theet, its fantasy.

There are diferent schools of thought. There are followers of a genre that belive in using science asa posibility, and others that believe science fiction should be reasons fantasys brother.

In fact the term is even funny.Science fiction could mean fiction about science or ficction with science. Even if you call it specullative fiction can it be aplied to both versions of the genre.

The fact is, though, that in both ways it has been used, and effectively, so really there are not only two points of view about it, but two essences, two realitys. There is no point in deniyng something that already exists.
And given that Joss has called the film a science fiction drama comedy horror, the science is only a small part of it anyway :-)
In science fiction you almost have to chose your implausibility. In many cases, the physics or cosmology is a tad iffy. In others, the physics may be more or less fine, but you're asked to believe that alien planets sprout humanoid lifeforms that develop basically European cultures, and that these various lifeforms can understand each other almost as soon as they meet. I mean, really, there have been first encounters between human societies on Earth that have been more problematic than anything on Star Trek.

Sometimes you have to forget these sorts of things (and hope the creators of the film or series don't take them too seriously) and just enjoy the story.

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