Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S: Stargate

My theme for the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year is a mishmash of books, movies, writers and TV shows that have in one way or another taught me something about writing and helped me be a better writer. Some inspired my own stories and a few taught me what not to do. Each post is a one minute lesson on writing. More inspiration is found at the IWSG blog's take on the Challenge.

Stargate, the movie, is another great one with Kurt Russell as the star. A WWII era dig in the middle east reveals a metallic circle made of other-worldly material and strange markings. Move to modern day and the military discovers it's an alien device that can create wormholes to travel to other planets. Once there, they discover a civilization very much like ancient Egypt where the people work as slaves to mine a mineral for their god. Long story short, the Earthlings figure out the language of the planet because it's related to some ancient Earth dialects. After some deep soul searching and some casualties, the Earthlings help free the natives and kill the god. It was much more interesting than my description. I understand the makers of the movie intended to make sequels but they never did. TV took up the mantle and Stargate SG1 was a long running, successful program on Showtime and then SyFy
channel. The show picked up the story a few years after the movie events. It was a lot of fun with a mixture of humor, some light science and the weaving of human mythology into alien discoveries. The SG team visited hundreds of planets through the stargate over the years and discovered all levels of technology though I think the majority of the alien worlds were less advanced than Earth. The show had a long run and even a spinoff, Stargate Atlantis when they ventured into another galaxy. I loved both those shows.

Lessons: Any exploration of space and aliens would likely be controlled by military and government entities. Science is likely to take a back seat if we're ever invaded by aliens. Viewers and readers like the science light but they still expect it to make a little sense. One of the big issues with alien encounters would be a language issue. Stargate the show mostly ignored that so viewers had to suspend believe and accept that all planets in the universe spoke not only English, but American English. So don't let your science fiction book get bogged down in the language issue.

Of course, Jack O'Neill, is the source of much of the humor on Stargate SG1

Daniel: The Pentagon said this was everything.
Jack: Oh, please! The Pentagon's lost entire countries!


Narim: No harm will come to you. The Tollan will guarantee it.
Jack: Is that a "money back if you're not completely alive" guarantee?


Do you ever think about the language thing when you're watching a science fiction show with aliens? Do you think there are other humans or humanoid beings out there somewhere? Do you think science would take a back seat to the government and military if we ever did have an alien encounter on Earth? If you were a Stargate fan, which did you like best? The Movie? SG1?  Atlantis?




49 comments:

  1. Stargate sounds like a good show. We haven't gotten into that one yet.
    Maui Jungalow

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    1. Stargate is good. I watch it on Amazon Prime

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  2. SG-1 was the best ... until that incident that got silly ... you know the one ;) I do think about languages - I like the way Dr Who gets round it with the TARDIS using a telepathic field. Asgardians and the AllSpeak is another useful plot device.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. I liked the first years of SG-1 but I loved Stargate Atlantis.

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  3. Stargate - yes!!!
    The movie was all right, but SG1 and Atlantis were incredible. We won't talk about Universe though...

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    1. Yeah, Atlantis could have gone on a few more seasons.

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  4. Sounds very interesting. Will catch it soon :)
    My A-Z posts: http://sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.in

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  5. Those are loaded questions at my house. We take our sf seriously around here.

    The language issue is something where we have to suspend disbelief or else we'd spend half the show explaining how they would communicate.

    I loved the movie except for Kurt Russel. Jack was better played by Richard Dean Anderson. But James Spader (Daniel Jackson) was brilliant as always.

    The tv show was hit or miss for me. Hubby bought the series and it took several seasons before I got into it. It was usually too silly or the world building too superficial for my tastes.

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    1. Richard Dean Anderson was the best part of the show. Russell played a grimmer version.

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  6. Those are loaded questions at my house. We take our sf seriously around here.

    The language issue is something where we have to suspend disbelief or else we'd spend half the show explaining how they would communicate.

    I loved the movie except for Kurt Russel. Jack was better played by Richard Dean Anderson. But James Spader (Daniel Jackson) was brilliant as always.

    The tv show was hit or miss for me. Hubby bought the series and it took several seasons before I got into it. It was usually too silly or the world building too superficial for my tastes.

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  7. You're right about the language thing, while altering the language may make the book more authentic, that really doesn't count for anything if people can't understand what you're saying.

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    1. We can't all be Tolkien and invent a language.

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  8. I really liked Teal'c. He was so serious. He reminded me of Worf from Star Trek in that manner.

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    1. I loved the relationship between Teal'c and Jack/

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  9. I felt really bad about not sharing my friends' enthusiasm for the show, but as an archaeologist, most of it made me cringe XD Especially the movie. And I like stories that deal with the language issue, even if it's just in a handwaving way like Doctor Who... :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. I can see how someone in your field would be turned off by some of the liberties they took.

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  10. I enjoyed the show, and the movie, although it took me a while to get into either - I think the first show was in reruns before I really became interested in it. I liked the spin-off, too. :) I am okay with the language issue - I just tell myself that somehow they are using some kind of universal translator like the babble fish and just didn't take the time to tell us. However, the movie did deal with that slightly in a humorous way. It's similar to the "oxygen" issue in any space exploration show - how do they know for sure that they can breathe? I guess their initial probe could tell them that, but it always strikes me as a bit odd.

    Gave you a short shout-out today . . . hope it's okay. I did indicate that I'm a wimpy reader but you are an excellent writer - http://tyreanswritingspot.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-to-z-s-celebrations.html

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    1. Thank you so much for the shout out. It's humbling. I still watch the reruns of both shows sometimes.

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  11. Good point about the military and government taking control. I doubt I'll ever write a story about exploring space, but it's a good thing to remember just in case.

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  12. Here's what I thought of first, which is mostly unrelated to your post, but has to do with language. Do you watch the TV show Reign on the CW? I really like it. It's about Mary Queen of Scots and takes place in France. Mostly at French court. Given that, you KNOW that everyone spoke French, right? Not in this show. They all sound like British folk. Sometimes it cracks me up. But, in defense of the show... who would watch it if they spoke French and we had to read subtitles????

    So even though I didn't watch SG the movie or the TV show... I'm not at all surprised that the alien population all spoke English. It's just too hard to follow if you take language away. Besides we're used to suspending our disbelief. How else can you explain the success of so many shows? Not going to name names and make someone mad;)

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    1. We're spoiled here in the USA. We expect everything to be in English.

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  13. Another one I didn't see. Yup, there would be some language challenges if we were ever invaded by aliens.

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  14. It's funny. When I read this post all I could hear was the theme song.

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  15. for me only the star trek series

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    1. I like all the 'star' series, trek, wars and gate.

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  16. Stargate was awesome. The movie I enjoyed, but sg1 and atlantis I did far more. Universe can just be flushed down the toilet. Have to suspend disbelief with language

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  17. I haven't see the movie, but loved the original show. I followed Richard Dean Anderson over from MacGyver! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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  18. Oh yes, language is no barrier. I don't hold it against the book/movie/author.
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

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  19. How funny... I hovered over Stargate last night when I was browsing Netflix.... but ended up watching a BBC series called the Honorable Woman!

    I would LOVE for the private sector to run any future world... but you know it's going to be the government! (What would the "Secretary of the Planets" be known as... SECPLA? :)

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    1. I find myself watching one or two episodes every week. Usually while I'm working on my blog. I've seen them all so I can do other things while the show provides background.

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  20. SG1 was my favorite. I remember Star Trek solved the communication issue with the invention of the universal translator. Then they had fun with that by running into aliens who didn't use language as we know it so the translator didn't work.

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    1. I should have mentioned the universal translator. Would be cool if those existed.

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  21. Oh yes, they are out there. Some are even doing the A-Z Challenge so they can keep an eye on us! I trust you are not one of them! Oh,and thanks for visiting my post today - I think!

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    1. LOL. It was yesterday for me when I visited your blog so I guess when I stopped on today that's actually tomorrow. Wait...I don't know.

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  22. My husband would watch Stargate, I would catch bits and pieces of it. It would be interesting if there was an alien encounter here on earth; I'm thinking the military would first investigate if it was safe to allow the scientists to proceed.

    betty

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    1. They had some great episodes with aliens on Earth where they had to scramble so the general public didn't know what was going on.

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  23. The language thing always drives me nuts, though. I really have to shove it down in order to enjoy things :)

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  24. It's been so long since I last saw Stargate the movie. Missed the TV show, though. Totally missed it. I'll have to binge watch.

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    1. Binge watch in all your spare time? LOL. It does make for a great binge watch though. the show is really good.

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  25. I liked the movie, but never saw the series. If there are aliens I don't see why they would look anything like us. Star Trek is a really respected show, but the only difference between us and Vulcans is pointy ears!

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  26. Great show. I'll have to see if its on Netflix.

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  27. i never watched stargate - my boys were little when it was out and i didn't watch much tv - i'll have to check it out on netflix! happy s day!

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  28. I feel that military and government would take over but would work carefully with science because they wouldn't want foreign illnesses to wipe out entire earth. Are they safe? hostile? what is their intent? The best way to communicate without bringing harm? I believe they would involve linguists--or whatever they are called if you know what I am talking about--to bridge the communication gap. What do you think?

    I love your thinking mind, Susan. The way you analyze and take things apart and ask questions. My kind of gal! :D

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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  29. It took me forever to figure out what was going on. I thought they had traveled back in time in Egypt, not to another planet. Hard to understand but I did like James Spader!

    Heather

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  30. I loved the movie and its still a favorite. I caught a few of the tv episodes and I found them enjoyable as well

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