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?