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One Genre Fits All?

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Submitted By rejohnson
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One genre fits all?
Whether you prefer a romance, an action or a thriller, Science Fiction seems to fit it all in but still have its own unique identity. Is this why it appeals to so many? As Reported By ReJohnson.

Looking around at movie advertisements shown on billboards, bus stands and television, it’s hard to miss the growing popularity of science fiction movies and books in modern society. Though still not as popular as genres such as Action and romance, many people have found an interest and love for science fiction. Over the past decade, there have been over 300 Science Fiction movies released. Statistics show that 5 in every 10 movies released in today’s society is science fiction. Many of them hitting the top ten list and have been nominated or have won major awards (e.g. Avatar which won 3 Oscars, the Golden Globe etc.).
So why does it appeal to modern day audiences? It seems that in modern society, no matter how you look at it, Science fiction is a genre that can appeal to each individuals taste making it appealing to almost anyone. Though it is mainly based around an imagined future and scientific and technological advances, directors and producers have created a scale as to how ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ the science fiction movie is. While Hard Science Fiction focuses mostly on the speculation of the future as seen in the award- winning Matrix, Soft science Fiction focuses more on the entertainment of the audience and allowing them to escape from reality as seen in the X-Men series.
One of the main reasons science Fiction appeals to many today is because of the Cross-Genre classification seen in all Sci-fi texts. Rod Serling’s idea of the importance of Cross- Genre Classification is seen in his example of ‘Science Fantasy’. ‘Science fiction makes the implausible possible while, science fantasy makes the impossible plausible’. By creating a movie or a book that can be fit into more than one genre, each individual can enjoy it in their own way An example of this is seen in David Twohy’s Film of the season Pitch Black. Pitch Black can be classified as a hard Sci-fi film that that integrates elements of thriller, horror and action in the film through the use of techniques such as; suspenseful non-diegetic sounds, low saturation, violence etc. Being a hard Sci-Fi Film, the addition of elements from the thriller, horror and action genres fit well with the idea of being stuck on a planet with aliens.
A very important element that allows Science Fiction to be unique even though it has other genres integrated through it is that no matter what the cross genre in the film, a Sci-Fi movie always makes a social comment (usually about the future) and also often has a strong female protagonist. Both of these elements appeal to people of modern society as they can relate to it. These can be seen in Scott Ridley’s film Alien and Geraldine Stowe’s short story Blackhole.
Scott Ridley’s 1979 film Alien is as Roger Ebert reviews ‘a great original.’ The famous hard sci-fi movie ticked all the boxes as to what’s in sci-fi movie with its sci-fi look of a metallic spaceship and robotic commanders making it appeal to many people. ‘At its most fundamental level, Alien is a movie about things that can jump out of the dark and kill you.’ states Ebert. We see the cross genre classification used with elements of the horror and thriller genres integrated through the film. Ridley carefully uses film techniques from these genres such as suspense and low saturation from the second the title and catch phrase ‘In Space no one can hear you scream’ come on screen.
There are many social comments made throughout Alien. One of the biggest comments made is through the characterisation of Ripley (the strong female protagonist/hero). We see her characterisation as Scott's way of portraying the message that even though there may be huge technological advances in the future, humanity will not change. Ripley’s actions through her anger against the computed Ash are seen as juxtaposition as it shows that Ripley's actions as a result of her emotions are humane while's Ash's acts the way he does because he has been computed to do so. Ripley's Brave act of saving jonesy also portrays her humanity. Even though her life is at risk she still choses to put the cat's life above her own.
It also seen through the film that the company play a big role tough they are not ever seen ‘Crew expendable’ is quote from the film used by Ridley to portray his message that in the future, companies will overtake governments and have more power. It all portrays that in the future, scientific research may be put before humanity.
Geraldine Stowe’s Blackhole is science fiction story about a mother living in a society named ‘Blackhole’ on a spaceship whose son Dante has been taken from her because he was born a ‘mutant’. Through the use of simile, Metaphor and personification, Stowe tells a story that appeals to its audience as they can relate to social comments made through the text about the future. In some ways, Stowe’s Blackhole and Ridley’s Alien are very similar. This is through the social comments they make. The society in Blackhole and the company Alien are very similar to each other. Both are heartless, and show no compassion. Like the company, the society does not care for those who do not benefit them. Human lives are expendable for both the society and the company.

Another similarity seen is the similar characteristics shared by Ailssa and Ripley. Both characters are compassionate and show humanity to what they have lost. They both mourn over the loss of friends but are also stubborn in their own ways. Like Ripley is stubborn and will not let Brett in the ship, Ailssa is stubborn s she will not give up her past so she can sleep.

Blackhole also makes some other social comments that the audience can relate to. "The law was clear about mutants. Children born with a disability or a physical handicap had to look after they from a school age was against the law to protect them". A social comment that society is increasingly discouraging any form of individuality and that in the future, those who are born different will be punished is made here. It also makes a social comment that our over protective govt. will evolve and ironically regress into a brutal domineering regime We also see that some modern human values still remain the same in the future as they do now. We see the connection between mother and child is strong. Even though Dante is a "mutant" Ailssa still loves and adore him to the point where "she suffered for him". Ailssa (like a human mother) mourns over the loss of her son." the realisation that she would not see Dante again bought Ailssa close to panic. She fought her terror, choking on it." This adds appeal to the text as readers may be able to relate to loosing someone close to them but at the same time see evidence of the science fiction genre through the jargon used regarding mutants and then finding out that in actual fact Ailssa is the mutant and Dante is a human.

As seen in modern society today, Science Fiction a genre that seems to fit all other genres in but can still manage to be unique in its own way. It slowly making its way to the top of the charts and maybe someday in the future through its own technological, scientific and popularity advances it will be number one.

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