Sunday, February 06, 2005


Science Fiction Preferences and Political Affiliation

In a recent conversation with some friends of mine, I noticed that the science fiction they liked tended to correspond with their political affiliation. This has me interested, and I would be grateful if visitors to this blog would answer the following questions in the comments section.

1. What is your political affiliation (Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Etc…)

2. What country are you from? If United States, what state?

3. Which is a better book? “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings”?

4. Which Star Trek series is the best? (Original, Animated, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise)

5. Which Star Wars movie is the best? (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones)

6. Which is better, “Alien” or “Predator”?

7. Which is better, science fiction or fantasy?

8. Which is better, board games or computer games?

9. Who is the better hero, Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?

10. Who is the better captain? Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, or Archer?

11. True or False? An author is capable creating a believable character or world that has morals they do not agree with.

12. Heinlein is: A) A great author B) An ok author C) A bad author D) A fascist

13. Do you find The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funny?

14. Do you find the Discworld books funny?

15. Are you able to enjoy a book/movie even if it has ideas and morals that you do not personally agree with?

16. Do you play online role playing games?

17. If so, do you play a human? A non-human? Why?

18. Do you play a good character or an evil character in such games?

19. PC or Mac?

20. Do you treat library/public property with the same respect that you would your own property? More respect? Less?

I want to thank everyone who answers these questions. I will tally the answers and post the results when enough responses have come in.

1. Conservative
2. US/ Texas
3. The Hobbit
4. Deep Space Nine
5. Empire Strikes Back
6. Alien
7. SF
8. Can't decide, I like both equally for different reasons.
9. Han Solo (duh!)
10. Pickard
11. T
12. B
13. Yes
14. Yes
15. Mostly
16. No
17. N/A, but do play non-online role playing games like Shadows of Amn, in which case...
18. Good
19. Mac
20. Same
1. Conservative
2. US-Wisconsin (born there but haven't lived there since babyhood)
3. Sheesh, I only ever made it through The Hobbit. It was OK. I suppose I ought to read LOTR.
4. Ummmm... OK, I've only seen Original, Next, and a couple of Voyagers. Soft spot in my heart for Original Recipe.
5. H*ll, Empire, no question.
6. Alien. No question.
7. Scifi, as a rule. Fantasy has its great authors (Poul Anderson, for one), but as a genre it's silly (leetle bias showing?).
8. Depends on the day. Board games when I'm feeling sociable; computer games when I just want to recharge batteries without - ahem - interacting with anybody.
9. Han Solo, but I had a bigger crush on Luke.
10. Picard - Kirk was flat-out irresponsible with his command a lot of the time. But he was fun.
11. I've always assumed it would be impossible, but I haven't actually delved into the morals of most of my favorite authors. Still, I'll go with False.
12. OK author, great storyteller, and a heavy - probably the heaviest - influence in my thinking.
13. Hi-LAR-ious. I reread the series at least annually.
14. Never read them - sorry.
15. Hmm. Sort of. It calls for a suspension of more than just disbelief, which means (for me) that I have to be mightily entertained by the movie in order to get around, say, the politics.
16. No.
17. N/A.
18. N/A.
19. PC.
20. At least as much respect - probably more (I don't leave library books open face-down, for instance, but my own tattered paperbacks are all over the house like that).
1. Pro-Choice, 2nd Amendment, Conservative

2. California

3. THe Hobbit

4. Deep Space Nine

5. Empire Strikes Back

6. Predator (entertainment value, though Alien was tchnically a better "film")

7. Science Fiction

8. Computer games

9. Han Solo

10. Sisko

11. True (The qualifier is "good Author")

12. Heinlein is: B) An ok author

13. Yes.

14. Never read them.

15. Sometimes

16. Used to. Too much of a time sink these days.

17. Human or Non human, depends on the game, Mostly non humans, though

18. Lawful Neutral, mostly, and generally a very good team player (works and plays well with others)

19. PC

20. About the same.

Mind if I link this?

1. liberal/socialist
2. new zealand for 8yrs USA for 11yrs (new hampshire/brooklyn NY)
3.The Hobbit
4. never wached any
5. Empire strikes back

6. alien
7. Fantasy
8. board
9. han solo
10. kirk
11. True
12. Heinlein is: B) An ok author


14. brilliant and witty, not always funny
16. occasionally
17. eithert, but i honestly dont play enough to pick one or the other
18. evil
19. PC
20.more respect
Follwed Scott's link here.

1. Liberal

2. Canada mostly. Born in the US

3. Lord of the Rings

4. DS9

5. A New Hope

6. Predator

7. science fiction

8. board games

9. Luke Skywalker

10. Picard

11. True

12. A great author

13. Yes

14. N/A

15. Yes

16. No (contributed perhaps 10 entries in two games.)

17. I've done both, I prefer non-human. It's simpler yet more exotic.

18. I've done both. I prefer good.

19. PC

20. Same respect
1. Moderate Conservative
2. California
3. Lord of the Rings
4. Original
5. Empire Strikes Back
6. Alien
7. Neither. Individual books can be ranked, genres cannot.
8. Usually computer games.
9. Han Solo
10. None of them were all that hot, but Sisko was the least incompetent.
11. A good author can. Most can't.
12. Heinlein was an okay author.
13. Yes.
14. Very funny.
15. Yes... if the character's morals are genuine and not preaching in disguise.
16. No.
17. N/A
18. N/A
19. PC
20. More respect.
Wolf Lahti:

1. Decentralist Middle-of-the-road Frisbeetarian

2. Washington, USNA

3. Although The Hobbit has better character development and in some ways a more engaging story, I have to vote for LotR. Even Tolkien's children, for whom he wrote The Hobbit, told him that it was horrible to talk down to your audience that way.

4. Original - though strongly colored by the time in which it was made, it has to be gretaly admired because it was daring and had something to say
Animated - this just stank; talking heads, boring writing
Next Generation - it got pretty good near the end
Deep Space Nine - in the later seasons, it had the best writing, best format, best stories
Voyager - a great setup (Maqui vs Starfleet forced to share the same ship), which was thrown overboard after the first episode; only the Borg stories were interesting
Enterprise - a waste of Scott Bakula's talent; it never felt like a new endeavor, just more of the same old star Trek - and a lot of rewriting of established ST history :P

5. There should have been only one.

6. Alien - classic horror; Predator - ho-hum

7. Most of what people call science fiction is fantasy; most folks don't understand the distinctions that make one or the other

8. Is this a trick question?

9. It's kind of hard to tell whether Luke or Han is the better hero, because there is simply no comparing the acting abilities of those who portrayed them.

10. Picard, hands down, in terms of strategy, conflict resolution, and protocol. Stewart is probably the best actor of them as well.

11. I've done it.

12. A hack and a chest-fetishist (male and female) Machiavelian

13. The radio play, the book, the PBS series, or the movie?

14. Haven't read Discworld

15. It depends on whether I am expected to agree with them

16. Not yet

17. Non-human is likely to be more interesting. I already play a human at work.

18. Lawful neutral, just like in RL

19. Mac is, of course, my preference, and I have a few at home. I am forced to use a Wintel machine at work.

20. Same, which is very high
1. Conservative

2. US; California

3. Lord of the Rings

4. Next Generation

5. Return of the Jedi

6. Predator

7. Fantasy

8. Computer Games

9. Han Solo definitely

10. Picard

11. True

12. Don't know

13. Yes

14. No

15. Yes

16. No

17. N/A

18. N/A

19. PC

20. Less, unintentionally
1) Libertarian

2) US; moved too frequently to call one state "home"

3) LotR isn't a book -- it's a trilogy of books. So, being persnickety about the question, "The Hobbit" would be the better book because it actually is just one book -- the other option is not.

4) Not being familiar with all the STs, I'd say I liked DSN best, as it had the most character development.

5) The first SW movie made was the best one -- back when there was still hope for Lucas' later creations to not be unmitigated commercialized pablum.

6) I'm not a fan of suspense movies, so I preferred "Predator," which was more of a war movie.

7) It depends. Science fiction with no real characters in it is just a pretty textbook of facts. Science fantasy with no reality in it is just wishful thinking. That being said, I more often find what I like (thought-provoking reading) in science fiction.

8) Neither -- they both almost always require someone to lose in order for you to win. That being said, I find it easier to "fudge" the rules in a board game so that we can all win. Frankly, role-playing is better than both. :-)

9) Han Solo -- he was a hero by effort. Luke was just a whiney kid who happened to be someone's son.

10) Hm... tough question. Picard -- he acted like a captain and he stuck with it and did his job. Sisko wandered off to be a god avatar or somesuch, I never saw Archer, Janeway kept getting screwed by the scripts, and Kirk had too much script immunity to believe.

11) Yes; I've been told I've done so myself in role-playing games, so I'm sure real authors (who have training and skill I do not) can do it easily too.

12) Heinlein is an author whose writing skills changed over time, sheesh. On the whole I'd say he did a damn fine job, so my answer is between A and B, leaning more towards A.

13) The book? Not really. I preferred the TV show.

14) No.

15) It depends on how variant they are from my morality. Also, I can appreciate technical skill or character development, even as I dislike the implied morality.

16) There are no on-line role-playing games. There are only games on line that have coded in a simplistic binary viewpoint which allows a variety of cut-scenes to tell you what the results are. Roll playing is not the same as role playing.

17) I don't play on-line role-playing games -- see #16. In real role-playing games I tend to play an appropriate species, i.e. if the game's about elves, I play an elf; if the game's about humans I'll play a human.

18) Usually either good or neutral. People are creeped out and stop the game when I play evil characters.

19) PC

20) More respect -- it's not mine.
1. Non-partisan
2. US, Texas
3. Lord of the Rings
4. Original
5. A New Hope
6. Predator
7. Both
8. Both
9. Han Solo
10. Picard
11. True
12. A
13. Yes
14. Yes
15. Yes (Three words: Andrew Dice Clay)
16. No
17. n/a
18. n/a
19. n/a
20. The same respect -- I'm a bibliophile.
Followed Scott's link, too

1. Basically conservative
2. US, GA
3. sadly, I don't know yet
4. DS9
5. Return of the Jedi
6. Haven't seen Alien, so I can't say
7. Tough question, I waffle between them
8. Too different to say
9. The *better* hero? I don't know, but I like Luke more
10. I don't know, really, Picard or Sisko of the ones I know well, haven't seen enough of Enterprise to say about Archer
11. true
12. Haven't read enough by him to say, not D, though
13. Yes
14. Haven't read them yet, but people who know me well expect me to
15. Yes, but not always
16. I'm joining one (I also play an MMORPG, but that's not a real role-playing game)
17. In both games, you don't have a choice, (non-human in the message board game, human in the MMORPG) but in RPG's I tend to play non-humans, because I like playing someone/thing different with a different set of abilites, or as they say: "I get to play a human all the time"
18. good
19. PC
20. More, really
Hi Mike the Librarian! Good questions, here we go:
1. Liberal
2. Canada (Alberta)
3.Well, the Lord of the Rings is actually more than one book, so The Fellowship (I know that is more than one as well)
4.TNG, hands down
5.A New Hope
7.Depends on the author and how you classify it, both are great. But if I have to choose, Fantasy.
8.Board games
9.Han Solo
10.Jean Luc Picard baby!
12. A GREAT author
13. The movie or book? Yes
14.Haven't read them, but will now
16.Not online, no
20.Of course the same! (but then I am a librarian (almost)
Sorry man,
after reading these it can only be ascertained that there is no correlation between the answers to these questions and political sway.
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