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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eight Guilty Pleasures in Science Fiction and Fantasy

There are some things we all read and watch that we feel guilty for loving. It can't be helped. As terrible as 80s music is, hearing it on the radio sparks a ridiculously happy feeling within me. Science fiction and fantasy can sometimes have this effect too. And here is my list of what I consider to be my science fiction and fantasy guilty pleasures:

Eragon/Eldest by Christopher Paolini (Books)
I've heard the arguments for while Paolini is terrible, and I have to admit that he's not exactly the greatest of writers, but I can't help loving these two books. The movie was terrible, but the books have always been entertaining for me. Maybe it has to do with listening to the audiobook for Eragon before actually reading it, but whatever the reason, I love these books even if I shouldn't.

Total Recall (Film)
This movie has, perhaps, gained some traction in the science fiction community in recent years due to its somewhat pulpy, if not campy, feel. True, the film is ridiculous (primarily in its science) and features the Governator doing his generally poor attempt at actual acting, but yet the film is strangely enjoyable for me. It could be because of the violence, or the lady with a certain extra body part, but maybe the reason doesn't matter, because so many other people enjoy Total Recall too, and feel just as guilty about it.

Hackers (Film)
Talk about campy and outdated. Hackers is one of those ridiculous computer hacker movies that is both ridiculous and incapable of keeping up with the real world. But, to be fair, it has a cult following, so perhaps it's not such a guilty pleasure after all. Oh, and it has a young Angelina Jolie in it, which some people think is a good thing.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (Book)
Though not technically fantasy, this romance novel is both incredibly sappy and strangely enjoyable for me. Considering I tend to avoid romance like the plague, liking The Notebook is certainly uncharacteristic for me. I suppose if you've read the book you'd understand, but if not, don't make fun of me for putting this Sparks novel on this list.

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Book)
I'm not sure why I like the first book of this Bible-inspired fantasy series (yes, it's fantasy, deal with it). I tend to avoid religious mumbo jumbo like the plague due to my tendency to light on fire when exposed to Biblical teachings. Regardless, I read the first book on a whim and loved it. I guess that makes me a bad person, right?

The Chronicles of Riddick (Movie)
I suppose The Chronicles of Riddick isn't nearly as much of a guilty pleasure as Eragon or some of the other things on this list. Still, I thought the movie was great and always have, despite what others have said. It's not every day that someone can take an already pretty cool character and turn them into an epic grey hero. Riddick is pretty much the most badass figure in science fiction film next to Boba Fett; hence why The Chronicles of Riddick is awesome.

Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (Movie)
Don't get me wrong, the remake of Planet of the Apes is quite terrible, but it's also quite enjoyable. The makeup and stunts are phenomenal in this movie. I also love Paul Giamatti, who has a great part as an orangutan-man. I still re-watch this movie from time to time, because I think it's good. Sue me.

Signs (Movie)
It seems like everyone hates this movie. I've always thought that nobody understood Signs, but I suppose arguments for or against this movie are relatively pointless. Signs is one of those movies that I think is cute and re-watchable. I might be the only one, though.

And that's it! What about you? What are your guilty pleasures in science fiction and fantasy? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Draxzar5:14 PM

    Guilty pleasures eh?

    Well, I suppose I am with you on the Eregon front, although I didn't read Eldest or Brisingr. And I also happen to love signs, I too think it is a slightly misunderstood film. But I am a mild fan of M.Night Shyamalan (with the exception of The Happening *shudders*) I suppose Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel TV series can count, although I do happen to love both and feel they are two great fantasy creations. Warhammer 40,000 also, and although I don't actually play the table top game, I love the universe, which is enough to get people staring at me funny when I mention it!

  2. I absolutely love Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black and umm Dark Fury the animated Riddick. I am shameless in my devotion.
    I love cheesy sci fi series and movie's, The Black Library, Warhammer 40k. all the stuff you are supposed to grow out of including my Magic the Gathering cards and my secret stash of action figures.

  3. Quietus5:48 PM

    I agree with you on Riddick and Signs.

    However, due to the arguments against Eragon/Eldest/Brisingr, I never got around to reading them, or seeing the movie.

    I can say that I will never, ever read The Notebook. I absolutely hate romance books (not movies, books). Even in the Star Wars Universe (in which my book reading passion is), I hated the several books where romance was part of the main plot.

  4. R.A. Salvatore, all the way. I love the characters in his Drizzt books so much that I find it easy to shunt any other concerns to the side. (Well, most of the time. I've gotta say, some of his writing makes me cringe, but I'm usually able to get past it).

  5. I'm came THIS close to unsubscribing from this blog when I heard the Eragon reference. Watch Star Wars. It's the EXACT same story, but much, much better

  6. Draxzar: Buffy is certainly a great show. I wouldn't include it on my list of guilty pleasures, but if you feel guilty, then I guess that's unavoidable.

    Hagelrat: I still have all my Magic cards! I was going to sell them all, but my fiance convinced me to keep them because we might have fun with them, even though she hardly knows how to play.

    Quietus: Eragon might be beyond you now. I've noticed that people who don't read them, but continue to read other things simply grow out of the Eragon-style books. A lot of people who have read Eragon and liked it have since moved on to other things. That's the way it is.

    Memory: You feel guilty about Salvatore?

    Jordan: Haha. It's not the exact same story. One has dragons and the other has the Death Star :P.

  7. Draxzar8:38 AM

    S.M.D: It's not neccesarily that I feel guilty about Buffy and Angel, it's more the way people snort when I mention it's one of my favourite TV series' :)

  8. Draxzar: It's okay. I get weird looks when I say I love Star Wars :P.

  9. Draxzar2:49 PM

    Star Wars !?!

    Star Wars is awesome though. Nobody can deny that. No matter who they are.

  10. I know, but I still get looks once in a while.

  11. Ha! The Fifth Element, Mad Max(all 3 films), Conan, the Gor series by John Norman-had a girlfriend pick one of those books up once...all of my explanations sounded pretty lame :-)

    I love EC Tubb's Dumarest of Terra series, but I don't feel guilty about it.

  12. I think TOTAL RECALL is very cool. Its thought of, in lots of circles, as the last BIG movie that didn't use any significant SGI at all (models baby).

    @Jordan Lapp

    I feel just like you do about ERAGON the move but I feel it toward the first HARRY POTTER movie which is nearly, beat for beat, Star Wars! The quidich game even looked like Endor speeder bikes.


    LENSEMAN. Not the books, the animated movie, which is a bit predictable but I dig it, the aliens, and the CyceRotar!

    TEKWAR. Sure the concept of the show is pretty thin. Future Detective on parole but the tech was cool: vehicles, architecture, clothes.

    RUNAWAY. Tom Selleck leads the future police runaway squad. This, I feel, is actually pretty good and a bit ahead of its time. When it was released in the theater it was situated to be the BIG summer movie (what with that guy from KISS and that other guy from MAGNUM P.I. in it) but a little independent film made by a no name director staring an Austrian body builder as a robot stormed theaters that weekend burying RUNAWAY.

  13. seekerpat: I totally don't feel bad about The Fifth Element. I know too many people who openly love that movie. Mad Max is one of those movies that everyone either loves or hates, though.

    Caine: Well, so do I, but I'm weird :P. It is quite a feat in non-CG special effects, that's for sure!

  14. Oh come on now! "Guilty Pleasures"???? ICE PIRATES!!! and "Big Trouble in Little China". Not to mention, "Bukaroo Banzai - Across the Eighth Dimension...

  15. Oh, I totally forgot about Big Trouble in Little China. That's definitely a guilty pleasure!

  16. Niertaroth7:59 AM

    Well...if you're going to go with Big Trouble in Little China, then you have to include Flash Gordon (1980).

  17. That's true, but I've never watched Flash Gordon. Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorites, though!

  18. I really enjoyed Hackers. As a computer movie, it's pretty awful. As a regular movie, well, it's no Oscar winner. But it's really fun. And it was one of the few attempts Hollywood made to make Cyberpunk feel cool, even if they had trouble capturing it.

    It's a complicated movie, because I can't really say much that's good about it, except that I had fun watching it and still enjoy catching it in reruns.

    I guess that's what a guilty pleasure is all about.

  19. Cromely: That's really what guilty pleasures are about. It may be bad, but for some reason you still enjoy it.