A few days ago I watched part 1 of a Korean scifi-fantasy series on Netflix.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe I pay too much attention to details, being a writer, but there were too many things that made me turn away from that series in the first half hour. In hindsight I’m surprised I managed to watch it for that long.
It’s probably a good series (or ‘show’ as I think Americans would call it), but …
Note: spoilers ahead…
- A nerd who tears apart the cockpit of an airplane to save it from crashing
- He calculates the crash will happen in 2.5 minutes
- In those 2.5 minutes he’s on the phone for 5 minutes, talking to the board of directors of his company.
What? (That is when I stopped watching by the way.)
Maybe this is what the Korean or even the Asian audience expects from a nerd, but this makes no sense. Fantasy, yes. Scifi, yes. But unless there is mention of a time-distorting loophole the plane flies through, someone wouldn’t spend 5 minutes talking on the phone while his own life and the lives of many others will end in half that time.
That is something I call the danger of fantasy. People sometimes think that anything goes, which is definitely not true. Not packed into one box, anyway. And certainly not “just like that”.
I think that good fantasy and scifi still leave enough ‘handles’ to grab. Things you can relate to from your own life.
For example, in a fantasy story someone can have wings and fly off, but wings don’t just grow on someone’s back. Unless there’s an explanation in the story where this is detailed; that wings do grow out of people’s back all of a sudden.
I try to keep my fantasy stories (Naked Crow) at a point where they might actually happen. Can you see someone like Josy or Jeremy being on a plane and ripping a cockpit apart to keep it flying? Cockpits of planes are very complex things, and the dashboards can’t be ‘screwed apart’ with a gadget anyone carries around. At least, that’s my understanding of cockpits. Do tell me if I’m wrong.
Maybe I’m taking this too far, but it struck me – again. I saw part of another Korean film on Netflix which had the same effect on me, and that was a serious scifi. Good story, but the way it was laid out and done just didn’t sit well with me.