Oomjah!

The title, of course, being the sound of impotent nerd rage. In this case, directed at the rampant disregard for the laws of the universe in the creation of anything extraordinary (in the sense of SciFi/Fantasy). To be more specific, a total lack of internal consistency and realistic interaction with the environment. Just because you’ve broken some law of (usually) physics, that does not mean you have to totally screw the pooch on how it will do so. In a fictional piece, you’ve been given license to create something that does not obey what we understand as the laws of the universe. It’s suspension of disbelief, something we all understand and appreciate as a requirement for fantastic things to occur. What it does not allow you to do is ignore all the logical interactions and consequences of your creation. Even magic in the high fantasy sense, which basically ignores all universal laws and often common sense must have some sort of internal logical consistency. I guess the best way to explain this is with and example:

Take Superman’s X-ray vision. Ignoring all of his other superpowers, let’s examine this ability. The “magic”, or breaking of the laws of physics here are Superman’s ability to emit concentrated X-rays from his eyes, and then simultaneously somehow receiving these images with a fair degree of accuracy. Also he can apparently turn this on and off at well, much like we can become blind at will. Whatever. This is the suspention of disbelief, which I have no problem with. However, given that it’s specifically referred to as “X-ray vision”, I feel it is safe to assume that what he’s using is, you know, X-rays. Thus, his vision should obey all the laws X-rays do: being blocked by dense materials, requiring a certain density index to register, and yes, if he were to forget to turn it off because he was too busy starting at some girl’s tits, giving her goddamn cancer.

Now, I’m not an expert on Superman. But I have read a good selection of comics and viewed enough TV shows/movies to have a fairly solid grasp of the lore. Let’s examine what happens when Superman uses his X-ray vision. Gee, he just looked through a computer bank and the concrete wall behind it to pick out the facial features of the bad guys standing there. Heeeeere’s where I start to clench the old jaw. That just broke two very large laws of X-rays in a big way. Now, if they wanted to call it “Superman’s magical see-through shit vision”, fine. But they didn’t. They called it X-ray vision. They they proceeded to make it have pretty much  nothing what so ever to do with X-rays.

If writers want to break laws, that is completely fine with me. Heck, it’s more than fine; I quite enjoy it. But what I don’t enjoy is unnecessarily spreading misinformation and misunderstanding because they’re too fucking lazy to do the research, or better yet, because they just don’t care. Please, for the sake of our children’s intelligence and my blood pressure, have a little pride in your work. Make it make sense.

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