TALK STORY

why do people like or hate the scifi genre?

POSTED BY: CRYSTALKEI
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 00:44
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VIEWED: 9431
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Monday, November 26, 2007 8:12 AM

CRYSTALKEI


I was raised on TNG and we've always had Star Wars in our home. My Q is why do some people shy away from the genre?

I have a couple of friends, very middle of the road people. They listen to a mix station on the radio, watch reality tv and whatever happens to be popular and basically have no exciting interests. They are very boring, but we like them anyways. We tease that they live under a rock because whenever anything outside of the realm of popular culture comes up they have no idea what we are talking about. Such as, yesterday i found a ticket stub in my coat...here's the converstaion

me: ahh, look, it's a ticket stub from when you took me on a date
my husband: what did we see?
me: children of men, oooh, i love clive owen
boring friend 1: what movie is that?
my husband: it's a futuristic movie about how the world is ruled by the elite and terrorists and no one can have babies
me: very politcal and alfonso cuaron-y, but good, great explosions
boring friend 2: we must have missed that one

me after they walk away: they are so boring

sorry, back to the point, why do you think people are turned on or off by scifi?

Jayne Cobb, the Dick Casablancas of Firefly

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Monday, November 26, 2007 9:00 AM

SINGATE


I think people who like sci-fi are dissatisfied with the mainstream. Another thing attractive about the genre is getting to see "what ifs" or "what might someday be". The second point is also the strongest reason why people shy away from sci-fi. Many "normal" people have no interest in things that aren't reality based. The idea of space travel or characters with super human abilites seems ridiculous to these folk. Generally speaking it is easier to grasp ideas that stick closer to home than something completely foreign.

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We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.

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Monday, November 26, 2007 9:04 AM

CRYSTALKEI


I am a huge fan of escaping reality whether it be books, tv, or film. I suppose some scifi has become mainstream such as Lost or Heroes. So, how do I get boring friends to want to get into it? or is it beyond hope?

Jayne Cobb, the Dick Casablancas of Firefly

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Monday, November 26, 2007 9:43 AM

BLUEBOMBER


To me, science fiction - at least, those stories that are worth reading or watching - says something about human potential, either for great achievement (Star Trek) or self-destruction and ruin (Mad Max). Themes of individuality, security vs. personal freedom, faith, etc.; all these are things that resonate. And it's always fun to see characters that we can relate to in these extraordinary situations, going to fantastic places and having thrilling adventures.

But I also think that sci-fi's reputation for being silly, cheesy, and nonsensical isn't entirely undeserved. There's just as much crappy sci-fi as there is good. That goes double for FX-heavy movies that cram lots of action and explosions, leaving barely enough - if any - breathing room for plot or character. (I cringe everytime I see an ad for yet another giant-mutant-bug movie mathathon on Sci-Fi channel.) It's easy to understand why it's a turn-off.

Also, the fandom can be pretty obsessive - and exclusive. I myself am guilty of rolling my eyes at friends when they say they're just not into Trek. "What - you don't have the complete works of Robert Heinlen committed to memory? What are you, communist?"

I have long ceased trying to "convert" people into sci-fi fans. Except "Firefly." Haven't given up on that yet.

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."

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Monday, November 26, 2007 12:19 PM

VETERAN

Don't squat with your spurs on.


Some people label it as immature, Kid stuff. Also because of it's relationship with pulp fiction they fail tot considerate real literature. In my view, they just don't grok.

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Monday, November 26, 2007 12:28 PM

EMBERS


I think a lot of people find it to be too much work, the setting isn't earth like, they have to actually pay attention to learn what the rules are for this new world....
so instead of being open to something new they just go ahead and label it as 'childish' and they go back to game shows, reality TV, or whatever else is mindless and unchallenging....

People (IMO) who love Sci-fi usually feel out of place amount the social climbers and ordinary people, they already feel like aliens among the crowds of sheep (okay, that is unnecessarily mean, but I'm guessing I'm talking only to Sci-fi fans here! LOL)... so they want to read stories which speak to their own isolation, or more off-beat view of the world.....

JMPO of course


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Monday, November 26, 2007 1:33 PM

TUJIAOZUO


Quote:

I think a lot of people find it to be too much work, the setting isn't earth like, they have to actually pay attention to learn what the rules are for this new world....
so instead of being open to something new they just go ahead and label it as 'childish' and they go back to game shows, reality TV, or whatever else is mindless and unchallenging....

People (IMO) who love Sci-fi usually feel out of place amount the social climbers and ordinary people, they already feel like aliens among the crowds of sheep (okay, that is unnecessarily mean, but I'm guessing I'm talking only to Sci-fi fans here! LOL)... so they want to read stories which speak to their own isolation, or more off-beat view of the world.....


Now we could get techincal and talk about the different genres within sci-fi and what constitutes sci-fi.... but that sounds like far too much strain on my mind at the moment.

I agree with embers to a point that many people prefer the mindless and unchallenging. Sheeples today (in my short experiance) prefer something simple, stand alone episodal shows. It's really unfortunate.

Another thing I think that is apart of it is lack of imagination. A lot of folks lack imagination nowadays, and so they can't see beyond the box they live in. I live with people like this; I'm constatnly daydreaming, coming up with sketches and storylines and the like, and I love following well written sci-fi. But the rest of the family can't expand beyond what they know, and I've come to the conclusion that due to lack of their own imagination they really struggle with anything of the Science Fiction or Fantasy realm because they can't think on that certain angle and process it all.

The last think is Sci-fi has a bad rap. There's always the jabs about thirty year old men living in their mothers basements and going to Trekkie conventions. And I think it's really stunted the mainstreaming of Sci-fi because it's always been labeled for hopeless geeks. However, due to the current surge of sci-fi programming (Heroes, Bionic Woman even though it's dreadfully flawed, SCC, ect) it looks like Sci-fi just may push through. It's still a heard ticket to sell though, IMO.

Your Indian Pirate Lord,
Ash

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Monday, November 26, 2007 1:58 PM

REGINAROADIE


I agree with the "lack of imagination" theory. I grew up in a small town in in the prairies, where the mindset is fairly rigid. A lot of my classmates thought that hockey and football and extreme biking or stuff like that is exciting to them. And while I did watch some of the Grey Cup last night (home town team won after 18 years), for the most part I find all that stuff completely boring. And while I hesitate to slam them as simple minded, mainstream sheep, the proof is in the pudding. It's all mainstream stuff they list on their Facebook profiles. It's all FRIENDS and SEX IN THE CITY and FAMILY GUY boxsets on their shelves than FIREFLY or HEROES. I remember having a birthday at my place years ago as a kid and I put on one of the Indiana Jones movies. They were not interested in the least and even said that it was boring. Indiana Jones, BORING!!!

So I think it's more of a sociological environment kind of thing. The more rural you are, the more mainstream the general taste is, whereas in big cities, with so many different kinds of people and tastes, there's more opportunity to be exposed to various things, like sci-fi, anime, or indies.

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"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Monday, November 26, 2007 2:03 PM

RALLEM


Science Fiction and other Speculative Fictions are the hardest form of writing because you as a writer are the sole creator of your world, and you have to tell the readers exactly what they need to know and exactly when they need to know it. I bought a book by Orson Scott Card on how to write Speculative Fiction stories and he says that if you do not let the reader know enough they will grow bored and put the book down, but if you tell them too much they will think the author doesn't know what he or she is doing and put the book down. Why did I write that? Well I think Speculative Fiction may be a two way street, and it may be one of the most difficult stories to read because it requires a certain level of imagination. I think that everybody likes to think they have an imagination just as everybody likes to think they are intelligent, but I think we all know that not everybody is intelligent or imaginative, and a good litmus test to these might be the books a person reads. I am not saying that only smart people read Science Fiction, or that everybody who reads Science Fiction is smart, or that Science Fiction is the only medium for the inspired, but I do think that in a person’s library there should be a well rounded selection of books and among them should be some Science Fiction.

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson



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Monday, November 26, 2007 2:05 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


Part of the problem may be it's imagine. Spaceships, lazers, aliens (rubber suited actors) and far fetched notions. On the surface your average flat head isn't really going to take the time to look for the allegory which is often prevalent in sci-fi.

Plus I fear that much of the damage may have been 50's sci-fi movies, and it pains me to say so as I adore 50's sci-fi, but sci-fi really boomed back then, and while there was some quality, there was also alot of dreadful, cheap nonsense, with poor acting and ridiculous plots, that sat fine with the young but adults just shyed away from, thinking it more a kids genre.

One other element may be that sci-fi has always considered itself as a genre first, a medium second. Instead of filmakers making a 'film' with sci-fi content, they would make a 'sci-fi' film. If you look at cinema, sci-fi has only occasionally been tackled with genuine maturity. Alien, Close Encounters, 2001, Andromeda Strain, Day The Earth Stood Still, to name but a few. Where as other genres, Westerns, Thrillers, Drama's are given far more concern and seriousness.



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Monday, November 26, 2007 2:15 PM

RALLEM


Actually to this day a stigmatism is placed on Science Fiction in the film industry. I was checking out Red Dwarf and the producers at the BBC were flabbergasted at yet another Science Fiction Show.


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Monday, November 26, 2007 3:11 PM

SPACEHOPPER


I disagree that people view it as childish and I agree that imagination is a big factor; “Vampires don’t exist, therefore this program is rubbish,” or “We can’t live/travel easily in space, so until a real solution is discovered for this problem, simply guessing is stupid, and having to listen to the characters explain a complex theory that plainly isn’t working right now is even more pointless.”

I think it is apparent from the success of reality programs, soaps and the like, that people don’t really want to think that hard when they get home from work and slump on the sofa. There seems to be a prevailing view that Sci-Fi is geeky and therefore too much effort, because geeky programs require you to learn about things that are complicated but aren’t real, when you don’t really want to learn anything at all.

This is of course complete rubbish.

Blade was great because it was a great action movie; great fight scenes involving a badass hero, the fact he was a vampire fighting other vampires was just a vehicle for making the fight scenes more spectacular and the enemy more inhumane, so there was no disputing which side you were routing for. I didn’t really care how they explained the existence of vampires or why they had the specific weaknesses (I don’t think that was dealt with anyway). Just keep an open mind to the fact that vampires could exist and watch it for the great action film it is, rather than dismissing it before even seeing it.

Firefly/Serenity is great because of the amazing depth it brings to its characters and I watched it mainly because of that. My sister, on the other hand, sat there saying, “That’s not possible,” “No-one says ‘gorram’ or ‘shiney’.” “Why would they have old-fashioned guns but fly around in spaceships?” “I can’t stand River, what a stupid character.”
If only she had the imagination to see that this sort of future might be possible, and accept that advances in brain surgery could lead to something like River’s situation and just watch the program for what it is; a brilliantly scripted drama that happens to be set in a world that provides interesting storylines and character quirks that can't be explored in conventional shows.

I know nothing of the physics of the show; how space travel was made possible on such a large scale, or how the planets were terraformed etc. But I can imagine that it will be possible in the future, and I haven’t had to learn a single ‘geeky’ fact or theory to convince myself.

The fact is, people aren’t prepared to imagine, but neither are they prepared to learn the science behind a show. It is like trying to explain electricity to someone when it was just a theory. “What? It’s this invisible power source that travels through metal and causes things to light up or spin or whatever and it's going revolutionise the world? Bullshit, I don’t have time to learn about this useless rubbish, I am too busy living in the real world.”

A lot of people are like my sister, if it doesn’t exist yet, if they can’t see it working in real life right now, then it’s not worth it. They have already decided to hate shows like Firefly before they even watch it.

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Monday, November 26, 2007 4:11 PM

RALLEM


Actually I think it is funny how many items we use today which were originally thought up in Science Fiction stories. For instance the inventor of the Cell Phone credits the communicators of Star Trek entirely for the Cell Phone's inception. I cannot be certain about this because I served in the Army but I understand from a friend who served in the Navy that the sick bays in our war ships today are heavily influenced by the sick bay on the Enterprise in Star Trek also.


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Monday, November 26, 2007 4:37 PM

CRYSTALKEI


I think it's surely an imagination issue. People think it's boring or weird or not "their thing."

Jayne Cobb, the Dick Casablancas of Firefly

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Monday, November 26, 2007 4:41 PM

MERRYK


I think the science part of science fiction appeals to a certain group of people...whether it's made up or not, you have to be open to that to appreciate it with most science fiction. And you also have to be open to political/philosophical ideas. Character, action, and humor come, but the undertones of science and philosophy are what make it science fiction more than the future and aliens.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Monday, November 26, 2007 4:47 PM

TRAVELER


For me it is the way science fiction is limitless.
You can create any number of societies and worlds.

It can be the near future like 2001 a Space Odessey, or traveling through a worm hole like Star Gate.

So I read a lot a different authors so the story is unpredictable. I have some favorites, but I always look for new author to read.

Movies and TV science fiction is always high on my list to watch. That is why I know Firefly was poorly promoted, because I would have watched it if I had known it existed. But as you see I found it. I seek these things out.


http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=28764731
Traveler

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Monday, November 26, 2007 5:07 PM

THEHEROOFWILLIAMTOWN


Gah Science make my head hurt- Reality TV fan 3:16

No honestly i think it's the social stigma that surrounds the Genre about nerds and escapist junkies. Also most TV these days is sadly reality based Tv. I mean in Australia we get Big Brother one half of the year and Aussie Idol the other half. The only shows i get on TV are at 10 30pm at night, i get one hit of Stargate and one of The Unit.

I studied creative writing at Uni and the teacher whilst she was good had a massive prejudice against sci fi and fantasy. Her example of sci fi and fantasy was something like "Oh we're walking in a forest then gah a witch and a dragon". It was a dissapointment because i know i can write sci fi like nobodies buisness.

People don't seem to value or see teh deepth in most sci fi. Most of it is a metaphor for humanity. Also when i write sci fi i base it on events from History. People don't want to go to the effort to see the parallels or value in sci fi. I still handed in a review of Starship Troopers (the one by Hienlien) for creative writing though :p

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Monday, November 26, 2007 9:39 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Modern Sci-fi has always been a minority, niche market, clear back to the days of the pulp magazines and original paperback books. It always only did ever appeal to the nerds, geeks and head cases out there-- and I know, because I proudly was one.

Only very rarely does a Star Trek, or Star Wars come along and break out. Fantasy ( LOTR, etc.) has always been more popular. So has always horror ( Frankenstein and so on.). and so always have been action movies, superhero movies, sword and sorcery movies, and even Westerns, even tho' many of those categories have sci-fi elements in them .

Classic sci-fi fandom , back to the books days, has always been about serious concern for possible , probable futures extrapolated from present trends and developments.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 7:30 AM

BLUEBOMBER


I'm not so sure about the skeptic science-fiction-is-nothing-like-reality-and-it-makes-me-think-too-much-so-I'm-not-going-to-watch argument. If that were the case, LoTR, Harry Potter, Spiderman, X-Men etc. wouldn't be the multi-billion dollar franchises they are today. And I do think there is a difference between science fiction and science fantasy (they could almost be considered different genres), but it's hard to say why one would be more popular than the other. I find that a lot of people who are into sci-fi are into action fantasy, and vice-versa.

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 8:32 AM

JONGSSTRAW


The first "sci-fi" I can remember being aware of was when I was 6 and my parents would watch the Twilight Zone every week on CBS. I've always been attracted to sci-fi since. The 50's & 60's were terrific for sci-fi genre, but then the genre almost disappeared in the 70's; until Star Wars rejuvenated the genre in 1977....and the rest is history. Sci fi represents, in my opinion, the highest order of human thinking & imagination that we are capable of.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 9:30 AM

STRANGEBIRD


I pretty much agree with most of these theories. Reasons for liking or disliking Scifi differ from person to person. I guess I was lucky both my parents were supportive. My father being a fan of Star Trek since he was a younger and my mother being pretty tolerant and later a X-files fan then Browncoat. My sister however isn't as interested, not to say she doesn't have an imagination I just don't think she really cares much to use it. In my experience, which I admit isn't alot, people just don't want to experience things outside what they were introduced to at an early age. Be it that they think it's childish or low-brow or just insane they have come to the conclusion that fiction is not a worthy way to waste their time... now watching ugly chicks try to eat goat bladders or make obese men cry is definantly what you want filling your head at the end of the day. Honestly I feel it all comes down to the fact that people are just different... ok that's not deep or complex or mind-bending but it's simple and it's the truth. It's not to say you can't find some non-believer who would love Scifi if they just gave it a shot. You just have to find the right time or show.. X-files, Firefly and Chuck are more recent shows I've found tend to be very good at steering people of a non Scifi tilt towards the genre. Either way it's very true that Scifi and Scifi fans have done a whole lot to further the stigma that the genre is silly, stupid and childish. I would give my entire paycheck to fund a second season of Firefly even if it was assured there wouldn't be a third but I'm still not going to dye my hair, put on fake boobs and go to a convention as Kaylee... no matter how much I love her. Not to say any Browncoat has ever gone that far(I sure hope not anyway) but certain other fanboys have been known for such insanity. Bottom line, Scifi like anything else is a varied bunch as are it's fans, no one is right and no one is wrong... unless they say Firefly sucks. Ok now I'm gunna go watch Friends and eat a nice big mac... seriously kidding.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:33 AM

THEHEROOFWILLIAMTOWN


It's all about the war between TV and Reality....

Tv killed Reality so Reality struck back killing Tv with a heavy dose of reality. :P sorry it's a ramble i go on with sometimes.

I hate the amount of reality based garbage they put on TV they only do it to save money because they don't have to pay writers. Basically they're all the same anyway the executives aim is to edit the footage to make one person the 'bitch' and another to be the cry baby. In Australia every year Big Brother rocks around taking up almost two hours of TV per day. The 'Contestants' are always the bloody same they just have token people they throw in the place.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 11:39 AM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by BlueBomber:
I'm not so sure about the skeptic science-fiction-is-nothing-like-reality-and-it-makes-me-think-too-much-so-I'm-not-going-to-watch argument. If that were the case, LoTR, Harry Potter, Spiderman, X-Men etc. wouldn't be the multi-billion dollar franchises they are today. And I do think there is a difference between science fiction and science fantasy (they could almost be considered different genres), but it's hard to say why one would be more popular than the other. I find that a lot of people who are into sci-fi are into action fantasy, and vice-versa.

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."



I think you may have hit the nail on the head with you list of examples. The billion dollar franchises you listed basically spoon feed their product to the consumers and takes away the need to think things through. How many times have you spoken to someone who has seen the LOTR movies or Harry POtter Movies and enjoyed them but never read any of the books?

One of my friend's three children, the youngest liked the Harry Potter movies but had no interest in the books until one day his older brother and sister were talking to me about the Harry Potter series and we were explaining what we thought was going to happen and why, but when ever Seth tried to understand what we were saying we would tell him that those subplots won't be in the movies and he won't understand. That made Seth so angry that he went home that night and began reading the Harry Potter books, and is now reading all of his father's stash of sci fi and fantasy books too.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:04 PM

JENNYDIVER


I've been on both sides of the fence: During junior high I clearly remember loathing sci-fi, and even wrote on my English final (as a "compare and contrast genres") that "both sci-fi and fantasy are for geeks." *hangs head in shame* Not three years later, I had shelves of Piers Anthony and Anne McCaffrey, and was attending ST:TNG parties! I've since found a happy medium....

I'm not sure what changed in my case, but I think one of the big deterrents for many people is how alienating (no pun) sci-fi literature can be. The social critique that is a hallmark of excellent sci-fi is often buried too deeply within 500 pages of gibberish words and foreign worlds. In addition, many popular sci-fi books are series, which can be fairly inaccessible to new readers. Even if someone is intelligent and imaginative, it can be very intimidating to ask him to absorb an entirely new culture when he starts a new book - even more so when that book features scantily-clad women and dragons on the cover. I usually start my friends with Ray Bradbury, and then move on to something that might have a few spaceships, then mayyybe a few aliens, etc. You have to introduce people slowly, find the common ground in the genre, or they'll certainly balk when some Klingon or a telepathic dragon starts talking to them. ;)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007 3:09 PM

JONGSSTRAW


Quote:

Originally posted by TheHeroOfWilliamtown:
It's all about the war between TV and Reality....

Tv killed Reality so Reality struck back killing Tv with a heavy dose of reality. :P sorry it's a ramble i go on with sometimes.

I hate the amount of reality based garbage they put on TV they only do it to save money because they don't have to pay writers. Basically they're all the same anyway the executives aim is to edit the footage to make one person the 'bitch' and another to be the cry baby. In Australia every year Big Brother rocks around taking up almost two hours of TV per day. The 'Contestants' are always the bloody same they just have token people they throw in the place.


Ah!...A wonderfully refreshing thought about the utter banality of entertainment today...couldn't agree more.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:25 AM

THEHEROOFWILLIAMTOWN


Thank you kindly.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:44 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Imagination and intelligence.
Got 'em?
Or not.

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