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Flight 714: Is it considered science fiction?

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#11 · Posted: 19 Oct 2012 16:29
Do you think that knowing or having a label for a book should changethe way that you read it?

No. I think that if a book is like sci fi or something, it should be read like it is, not differently because what genre it is.
It doesn't bother me that Flight 714 is sci-fi, anymore than does it that Tintin in America is a western/ gangster tale, or Calculus Affair is a spy book.

What you said was not the way I was trying to come at.
What I meant was maybe Hergé just wanted us to really think about the book, like I said earlier.
#12 · Posted: 19 Oct 2012 18:03
What I meant was maybe Herge just wanted us to really think about the book, like I said earlier.

I just want to clarify that I'm really interested by your idea - I'd not looked at it that way myself, because I thnk of sci-fi as being an area which Hergé was comfortable using, plus some of his books fall into several categories; I'd just not considered that he perhaps had a purpose in this case, and was wondering what you thought it might have been?
714 has always been a book I feel slightly ambivalent about - sometimes I like it more than others; if you can see a new angle in how to read it and get more out of it, it could be helpful!
#13 · Posted: 21 Oct 2012 23:56
714 has always been a book I feel slightly ambivalent about - sometimes I like it more than others; if you can see a new angle in how to read it and get more out of it, it could be helpful!

Yeah, I guess you're right.
#14 · Posted: 15 Jun 2013 18:21
I've always liked the story, the fast pace and "sci-fi" really appealed to me as child.
Hergé was a curious man, and he must have been intrigued by the increased public sightings of UFO's in the 50's and 60's.
I also feel the ambiguous deal that happened to all characters bar Snowy is a beautifully described scene, which opened up UFO's and space in general to me as child.
I had not yet read The Shooting Star at that point, but I suspect the bleaker and even more surreal story would have also fired up my imagination.
Cutts the Butcher
#15 · Posted: 8 Aug 2013 04:12
Sci-fi it may be.

Problem is, the space ship is ultimately a preposterous deux ex machina, one of the absolute worst of the series, and the whole adventure heads south once that element is introduced.

On a less grevious level, I think the art is a retrograde step as well; never liked Haddock's fuzzy eyebrows, for instance, as they tend to undercut the subtley of Hergé's side-splittingly funny renderings of this compelling character's face).

To me, 714 and Picaros both reek of creative fatigue and disenchantment with the characters. Hence the whole "decostructive" approach he adopts - utterly inspired in the brilliant Castafiore Emerald, increasingly bankrupt in the final two finished adventures.
#16 · Posted: 1 Jun 2023 22:41
I thought it might be useful to note that I recently came across a copy of a letter that Hergé wrote in reply to a fan called Claude Le Gallo, who had written to ask him questions about the Moon books. The letter was written in June 1971, so post Flight 714, but much closer to that book than the Lunar stories had been, and presumably giving a fairly contemporary expression to his feelings about our subject.

Hergé's letter is written in such a way that it's easy to percieve that the replies are being given in answer to what amounts to a questionnaire, and that one question is along the lines of, "Do you like science-fiction, and do you have a favourite author?"

His response:
En général, je n'aime pas trop la science-fiction. Ce que j'aime, c'est le fantastique (qu'il soit scientifique ou pas) et il m'enchante dans la mesure où je crois à l'histoire racontée. Un auteur qui me plaît, par exemple: Bradbury.

[In general, I don't really like science fiction. What I like is the fantastical (whether scientific or not) and it enchants me insofar as I believe in the story being told. An author that I like, for example: [Ray] Bradbury.]

So perhaps that answers the initial question: think of Hergé's works as fantastical, rather than science-fiction?
#17 · Posted: 5 Jun 2023 14:34
I think that the Moon books would be science fiction (if they need a label) because the story is based on science. Flight 714 could be science fiction because it uses imaginary science that is presented coherently and plausibly (if you suspend disbelief). The Seven Crystal Balls, though, doesn't use even imaginary science, I would say; it uses magic, which follows its own rules in the story. It's interesting that the science, magic, and other elements of all the stories are part of Tintin's world throughout the series. Although the stories stand alone (sometimes in pairs), the magic, flight 714 experience, and moon trip remain implicitly (sometimes explicitly) part of Tintin's history, so it all hangs together.

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