OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Clean or Mean? What Sci-Fi series' tech is your favorite?

POSTED BY: ANTHONYT
UPDATED: Monday, June 21, 2010 07:08
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Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:44 AM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Hello,

Chris recently posted about the minimalist aspect of Star Trek the Original Series, and I blasphemed about my preference for the textured, grittier aspect of TOS Movie technology, because it felt more real to me.

In reviewing my Sci-Fi preferences, I realized that I tend to gravitate towards series and movies where I can believe in the technology. Often enough, that means gritty, practical looking tech, even in a fanciful future world.

This is one of the reasons Firefly appealed to me. The ship looked real. The swivel engines were practical. The use of firearms by poor worlds seemed right. Sure, you have to swallow a lot of 'nuh uh, that can't be' whenever you watch most any Sci-Fi, but the gritty realistic flourishes make the fantasy easier to digest for me.

This is one reason why certain Star Wars ships appealed to me. They reminded of Space: 1999 ships. You could see texture. You could see controls. You could see thrusters, and radar dishes, etc. There were hoses and wires and tubes. Maybe real ships will look nothing like that, but these fake ships looked more real because of it.

The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is another example. The human vessels in particular felt real. Almost as gritty as the crew. I also loved the movie Aliens, because the Marine technology felt like it could exist. On Babylon 5, I still get tingles from the human fighter-craft. What a brilliant design, how practical!

My brain works in mysterious ways with this texture and grit being helpful to believing the show. DS9 was among my favorite Trek series because the people were allowed to get gritty and dirty, and add layers of texture to their characters. On the other hand, every external shot of that beautiful station made me squirm, because all the docking arms are curved the wrong way. My wife still laughs that such a foolish detail should impact my enjoyment in any way.

So I was wondering what series' technology has been your favorite, and why? Do you prefer cleanness or grittyness? Do you like lasers and phasers or bullets and grenades? Or do you like that unique combination some shows manage, like Firefly, where the clean ships and rayguns can be contrasted against the dirty, textured ships and click, bang revolvers?

--Anthony

Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:20 PM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:

The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is another example. The human vessels in particular felt real. Almost as gritty as the crew. I also loved the movie Aliens, because the Marine technology felt like it could exist. On Babylon 5, I still get tingles from the human fighter-craft. What a brilliant design, how practical!



I don't mind either way, as long as the "look" of the tech is joined up with the story and the civilizations involved.

So in Star Trek, we have a utopian post-scarcity society, with ultra-high tech, so, yeah, the bridge can look like the inside of an Apple store, with all the mechanics out of sight and they can afford to make the bridge of a starship look a bit luxurious.

Then in (new) BSG: the tech seems to be mid-20th century, which is all nicely tied in with the backstory about the Cylon war leading to technophobia, and with the Galactica being decommissioned at the start.

Babylon 5 did a great job of making the ships match the different technologies of the races: so the Human ships were a bit utilitarian, clearly made of standard modules bolted together and still relying on rocket thrusters and rotating sections for gravity; the older races had artificial gravity and better thrusters so they could build saucers or birds of prey, while the really advanced races had organic ships that mostly looked like sea creatures or insects. The show also wins on space combat: just when it starts looking like a WWII dogfight, a starfury does a 180 flip and shoots the guy behind without changing course... Well thought out - just a pity that time has not been kind to the early CGI work (...the decision to remaster to 16:9 for the DVD release didn't help).

Firefly: well, the Wild West always was a bit anachronistic - a sort of mediaeval society with dribs and drabs of industrial revolution era drifting in from the east. So the Alliance on the core worlds have high tech toys and rayguns, but the frontier worlds have more sense than to rely on anything that can't be fixed with a spanner and a cuss word.

Alien: really broke the mold by saying "so what if its in the 24th century: if you stick an oil refinery in space, it'll still look like an oil refinery, and the workers will look like oil rig workers...".



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Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:30 PM

LWAVES


For me I think it all depends on the setting of the movie or show, I don't have a preference that is all one way.
Alien and Aliens are great examples. Small tight areas, no space wasted, everything having a function etc.
I always liked the Eagles from Space 1999. I loved how the front and rear sections looked like they were connected by metal piping and they could carry different modules underneath. Very workman-like.
Star Wars, BSG, Firefly, Babylon 5 and many others all have ships I like as well for different reasons and partly because of their grittier look.
In contrast with Star Trek the 'clean' look fits the show. I like the TOS Enterprise with it's clean lines, shiny deflector, warp nacelles etc. I am also a huge fan of the Enterprise A version as well for the same reasons and it's overall shape seems even better. To me this one doesn't age or seem out of place in any timeframe. Ent B,C + D were rubbish, ugly looking pieces of junk. Ent E is a nice ship with its sleek look but is obviously based on Voyager which was okay.

One type of ship I've never really liked is the organic ships. Maybe it's because the FX have never quite looked right IMO but they just don't grab me like other ships do. The exception to this is the Shadows from Babylon 5 as they were excellent and a great shape.

Overall I'd probably say Star Wars is ny fave tech. Just so many good things in it from blasters to lightsabers to X-Wings to Tie Fighters and so on.



"The greatest invention ever is not the wheel. It's the second wheel." - Rich Hall

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:53 PM

CYBERSNARK


Speaking as a sci-fi writer, what I try to aim for is a blend of Babylon 5 (everybody's tech has its own look) and Star Wars (the "lived-in universe," as Ralph McQuarrie called it). There are some people (usually government/military fleets or the disgustingly wealthy) who can pull off the spit-polished Starfleet look, but there are just as many Serenitys, Millennium Falcons, and Moyas drifting around. Clothes are off-the-rack, they get dirty and torn, and gear gets patched with duct tape and replaced with secondhand store junk (or equipment "borrowed" from the better-off).

That's part of why I liked Andromeda; you had the rag-tag Eureka Maru crew coexisting with the Andromeda Ascendant's flashy silver hull, touch-screen panels, and High Guard uniforms.

Part of the fun for me is mapping the "real-world look" to alien tech --what might a living-crystal ship look like if it had the kind of life Serenity has? What's the equivalent of movie night aboard an alien hive-ship? What would a fish-headed alien's personal quarters look like? What happens to that sleek organically-engineered starcruiser when it gets parked on a desert world and exposed to the elements for a few years.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 12:54 PM

STORYMARK


I'd rather live in the clean Trek-style future.

But I'd rather my stories have the grit.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:04 PM

ASORTAFAIRYTALE


I don't know how many people here have seen it, but the technology of Cowboy Bebop always seemed somewhat more realistic than some other scifi series. Their ships are never super extravagant, similar to those of Firefly.
The way that they only terraform cities or small sections of planets makes more sense I think.
I also like that they have hyperspace gates rather than a hyper drive on the ship like in Star Wars. While the latter is convenient, it just doesn't really make sense to me. But then I guess the concept of faster than light speed travel is always a hard one to explain. (The Ender's Game series is good for trying to explain that too.)

But if we're going for which one I'd like to exist, I would have to say Mass Effect's technology. It just seems really cool!
http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Mass_Relay


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Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:17 PM

THESOMNAMBULIST


I think I prefer the grit of Star Wars and to a greater extent the Flash Gordon serials of the 30's. The costumes in particular were of a bygone era, ramped up for the thirties. You could see the past hidden in there but they were kind of tailored for the then present time. Looked awesome.
The space ship designs were curious too. They had no windscreens. The characters would look out the side port windows, and the pilot was sitting in front of some kind monitor thing. And the art direction was a kind of hybrid Victoriana/Baroque. Things were overly large. Levers and buttons were big (probably for the sake of the cameras) and the guns were held as though resting across the knuckles... The technology felt more industrial. Less sci-fi and I enjoy that a great deal more.

Cartoons - http://cirqusartsandmusic.blogspot.com

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:27 PM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:
On the other hand, every external shot of that beautiful station made me squirm, because all the docking arms are curved the wrong way.


Actually, the docking pylons on DS9 are perfectly positioned for Cardassian Galor-class warships.

The only problem is that no other ships in the galaxy position their airlocks like Galors do; facing backwards so the ship hangs from the airlock like a coat on a hook. Every sane race puts the docking hardpoints on the side, back, or belly of the ship, where anyone can get to it.

If you want to blame anyone, blame the Cardassians and their idiosyncratic starship designers.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:39 PM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Hello,

Is that right? I can't remember seeing a Galor docked at DS9. Do you have a picture? It would help my brain.

--Anthony

Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:26 PM

CHRISISALL









My Big Three.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, June 17, 2010 4:42 PM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Hello Chris,

Good picks. And good pics!

BTW, you see the grills on the inside of the warp nacelles? I wish they were on the outside. It would provide some of that texture I like.

It's one of the things I like about the movie version of the ship.

--Anthony

Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:10 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:
you see the grills on the inside of the warp nacelles? I wish they were on the outside. It would provide some of that texture I like.

It's one of the things I like about the movie version of the ship.


Bahh- the nacelles on the refit E look like toothpicks from an overhead angle. Texture can't help THAT>


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:59 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


I like the *look* of the ships from 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I find them very cold and antiseptic, very uninviting, not a place to spend long periods of time. I find the gritty look of Blade Runner's tech to be much more realistic, if dystopian and somewhat depressing.

Serenity is beat to hell, but she feels like home to me. Alliance cruisers like the Dortmunder may have all the bells and whistles, but aside from their medical facilities, I don't find anything in them to like.

The Millennium Falcon is a mess, and it barely runs most of the time. But again, it feels like home in a way a planet-sized Death Star never could.

If we're heading back into the black, I'll ship out aboard a scrappy little junk-heap that nobody would ever take a second look at, thank you very much. If they don't look at you, they never see you coming!

Mike

On this matter, make no mistake. I want you to go fuck yourself long and hard, as well as anyone who agrees with you. I got no use for you. --Auraptor

This vile and revolting malice - this is their true colors, always has been, you're just seeing it without the mask of justifications and excuses they hide it behind, is all. Make sure to remember it once they put the mask back on. --Fremdfirma

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 6:03 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Thing that always bugged me about the Enterprises (all of them) was the nacelles - the thrust wasn't ever going to be along the center of mass of the ship. Wouldn't it be ever thrusting itself in an outside loop, a perpetual nosedive?

Flame away. It just always bugged me, even as a young'un. That, and the thin nacelle stems just look really, really fragile, and look like one well-placed photon torpedo would remove an engine quicker than you could say, "Oh, Shi- "

Mike

On this matter, make no mistake. I want you to go fuck yourself long and hard, as well as anyone who agrees with you. I got no use for you. --Auraptor

This vile and revolting malice - this is their true colors, always has been, you're just seeing it without the mask of justifications and excuses they hide it behind, is all. Make sure to remember it once they put the mask back on. --Fremdfirma

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 6:41 PM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Quote:

Originally posted by Kwicko:
Thing that always bugged me about the Enterprises (all of them) was the nacelles - the thrust wasn't ever going to be along the center of mass of the ship. Wouldn't it be ever thrusting itself in an outside loop, a perpetual nosedive?

Flame away. It just always bugged me, even as a young'un. That, and the thin nacelle stems just look really, really fragile, and look like one well-placed photon torpedo would remove an engine quicker than you could say, "Oh, Shi- "

Mike

On this matter, make no mistake. I want you to go fuck yourself long and hard, as well as anyone who agrees with you. I got no use for you. --Auraptor

This vile and revolting malice - this is their true colors, always has been, you're just seeing it without the mask of justifications and excuses they hide it behind, is all. Make sure to remember it once they put the mask back on. --Fremdfirma



Hello,

The nacelles are there to create the warp field, but I don't think they create thrust, per se'. The pylons are indeed thin and vulnerable. Less so in the movie version, but still pretty skimpy.

From a war perspective, the races with warp drives pulled in towards the hull seem to have the right idea. Probably the best Fed ship in terms of that is the Defiant. No pylons, low profile.

--Anthony


Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Monday, June 21, 2010 7:08 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


I posted a thread on a similar topic about 3 years ago...

Sci-Fi Spaceship Aerodynamics
http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.asp?b=8&t=28426

Personally, my favorite SF spacecraft is the Starfury.



Oh, and y'all might dig this cool website I just found!
http://www.scifiairshow.com/

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