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Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





I was looking at a satellite map of San Diego today, and it reminded me of a tiny moment in a Sci-Fi show that blew my mind back in my early college years.

It was the first episode of Robotech on DVD. The Zentraedi fleet arrives in orbit looking for the SDF-1, and start scanning the planet. Admiral Breetai sees a series of images of human cities, smirks and says "These people are completely ignorant of space war tactics."

The moment he said that I was kind of floored. He could tell humans don't know how to fight space wars by looking at how they lay out their cities?

How do you lay out cities in anticipation of space warfare? Something to do with orbital bombardments probably, right? Minimizing damage. How do you do that? Big fire-breaks between essential infrastructure? Using mountain ranges to shield your most important stuff? Heavy Transit systems to ensure continued flow of resources even when you start losing cities? Massive decentralization of any of all of your essential services and resources?

What even IS your most important stuff in a space war context? Second-Strike military installations? Industrial capacity? Food production?

One of the big deals in the first act of Robotech is showing off how humanity has worked to prepare itself for the day that aliens came looking to reclaim their ship, all the weapons they've built, all the technology they've reverse engineered, how they've left behind their petty difference to present a united front and the combined strength of an entire planet against any aggressor. The episode takes several opportunities to illustrate that they weren't even close to ready despite what they thought. But I think that one little line by the alien military leader after doing nothing but spending a few moments looking at human cities did more to open my mind to possibilities than any other.

Humans in Robotech didn't just fail to understand this alien technology and the scale of the threat they would face, there were huge swaths of knowledge and preparation that threat demanded that never even entered their minds because they thought just building better guns would be sufficient. That's pretty cool storytelling.

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Comstar
Apr 20, 2007

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Princess Celestia


Well it all depends on what kind of space warfare you need to prepare for. If the enemy can come out of FTL and target you immediately, the only defence is to be somewhere else. In another solar system.

Or bury everything underground and camouflage it.

'Corse if the enemy dosn't want to actually destroy everything and needs boots on the ground to secure it, large, dense cities would be the way to go, spread out across the planet with no central location and force the enemy to conduct sieges or city fighting, which is the worst.


Hey, don't those invaders end up losing anyway?

Sanguinia
Jan 1, 2012

#RXT REVOLUTION~!
2000





Comstar posted:

Hey, don't those invaders end up losing anyway?

Yes. The story roughly goes that the Alien invaders didn't actually care about the planet, just the crashed ship, and so they chased it cat-and-mouse around the solar system rather than continuing to attack a defenseless earth. And then the invaders are kind of won-over by humanity in the course of the chase because they're genetically engineered warriors and civilian culture like music and LOVE causes them to not want to fight anymore.

Except for the ones who DO want to keep fighting and/or obliterate these humans for the infection they've inflicted on their species, and so most of the earth becomes a devastated wasteland during the final battles between the humans and defectors aliens vs the rest of the aliens.


Robotech/Superdimensional Fortress Macross is a good show.

Anyway, I hope other people will use this thread to talk about little details or throw-away lines from science fiction that left a surprisingly strong impression on inspiration in their wake.

Sanguinia fucked around with this message at 20:46 on Jun 20, 2020

Bogus Adventure
Jan 11, 2017

More like "Bulges Adventure"

Sanguinia posted:

Yes. The story roughly goes that the Alien invaders didn't actually care about the planet, just the crashed ship, and so they chased it cat-and-mouse around the solar system rather than continuing to attack a defenseless earth. And then the invaders are kind of won-over by humanity in the course of the chase because they're genetically engineered warriors and civilian culture like music and LOVE causes them to not want to fight anymore.

Except for the ones who DO want to keep fighting and/or obliterate these humans for the infection they've inflicted on their species, and so most of the earth becomes a devastated wasteland during the final battles between the humans and defectors aliens vs the rest of the aliens.


Robotech/Superdimensional Fortress Macross is a good show.

Anyway, I hope other people will use this thread to talk about little details or throw-away lines from science fiction that left a surprisingly strong impression on inspiration in their wake.

I never got a chance to watch Macross, but that spoiler info clears up A LOT of questions I had about the concept and the cast of characters.

Also, Macross has good music.

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm


So in one of the Culture novels, the story briefly describes this giant cruise ship that's designed to never stop. It sails on giant rivers on ringworlds, takes hours to walk end-to-end, weighs over a billion tons and takes several years to get up to top speed because they're so massive.

Much later in the story, a character enters one of the storage bays of a Culture starship and it's offhandedly mentioned that way off in the distance, barely at the edge of his vision, one of those cruise ships was being casually packed away for storage and transport.

It's such a little thing that manages to drive home the awe-inspiring size of Culture starships and it does it in text.

free hubcaps
Oct 12, 2009



Bogus Adventure posted:

I never got a chance to watch Macross, but that spoiler info clears up A LOT of questions I had about the concept and the cast of characters.

Also, Macross has good music.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEWLj_unfHA


It's been a long time since I read it but i really liked how space combat was described in A Fire Upon the Deep by vernor vinge, even though it was really only a small segment in the overall book. again its been a long time and i dont remember the details exactly but iirc, near-light travel involved rapidly skipping in and out of "warp speed" to recalculate or something and during their brief stops in realspace launching a shitload of drones which would then attack any enemy ships skipping out in a similar locale

im positive im misrepresenting some of these details and i dont have the book handy so maybe some kind goon can elaborate or explain it better

Polaron posted:

So in one of the Culture novels, the story briefly describes this giant cruise ship that's designed to never stop. It sails on giant rivers on ringworlds, takes hours to walk end-to-end, weighs over a billion tons and takes several years to get up to top speed because they're so massive.

Much later in the story, a character enters one of the storage bays of a Culture starship and it's offhandedly mentioned that way off in the distance, barely at the edge of his vision, one of those cruise ships was being casually packed away for storage and transport.

It's such a little thing that manages to drive home the awe-inspiring size of Culture starships and it does it in text.


i think this was in consider phlebas, yea banks does an awesome job imparting just how insanely immense and powerful the culture ships are, iirc in the first chapter when horza is awaiting rescue the idirans on the hand of god are worried about the culture ship being in the solar system even though they cant detect it; it later ambushes them and it turns out the reason they couldnt detect it was it was hiding in the outer layers of one of the system's suns

free hubcaps fucked around with this message at 13:35 on Jun 22, 2020

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
Probation
Can't post for 6 hours!


The first battle scene in Gunbuster really stuck with me; it's basically WW1 in space, with the protagonist and her new friend/love interest deployed in their robot suits against an enemy that moves too fast for them to even see, and the dude just disappears without a single trace ever recovered of him.

Vernii
Dec 7, 2006



Polaron posted:

So in one of the Culture novels, the story briefly describes this giant cruise ship that's designed to never stop. It sails on giant rivers on ringworlds, takes hours to walk end-to-end, weighs over a billion tons and takes several years to get up to top speed because they're so massive.

Much later in the story, a character enters one of the storage bays of a Culture starship and it's offhandedly mentioned that way off in the distance, barely at the edge of his vision, one of those cruise ships was being casually packed away for storage and transport.

It's such a little thing that manages to drive home the awe-inspiring size of Culture starships and it does it in text.

There's also a little part in that chapter I thought was neat; one of the mercs Horza is travelling with tries to jump from one deck to another via anti-gravity belt or whatever and plunges to his death instead because Culture Orbitals don't actually have gravity.

3 DONG HORSE
May 21, 2008

I'd like to thank Satan for everything he's done for this organization



I understood the concept of time dilation when I first read Forever War but the way it showed the effects blew my mind. Soldiers go to war in space and experience such little time that they've barely aged when they return to Earth, which is a practically a whole new planet (culturally, economically, and technologically). They return to the war with what they think is superior technology and arrive to meet an enemy who has even better technology! And imagine a contract of like.. 5 years that's done in relative time instead of time you've actually experienced. That poo poo is hosed.

It's a good book, y'all should read it.

Sarcastro
Dec 28, 2000
Elite member of the Grammar Nazi Squad that

Vernii posted:

There's also a little part in that chapter I thought was neat; one of the mercs Horza is travelling with tries to jump from one deck to another via anti-gravity belt or whatever and plunges to his death instead because Culture Orbitals don't actually have gravity.

That was a great moment, and only on a recent re-read did I remember that the merc leader had warned them all about that earlier, but the one guy wasn't listening or was out of the room or something.

McSpanky
Jan 16, 2005







Vernii posted:

There's also a little part in that chapter I thought was neat; one of the mercs Horza is travelling with tries to jump from one deck to another via anti-gravity belt or whatever and plunges to his death instead because Culture Orbitals don't actually have gravity.

I don't quite get this, he fell to his death in the absence of gravity?

frogge
Apr 7, 2006




McSpanky posted:

I don't quite get this, he fell to his death in the absence of gravity?

If I remember right, the orbital used centrifugal force not gravity per se so it didn't work in that the ground still rushed to meet him. In later novels that problem had been dealt with for antigrav stuff.

OtherworldlyInvader
Feb 10, 2005

The X-COM project did not deliver the universe's ultimate cup of coffee. You have failed to save the Earth.




When I read a Culture novel for the first time there was an offhand mention about how the Culture has no laws or prisons, even for murder. My initial reaction was to scoff and roll my eyes at it, but it got me to question a lot of basic assumptions I had about justice and morality which blew my mind.

Like a lot of the Culture's utopia, the idea works because of the Culture's post-scarcity egalitarian society run by god-like minds, but it made me realize we can and should do a lot better even without those things.

OtherworldlyInvader fucked around with this message at 22:57 on Jun 23, 2020

muscles like this!
Jan 17, 2005



Not exactly blew my mind but I do find it interesting how in the Murderbot book series it portrays a future where there is still pop culture and people still make and watch TV shows.

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm


McSpanky posted:

I don't quite get this, he fell to his death in the absence of gravity?

Culture Orbitals are ringworlds and the Culture, being the efficient lot that they are, just spin them up to provide gravity instead of bothering to install artificial gravity.

So the dude jumped off a deck expecting to float down thanks to his anti-gravity device, which only works in artificial gravity.

Instead he got hit with the rotational velocity of a ringworld.

Sarcastro
Dec 28, 2000
Elite member of the Grammar Nazi Squad that

Polaron posted:

Culture Orbitals are ringworlds and the Culture, being the efficient lot that they are, just spin them up to provide gravity instead of bothering to install artificial gravity.

So the dude jumped off a deck expecting to float down thanks to his anti-gravity device, which only works in artificial gravity.

Instead he got hit with the rotational velocity of a ringworld.

I might be remembering wrong, but I think it wasn't that he got hit with the rotational velocity of a ringworld (since the thing he was jumping from was obviously matching that velocity in order to let them down), just that he jumped from a lot of stories up, wrongly assuming he'd be able to use AG to slow down.

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm


That may be correct. It's been a long time since I read whichever book that was in (probably Consider Phlebas, according to free hubcaps).

Sarcastro
Dec 28, 2000
Elite member of the Grammar Nazi Squad that

Polaron posted:

That may be correct. It's been a long time since I read whichever book that was in (probably Consider Phlebas, according to free hubcaps).

It definitely was Consider Phlebas, I do at least recall that with certainty. Looks like it's just about time for a re-read!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



OtherworldlyInvader posted:

When I read a Culture novel for the first time there was an offhand mention about how the Culture has no laws or prisons, even for murder. My initial reaction was to scoff and roll my eyes at it, but it got me to question a lot of basic assumptions I had about justice and morality which blew my mind.

Like a lot of the Culture's utopia, the idea works because of the Culture's post-scarcity egalitarian society run by god-like minds, but it made me realize we can and should do a lot better even without those things.

They get a slapdrone that stops them hurting anyone else and they don't get invited to any parties.

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



So because I'm old, Robotech came on when I was 5. On the cable station it was broadcast from, they did something weird: showing only a few episodes of the third series before looping it back to the start of Macross. [I'm reasonably sure this was to cut out the appearance of a cross-dressing character.] Then the show vanished, and thanks to where I grew up, it never reappeared. So thirty something years later, robotech comes back on Netflix. Now the first series I found mindblowing - it's one of those things that having not seen it since I was a tiny bean I'd just end up typing out plot points in all-caps like "CHARACTERS ACTUALLY DIE" and "A ROMANCE BETWEEN A BLACK WOMAN AND A WHITE MAN IS TREATED AS SO NORMAL AS TO ESCAPE COMMENT, AND THIS WAS 1980 GODDAMNIT". I'd tried to watch the series once before, but the copy I had was heavily edited, and I had to give it up because I felt like scenes were missing. (They were.)

Anyway, despite having never seen the series in the interm, I was surprised at how well I remembered so much of the series. While to a five year old poo poo-tons of it didn't make sense, the visuals and certian character moments stuck with me. (Dramatic slow motion fall of a model plane to the floor.)

The second series, I slogged through - it's mostly dull and bad. BUT! There was one moment that I remembered with perfect fidelity: that weird song one of the alien tripart girls sings. Now I'd never seen "battle cool mechs personality disorder main character" from the age of five, but somehow the one good bit was still remembered. Anyway, it got me thinking that maybe kids do absorb the good stuff in media, even if they don't understand it, and that maybe the good stuff has some sort of net effect, even if it is forgotten about by the child.

For non Macross little moments, I recently read The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe. In the first novella, the main character at one point sees a picture of an ancestor as a kid on earth with their parents. The main character, who is in most ways extremely privileged, wonders at the strange mansion behind them - it was low and long, with a series of porches done in completely different styles. (Our narrator doesn't put together as we do that this is a street of row houses.) Later, the character is put into a labor-camp style prison for years for murdering his father. Finally, he's taken to a camp with good food and hot showers, and is examined by a board. He puts it together that he's about to see "the slave markets of his hometown again." Now, at first this reads like "I'm about to be enslaved." But I realized this was not what the character meant: he was overjoyed that soon he'd see that old, familiar slave market. His class is such that he never worries about enslavement, to the point that he can be nostalgic about slave markets rather than terrified of them.

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Haha, this actually just happened to me while posting in another thread. I was mentioning how one of the planned concepts for The Empire Strikes Back was half of Cloud City's population being black.

And that got me thinking about how automatic we the audience seem to accept that certain things depicted on screen are simply a product of time period and culture: everyone in Star Wars is "white" for the same reason everyone in Star Wars speaks "English". But then, if they'd gone through with introducing a majority black setting, that would appear to have canonized human races as we know them being A Thing in the Star Wars universe, and that came with it a lot of questions: why is everyone in the rebellion white? Why does Cloud City have so many black people? Are there any particular cultural and political differences between the races? If so, do they resemble the way they are IRL? ie., do they call themselves "white" and "black", etc.?

Or maybe that's just another example of trying to apply IRL baggage to a fantasy setting, maybe humans in this universe have completely accepted that after a bunch of generations people in a specific setting will tend to look similar and, especially when there's thousands of species of sentient aliens walking around, they by and large haven't decided to classify themselves into "races" and it's just my limited IRL 21st century Earthling sensibilities that presume that they must? Hell, maybe that's exactly the provocation: oh, so you see a bunch of black people together on screen and therefore that must Mean Something, eh? You racist lol...

I don't loving know the answers to any of these, but it made me realize there's a long rabbit hole to go down that I didn't even realize was there.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017
Probation
Can't post for 6 hours!


Funny thing is that goes the other way too- how often do you see alien races have significant ethnic differences within them? Though more common with the Star Trek ones which are just makeup and prosthetics, since you see Vulcans of a variety of skin tones.

Impossibly Perfect Sphere
Nov 6, 2002


Robot Style
Jul 5, 2009



SidneyIsTheKiller posted:

Haha, this actually just happened to me while posting in another thread. I was mentioning how one of the planned concepts for The Empire Strikes Back was half of Cloud City's population being black.

A lot of John Mollo's early costume concepts for Cloud City citzens were drawn as black people, so it seemed to be an actual production directive rather than a random musing like Lucas considering casting everyone except Chewie with little people.

It might also be relevant to note that initially Lando was conceived as a refugee from the Clone Wars, and was hiding out on Cloud City with the rest of his family, which reproduced through cloning. If Lucas wanted to cast a black actor as Lando, casting extras in cloud city as perceived family members would necessitate a higher number of black actors.

Leia also demonstrates some racism against Lando in an early draft, but it's due to his nature as a clone rather than because of his skin color:

The Empire Strikes Back, first draft posted:

LEIA
Is he a clone?

HAN
Is he a what?

LEIA
You said his family were refugees from the Clone Wars. Is he a clone?

HAN
I donít know, he never told me, I never thought about it. What is all this anyway?

LEIA
I think your friend is lying. I think Threepio was smashed deliberately.

Jerkface
May 21, 2001

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DEAD, MOTHERFUCKER?

Fallen Rib

That dialogue is way more interesting look into a possible "clone war" than AOTC

SidneyIsTheKiller
Jul 16, 2019

She's delusional,
"where's god", etc.
Completely suicidal.
One day she snaps.
She wants to kill herself
but she realizes that
teen suicide is out this year
and homicide is a much healthier therapeutic expression.


Robot Style posted:

Leia also demonstrates some racism against Lando in an early draft, but it's due to his nature as a clone rather than because of his skin color:

When Leia says "I don't trust Lando," I always imagine Han going "Why cause he's black?"

NmareBfly
Jul 16, 2004

I posted my food for USPOL Thanksgiving!




Jerkface posted:

That dialogue is way more interesting look into a possible "clone war" than AOTC

My favorite bit of this is the early theory that Obi-Won was a corruption of OB-1, a clone serial number of some sort.

Clone wars coulda been cool. What if it was a clone crisis where political leaders were people replaced with pod people? nah let's just have a clone army versus robots so we can kill them and not have moral questions.

Zoran
Aug 19, 2008

I lost to you once, monster. I shall not lose again! Die now, that our future can live!


NmareBfly posted:

What if it was a clone crisis where political leaders were people replaced with pod people? nah let's just have a clone army versus robots so we can kill them and not have moral questions.

the latter idea does present a moral question and evil pod people impersonators do not

Robot Style
Jul 5, 2009



One of the earliest attempts to explain the Clone Wars actually came from Kenner, who pitched for a toy-only storyline after they were done with ROTJ:

Kenner posted:

A powerful force long kept in exile in a remote fringe of the galaxy has been released by the death of the Emperor. It moves now, like a plague, securing control over the shattered remnants of the empire and re-enslaving newly freed worlds. Atha Prime, genetics master, ruler of the dark worlds and architect of the Clone Wars, is free again. His advanced army of combat clones has already decimated rebel outposts along the galactic frontier. His goal is to crush forever the Rebel Alliance and control the Galaxy.

Musluk
May 23, 2011




Robot Style posted:

One of the earliest attempts to explain the Clone Wars actually came from Kenner, who pitched for a toy-only storyline after they were done with ROTJ:

So, Yuuzhan Vong?

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

Musluk posted:

So, Yuuzhan Vong?

I can see it.

FunkyAl
Mar 28, 2010

Your vitals soar.


When I saw 2001 in 70mm a few years ago, it really hit me how fearful the "opposing" colony of apes were at the beginning, as opposed to being triumphant or anything like that. just naked, screaming, fearful misunderstanding over a ditch.

sigma 6
Nov 27, 2004

the mirror would do well to reflect further



There was this butterly... and some time later it was an "effect".

Barry Foster
Dec 24, 2007

Brush your teeth.




The Karos Graveyard in Homeworld

(it was hard finding a picture that adequately suggests its scale)

Barudak
May 7, 2007



On a related note, Im not sure any game has ever gotten me more invested on going on an insane, galaxy spanning suicide sojurn than "Kharak is burning". You've got this massive sand planet burning in the background as you scramble to move these absolutely massive sheets of machinery containing the last of your people into your mothership before you leave it behind forever and then get repeatedly dwarfed the whole way to a new home.

That said the expansions subtle entire game build up to "This is the warship Kuun-Lan" is such a great capstone to a narrative arc that other games/films/books/tv shows/epic poems wish they could make good on.

Barudak fucked around with this message at 13:52 on Jul 9, 2020

Polaron
Oct 13, 2010

The Oncoming Storm


It's worth pointing out that the stuff in the background of that shot is the skybox. That's not in the playable game space.

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.



Games Idiot Court Jester


Barudak posted:

On a related note, Im not sure any game has ever gotten me more invested on going on an insane, galaxy spanning suicide sojurn than "Kharak is burning". You've got this massive sand planet burning in the background as you scramble to move these absolutely massive sheets of machinery containing the last of your people into your mothership before you leave it behind forever and then get repeatedly dwarfed the whole way to a new home.

That said the expansions subtle entire game build up to "This is the warship Kuun-Lan" is such a great capstone to a narrative arc that other games/films/books/tv shows/epic poems wish they could make good on.

For nearly the entire game Fleet Intelligence reads his lines very passively and coolly, except for when he's reading off the damage they can see; the voice actor chokes slightly and is quieter.

He's back to impassive and cool when he mentions that the alien soldier they captured didn't survive the interrogation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjjANMCYm9o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ahWObI37w

Cobalt-60
Oct 11, 2016

Over time, random factors add up. What is chaos in the moment becomes systemic over time and space. As data accumulates, a pattern emerges.



RBA Starblade posted:

For nearly the entire game Fleet Intelligence reads his lines very passively and coolly, except for when he's reading off the damage they can see; the voice actor chokes slightly and is quieter.

He's back to impassive and cool when he mentions that the alien soldier they captured didn't survive the interrogation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjjANMCYm9o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ahWObI37w

Man, I wish I didn't utterly suck at Homeworld. Keep trying it, keep getting my rear end kicked.

WilWheaton
Oct 11, 2006

Oh my god it's Hitler's dog!



Polaron posted:

It's worth pointing out that the stuff in the background of that shot is the skybox. That's not in the playable game space.

I mean, thats what made it so insane. I loved the original homeworld for taking some extremely primitive 3d tech and painting some very creative things with it.

How BIG is it? It feels like it might be an unfinished dyson-sphere from an unknown and far more ancient civilization than even the scope of the game.

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Pondex
Jul 8, 2014



Important canon-opinions aside, this scene from TLJ was genuinely astounding to watch in a theater.

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