LightsabersWhich brings me to the topic of how many science fiction plots turn on finding ways to make the technology not work. Surely by 2300 we will have self-aiming guns that never miss, but Star Wars, Star Trek, and tons of other sci-fi stories still feature guys blazing away with cool looking weapons that turn out to be a lot less effective than an AK-47. Lisa and I are always laughing at the number of different ways the Star Trek: Next Generation writers have found to keep their sensor array from working when they really need it. It's the niobium in the rocks! It's the magnetic storms! But at least the Enterprise has a sensor array, putting its crew at a distinct advantage to the poor slobs of Alien and Aliens, who are reduced to sort of peering around ineffectually whenever they encounter clouds or darkness.
Yes, I know, I want one too. But I tell you what: I want one with a hand guard. Otherwise every lightsaber battle would consist of sabers clashing and then their owners sliding as quickly as possible down the shaft to lop off their opponent's fingers. You say: Lightsabers can slice through anything but another lightsaber, so what are you going to make a hand guard out of? I say: Dude, if you have the technology to make a lightsaber, you have the technology to make a light hand guard.
A tactical nightmare: They're incredibly loud, especially for firing what are essentially light beams. The fire ordnance is so slow it can be dodged, and it comes out as a streak of light that reveals your position to your enemies. Let's not even go near the idea of light beams being slow enough to dodge; that's just something you have let go of, or risk insanity.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Science Fiction and Bad Technology
From John Scalzi's list of badly designed stuff in Star Wars: