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March 29, 2007

What Would Heinlein Do?


If you are reading this Debbye: God bless. With the release of 300, I have been thinking about how little PRO-WAR fiction our civilization has to call on now we need it most.* I remembered thinking Space: Above and Beyond did a better job of adapting Starship Troopers than the much maligned Verhoeven film. Certainly this was a rare attempt to produce hard sf for television. But this was years ago and who knew if it would stand up to a September 12 world. It does. In fact, it makes even more sense now than it did the (single) season it aired. Here are heroism and sacrifice alongside human imperfection.

And here too is a clear inspiration for Bungee's Halo. The interior of the USS Saratoga does not look like the Pillar of Autumn; it is the Pillar of Autumn right down to fighter canopies on the hanger deck returning as cryo-pods for Spartan storage. Thoughts of videogames lead me to think of the clear moral lessons instilled by games like Halo and to the military education and spiritual resolve that can be found there. It may be that only video-games can save us now.

* I edited a rant out of this paragraph. Suffice to say we are dealing with people who would rather literally drown in their own shit than miss an opportunity to kill us all.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 29, 2007 07:33 AM


Loved S:A&B and hope to pick up the series on DVD. I'm proud that my son is an Invitro.

I'll have to read ST. I just finished "Stranger in a Strange Land" last night. I grokked it and all but frak was I bored. I can guess they're quite different books. 8-)

Posted by: The_Campblog [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 11:52 AM

I must admit, Ubisoft has given me a different outlook on the world than Atari.. And I look down upon folks who shy away from military games/FPS games..

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 01:41 PM

Heinlein's political views are often confused with the views espoused by his characters or the contexts in which they are presented. "Citizen of the Galaxy", for example, presents at least three political Gestalts (though one likes to think he had a fondness for Freetrader society). "Starship Troopers" is radically different to "Stranger in a Strange Land" or indeed any other hard sf I have ever read; I think it is much the superior novel.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 01:46 PM

The average gamer who has spent a few days with Medieval: Total War or Rome is going to know more history than the average university lecturer. And judging by jihadi tactics in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the average twelve year old with a squad-based FPS under their belt is better versed in tactics. But then the jihadis think the game reboots without having to put in a quarter...

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 01:48 PM

Space: Above and Beyond was all that and a side of fries. Commodore Glen van Ross (Tucker Smallwood) was the coolest starship commander ever. Nobody ever captured his carrier and rendered his crew incapacitated, nor did he allow 14-year-olds to helm the thing.

About 9 years ago when Homeworld was a big deal in PC games, somebody released an awesome S:AAB mod. Watching your carriers and their swarms of Hammerheads go into action against Chig fighters and capital ships was terrific. I should see if I still have the Homeworld install disc somewhere.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 05:21 PM

That is pretty awesome.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 29, 2007 06:21 PM

Well that is the plot of Last Starfighter. A kid who saves a civilisation because of his video games skills.

Never got into Homeworld because I didn't like the GUI. But I can admit those battles were impressive.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2007 04:26 AM

One drawback of these games I first encountered in playing ye olde schoole game Quake.. I always, ever so briefly look around corners before exposing myself. I watch reflections in stores and cars as I pass.. I start referring to jihadists as Tangos.. I always make sure I have room to excape in traffic when I stop at alight.....Man, if I ever heard the tell tale sound of metal bouncing off of a wall in a stairway I pity anyone behind or in front of me because I know that you need at least two people between you and a grenade to survive intact...

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2007 11:35 AM

That is hilarious. Just yesterday I was walking through the Annex and noticed how badly rendered the walking animation was on some of the other pedestrians and wondered which version of GTA I was stuck in.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2007 11:39 AM

Not only is your memory scary amazing, but your ability to conjure up a mini-database is about on par with SQL. ;) I've been trying to remember (off and on) the name of Space: Above and Beyond for quite a long time now. Thanks! Now to save money for the dvd box.

Posted by: Marketh [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2007 08:29 PM