John Scalzi is pretty much awesome as a blagger; I am now tempted to further investigate his merits as a novelist. He blags at the Sci-Fi Scanner, which is, oddly enough, part of AMC television’s website. His last two posts were devoted to exposing and criticizing design flaws in the futuristic technology of Star Wars and Star Trek, respectively. Some samples from his Star Wars post:
Sure, he’s cute, but the flaws in his design are obvious the first time he approaches anything but the shallowest of stairs. Also: He has jets, a periscope, a taser and oil canisters to make enforcer droids fall about in slapsticky fashion—and no voice synthesizer. Imagine that design conversation: “Yes, we can afford slapstick oil and tasers, but we’ll never get a 30-cent voice chip past accounting. That’s just madness.”
An unshielded exhaust port leading directly to the central reactor? Really? And when you rebuild it, your solution to this problem is four paths into the central core so large that you can literally fly a spaceship through them? Brilliant. Note to the Emperor: Someone on your Death Star design staff is in the pay of Rebel forces. Oh, right, you can’t get the memo because someone threw you down a huge exposed shaft in your Death Star throne room.
Oh, man, don’t get me started. Except to say this: If in fact a high concentration of midi-chlorians is the difference between being a common schmoe and being a dude who can Force Choke his enemies, the black market in midi-chlorian injections must be amazing.
Here are some items from his Star Trek list:
The Alien Probe of Star Trek IV
The programming of this probe is even more simple than that of V’Ger, and could be written in four lines in the BASIC programming language:
10. GOTO Earth
20. INPUT “I can has humpback whalez?” A$
30. IF A$=”no” THEN GOTO 40
40. DESTROY EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
I’m pretty sure this is not optimal design.
You have your choice: Velouresque pajamas and miniskirts (resurrected for the 2009 reboot), burgundy jackets with puffy blouses (Treks II – VI), or progressively unflattering jumpsuits (Treks VII – X). Do Starfleet personnel ever stop what they’re doing, look at each other, and ask, “Who dresses us?” They should.
On the whole, the design flaws in Star Wars struck me as much more grievous than the ones in Star Trek.