1.29.2013

Mecha Monday: Robotech live-action movie

A belated Mecha Monday is still better than no Mecha Monday, right?

The other day Ashley of Paint-it-Pink and secret member of the Legion of Doom posted about a live-action version of Robotech getting a director. Nic Mathieu, has apparently never directed a movie before and is mostly known for doing commercials. But boy, is he good at it. Topless Robot has a video for a commercial he did for Zenith a few years back and frankly, the fact that this guy hadn't been tapped to direct big budget scifi movies sooner is terrible, because the commercial is awesome.



Seriously, why was this guy overlooked for so long!?

Anyways, here's to hoping the Robotech movie sees the light of day.

One year strong

I've been anticipating the first year anniversary of this blog for weeks and I almost forgot about it! Yes, one year ago today, I created Rayguns and Space Suits so that my "main" blog (at the time) wouldn't be taken over by all the scifi posts I had in mind, as well as a nice counterpart to my fantasy blog, Swords, Dragons, and Nerds.

Then I deleted it because my enthusiasm suddenly left me, but would undelete it weeks later. Since then, I've managed to clock over 20,000 total pageviews, with about 100+ hits a day. Thirty people have chosen follow this blog, so clearly I must be doing something right!

Now, if you'd all be so kind as to don these red shirts, I need a landing party to explore this uncharted and mysterious planet...

Thanks, everybody!

1.25.2013

A little Galactica reading

Battlestar Wiki.
I mentioned this in another post weeks ago that I found a copy of an Classic Battlestar Galactica novel at a Goodwill and I started reading it today. The book, written by Robert Thurston is an novelization of Saga of a Star World, the pilot for the TV show. I'm not that far into, but its interesting so far. Apollo and his brother, Zac are checking out the moon (Cimtar) of a dead planet and find an old Cyclon tanker vessel floating near it. Well, well, well, I think I know what happens next.

Something that caught my interest about the book is that my copy as a "Special Edition" mark on the cover. I mentioned it in the comments over on Christopher Mills' excellent Space1970 and he thinks it was a book club thing.

I'll admit that I've only watched bits and pieces of the original series and preferred Ronald Moore's series more, but I might have to change my opinion if this book turns out to be as good as it looks to be.

I'm not touching Galactica 1980, though.

1.24.2013

And the director of Star Wars Episode VII is...J.J. Abrams

I did not see that coming at all! But it's true, according to Deadline. It's interesting, but I haven't paid much attention to the Sequel Trilogy since it was announced. Not because of any ill will towards the idea of a new trilogy, but more because they're years away from being made.

Starship appreciation: the Miranda-class from Star Trek

There are a lot of Starfleet ships that I would love to command - the Akira, Galaxy, Steamrunner, Excelsior, Intrepid, and of course, a Constitution class, amongst others - and the Miranda class is definitely high on the list.
Memory Alpha.
Though, to be perfectly honest, I would not want to command one during the 24th century, especially during the Dominion War or a Borg attack. I like the Mirandas, but not that much! Anyway, what I like about the class is how different they look. They don't have a deflector dish or a secondary hull like most of the other ship classes, and that rollbar just makes the ship look cool. It certainly doesn't hurt that the USS Reliant was able to cream the Enterprise's corn in short order, showing that a Miranda can go toe-to-toe with the big guys.

I also like its modularity. We've seen different versions of the Miranda on TNG - with and without the rollbar, some with sensor pods, and such. It seems that by the 24th century, a good chunk of the Mirandas were being used in secondary roles as transports and cargo ships. Not surprising, given their age.

Their age also worked against them during combat. I would actually cringe while watching the space battles on Deep Space Nine, anytime a Miranda charged into the fray. As tough as they were in the 23rd century, they weren't up to snuff in the 24th. It was like watching a senior citizen take a roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris.

Still, I would jump at the chance to sit in the captain's chair of one back during its heyday. Just not the Reliant, because I know how that shit goes down.

1.23.2013

I wouldn't mind having an E.V.A. Pod from 2001 in my room (though things would be mighty cramped)

Truth be told, I'd much prefer a shuttle from TNG.

Credit: Real Life Comics.
This is shaping up to be a pretty decent storyline. Dave decided to create a network throughout the house so that his computer/AI PAL could oversee and control automation of different aspects of the house, like power and water usage, security, etc. Naturally, PAL went rogue, as AIs are wont to do. To be fair, it was largely Dave's fault. He tried explaining the concept of privacy using written computer memory and PAL now sees two of the characters as bad files that need to be deleted. If you're interested, the storyline starts here.

If you've never read or even heard of Real Life Comics, I'm not entirely surprised. While it's been around as long as Penny Arcade, PvP, and other long time webcomics, RLC never quite achieved the same level of popularity. A shame really, because the comic is pretty good, save for some occasional "meh" moments. There are some nice scifi storylines that have involved Battlemech vs. Eva (from Neon Genesis Evangelion), time travel, travel to alternate timelines, space stations, journeys to other planets, and more.

1.21.2013

Best bit of Wikipedia vandalism ever

Haw haw!

And no, I didn't do it. :P I've only committed one act of vandalism on there and it was about Steve Jobs.

1.15.2013

This blew my goddamn mind

Oh the things you find on the internet!

Jay over on EXONAUTS! posted this after finding it on Universe Today. After scooping what was left of my brain off the floor and putting it back in my head, I thought I'd post it here. It's a stereograph of Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula created by a Finnish fellow named J-P Metsävainio. He has a website and blog displaying his other awesome works.

Freaking awesome!

1.14.2013

Well I guess we know where President Obama's loyalties really lie

Because despite the pleas of the American people, the Obama administration has refused to build a Death Star! I'm sure the Rebel Alliance and their radical Jedi extremist puppet masters are pleased as punch. I just wonder how much money it took to buy President Obama out or if we're looking at something much, much sinister here. Is it possible that Obama is secretly a member of the Rebel Alliance? Possibly a Jedi himself? There is, of course, that picture of him wielding a lightsaber, after all.

Credit: GeekDad.
He looks far too comfortable holding a weapon commonly used by a terrorists of a extremist group, doesn't he? Almost like he's been trained in its use. It really makes you wonder where he was really born. No, I'm not talking about Kenya, like those misguided idiots think, but Ossus, the home planet of the Jedi.

My friends, fellow Americans, we must face the very real possibility that our president is a plant, a mole, a sleeper agent, for the Rebel Alliance and the Jedi extremists and I only pray that people will open their eyes to the truth before its too late!

This is why I voted Palpatine/Dooku, at least with the Sith, you know where they stand.


(Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go die of laughter, LMAO)

1.10.2013

An idea for space-based wargaming: the suicide run

First Galaxei Ibrahim Maxwell gritted his teeth as the series of explosions rocked the Elysium and strained his body against the restraints of his command chair. Only his space suit saved his skin from bruises. Not that it mattered as the overhead lights flickered and the chatter from the various stations around the bridge increased as each called out status and damage reports.

"Port and starboard laser batteries down! Missile batteries Ten through Fifteen also down." Reported the assistant tactical officer, his superior having blown her voice out an hour earlier. "We've lost shields on starboard, port is about to follow, and forward shields are down forty percent."

"Engineering reports substantial casualties to damage control crews. The last explosion opened a whole deck to space." The voice of the lieutenant's working the engineering/damage control station was cracking, but from a different type of strain. "They also report severe breaching of the hull."

Then came another explosion, this one dwarfing the three prior. This time, the strain was too much and one of the restrains snapped. The lights went out this time and were replaced by dimmer emergency ones. The chatter reached a new height of frantic.

The next voice was of his XO, Second Galaxei Arianna Grey. "Ib, we've got to get out of here while we still have ship to withdraw in."

Maxwell said nothing and stared at his tactical overlays on the array of monitors around his chair. The damage assessments were worse than what he was hearing. The hull was swiss cheese and the frame was red lined in places. Worse, the FTL propulsion was history, making retreat futile. On the other hand, he had alternatives...

"No." He replied.

"What, sir?"

"No, we are not retreating. It would be pointless, Ari." He said, gesturing at the displays. "Even if the FTL still worked, the Elysium would never survive in its condition. And I doubt our "friends" out there are in the prisoner taking business."

Grey nodded, never taking her eyes off the displays. The Anvar were ill-disposed to take on prisoners and even less to treating them anywhere approaching galactic standards. This war was turning shitty.

"We do have an alternative, however." There was a grim resolution in First Galaxei's eyes as his XO tore her eyes from the screens and locked them with his. And she knew.

"That battlecruiser is awfully close and the enemy seems to have made an terrible tactical error putting those destroyers so close to it." She said with a savage grin.

"Agreed. Now let's show them the error of their ways and remove a battlecruiser from future equations." Maxwell responded with a grin just as menacing. Turning away, he started calling out orders, his voice amplified by the command and control system to carry over the noise of the bridge.

"Flight control, lay in a direct course for that BC, don't skimp on the speed! Tactical, redirect power from aft to forward shields. Throw every ounce of offensive power we have at the enemy ship! Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to make sure that NO ONE, especially those Anvar bastards forget the Elysium!"
The idea popped into my head tonight: What if instead of watching one of your ships being blown to smithereens with no consequences for the enemy ships, a player could get a measure of revenge by dealing one final blow? The idea is that if a ship survives an attack, but is otherwise doomed, you can attempt to have the ship perform a suicide attack. The player could only target an enemy ship that is close to it (let's say one of two hex squares), then has to roll a dice to initiate the attempt. If the roll fails, suffers some kind of engine or nav trouble. If successful, however, the ship then automatically starts moving towards the targeted ship at its current best speed. It also loses all future turns, since its not likely to survive. The opposing player automatically gets a free turn to either evade or try and destroy the kamikaze vessel.

If evasion is successful, the stricken ship continues moving on its present course for several hex squares before coming to a stop. If the opposing player fails to evade or destroy the oncoming ship, it plows right into theirs in most cases, both go boom. For the sake of fairness and balance, the suicide run option can only be used once per ship and only if the ship has suffered more than 50% damage. Maybe 60% to be safe. Additionally, if a ship fails in its run, maybe it has to do a morale check or something?

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'm thinking of calling this the "Today is a Good Day to Die!" Rule, and the player who uses it has to say that line in their best Worf voice. Eh? Eh?

Interesting Trek aliens: Bynars

Credit: Memory Alpha.
The Bynars were a cybernetic race of aliens that appeared in the interestingly (and difficult to type) TNG episode "11001001". All Bynars were cybernetically linked to each other and a planetary supercomputer on their homeworld, which allowed them to communicate and think faster than others. It was claimed by Picard that their thoughts were like binary. In other words, they had the hive mind of the Borg Collective, but without the drive to assimilate everybody. They functioned in pairs and had non-standard names like "One Zero" and "Zero One".

In their only appearance, a group of them (Bynars always come in pairs) attempted to hijack the Enterprise-D while they were upgrading the ship's computers and the crew had evacuated. After being twarted by Picard and Riker, the Bynars revealed that the goal was to use the Enterprise to save their species - A nearby star went nova and the electromagnetic pulse would have fried their supercomputer, which presumably would have been fatal to the Bynars. Their plan was to use the ship's computer as a backup until the danger passed, then they would restore their own. Unfortunately, the Enterprise was late in at arriving for its refit and so the Bynars had to steal the ship. They were also working under the assumption that their plea for help would be turned down.

The Bynars are one of those one-off races in Star Trek that should have been used more. It would have been interesting to see one or two of them as crew members on the Enterprise.

Outside of Trek, a Bynar-like race would be cool in both prose and RPGs.

Books read in 2012 and my recent hauls

Not a complete list, but on the scifi front, I read the following books in 2012:
  • Coyote by Allen Steele
  • The Honor of the Queen by David Weber
  • The Clone Republic by Stephen L. Kent
  • Fuzzy Nation and The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
  • Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Lost Fleet: Relentless and The Lost Fleet: Victorious by Jack Campbell
On the whole, I read as much scifi as I did fantasy. On the book acquisition front, I've had marvelous luck at thrift stores lately:
  • Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
  • Two Shadowrun novels: House of the Sun by Nigel D. Findley and Never Trust an Elf by Robert N. Charrette
  • With the Lightnings by David Drake
  • The Black Hole by Alan Dean Foster
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Battlestar Galactica by Glen A. Larson and Robert Thurston
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov
As you can see, a couple oldies in there. I bought the Shadowruns at the same Goodwill on two different visits, which makes me suspect that there are more and they just haven't put them all out yet. BSG and The Black Hole were impulse buys as well. I own an omnibus version of the Hitchhiker's Guide, which contains all the novels, but I decided to collect each individual book because I don't like the omnibus - I always feel like I'm holding a phone book when I try to read it. Likewise, I have like a 50+ year old omnibus of the first three Foundation books, but I'm collecting the individual ones because of its age and size.

I'm going to slow down or even stop buying books for a while, at least until I finish reading some of the ones I have. I want to buy John Scalzi's Redshirts first, though.

1.07.2013

Minor refit

As you can see, I've replaced the banner with a new one: "John Harrison" from Star Trek Into Darkness, picture shameless snagged from Trek Collective. I've also made calibrations to made the post area and sidebar a little bit wider - from 1100px and 300px to 1250px and 310px, respectively. I was thinking of changing the colors and the background of the blog to something other than blacks and grays. I'm toying with the idea of doing an LCARS-ish color scheme for the sidebar, but it probably won't turn out well.

Oh, and the engineers have finally fixed the toilet in restroom 36B on deck 9, it will no longer randomly shoot water at your aft shuttlebay when you use it. As always, Room 101 is still off limits.

Mecha Monday: The MAC II truly is a Monster

Inspired by a post over on Spaceman Spiff's Blog Full O' Battlemechs...and more., today's MM is about the behemoth mech of Robotech, the Destroid Monster, aka the MAC II Monster.

Armed with four 406mm cannons and backed up with triple barreled missile launchers for arms, the Monster is a mech that anyone would be wary of messing with. Despite its impressive loadout, the Monster isn't meant to be a front line mech, but rather the kind of unit you would deploy against enemy warships and installations. Because of that, it lacks thick armor (save for the three-crew cockpit and ammo storage areas) and the missile launchers are its only other weapons.

Baby got back.
Another downside is that its barrels are only good for thirty rounds each before having to be replaced, which I can only imagine is consuming in cost, materials, and downtime. Still, it would be a great asset to have if you've got a group of enemy mechs or vehicles heading your way and you need to teach them a lesson.

Pictures via Robotech RPG.

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