26 July 2011

FWS News Feed

Here is what's going on around the world of Military Science Fiction:



You're reading right, MASS EFFECT the movie is in early production and is being made by Legendary Pictures. Information on the game was released during Comic-Con, and it seems from reading between the lines that they are trying to make a movie based on the first game and it is not a video game-move that mimics the style of gameplay. Mass Effect is one of the best games of all time (especially the first one), and I see no reason why this cannot be an epic product.

No word if you're going to be mining planets or choosing Shepard's gender....I vote for female, personal.


I was not aware that the semi-good-semi-bad forgettable 1990-based-on-a-PKD-story needed a remake? The original was one of those films that came and went...which seems an odd choice, but it's not my money The remade stars Colin Farrell at the helm as Doug Quaid, and it seems closer to the original PDK story We can remember it for you wholesale.


Concept Art for the next installment of the Riddick saga as been released, with the title "badlands" on the art. Is this the name of the next movie or a scene. No word on the plot or central concept of the new film, but one can hope that they have learned their lesson from the last Riddick movie! No word on release date.



Well, God (Ridley Scott) is back making sci-fi movies, and the first footage as been released. Prometheus as been rumored to be the prequel to ALIEN. Some hints were dropped about this movie being built on the "DNA" of ALIEN, in fact of God just that term over and over...which makes me think that DNA will play heavily in this film, and he also mentioned that a new idea of robots will be feature.
Oh, the video seen at Comic-Con had "Charlize Theron doing pushups naked"...Okay, I'm seeing this one.


Jesse Giffith, director and creator of this short film states this about his project: Cockpit the feature, is the story of a squadron of fighter pilots, stranded in their cockpits deep in enemy space, struggling with reality and delusion as they are hunted by an alien race that controls minds. The screenplay is a finalist in the Visionfest Film Festival. 96 pages of the feature take place in one location: the cockpit of a spaceship. This is a project rearing to go and can be made on a practical budget. I hope to literally "take-off" with it soon. Oh and people can check out the website for weekly updates and concept art and graphic novelizations from the feature.


The rather cool two-part comic series about mecha pilots in the early teens from Dark Horse as been made in a short film that as been making the festival rounds. No word on when this product will come to DVD or the internet. This comic series would make a cool TV series, like crossing Robotech with Space: Above and Beyond and Gossip Girl.


At present, Mr. Scott is working on Prometheus and then it is believed that he will begin on this landmark MSF film...what does that mean? 2013 or 2014...I hope those people are wrong about the Mayan Calender!



There is no updates for this film at present...

The release date for this movie that I have been waiting on since I was six seems to be August 2nd, but that was off an British website. We can hope...I want to see, especially since it seems to be a mix of the original Anime series and the 2003 Battlestar Galactica


Karl Urban is becoming the LAW in the thank-the-lords-of-Kobol remake of the 1995 film and the very cool 2000AD comic, set to be released in late summer of 2012. If this movie is made darkly and keeping Dredd as a monster for the law than this should be a great flick.


From the pages of a dark inter-sol system war comics comes a movie Shrapnel starring Hilary Swank and directed by John McTiernan...best of all, it as frakking APS fighting on the surface of Venus. This could be epic!



Here is the basic outline to the Radical Comic that Tom Cruise and $100 million dollars are committed to: In a future where the Earth’s surface has been irradiated beyond recognition, the remnants of humanity live above the clouds, safe from the brutal alien Scavengers that stalk the ruins. But when surface drone repairman Jak discovers a mysterious woman in a crash-landed pod, it sets off an unstoppable chain of events that will force him to question everything he knows.


-HALO 4-

Quite honestly, I didn't think that HALO 4 would be a reality. It seemed that the story for HALO had run its course.

That was until E3.

343 Industries as official taken over the HALO series, and they have launched another trilogy of games, starting with HALO 4 in 2012. We have only seen a trailer lasted a few minutes, telling us that John-117 as new weapons, new armor, and something big coming his way. My hopes are high for this game, but my worry is that they're going to fuck up this thing up.


This feels right to have an upgraded verison of one of the greatest games of all time, and I celebrate Bungie's choice on being able to flip between the original verison and the new improved HALO:CE, however, I would like the same guns from HALO: REACH and the close-combat abilities. Between this, and Modern Warfare 3 all being released all in November, I'm going to spend some serious cash...good thing HALO: CE-Anniversary is being retailed for $39.


Back in the 1990's, I had a very powerful Packer-Bell computer, and I played nothing but flight sims, including the excellent Wing Commander and X-Wing...however those heydays of the space flight sims have gone away. Austin-based Seamless Entertainment is releasing an 3-D space fighter shooter called Sol Exodus. The basic plot as the sun is close to going supernova, the Earth unites and sends out expeditions to find a new home...when the expeditions come home to the Sol system years later, Earth is under the boot of religious nutjobs that believe the coming solar explosion is the way to salvation...the expeditions sent out to save humanity, first have to liberate them from oppression. Remind anyone of the basic plot of Robotech II: the Sentinels?

September 20th, the third Gears of War will drop and (hopefully) end the war with the Locusts. I played the two previous games, enjoyed them, but I am tried of the last-minute saves that prevent Locust Horde from finally losing...



One of the best, and most original space-based video games is ending with this third installment dropping on March 6th, 2012. Mass Effect 3 will not be the leap that Mass Effect 2 was from one. It seems that the thermal clips will be returning...ugh...

I really need to go back and save the entire crew from the Normandy SR-2...


-FAITH by JOHN LOVE (Nigthshade books)-


Faith is by first time British author John Love, being published by Nightshade books, and from the information released about this upcoming book, it's the Hunt for Red October in space! Well, the author states that it is more linked to the movie Dualist and Moby Dick. The plot centers around two massive warships, one human, one alien, locked in a desperate missions. The alien warship is from 300 years ago, and on a mission to end the human commonwealth, like they did to a previous galactic empire. The commonwealth sends its own dreadnought to deal with threat...however working against the human crew is themselves.
No release date as of yet...

LINK: http://io9.com/5822400/how-a-debut-novelist-sold-a-book-about-the-battle-between-two-invincible-spaceships



Fumihiiko Sori adapted two of Japanese Manga author Yukinobu Hishino's stories from his thousand-year epic on mankind's journey into space.The series uses CGI SFX blended with hard science, seems like a winner...


I know of nothing coming down the pipe concerning a military science-fiction comics. Anyone as one, let me know!



io9.com as reported from Comic-Con that they had seen the first hour of the program, and overall they seemed to positive things to say, which makes me hopeful that this series may not be the next Firefly...however it's first season will be only 13 episodes. The series begins on Monday September 26th. Naturally, FWS will have a review...
LINK (spoiler warning!): http://io9.com/5824128/we-saw-the-first-hour-of-steven-spielbergs-terra-nova?tag=sdcc2011


Nothing as come out about this new spinoff BSG series...is no news good news? Right? Frakking Cylons!


  1. Finally!! The third Riddick movie!! I love both of the Riddick movies, although the second seemed to stray from the more SF/horror to SF/fantasy genera. And why did the Necromongers, who had guns that hurled their targets back twenty feet with a huge crater in their chest, INSIST on hitting you with a big club instead? I MUST hit you with this big axe. I suppose the converts made up for the losses. Other than that, it was a pretty stylish film.

    Total Recall. I remember that ultra-violent kind-of-bad-yet-kind-of-good film- and its scientific errors. The ending was REALLY silly. I mean, terraform Mars in five minutes!!?? HA HA HA HA HAA HAA HA!!!! Somehow that movie changed from a stylish future action movie to something incredibly silly in the last few scenes. Hope the sequel is less silly- I hear it is not set on Mars at all, so no OMG-I-am-having-my-eyeballs-sucked-out-somewhere-Arthur C. Clark-is-contemplating-murder-so-unrealistic-I-can't-take-it-CHOKE!!! scenes.

    By the way, what is Turbinium? The name crops up in Total Recall and a game I have been playing recently- Deimos Rising. I figure it is just a made-up radioactive element. Deimos Rising is a top scrolling arcade-style game where you pilot an experimental vacfighter against robotic forces on a terraformed Mars- it came preinstalled on classic Macintosh computers. I have an old laptop that still has the game- never defeated it, so I have been trying recently. I did defeat the other game that came preinstalled on old Macs- Otto Matic. They don't give you anything fun anymore, just I-something-or-the-other.

    Oblivion looks intriguing- I shall check it out. And I am not battling Cylons until I get a frakking blaster!! And a frakking viper with laser torpedoes!!

    Christopher Phoenix

  2. Turbinium seems to be some sort of Mars fossil fuel, I base this on a quote by Vilos Cohaagen: "As long as the turbinium keeps flowing"
    And in the movie there is a mention of a fuel company in the film, and I believe that they are connected to Turbuinium.

    Laser Torpedoes...haha!

  3. Turbinium a fossil fuel... I though it was a fissionable element, based on the giant reactor we saw in the final scenes of Total Recall. It is fissionable element in Deimos Rising. There are turrets with heavy shielding powered by a Turbinium reactor (marked with the symbol for radioactive materials). You have to destroy the reactor before you can kill the turret- kind of hard when it is shooting you with not-so-depleted uranium slugs.

    "As long as the turbinium keeps flowing" could have been a figure of speech- if someone said "As long as the uranium keeps flowing", would you assume uranium was a fluid chemical fuel? Unless turbinium is a radioactive fluid fuel...

    I insist on the Laser Torpedoes!! Just kidding, I though that was a really silly error on the BSG writers part. According to this website, laser torpedoes are really bursts of fusion plasma contained in a magnetic field.
    And the blasters shoot bursts of charged plasma, apparently. The ones that shot visible bursts, that is, not the invisible beam blasters.

    Stupid bullets with stupid tracers are so FRAKKING BORING!!! Get me some flashy laserific firepower to turn the Cylons to bright glowing gas populating a rapidly expanding area of space!!

    Christopher Phoenix

  4. I have been thinking about the 40 megawatt laser weapon in your book- Endangered Species. I think 40 MW is a bit much for a laser designed for point defense and dazzling sensors. And no military laser I know of is 40 MW- a diesel locomotive only puts out 3 MW!! Lasers today are lucky to be 30% efficient. A 40 MW laser made with todays tech would guzzle over 133 MW of power and require 93 MW to be dissipated as waste heat- the laser would be dumping far more damaging heat into itself than the target. The laser would be destroyed. Using future tech, perhaps a 40MW laser will be built- but no laser today is that powerful!!

    Today, the "holy grail" of military lasers is to reach 100 Kw of power. A 100Kw laser can kill much more than a simple unmanned drone- maybe even stop tanks by spot-welding things that shouldn't be. Right now, they are working on 32 Kw lasers. They have demonstrated a 32 Kw laser gun shooting down unmanned drones. The real problem with laser weapon today is how inefficient lasers are. A 100Kw laser operating at 30% wall outlet efficiency (the target under the DARPA RIFL project) will produce 200Kw of waste heat- a heat dissipation challenge, to say the least.

    Far more efficient laser diodes will have to be available before anything resembling a laser pistol is possible.

    Perhaps you should just say that the APS suit laser is a powerful laser that can dazzle sensors or be used for point defense. Most readers don't care about what the power output of the laser is, and people who actually check your numbers will become annoyed if you show a laser that, by the numbers, should cut through meters of steel in seconds being used to dazzle sensors. Using a laser to dazzle sensors and shoot down incoming missiles is an entirely plausible and near-term use of laser weapons, but a 40MW laser is a disintegration weapon of destruction- not a dazzler.

    Christopher Phoenix

  5. Ah, yes, Mr. Phoenix, you caught on to something that I been researching at the moment! The 40Mw laser used by the APS is under research, and maybe revised...I was using the lasers mounted to the M577 APC in ALIENS. I do not want Endangered Species to be a bad science fiction book, and I am exploring the laser to ensure that it meets the science test. At the moment, I and Nigel are designing the sniper suits used by the British APS element in the book.
    Northrop recently tested a 15Kw laser to knock incoming mortar shells, and the navy recently burned out a motor on a small boat using a solid state laser.
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Hi, William!! It is really cool that you are working so hard to keep the science in your book accurate!! So many SF writers don't care if they make glaring errors- sad, really. I hope How To Build a Laser Death Ray (for Science Fiction Settings) helps you- it is the only web site I know of that has information useful for developing all the details of a laser weapon for SF. Keep up the good work!!

    I have heard about the recent tests with laser weapons- someday death rays will flash across our battlefields. We just need more power, so we can vaporize our targets instead of just burning them. By the way, did you ever hear of all the death ray designs mad inventors came up with in the 1920's and 1930's- most notably Nikola Tesla's teleforce? Non-dispersive energy beams shooting down thousands of planes and causing armies to fall dead in their tracks- countries surrounded by invisible chinese walls of electricity- electrically powered flying machines soaring through the upper atmosphere- the world system transmitting wireless power and information everywhere- war reduced to a mere spectacle of machines!! What is remarkable about Tesla is the fantastic ideas he conceived of that did work- he invented the polyphase AC electrical system (which is the basis for our whole electrical grid), the tesla coil, a remote control boat, man-made lightning, and much more.

    Christopher Phoenix

  7. Lately, I have been thinking about the damage a real blaster would do to human flesh. A laser would probably cook a portion of your body until it burst, or bore a hole straight through you. A particle beam weapon would super-heat a portion of the target, literally exploding it. Since most of the damage is caused by super-heated, vaporization would play a big role.

    In Star Wars, we saw much more realistic damage from the blaster weapons. When Han Solo shot Greedo, there was a large explosion and we saw that Greedo's corpse was smoking and charred. Later, Han Solo's DL-44 blew huge chunks out of the wall of the landing and launch pit. Of course, when Leia was hit in ROTJ, the blaster only burned her arm- damned plot-induced stupidity!!

    I tend to imagine a blaster or laser pistol firing an intense blast of super-intense light that super-heats a target. Flesh will blow apart or char to ash when hit by something like that- you were right that realistic energy weapons tend to be very nasty in your post about bullets over beams. Of course, bullets tend to be nasty too, but they don't have the "cooking your flesh until your bodily fluids boil" aspect.

    I have always wondered what a TOS-era "old-style" laser pistol- the ones from The Cage- would do to a living target. The laser pistols caused heat and blast effects, instead of the Phaser's disintegration effect. The pistols were obviously very powerful- the landing party fired at the Talosians door with the seeming expectation of blasting through it. They didn't even have their laser pistols set to the highest power setting- we saw one crew-member twist the barrel to select a higher power setting when the lower setting didn't work. I guess that the laser would burn through flesh or even cook an organism till it burst- imagine what would have happened if Christopher Pike had fired when he threatened the Talosian he had dragged into the cell. The beam would have burned through the Talosian's head and vaporized its brain. The effects would have been gory. A flash of light, a steam explosion and bits of flesh flying away- I wonder what Talosian blood looks like? The kill setting of a TOS-era laser pistol killed by vaporizing portions of an organism- that is what a "heat and blast" effect would do.

    Too bad Gene Roddenberry decided to call the hand weapons "phasers" and utilize a cheesy disintegration effect. He thought someday the audience would say "Lasers can't do that!!" But it turns out lasers could cause the devastation of a SF ray-gun if they have enough power. Lasers could vaporize objects, kill hostile organisms, burn through metal, cut through bulkheads, incinerate oncoming hordes of aliens, cook your dinner.... even stun if you use a pulsed energy projectile mode or an electro-laser. There is no limit to how much power you can put into a light beam. Gamma ray bursters put enough power into a beam of gamma rays to incinerate a planet. You would need a lot of power to cause near-instantaneous incineration- like H.G. Well's heat ray- or to create instantly fatal "death rays", but advanced power sources will solve that problem.

    "Is your blood red like ours? I aim to find out!" Perhaps humans are to dangerous and unstable to be a slave race?

    Christopher Phoenix

  8. Here ALIENS FE laser I used as the base from my novel's APS laser:

    This is from ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manuel by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood pg 73 (Harper Prism, New York, 1996)

    "The variant M577A2 mounts two Republic Dynamics M2025 40 mW free-electron lasers in the 2.0 - 3.0 micron range, which are effective against both ground and air targets. Beam power is supplied by a 10 mW hydrogen fuel cell driving a homopolar fast-discharge generator. The beam is propagated, without the need for lasants, by the interaction of a particle-accelerated electron beam with a static electric field. The advantage of a free-electron laser in Colonial Marine service is its ability to be tuned to wavelengths that would minimize beam degradation by the local atmosphere.

    In addition, a reactive tune facility , cued by laser returns from the beam, is incorporated to allow rapid retuning in the event that counter-measures (such as smoke or steam) are deployed to block the beam. The lasers can be used in two modes. In 'dazzle' mode, the beam is used to burn out enemy optical/infrared sensors or blind infantrymen and pilots, has a low output (20 kW -50 kW) . It is in this mode that the beam is at its most efficient, playing continuously across a target without need for pulsing or the associated effects on beam propagation from thermal blooming, ionization or dielectric breakdown. In 'pulse' mode, a beam is pulsed at full power at the target. Damage is caused by the mechanical impulse of the beam as it superheats the target area, and in the case of the M2025 is capable of penetrating infantry personal armor or the skin of a missile or aerospace craft. Range and effectiveness in pulse mode is entirely dependent on the ambient atmospheric conditions, but in ideal conditions, the weapon has an effective range against aerospace craft of up to 3,000 m.

    "yeah, right. What are these 'ideal conditions'? I never get to see them. If the weather is even slightly crappy the beam is screwed. As a. rule of thumb I never pulse at anything over a thousand meters 'cause of atmospheric scattering - that and the giveaway DEW line [Directed Energy Weapon trail caused by ionization and thermal blooming]."

    - Sgt. Bom 'Happy' Lance, 5th Reserve Colonial Marine Brigade.

  9. Hello, William. I found a technical error in the Colonial Marine's Technical Manual- FEL's pass a beam of electrons traveling at near-light-speed through a wiggler magnet, not a "static electric field". A bit nit-picky, I know, but the distinction is important- otherwise readers will conclude you don't know what you are talking about.

    Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on FEL's:
    To create a FEL, a beam of electrons is accelerated to almost light speed. The beam passes through the FEL oscillator, a periodic transverse magnetic field produced by an arrangement of magnets with alternating poles within a laser cavity along the beam path. This array of magnets is sometimes called an undulator, or a "wiggler", because it forces the electrons in the beam to follow a sinusoidal path. The acceleration of the electrons along this path results in the release of photons (synchrotron radiation). Since the electron motion is in phase with the field of the light already emitted, the fields add together coherently. Whereas conventional undulators would cause the electrons to radiate independently, instabilities in the electron beam resulting from the interactions of the oscillations of electrons in the undulators and the radiation they emit leads to a bunching of the electrons, which continue to radiate in phase with each other.[4] The wavelength of the light emitted can be readily tuned by adjusting the energy of the electron beam or the magnetic field strength of the undulators.

    By the way, the wiggler magnets are often Halbach arrays.

    Funny- the "low output" of the Aliens laser, 20Kw or 50Kw is about the strength of lasers that the military is contemplating for destroying mortar shells or drones. 20Kw or 50Kw is quite enough to do some serious harm to a human.

    By the way- 40Mw is WAY to much power for your purposes- an Unstoppable Death Ray With Stupendous Range (free electron X-ray laser weapon) studied at Atomic Rockets only had an output of 10Mw. This laser could burn through thick armor at several light-minutes and was so large that only a large space station or death star could mount one!!! You need to revise your numbers- your laser should be measured in Kw.

    Other than the "static electric field" error, the Aliens laser seems realistic- although I am not sure that atmospheric scattering is as bad as the Colonial Marines suggest. It is unlikely that you will ever get to see "ideal conditions", but laser tests on the ocean have shown that even salt and moisture don't stop laser beams. On the other hand, the vacuum of space is "ideal conditions".

    In the Alien universe, everything is dark, cold, and nasty. Flashy laser death rays just don't fit in with the dark, dirty, used atmosphere. That would explain why directed energy weapons are of little use in that universe, beyond large bulky lasers for dazzling or large point defense lasers on ships. The Sulaco's main weapons were her missiles- she had a particle weapon, but it only disrupted electronics, instead of disrupting the targets molecular structure into subatomic particles. This is also why guns are used instead of blasters.

    An portable FEL needs a compact electron accelerator. An electron beam could be used as a weapon directly- an electron particle beam weapon throwing around a few kilojoules of ionizing radiation will be pretty deadly. Anyone who is hit by it will have a hole blasted in their flesh, be irradiated, and electrocuted- all at the same time. Even if the electron beam was not powerful enough to open up a hole in flesh, the radiation dose would be lethal. You could have a beam that only causes scorch marks on skin- except anything in the path of the beam is dead. Now where did I put my ZAP-90 Particle Pistol again?? I think I hear a xenomorph....

    Christopher Phoenix

  10. Hello, William! Remember some of the discussions we have had on the similarities between fictional aliens- like the xenomorphs out of the Alien series- and real life creepy-crawlies like wasps and parasites? Disturbingly enough, there are many examples of real life parasites that can control the mind of insects or small animals, and scientists don't understand all the details of how these parasites do this. These scenarios sound like the twisted creations of SF horror, but they are all real, and some play out in your backyard (or even your kitchen floor!!)

    Many SF movies, video games, and books feature parasitic creatures that may attack humans as part of their process of breeding, or take over the mind of an unfortunate victim. The xenomorph out of the Alien series bred in an unfortunate victim, eating it out from the inside and bursting forth once it was ready to assume an independent existence.

    This sounds farfetched, yet there are wasps that do something very similar right now. The green jewel wasp attacks a cockroach, injecting a venom that blocks octopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with alertness and movement. The wasp then plants its own larvae inside the roaches body, and the larvae eat their host from the inside out. Their are many parasitoid wasps, and ironically, they are beneficial to humans. They control insect populations. Imagine an alien version that bred in humans... the xenomorph!!

    Headcrabs attack humans, attach themselves to the head of their unwilling host, inject a neurotoxin to paralyze them, break open their skull with a hard beak, and attach themselves to their victims motor nerves- transforming their victims into killing machines known as headcrab zombies.

    Mind controlling parasites are far from fictional. The female Sacculina barnacle begins its life adrift at sea, like other barnacles. Once it finds a crab, however, it crawls onto into it and finds a joint, where it can slip inside the crab. Once inside, it grows and sends root-like tendrils all through the crabs body. Those tendrils allow the parasite to draw nutrients from the crab--and take over its mind. From then on, the crab lives only to serve its master: it no longer molts, mates, or re-grows broken appendages, because those activities would take energy away from the barnacle. And when the parasite is ready to reproduce, the crab--even a male one--will care for the barnacle larvae as its own. That sounds like something out of a science fiction horror first person shooter game, not a biology textbook!!

    To be continued...

    Christopher Phoenix

  11. Here is something even weirder. Imagine a future spacecraft invaded by a terrifying organism that implants its larvae in a human host. The larvae emerge from an unfortunate crewman and attach themselves to a wall. Security personnel arm themselves with laser rifles and attempt to destroy the emerging larvae, only to be attacked by the crewman originally infected by the larvae. Now partially eaten and possessing large claws, he attacks anyone who comes near the larvae.

    The parasitic wasp Glyptapanteles plants its larvae in a caterpillar, like some other species of wasp do. In this case, their is a bizarre twist. The larvae make the caterpillar into their bodyguard. As the larvae emerge from their host and attach themselves to a nearby plant, the caterpillar watches over them and attacks anything that tries to get near them. Scientists studying this arrangement have found that one or two larvae stay behind in the caterpillar. It's possible that the stragglers secrete some kind of chemical to control the mind of the poor caterpillar, which is already partially eaten.

    It seems that many of the horrific parasitic organisms imagined in SF are not as farfetched as you might think. Insects and small animals are often the victim of mind controlling parasites and parasitoid wasps. Sometimes the host becomes a zombie-like slave, protecting the parasite's young like its own. Even headcrabs sound feasible, after reading about the Sacculina barnacle. In the case of Glyptapanteles, life is stranger than art- I have never seen a movie in which the host of the parasite actually protects the larvae. It seems that the mind controlling parasites have a lot of control over their victims!!

    If you ever need to design parasitic organisms for a book or game, try looking up all the different parasitic organisms that attack small creatures like insects, spiders, and crabs. There are scenarios more horrific and stranger than anything I ever imagined that play out in nature. All you need to do is mix and match some characteristics of real parasites and have it attack humans, and you have some pretty horrific creatures. Mind controlling parasites are not fictional.

    Some helpful links:

    Now I need to bring out my M41A pulse rifle and crowbar- the mind controlling parasites are here already!!

    Christopher Phoenix