21 December 2015
The Basic Plot (Maybe Minor Spoilers!)
For the most part, Star Wars VII: the Force Awakens is a solid, very enjoyable Star Wars that ranks up there with The Empire Strikes Back, and is the second best sci-fi film behind The Martian this year. It has the soul, character, world of Star Wars all there with healthy doses of Star Wars IV: A New Hope to create a bridge between the classic films and this new generation of action figures...I mean...heroes. This is the film that we fans deserved in 1999 and it has redeemed the promise of Star Wars after the abortion that the prequels were.
Should You see The Force Awakens....waitaminute...you already have.
Everyone is going to see this that is remotely interested in the film...maybe I should ask another question.
How Does The Force Awakens Fit into the World of Star Wars?
Because Star Wars is a saga that tells the story of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force along with the family history of the Skywalkers, how does this new film fit into the rest of the saga? I can say, very well. The Force Awakens feels like an organic piece of the puzzle and it is a brave start to a new trilogy storyline. It retains that favor of the original films and allows for a bridge from Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens. My hope is that more of our questions about some of the events in the background are answered in the next two films.
My Big Worry...
13 December 2015
Anyone interested in this film?
05 December 2015
1. The Cylon Wars from BSG
The Cylons of the original series waged an 1,000 year war with the 12 Colonies of Man, until finally achieving victory, and destroying the 12 Colonies of Man. Of course, both Cylons had help in destroying the 12 Colonies in the form of the Baltar characters. After the end of the SyFy Channel reimagined series in 2009, it was believed that a new series would be created around the Cylon War and William Adama's experiences in the war, along with the series Caprica. Again, the Galactica would be front-and-center. This would have allowed us to see the war that had been floating around science fiction since the 1970's. That promised series was not delivered in the form that we fans expected. BSG: Blood & Chrome was downgraded to an online miniseries of a 10 episodes. The show we thought we were going to get was just okay, and the Cylon Wars remains an unseen war. What is interesting about the Cylon War mentioned in both series, is that creators took two very different ideas on the war and the Cylons.
2. The Four Year War from Star Trek
3. The Bugboys/Bebops/Wantabes of the ALIENS Universe
4. The Clone Wars (Before the Prequels) from Star Wars
For the newer fans of the Star Wars universe, it is hard to imagine the fandom a long time ago, an galaxy before the internet. Back before we got the bullshit prequels, we fans lived on a few facts, many theories, and high hopes to see the mythical war that Obi-Kenobi spoke of in the first film. Back in those days, even mainstream magazines, like Starlog, were involved in exploring the Star Wars we had yet to see. For years, we fans collectively wondered and theorized about the word "clones" in the Clone Wars. We knew that Boba Fett's armor was somehow connected to the original stormtroopers, and somehow those troopers were involved in the Clone Wars. Many of us speculated that the "clones" in the Clone Wars were cloned Jedi created to overcome either an Mandalorian invasion or an Sith invasion (before the rule of two). These new cloned Jedi were somehow turned to the Dark Side by the Emperor or Vader and used against the Light Side Jedi. I actually think that one of the few bright spots in the Prequel films was reality of the clones and how Lucas weaved the origin story of Boba Fett into the Clonetroopers as well.
5. The Jedi/Sith Wars from Star Wars
The underlying theme of the Star Wars films is the struggle between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. At times, the Dark Lords of the Sith achieve the control over the destiny of the galaxy, while other times, the Jedi achieve control. For some time, Star Wars fans have known that their was an larger Jedi/Sith conflict in the distant past, and it was not until the 1990's, when Dark Horse Comics published The Tales of the Jedi and Bioware released The Knights of the Old Republic games. This all-out war of Sith vs. Jedi armies has lit the imagination of fans for decades, and maybe we could make movies out of the Great Sith War...maybe call it, Episode -1? There was a rumor running around the internet of an tie-in film that told the story of the origin of the Sith and their struggle against the Jedi. Of course, it was just a rumor.
6. The War Against the Machines from the Terminator Universe
7. The Off-World Conflicts from BLADE RUNNER
BLADE RUNNER is one of those films that deeply layered with worlds within worlds, and for each of fans of the 1982 classic, we have different things that interest us about the Dystopian world of 2019. For me, the off-world conflicts that fueled the development of the Replicants was what I wanted to see more of, not the gumshoe hard-boiled detective of the film. I even went as far as writing an book and several short stories about those off-world conflicts to satisfy my urge. The only hints we've seen of those wars was the information during Decker's briefing scene, some of the good parts of Soldier, and the Marvel comic book. It is unlikely that the long-awaited sequel to BLADE RUNNER will not be showing us anything more of the off-world conflicts, but it totally should. Much like Terminator, the world of BLADE RUNNER seems to be stuck in hunt for skinjobs on the streets of failing megapolis cities via gumshoe assassins with badass revolvers. Given my exception that any future film or book will not show us the off-world conflicts, I have written three short stories and one novel detailing what I think those pocket conflicts would look like.
8. The Eternal War from The Forever War
9. The Human/Forerunner War from HALO
10. The Butlerian Jihad from the DUNE Universe
For many of us fans of DUNE, the religious crusade against the thinking machines 10,000 before the events of the first book was one of the most intriguing events that was not heavily explored. It was not until the 1984 film adaptation that we fans were able to glimpse the known universe before the legendary novels. Those paintings that served has the introduction to the DUNE universe and colored my vision of what I thought the Butlerian Jihad were going to look like. When it was announced that Frank Herbert's son would be crafting an trilogy about the war against the thinking machines, I was extremely excited, and bought it only a few days after its release...and boy, I was disappointed. The magic of the world of DUNE was not present, and the new universe seemed completely separate from the world seen in DUNE. Even today, when I re-watch DUNE, I wonder about what the Butlerian Jihad what it would have been like in different hands, and those paintings are still something that interests me...can we get an Butlerian Jihad reboot?
Next Time on FWS...
Distance can be an friend of the soldier in combat, and the closer proximity of soldiers to their enemy, the increase in the danger. One of the most deadly, chaotic tactical environments is Close Quarters Warfare. Combat in tight spaces of office buildings, homes, cruise ships, space stations, or even starships is its own special breed of combat, and it is high time that FWS explored and explained Close Quarters Warfare.
29 November 2015
What is STARFLEET?
Why is STARFLEET the Military Organization of the Federation?
The Composition of STARFLEET
Special Operations Forces
Starfleet is tasked with the protection of hundreds of worlds, trillions of citizens, and thousands of lightyears. With the number of member worlds of the Federation, Starfleet can draw personnel from hundreds of species. This makes Starfleet a mosaic of races, colors, shapes, and languages. Much like most modern military organizations, there are two paths to service: enlisted and officer training. Enlisted personnel in Starfleet are much most current military organizations, there is a ceiling to the level of advancement within Starfleet. Someone that enlists in Starfleet is shut out of the captain's chair and officers, but not always from supervisory roles or even command roles in certain cases.
To achieve the dream of most Starfleet hopefuls, to command a starship, they must pass the rigorous entrance exams for Starfleet Academy. Based on Earth in the city of San Francisco, California, Starfleet Academy is considered one of the finest educational institutions in the whole of the Federation. Here, the vocational destiny of the cadet is determined based on their abilities and interests. After graduation, most emerge as lieutenants and are assigned according to the needs of Starfleet and their abilities.
Some will go on to even higher levels of education, like Medical School. Some personnel of Starfleet enter into the organization later into life with education and skills, like medical doctors and scientists. Some personnel are not officially Starfleet per say, and contacted for their skills and abilities on a project. This is the case with some scientists and engineers assigned to research areas of Starfleet. Due to the length of time that Starfleet has been around, both fictional and in the real world, there are no firm numbers on how many people serve in Starfleet. Some place the number in the hundreds of thousands, but it is more likely that it is in the millions.
STARFLEET Rank System
Considering its size and complexity, Starfleet has a relatively straightforward ranking system for non-commissioned and commissioned personnel. For commissioned officers at attend the academy, they achieve the rank of Jr. Ensign, then Ensign, and by the time they graduate, they are Jr. Lieutenants.For the bulk of their early years in service, a majority of officers will remain within the Lieutenants grades. Once achieving the rank of Commander, it is a short trip to the big chair (well...not if you are Riker).
STARFLEET of the 2260's
STARFLEET of the 2270's-2290's
STARFLEET of the 2340's-2267
STARFLEET After the Battle of Wolf 359 and the Dominion War
Prior to the battle, Starfleet had been working on more offensive solutions to the Borg threat, and new starships were being planned that were more combat minded than previous along when new weapon systems, like Quantum torpedoes and pulse phasers. The Akira and Defiant class were planned out to be ships that could counter the Borg. Only the Akira class would see service into the fleet prior to the Dominion War. This threat altered thinking of starship design as well, as seen in the Steamrunner class.
From 2372-2373, the Klingon and Federation tensions exploded into all out war. This was on the heels of the Klingons invading Cardassian space after a coup in the Cardassian central government. The Klingons believed that the Cardassian government had been taken over by the Dominion. However, all of this was a plot by the Dominion to destabilize the whole of the Alpha Quadrant. It very nearly worked. In 2373 through 2375, Starfleet, weakened by the Klingon War, engaged in the largest war in its existence. This was a war for the very survival of the Quadrant, and all of the Federation rose up. In order to counter the 30,000 ships of the Dominion and their Cardassian and Breen allies, Starfleet broke out the mothball fleet and pushed ship construction to the minimum, in order to put starships on the line.
The Future of STARFLEET: 24th Century and Beyond
The Enemies of STARFLEET
The Final Assessment on STARFLEET
The Impact of STARFLEET and Its Importance
There is nothing like Starfleet in the whole of science fiction, before or since. Since the 1960's, we have seen the evolution of Starfleet in both real-world time and the fictional timeline. We have Starfleet evolve from its beginnings in the 22nd century through the 24th. This has never been done before in an fictional military organization, especially one featured across most media platforms. Along the way, we have seen the continued development of their uniforms, their technology, and their ships. This also applies to new aliens being added to their ranks and even the evolution of the government that Starfleet serves. What also makes Starfleet unique to science fiction is its mission and the fandom. Unlike the vast majority of fictional military organizations, Starfleet is not whole devoted to defense or militarism. Instead, Starfleet embraces several core missions: defense, exploration, diplomacy, and peacekeeping. This construction of Starfleet has made other creators take note of how an space navy can be much more than just an navy.
The Confusion over Starfleet's Purpose and Mission
Next Time on FWS...