« first day (1388 days earlier)      last day (73 days later) » 

2:43 AM
Q: In Total Recall (1990), why are the choices "wanton" and "demure" selected before Quaid even tells Dr. Lull?

johnh324In the movie, Dr. Lull asks Quaid how he likes his women: demure, aggressive, sleazy? Quaid replies sleazy, but wanton is selected before he even says it. Likewise, before he says demure, demure is selected before he says it. Could the machine read Quaid's thoughts, is that that why the choic...

3:02 AM
@Slartibartfast ooh
3:57 AM
Q: What's the movie/tv show about people living in a room and communicate on a monitor in a post Apocalyptical world

Ashley ScarletA group of people live individually in these "rooms" and communicate with each other on these monitors. Apparently the world outside is messed up. However one guy thinks there is something else going on and really freaks out. The "group" decide to "blacklist" him and cut off communication. When t...

4:22 AM
Q: What are the basic rules of the physics of motion in the original Star Trek universe?

Ray ButterworthI'm about half way through the original Star Trek series on Netflix. Before this, I'd watched a random episode every now and then, but the last time I watched the whole series was in the 1960s. (When Spock is injured, he now bleeds green blood, so I must have watched it the first time in black an...

4:47 AM
Q: Does any of the libretto for Gilbert & Sullivan's "magic lozenge" operetta still exist?

BuzzBefore he started work on The Mikado, W. S. Gilbert had begun the libretto for another operetta, which was never completed. Their producer, Richard D'Oyly Carte, was pressuring Gilbert and his creative partner, composer Arthur Sullivan, to get another operetta ready, following a disappointingly ...

4 hours later…
8:22 AM
A: Announcing a Topic Challenge program for SFF.SE

Rand al'ThorList of completed topic challenges January 2021: Isaac Asimov, informally proposed by Infinity Milestone. February 2021: Hal Clement, formally proposed by b_jonas. Currently ongoing topic challenge March 2021: Cornelia Funke, formally proposed by b_jonas. Future topic challenges Propose futur...

^ upvotes on this CW list would be appreciated, to make it the top answer for posterity
8:50 AM
@Randal'Thor done :p
Q: Desperate to find this book, Far-future Earth, floating cities, human sacrifice, forgotten technologies

TomásI read this deeply immersive book, set in far-far future Earth. Humans had reached immense tech heights, but had lost all their technological knowledge and were regressed to medieval-esque lifestyles. There were ruins of future-tech everywhere, floating cities where the remnants of the overclass ...

9:18 AM
Q: Why doesn't Persephone shoot the other werewolf?

Better not tellIn the Matrix Reloaded, after shooting one of two werewolfs in the Merovingian's chateau, why does Persephone let the other one escape and tell the Merovingian what's going on, instead of deleting him too?

9:42 AM
Q: Looking for the title and author of the story with rivers personified as people

courtyard cofveveAs the title states, I'm trying to find the title and author of a short story of a small group of people who are rivers trying to get to the ocean. It's not a long story, perhaps a few pages long. The characters are described as people but having powers related to that of rivers, like being able ...

10:31 AM
@Randal'Thor re: close reason, scientific solutions, should we add something about speculative science? To make it clearer that a question like "how would an FTL-drive work?" are off topic (unless rooted in a work, of course).
Q: Obscure 90's movie/cartoon set in space, pioneer boy makes friends with alien

KiwiChickWay back in the 90's I watched a movie/cartoon on TV about a boy on an alien planet. He becomes friends with an alien called Willard or Wilbur or Willis or something like that. Towards the end the alien tells the boy it's tired and goes into a hibernation/ metamorphose state. At the end the alien...

10:53 AM
@SQB Hmm, that's an idea. Might mean revising all the texts I've already written on meta, though.
After it's already had some votes.
Also, how do we feel about question that ask "does this actually work in real life"?
For instance, the question about gold melting on a cooking fire in Games of Thrones.
I did mention "plausibility" as well as "solutions" and "explanations", to cover questions like "would this fictional science work in real life?"
Maybe speculative science isn't quite the same close reason. For these real-world science questions we tend to redirect the asker to science sites like Physics or Biology, but for speculative science it'd rather be Worldbuilding.
Yes but also no.
It depends on the question. But I know I've seen questions about speculative science that should fall under this close reason, rather than possibly migrating to WB.
They would be off-topic on WB as well, since they're much too vague and too broad.
While a migration to Physics might, with a bit of fine-tuning, yield an answerable question.
10:59 AM
Oh certainly a question that's literally "how would an FTL drive work?" would be too vague and too broad for WB.
But with enough clarifying details, some speculative science questions that people might think to ask here could easily be moved to Worldbuilding.
But I gather you feel the GoT-cooking-fire question should be off topic, under this reason?
@Randal'Thor Hm. I'll gather some data.
@SQB I'm not sure actually. If we don't have a clear consensus on this, maybe I should remove "plausibility" from the close reason text.
11:24 AM
@SQB It doesn't feel like a question specific to this site
11:46 AM
Q: Sci-fi novel series with older people transferring their minds into younger bodies

AnonymousAll I remember is that the premise is that these old people put their consciousness into younger bodies, and they all have different symbols on their bodies denoting their role in society. I think the main character is a girl who has the "empty" symbol. At some point they all wake up from their p...

12:19 PM
Well, to me, the question reads as "can — within the Game of Thrones world (which (as all fictional worlds do) unless stated otherwise, functions as our own) — gold melt on a cooking fire?"
That goes with all questions of this type.
"Does this work / how does this work within {$work}?"
And sometimes there's a solid explanation, usually if the work leans towards the harder sci-fi.
And sometimes, as with the "gold chestnuts melting on a cooking fire" question, the answer is just "we don't know, it sure doesn't work like that in the real world."
But since it's tied to a specific work, and exploring the relation between that work's fictional world and our real one, I feel it should be on topic.
12:36 PM
Greetings, Earthlings.
1:07 PM
1:20 PM
@SQB Hey, I have mentioned that, at least in chat. Not about the Game of Thrones, but other fiction. The thing in Beowulf and the Odysseia where they burn treasure on an open funeral pyre, whether on a ship or on land, is totally silly and seems fictional because gold and silver won't be harmed at all. Even most ivory and gemstones will survive. At best it will damage the paint layer on painted objects, and cover objects with a layer of soot.
I'm also a bit suspicious about whether a metal shield would really be better against a fire dragon than a wooden shield.
1:51 PM
Q: How can Protagonist understand the lines spoken by inverted Sator in this scene?

Naomi. JProtagonist can understand the lines spoken by inverted Sator in this scene: Other end of the glass in inverted Sator. How can Protagonist understand the lines spoken by inverted Sator in this scene?

1 hour later…
2:54 PM
posted on March 01, 2021 by tech

Click here to go see the bonus panel!Hovertext: It is a traditional greeting among the people of Bigot. Today's News:

3:24 PM
@SQB It feels like a grey area, I'd at least want them to show why they think it's not just an author error
4:03 PM
Author errors do happen. There's a well publicized story about how the first edition of one of Niven's books (Ringworld?) had the Earth rotating in the wrong direction. And then there's the movie version of Starship Troopers, which flubbed the science so badly I'm surprised that the director's high school science teacher didn't retroactively fail him.
4:38 PM
Q: What did Uncle Owen want with an R2 unit?

CharlesAt the beginning of Episode IV, Luke and Uncle Owen purchase C-3PO and R2-D2 from the Jawas. Well, whenever Uncle Owen talks with 3PO he mentions that he needs a droid that can understand the binary language of moisture vaporators (along with Bocce), but it's never mentioned what purpose R2 would...

@Babelfish I think that has already been answered here.
@b_jonas yes, same type of question.
@Donald.McLean I remember one in one of William Gibson's works, I think a short story, where a door was shut twice.
Not a big one, but I went "huh?" every time I read it.
5:11 PM
@SQB I have a door like that in the basement.
5:25 PM
@b_jonas I'm quite interested by the fact that using an Alcubierre drive might create a wormhole behind it, and that the bowshock could create deadly radiation that would destroy the destination
@Donald.McLean I don't think Verhoeven was too fussed about it being hard science
6:09 PM
Hard what?
@DavidW exactly
6:33 PM
@AncientSwordRage Probably not, but I am still absolutely going to hold him accountable for what could have been a good movie, even if it wasn't a particularly good adaptation.
@Donald.McLean I think it's a great, although entirely unfaithful, adaptation
As an adaptation, it falls in the same category as the adaptation of I, Robot - a movie with the same name and some superficial resemblance, but in no way containing even the tiniest bit of actual substance from the original work.
It has some characters and locations with the same names, even if everything else about them is different.
It's a different category in my estimation. I, Robot the film takes the themes of the original analogy and then weaves a very loose story amongst those. Starship Troopers takes Heinlein's militaristic fantasy and flips it on it's head very, very deliberately into a delicious parody.
Starship Troopers pokes fun at Heinlein, in the same way Airplane! pokes fun at Zero Hour/Flight into Danger
We're going to have to agree to disagree on that. It just has too many blatant mistakes to be anything but a stupid waste in my book.
6:48 PM
Must be too subtle for me.
(And "subtle" isn't a word I'd normally attach to Verhoeven.)
Cold Crash Pictures does a great video on this
And I'm not even sure that saying I, Robot took the themes from the original collection is fair either. Asimov certainly never wrote, and didn't even contemplate until much later, a zeroth law rebellion.
TBF, he contemplated a "zeroth law" but there was no "rebellion" involved.
@DavidW I distinctly remember at least a few stories investigating why the AI Government is firing various people, and it turns out they hold anti-AI
that probably fed into the idea of a zeroth-law rebellion
7:12 PM
Q: Fantasy series say in World War I Europe featuring an aristocrat mage

FuzzyBootsThe series had at least five books, I think, that I borrowed as ebooks from the library. They were written in English and might have been intended for the upper side of Young Adult. The main character is a young male, late teens, born into aristocracy. The setting is an alternate Europe where the...

7:26 PM
All that being said I need to read the book(s) to make my own mind up
This comment reads similar to my current interpretation:
Actually they took a lot from the novel, but what they left out was Heinlein's unabashed glorification of militarism and war. In turn, they added in the propaganda that you would need to keep people thinking the right way despite the tremendous bloodletting of a sustained conflict. Have a look at what U.S. citizens were exposed to during World War II and the "would you like to know more?" ads in Starship Troopers don't seem nearly so over-the-top. — Kyle Jones Mar 25 '12 at 1:36
Admittedly it's been a while, but I don't recall a lot of "war good!" crap in the novel. When Rico signs up it's almost weird that anyone would do it. And most of the instructors are pretty clear that war is a necessary evil.
But in a "smoking is bad for ya, kid" kinda way. "Don't do the cool thing I do."
I'm not remembering exactly, but I think some of the fun-poking is at the idea that was is necessary at all
also, I think some of the fun poking is at the 'military industrial complex' itself, not Heinlein.
7:41 PM
Haven't seen the film.
But yeah, in the world of the book, war and combat are seen — at least by the people that matter to the story — as the only force that settles matters. Not as much a necessary evil as an inevitable hard truth.
That starts with — what's his name? DuBois? — Rico's highschool teacher.
Who is Heinlein's stunt double, this book.
Are there any Heinlein books that do not have a Heinlein stunt double?
Maybe Double Star.
(Okay, fair's fair, a lot of his books do not in fact have him in it).
Although a lot of them do.
8:07 PM
@SQB I dispute that. Rico's family pretty much disowns him; he loses most of his friends except for the 2 that also enlist. In a militaristic society they would be recruiting people, not just letting people sign up. They would lionize the recruits, not let them be ostracised.
But it isn't a militaristic society.
In a way it is, because you need to have served to be able to vote. But that is just a tradition, there isn't a war going on, and it's just something you go through if you really want to vote.
But most people don't really bother.
I'm not trying to say that Starship Troopers doesn't have some issues with the way it portrays the military - I don't recall any discussion of PTSD, we don't meet any maimed or permanently crippled soldiers (just a couple of instructors with prostheses) - but I'm disputing that there are fascist themes in the novel.
I didn't say fascist.
But militaristic.
Well, I guess I'm still objecting to the idea that the movie is a parody of the novel.
If anything, I'd say it's less militaristic than, say Hammer's Slammers where, even though the negative effects of combat (even on the winners) - think about Hammer's subaltern Joachim - are much more clearly painted, there's a lot more emphasis on the military as a political tool.
As there are some people — like Dubois — who believe it is something more. Not glorious, but valorous. A hard truth, that a lot of people choose to ignore or tend to forget, because they live in a comfortable society.
8:15 PM
Weren't there non-military routes to citizenship too? Wasn't there something about serving a few years of hardship duty in some remote place as a means of gaining full citizenship?
Wikipedia tells me there were.
8:54 PM
I need a UI reminder; "You have a gold badge in this tag. Your vote alone will close/reopen this question."
I mean, it looks like a reasonable dupe close, and I did check that there was an accepted answer on both ends. But I still don't like unilaterally closing it.
If I'd been paying attention, I would have waited for a couple more votes and been the 4th or 5th VTC instead of the 2nd.
@SQB While that statement is true, it's not the whole truth. Yes, to vote you have to serve BUT you don't have to serve in the military. Rico's friend Carl(?) actually served as a research scientist IIRC.
The truth is that the movie contains many failures related to how the military was portrayed. It could be argued that they were designed to show how stupid military people are - a view that, as a vet, I would have serious problems with. Or it could be that the people who made the movie were as ignorant of how the military works as they were of basic science - proving that the movie is even stupider than most people realize.
@Donald.McLean I don't think it's targeting military in that sense. The movie seems to pointing out that people are being sent off to a far away planet to get killed by aliens. That might not be how events happen in the book, but that is what the director chose to show in the movie
I have never served in the military, but I have some relatives who have. To those people who say that the military is uniquely dysfunctional I have a similar response to those who claim that private enterprise is magically more efficient than government organizations - these people have obviously never worked for an international megacorporation.
From that Q&A:
> It's never a soldier's business to decide when or where or how — or why — he fights; that belongs to the statesmen
It's the idea that a statesman gets to decide who kills and gets killed that I think is one of the bigger points of contention Verhoeven is trying to highlight
Bear in mind I've never read the book and not seen the film in several years
9:13 PM
@AncientSwordRage I'm talking about basic stuff like tactics. Humans are no longer stupid enough to attack in mass-charges. We learned about not doing that at Gettysburg. All of the military people in the movie act like testosterone laden idiots, and that is absolutely a characterization that I object to, and with good reason.
@AncientSwordRage Skipping over how we might get from here to there, in Heinlein's novel those statesmen both are, and are elected by people who have been willing to put their service to society ahead of their own comfort, and who, at least in part, know what combat means. They don't get random spoiled rich sons of entrenched money in positions of authority who would view wars as something to get casually engaged in.
Actually, that statement is wrong. Statesmen (who aren't micro-managing idiots) set out the high level objectives and generals take over from there. Much of the where and most of the how is absolutely the domain of the military.
@Donald.McLean Well, maybe the Somme. (Except it took the Iranians until the 1980s...)
There have been exceptions. Polish forces at the beginning of WW2 (mostly because they were dead anyway, so why not go out in a blaze of glory).
@Donald.McLean that's a good point
9:24 PM
I'm pretty sure this is definitive write-up of Starship Troopers.
@JackBNimble That is almost completely wrong.
That is definitely a load of....something that I can't say here.
I like the article for it's controversy, but I also put that blurb at the top. And I didn't write it.
I did read the book a few years ago.
I think it was because of the negative comments the post was getting.
Just "Heinlein is discussing in meticulous and fascinating detail his vision of a perfect military and the awesome array of weapons the Mobile Infantry employs throughout the universe." to take a single statement. Heinlein (through Rico) is, contrary to almost every other military SF example, extremely coy about their weaponry.
Oh, I should have re-read the article.
9:40 PM
Q: Book series plot with a rough space marshal/soldier that drinks Wild Turkey from a hip flask

Nick DickensWhen I was a teenager I read a couple of books from a series about a battle against some sort of aliens, possibly not on earth. The main character was a rough soldier/space marshal type character that drank Wild Turkey from a hip flask. Does this ring any bells for anyone?

9:55 PM
In some military SF, the discussions of military technology is every bit as graphic and lovingly detailed as the sex scenes in a romance novel. It even gets called "tech porn".
Q: Kids/YA chapter book series with a group of kids from 2006ish and I think the title is an acronym or looks/sounds like the word "people"

user137534I don't remember much but the cover was pretty simple, just one color. Gave me Stargirl vibes. It was about a group of kids. They had an acronym for what they called either themselves or the adults and it had the word people in it? It was a series of 3 or more books. One of them (or all of them?...

Q: SciFi short story about eating only one special food to be immortal

KorvinI'm looking for a short story I read a while ago. It might have been part of an anthology. Here is the plot: The story begins as an owner of a popular new restaurant gets invited to supper by an old man. He goes to the old man's castle and is served a bowl of grey porridge. It smells and tastes w...

@Marvin That special food is Kale, most people would rather die a mortal death than eat it though.
@JackBNimble In modest quantities, kale can be a nice additions to some soups.
@Marvin Tip of my tongue...
10:12 PM
@JackBNimble Using controversy to draw eyeballs? I see you trained in the populist school of blogging.
10:29 PM
Q: Teenager on Mars, in conflict with authority, learns truth of Martian lifecycle

gowenfawrI'm trying to recall a story I read in the early-to-mid 80s. It was a school library book and probably old at the time. I don't recall any details of the cover. I do not believe it is Lost Race of Mars. The protagonist is a teenager on Mars. A new authority figure comes into his life, either ...

11:04 PM
Kale is great in salads, especially with a sweeter balsamic vinegar dressing and lots of separate goodies (Parmesian, harvatie (sp?) cheese, cucumber, croutons, etc).
11:31 PM
I like it with diced apples, cherry tomatoes and walnuts.

« first day (1388 days earlier)      last day (73 days later) »