How do you feel about the technology in Firefly?

Forums Cult Sci Fi Series Firefly How do you feel about the technology in Firefly?

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #38862
    SadGeezer
    Keymaster

    I guess I’ve gone on record as being pretty much against the way Joss Whedon has decided to use frontier low-tech (back to the wild west) approach to the show. But I seem to be in the minority.

    The good lady wife is quite prepared to ignore this in the show and enjoy it for the Whedonesque humour and character interaction.

    The trouble is, it drives me nuts!

    Watching a show set 500 years where the characters act out an episode of the Lone Ranger is scary… well, it is for this Brit.

    My point is, is it fair to say that in 500 years it would be cheaper to use a few throwaway silicon chips and some cheap batteries to fabricate a powerful energy weapon or would it be preferable to build a six-shooter or pump action rifle instead?

    Would the technology to build efficient weapons be cheap enough for anyone?

    #64593
    FX
    Participant

    quote:


    Originally posted by SadGeezer:

    My point is, is it fair to say that in 500 years it would be cheaper to use a few throwaway silicon chips and some cheap batteries to fabricate a powerful energy weapon or would it be preferable to build a six-shooter or pump action rifle instead?

    Would the technology to build efficient weapons be cheap enough for anyone?


    hi sweetie, well i guess i would defer to you tech heads about the relative price of technology…i know that in the distant mists of time when i was a defense contractor, the common practice for second and third world countries who sympathized with the USSR was to get the 20 year old technology to play with…in other words, certain arabs who had received soviet aid and training, were using vietnam era surface to air missiles and antiaircraft artillary during engagements with the usa 20 years later …moreover the training that the average field batallion received for the use of those weapons was elementary at best…contrast this with the us policy of giving fairly new technology and training to , oh say, the afghanis, and think again if whedon is way off course…a gun is still fairly cheap and easy to make, as are primitive bombs…any chip technology requires fairly rigorous manufacturing standards…but again, i am long out of this field, and you ,newkate, cat among many others would be better placed to judge the price of new technology vs 500 year old technology …i guess i don’t care for westerns in general, so the space western thing doesn’t do a whole lot for me anyway, but not because i find it particularly unrealistic…btw, the cost of a trident II submarine in the 80’s-old technology if you will- was 3.5 billion dollars; this is a figure i still find mindboggling…as far as i can see, you should be able to buy argentina for that

    #64594
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Being out in the boondocks myself, I can tell you it’s highly possible that the outskirts of a civilization would find it far handy dandier to use old looking technology. I say ‘old looking’ because although the guns look antique, who knows how they work on the insides.

    Heck, the town I live in just recently got cable internet available to them. Like, in the last few months. We still have a lot of services offered by the phone companies unavailable in this area. Yet 30 miles away, most of those services are available. We don’t even have a 24 hour grocery store available. (Not a big thing, just takes a bit adjusting to after getting used to one.)

    *looks for point before she wanders too far away* My point being, the further away from the center of the technology, the less likely to see that technology and the harder to find the components.

    It’s occured to me while typing this that NEVER seeing a laser at all would be disappointing and suspicious. Lasers should be used somehow, even our dentist has one of those.

    As a weapon, there could be hundreds of reasons they aren’t used. Maybe banned, or too clunky or expensive for the common man on the run. Or maybe only certain personal guards of the highest high muckity muck are allowed to use them.

    Heck, I don’t know, I might end up hating this series. I might end up being a rabid fan. I don’t know, I haven’t seen enough of it.

    #64595
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Ok, I’m going to put my two pesos on the table.

    Beam weapons/lasers are tech base there for tech can defeat tech. BUT! aint no jamming field going to stop a lead slug.
    I also agree with Praxilla.

    But, I’m sure the makers didnt read this http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/09/2 5/laser.weapon/index.html

    HDS

    [ 27-09-2002: Message edited by: HisDivineShadow ]

    EDITED for formatting reasons

    [ 15-10-2002: Message edited by: SadGeezer ]

    #64596
    Juliet3286230341
    Participant

    If I understand some of my reading correctly, handheld ‘ray guns’ are impossible. There is considerable heat from the energy beam, and the power requirements are beyond any currently known form of portable energy storage (batteries or power cells). So that’s two problems to solve: how to keep both the weapon and the user’s hand from burning up, and how to produce enough power to make the weapon worthwhile. The result that comes to my mind looks like a ‘Ghostbusters’ backpack, with a firing unit with long handles, coolant tubing, and lots of flanges to radiate the excess heat.

    Unless the heat and power problem can be solved, the hand-weapons of the future will still be firearms. As long as the people who use them have metallurgy and chemistry, firearms and ammunition can be maintained and manufactured. So Whedon might not be as ‘retro’ as he seems.

    Simpler weaponry is the weaponry of choice in many ‘fringe’ areas of the world. The AK-47 is easily-maintained and can take a beating that the M-16 can’t take. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to pick up the paper one day and read of a modern Western military unit roundly defeated by ‘ill-equipped’ locals, because the Westerners’ toys were too complicated to use, or were vulnerable to local conditions.

    The outer regions in which ‘Firefly’ is set are outside the main Alliance trade routes. The people would be using and repairing older equipment, or even reinventing ‘primitive’ equipment such as gear-driven clocks, vacuum-tube radios, bicycles, and printing presses.

    Whedon’s show does acknowledge one thing: no sound in a vacuum. You may have noticed that there are no sound effects for explosions, gunshots, or exterior shots of docking ships.

    Oh, Inara is a Registered Companion. Evidently, prostitution is a regulated, legal enterprise in this future. They’re respectable, which is why Inara could save Mal’s bacon by calling him her ‘indentured man’. There need be nothing smarmy about the fictional indentured servitude, either: the implication could easily be that she bought up his debt to another, which he is now paying off (just not in any sexual manner).

    #64597
    Anonymous
    Guest

    quote:


    Originally posted by Juliet3286230341:
    If I understand some of my reading correctly, handheld ‘ray guns’ are impossible. There is considerable heat from the energy beam, and the power requirements are beyond any currently known form of portable energy storage (batteries or power cells). So that’s two problems to solve: how to keep both the weapon and the user’s hand from burning up, and how to produce enough power to make the weapon worthwhile. The result that comes to my mind looks like a ‘Ghostbusters’ backpack, with a firing unit with long handles, coolant tubing, and lots of flanges to radiate the excess heat.

    Unless the heat and power problem can be solved, the hand-weapons of the future will still be firearms. As long as the people who use them have metallurgy and chemistry, firearms and ammunition can be maintained and manufactured. So Whedon might not be as ‘retro’ as he seems.


    I agree, but my argument is that it is a more realistic assume that in 500 years someone would have managed not only to have overcome such problems but make them easier to fabricate than large cumbersome metalic firearms. The nearest analogy I can think of is the humble radio. My grandfather had a radio the size of a TV set 50 years ago and now they are more efficient, cheaper and easier to produce and buy in solid state form. A modern radio can be fitted inside a wristwatch. (And would be small enough to transport via spaceship – possibly at low cost).

    In Afganistan, they prefer to use mobile telephones than build up a national land-line based telephone network for the same reasons. I know that’s not a particularly valid analogy, but I would have assumed something similar on a much larger scale in Firefly.

    quote:


    Originally posted by Juliet3286230341:
    Simpler weaponry is the weaponry of choice in many ‘fringe’ areas of the world. The AK-47 is easily-maintained and can take a beating that the M-16 can’t take. Wouldn’t surprise me at all to pick up the paper one day and read of a modern Western military unit roundly defeated by ‘ill-equipped’ locals, because the Westerners’ toys were too complicated to use, or were vulnerable to local conditions.


    I understand and appreciate the argument. I wonder though, in terms of firefpower, where the life of someone is at stake, if they would attempt to develop or produce something that would out-gun any opponent. I think that the greatest strides in technological development have been as a result of war or the threat of war. Gone are the days when a large body of men will face another large body of men accross a field. I think (and I’m no expert in this) that modern conflict is carried out by computer controlled weaponry from a distance.

    In 500 years I have to assume that lots of things will be VERY different. I can’t think of any instance where any culture has reverted so much and been successful. (I don’t think you can count fundamentalists because their insistance on living in the past is based on religious grounds and not because it would be easier or safer).

    quote:


    Originally posted by Juliet3286230341:
    The outer regions in which ‘Firefly’ is set are outside the main Alliance trade routes. The people would be using and repairing older equipment, or even reinventing ‘primitive’ equipment such as gear-driven clocks, vacuum-tube radios, bicycles, and printing presses.


    Yep, and I think that’s a very realistic assumption. But each of the frontier worlds have access to others and there is still trade between them. I considered that it would not be difficult to get more complex parts e.g. silicone chips and battery parts as it would be if the frontier worlds were cut off.

    Perhaps this is the area that I have the biggest problem with and maybe Whedon will elaborate more on it as the series progresses.

    I wonder HOW frequently ships from other worlds visit the frontier. If it’s not very much then the supposition that everything needs to be manufactured on the frontire world would be a valid one and my argument wouldn’t really hold as much water.

    quote:


    Originally posted by Juliet3286230341:
    Whedon’s show does acknowledge one thing: no sound in a vacuum. You may have noticed that there are no sound effects for explosions, gunshots, or exterior shots of docking ships.


    Yes I commented on that in my FIrefly reviews. It looks weird at first, but the silence of space is pretty cool. I wonder if other sci fi shows will copy it.

    quote:


    Originally posted by Juliet3286230341:
    Oh, Inara is a Registered Companion. Evidently, prostitution is a regulated, legal enterprise in this future. They’re respectable, which is why Inara could save Mal’s bacon by calling him her ‘indentured man’. There need be nothing smarmy about the fictional indentured servitude, either: the implication could easily be that she bought up his debt to another, which he is now paying off (just not in any sexual manner).


    Haha, but it’s not nearly as much fun. I think the point that Whedon was trying to make is that Inara, in telling all that Mal owed her (it’s not stated why he owes her. For all we know it could be (and I think it’s fun to assume that the on-lookers may have supposed) because they’d bonked and he couldn’t afford the fee), would be be irritating for Mal since he doesn’t particularly support her career as a Companion – I think he fancies her too and would much prefer her all to himself.

    Nice post, cool comments. Thanks

    [ 17-10-2002: Message edited by: SadGeezer ]

    #64598
    Anonymous
    Guest

    the “old west” look of the sets and technology is a bit annoying, i have to agree. but in many ways i think the point that’s trying to be made with this look is that the technology is few and far between and difficult to get ahold of, so you sort of live with what you can manage to get your hands on.

    i usually despise all things even remotely western-y but firefly has grown on me some since my horrified moment of watching the opener… where i cringed, and hid under my little elf-chair, lol

    i prefer a more polished tech, but this is not the view of the future joss wants to show us. the thing is i think tv-land is big enough for many, many interpretations of scifi and the future… so i’ll keep watching awhile and try to understand this “look” and feel of firefly a little better.

    #64599
    Rag
    Participant

    I haven’t seen Firefly yet (an’ I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t dissapear completely before hitting our hallowed shores) so these comments are solely based upon what I’ve read here.

    The question seems to be ‘Is it justified having such low tech levels 500 years from now, just because they are in a remote location?’

    I don’t see why not. Just look at the difference in tech levels in different regions here and now. In the States wireless tazers are sold to joe public as self defence devices (they are aren’t they?). Yet in parts of Africa or Asia, a rock or a fast pair of legs is about as high tech as it’s going to get.

    It is perfectly feasable that technology will be advanced enough to produce the architypical sci-fi weaponry that we all know and love, but if no one is making it on or shipping it too the frontiers, I wouldn’t expect to see it often. And just cos we don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Disposable nappies are cheap (ish) and easy to get hold of round here, but have you tried getting hold of them in the remoter parts of Siberia?

    #64600
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The most modern armies of today are using the same TYPE of technology that won the American Revolution. Guns. We have improved the delivery mechanism, but George Washington would understand the basic idea behind the M16. It is perfectly reasonable to believe that 500 years from now people will STILL be using slug throwers to kill each other. The advanced planets will probably have improved methods of slinging lead, but it will still be a slug thrower.

    After all, to defend against a laser beam, you just add a coat of shiny paint. Particle beams have a difficult time getting through the atmosphere without scattering in every direction. Technological advances may very well overcome these difficulties, but slug throwers will probably still have advantages. Witness Jaynes frustration with the “fancy” gun he steals in “Ariel”. Stops people just fine, but wouldn’t blow away a lock. Slug throwers work. Inertia hurts.

    Aliens (one of the BEST SciFi movies ever made) certainly acknowledged this. What did the soldiers use to fight the aliens? Guns, grenade launchers, and flame throwers. Very ADVANCED versions, but same idea.

    And for cultures on the edge of civilization, it’s SO much easier to build (and maintain) an old fashioned six shooter than some fancy schmancy gun. And a slug from a six shooter kills just fine.

    Far from being offended by the technology in Firefly, I applaud it for breaking out of SciFi stereotypes and creating a believable future.

    Donald Hines

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.