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Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
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Author:  icekatze [ Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

hi hi

Verhoeven's Starship Troopers was delicious, delicious social satire. And oh so quotable. :)

Author:  Roeben [ Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

Especially when you consider that it retroactively predicted and satirized the war on terror.

I know it's cracked, but read about it in more detail here. It's actually a pretty cool article.

It's a common misunderstanding that Verhoeven's adaptation is fascist propaganda, but this is in fact not the case. Verhoeven himself claims it's a harsh, satirical criticism on Fascism, which isn't a strange thing considering the youth he had in WW2 Europe.

In fact, it's Heinlein's original novel that tries to intellectually sell the reader on a spartan, military society.

Author:  cacambo43 [ Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

It was always my understanding that Verhoeven was satirizing Heinlein. The movie was horrible as an adaptation, but strangely compelling and campy in its own way. I only finished seeing it through to the end with my friends because the aliens were so cool. In another frame of mind I might have cut is some slack, but after having recently re-read the book at the time, I wasn't expecting such a nose-tweak to the book (and author) and got a little irritated at it!

CJSF

Author:  Mr.Tucker [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

While I respect Verhoeven's choice, it is not representative of Heinlein's work. Basically it delights in missing the point: ''Starship Troopers'' is as much a philosophical work about society and citizen-state interaction as it is a novel about powered armor soldiers fighting giant bugs. The only merit the film has is raising interest in ''Starship Troopers'' among foreign audiences (especially here in Europe; at the time the novel came out, european audiences were still extremely opposed to any sort of military implications; today's a new generation, and given the general disgust EU authorities have against their own militaries, it's not necessarily a bad thing).

Author:  Arioch [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

I thought that Starship Troopers was an enjoyable action movie, taken on its own merits. Naturally, any adaptation of the seminal "powered armor" novel that doesn't even mention powered armor has to be a bit disappointing, but I was aware of that going into the theater, and I was surprised that the social/political element from the novel was largely intact. Verhoeven deals with the subject of the soldier-citizen-state with a satirical eye, but I think that's to be expected from someone who was alive during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands (and for whom satire is the perhaps the biggest arrow in his directorial quiver).

Heinlein is one of my favorite authors, and so I bristle a bit when it is suggested that he is advocating a Spartan society in the novel. A science fiction author ought to be able to propose a "what-if?" scenario in a story without being accused of advocating that scenario for real life. I've read nearly all of Heinlein's fiction, and I don't recall any of them besides Starship Troopers that present a similar veteran-run society. In most of them, I feel that he viewed government with libertarian suspicion, and often a with heavy helping of satire. Friday in particular comes to mind, in which the future America has Balkanized into a dozen independent countries, including the dictatorial Chicago Imperium and the democratic-to-ridiculous-extremes California Confederacy (the absurdity of which would feel right at home in one of Verhoeven's films).

Author:  Roeben [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

It can be argued if he's actively advocating it, but he's definitely trying to show a side of such a society that doesn't get explored often, for better or worse.

Another thing that the starship troopers movies gave us was this little gem.

Also, this commentary track gives an excellent insight into Verhoeven and his decisions.

EDIT: Talking about a balkanized America, I wish there was more interest in a Crimson Skies strategy or combat sim game.

Author:  dragoongfa [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

Personally I think that what Heinlein mostly intended to do was to bash Communism in Starship Troopers than promote a heavily militarized citizen soldier society; something that he had to do at least once in order to avoid scrutiny by a certain witch hunting committee at the time. I also believe that what Heinlein was depicting was closer to the Athenian citizen-soldier model than the Spartan one.

Author:  icekatze [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

hi hi

I admit that I probably have a different point of view than a lot of people. When I read a book and then see a movie based on the book, I generally am expecting the movie to bring something new to the table, otherwise I would be content to simply read the book again.

As long as the movie works in and of itself, I usually appreciate seeing a different point of view. Following the book scene for scene can lead to a dry and poorly paced film, just as easily as taking a different approach can result in a confusing mess.

(Honestly, I suspect that the choice to leave out power armor had a little bit to do with how expensive the special effects would have been at the time. Starship Troopers the movie was made in 1997, after all. With today's computers, they could probably animate the whole thing in CGI without breaking a sweat.)

Author:  Arioch [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

I think they had the CGI tech to do it even then (the bugs are pretty well done), but I suspect that the greater concern was probably that the armor would have concealed the actors' faces and made it harder to relate to the characters.

Author:  Razor One [ Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

I think the lack of power armour also feeds into the overall theme of the film, with people being thrown into the war without the proper equipment to adequately fight it because the enemy are just a bunch of bugs, oh sure they can fling 'roids, but how dangerous can they really be?

Even after the war goes all quagmire on them, the military industrial complex gets to cackle with glee as they get all those government contracts to eventually make weapons that might work slightly better and cost twice as much if you're lucky.

I haven't had a chance to read the book as yet as my backlog is entirely too long, but I rather enjoyed the film for the cheesy romp and satire that it is.

Author:  icekatze [ Tue Feb 24, 2015 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

hi hi

Even with the CGI that they had, Starship Troopers was a rather expensive movie to produce, but if they'd spent the kind of budget that Spirits Within (2001) did, they would have lost money on the movie. But I suppose that is one of those things we may never really know. At least without someone who worked on the film popping up with some extra insight.

Author:  TrashMan [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

Mr.Tucker wrote:
While I respect Verhoeven's choice, it is not representative of Heinlein's work. Basically it delights in missing the point: ''Starship Troopers'' is as much a philosophical work about society and citizen-state interaction as it is a novel about powered armor soldiers fighting giant bugs. The only merit the film has is raising interest in ''Starship Troopers'' among foreign audiences (especially here in Europe; at the time the novel came out, european audiences were still extremely opposed to any sort of military implications; today's a new generation, and given the general disgust EU authorities have against their own militaries, it's not necessarily a bad thing).


Frankly, the military in Starship Troopers is stupid as hell.

Where are the tanks? The heavily artillery? The air support? Orbital bombardment?

Author:  RedDwarfIV [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

TrashMan wrote:
Mr.Tucker wrote:
While I respect Verhoeven's choice, it is not representative of Heinlein's work. Basically it delights in missing the point: ''Starship Troopers'' is as much a philosophical work about society and citizen-state interaction as it is a novel about powered armor soldiers fighting giant bugs. The only merit the film has is raising interest in ''Starship Troopers'' among foreign audiences (especially here in Europe; at the time the novel came out, european audiences were still extremely opposed to any sort of military implications; today's a new generation, and given the general disgust EU authorities have against their own militaries, it's not necessarily a bad thing).


Frankly, the military in Starship Troopers is stupid as hell.

Where are the tanks? The heavily artillery? The air support? Orbital bombardment?

Oh so agreed.

Though tanks might not be worth bringing to another planet. The big attractions compared to aircraft is cost and endurance. If you're shipping things transtellar, 17 million US dollars is probably a drop in the ocean, and that assumes these things aren't being built by 3D printers, in which case they could be a lot cheaper. As for endurance, the mobility, speed and longer range of jet fighters might make them more useful.

And even then, it'd be cheaper to just have a fleet auxiliary manufacture as many KKVs as you could possibly want to drop on a planet, then bombard it from orbit. If you're fighting bugs to extinction, you're not worried about pacification efforts. You really don't need to be sending entire armies down anyway, just enough to protect any civilians you might still have on-world.

Author:  Mr.Tucker [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

RedDwarfIV wrote:
TrashMan wrote:
Mr.Tucker wrote:
While I respect Verhoeven's choice, it is not representative of Heinlein's work. Basically it delights in missing the point: ''Starship Troopers'' is as much a philosophical work about society and citizen-state interaction as it is a novel about powered armor soldiers fighting giant bugs. The only merit the film has is raising interest in ''Starship Troopers'' among foreign audiences (especially here in Europe; at the time the novel came out, european audiences were still extremely opposed to any sort of military implications; today's a new generation, and given the general disgust EU authorities have against their own militaries, it's not necessarily a bad thing).


Frankly, the military in Starship Troopers is stupid as hell.

Where are the tanks? The heavily artillery? The air support? Orbital bombardment?

Oh so agreed.

Though tanks might not be worth bringing to another planet. The big attractions compared to aircraft is cost and endurance. If you're shipping things transtellar, 17 million US dollars is probably a drop in the ocean, and that assumes these things aren't being built by 3D printers, in which case they could be a lot cheaper. As for endurance, the mobility, speed and longer range of jet fighters might make them more useful.

And even then, it'd be cheaper to just have a fleet auxiliary manufacture as many KKVs as you could possibly want to drop on a planet, then bombard it from orbit. If you're fighting bugs to extinction, you're not worried about pacification efforts. You really don't need to be sending entire armies down anyway, just enough to protect any civilians you might still have on-world.


If recall correctly, it was actually touched upon in the novel. The Fleet could glass planets, but that tactic was noted as being very expensive, and having no surgical strike capabilities, as well as hampered by the fact that the arachnids lived deep underground, and were heavily industrialized (unlike the film, in the novel, they actually HAD weapons; lasers if I recall correctly). In another chapter, it was noted that the MI made conventional forces obsolete: individual soldiers had the armored ranting of IFVs and could shrug off light armament, while being mobile enough to evade heavier weapons (in 1959, the computer-assisted stabilized cannons of todays tanks were still a 20 years away), and be transported across interstellar distances at low cost and in high numbers. Also, they used grenade launchers.....with nuclear grenades. So, no need for artillery support. In fact, the tactics they used were dissimilar to normal infantry: spread out very thinly across vast distances, covering them like a combination of IFV and firebase. Also, you need to take into account annacronisms. It was written 56 years ago.

ALL POINTS THE MOVIE MISSED!!! And those weren't even the only ones, or even the most critical.....

Author:  Arioch [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

In the novel, the powered armor of the Mobile Infantry are essentially their own tanks and artillery. In the movie, whoever wrote the screenplay removed the powered armor but didn't bother to think about the consequences (although the infantry did still have man-portable tactical nuclear weapons). The movie smacks of the usual Hollywood love for explosions but contempt for the military, evidenced in scenes where rifle-armed soldiers engaged melee-only monster bugs by walking towards them as they fire rather than away from them, so that they could be ripped to gory shreds as the dying bugs thrashed about.

The novel also addressed the issue of why the Terrans were using Mobile Infantry instead of H-bombs against the Arachnids; they were fighting a limited war, in which they were trying to bring the enemy to some kind of diplomatic concession. When asked about the subject, Sgt. Zim equates the use of H-bombs against an enemy's cities to killing a baby to teach it a lesson; "The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him... but to make him do what you want him to do." In the skirmish at the beginning of the book, the platoon leader warns, "This is just a raid, not a battle. It’s a demonstration of firepower and frightfulness. Our mission is to let the enemy know that we could have destroyed their city — but didn't — but that they aren't safe even though we refrain from total bombing."

In the movie, the war against the Arachnids appears to be one of total annihilation, yet the screenwriter didn't bother to consider why the Terrans would still be using infantry instead of bombs.

Author:  cacambo43 [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

Right. The book (whether one agrees with the philosophy or not) has a subtext about citizenship, service and responsibility. In the society of the book civic duties like voting have moved out of the realm of a right to that of an earned privilege. The books is very adamant about this point. The movie took things in a different direction - that of how governments use propaganda to sell war to the people and how sinister black-ops are. Now, some of that is ALSO likely true, but that's not what the book was essentially about. Now, I admit it's been a while since I've either read the book OR seen the movie, so I could be clouding things up here, but I expect if I've said anything way out of line or forgotten some finer aspect of either work, I'll "hear" about it here!

CJSF

Author:  discord [ Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

well, i might be a minority here, and in the world in general, but i always thought a leader of a nation should be expected to believe in the ideals of his nation and be ready to lay down his life for those.
and if not, should not BE a leader of a nation.... so, imho getting the 'right' to vote after doing service to your country is not that stupid....

but then again, i am kinda crazy and consider mortal kombat to be a perfectly reasonable way to determine the president for the next term.... only people that actually believe in what they do would sign up for it, and no privileged rich boys would be stupid enough to sign up for it, they already got their path to power, climbing up the backstabbing hierarchy of bureaucracy.

added side bonus, lowered over population and wicked entertainment *grin*.

Author:  NuclearIceCream [ Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

discord wrote:
well, i might be a minority here, and in the world in general, but i always thought a leader of a nation should be expected to believe in the ideals of his nation and be ready to lay down his life for those.
and if not, should not BE a leader of a nation.... so, imho getting the 'right' to vote after doing service to your country is not that stupid....

but then again, i am kinda crazy and consider mortal kombat to be a perfectly reasonable way to determine the president for the next term.... only people that actually believe in what they do would sign up for it, and no privileged rich boys would be stupid enough to sign up for it, they already got their path to power, climbing up the backstabbing hierarchy of bureaucracy.

added side bonus, lowered over population and wicked entertainment *grin*.


One of the most important aspects of the federation, at least in my mind, was that if you did something wrong then your punishment scaled to your level of responsibility. So if the leader of the nation really messed up and got tonnes of people killed then they got the death penalty.

Heck if im remembering right then if their president did something illegal there was a higher likely hood of severe punishment for even relatively minor infractions.

(I actually thought the system in the book made a lot of sense.)

Author:  Zakharra [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

discord wrote:
well, i might be a minority here, and in the world in general, but i always thought a leader of a nation should be expected to believe in the ideals of his nation and be ready to lay down his life for those.
and if not, should not BE a leader of a nation.... so, imho getting the 'right' to vote after doing service to your country is not that stupid....

but then again, i am kinda crazy and consider mortal kombat to be a perfectly reasonable way to determine the president for the next term.... only people that actually believe in what they do would sign up for it, and no privileged rich boys would be stupid enough to sign up for it, they already got their path to power, climbing up the backstabbing hierarchy of bureaucracy.

added side bonus, lowered over population and wicked entertainment *grin*.



The leaders of a nation should uphold the law better. They are held to a higher standard and when they break the laws, their punishment should be more stringent. A leader or leaders (including the legislative branch) should be willing to be ones who will fight, but its true that leaders nowadays shouldn't be on the field of battle if they can help it. there's no reason. This isn't the Middle Ages or before.

UUm.. No. Having a trial by combat to decide who can rule is an insanely stupid idea. You don't get good leaders that way. All you end up with is the one who is best in hand to hand combat. You're having the only qualification be hand to hand combat skills. That's not a qualification for a good leader. And you are overlooking who would apply to be President, there would be a lot of younger rich people (why not?) as well as martial arts practitioners and even criminals.

Author:  cacambo43 [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

I thought I had already posted this, but I don't see it:

I am pretty sure in the book that the military (i.e., combat) isn't the only "accepted" form of public service, just seen as the most glamorous and prestigious. Please correct me if I am not remembering that right.

CJSF

Author:  NuclearIceCream [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

cacambo43 wrote:
I thought I had already posted this, but I don't see it:

I am pretty sure in the book that the military (i.e., combat) isn't the only "accepted" form of public service, just seen as the most glamorous and prestigious. Please correct me if I am not remembering that right.

CJSF


You are correct. The government is required to find something you can do no matter if you have some disability. The only thing that can stop you from doing civil service is if it can be proved that you are incapable of understanding the oath. The jobs they have you do just have to have some form of self sacrifice involved.

Author:  dragoongfa [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

Time for Outsider Terran Questions.

Are all human nations TCA members?

The insider entry implies that not everyone is in it. My understanding is that since the 'big boy confederations' are undoubtedly in it, the ones not in should be either very weak or not have anything of note in order to be 'persuaded' to join.

Do the Earth Superpowers share all of their high tech breakthroughs with the TCA or are they holding things back for a rainy day?

From a geopolitical perceptive it would be seen as prudent to 'limit' the firepower of a multinational force for a variety of reasons, ranging from anti TCA paranoia to fearing that sensitive Tech would fall to rivals through TCA means (This could also tie in with a reason as to why people where voicing concerns about the militarization of the TCA before first contact). Of course if some (or a lot) of Tech was held back that doesn't mean that it would be anything close to the Tech of the major combatants, just something better than what the TCA had at the time (perhaps a primitive form of Screen tech and an very early capability to refine antimatter).

If the answer to the above question is Yes, does that mean that the new batch of warships under construction are incorporating more advanced Tech than the previous generation warships?

Author:  icekatze [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

hi hi

It is my understanding that the TCA is the sole military power in Terran space. At the tech levels of Outsider, the propulsion systems of just about any interstellar craft is going to make them weapons of mass destruction. Individual nations may not love the TCA, but I suspect they love the idea of a freighter crashing into one of their cities at relativistic speeds even less.

Author:  dragoongfa [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

icekatze wrote:
hi hi

It is my understanding that the TCA is the sole military power in Terran space. At the tech levels of Outsider, the propulsion systems of just about any interstellar craft is going to make them weapons of mass destruction. Individual nations may not love the TCA, but I suspect they love the idea of a freighter crashing into one of their cities at relativistic speeds even less.


It's the only allowed FTL capable power (according to the insider) that doesn't mean that the big Earth nations don't have their own non FTL means of self defense. Destroying a freighter isn't that hard, especially since human ships don't have Screens and they are heavily monitored anyways.

Author:  Arioch [ Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread

dragoongfa wrote:
Are all human nations TCA members?

No, but all of the major powers who are capable of building or operating spacecraft are and must be. A good analogy here is our current nuclear non-proliferation treaty: not every nation is a signatory, and nobody cares if Grenada and Luxembourg refuse to sign. But if Luxembourg starts to build nuclear warheads in violation of the treaty, even though they are not signatories, they are going to face very significant pressure to join by the other members, including possibly economic or diplomatic sanctions or even military pressure. A rogue human nation that started to build a spacefleet would come under immediate pressure to join into and abide by the TCA rules.

dragoongfa wrote:
Do the Earth Superpowers share all of their high tech breakthroughs with the TCA or are they holding things back for a rainy day?

Earth nations still have their own terrestrial militaries, and some technologies for ground fighting will be proprietary (as long as such a secret can be kept, and that's usually only for as long as you don't actually use the weapon), but a) ground wars between superpowers in a post-nuclear world are just not practical, and certainly not lucrative; the way to get ahead with the post-nuclear world is with commercial technologies rather than military technologies. And b) Earth superpowers don't have their own space navies (or, at least, such navies are sharply limited), so high-tech space weapon breakthroughs that are kept secret don't give them much of an advantage.

dragoongfa wrote:
If the answer to the above question is Yes, does that mean that the new batch of warships under construction are incorporating more advanced Tech than the previous generation warships?

Technologies are mostly developed by companies rather than governments, so it doesn't really matter whether the funding is coming from, say, the United States government or the TCA; American companies will still operate at the same level of efficiency. The system wouldn't work if the United States restricted the kinds of technologies that could be "exported" for TCA use.

dragoongfa wrote:
icekatze wrote:
It is my understanding that the TCA is the sole military power in Terran space. At the tech levels of Outsider, the propulsion systems of just about any interstellar craft is going to make them weapons of mass destruction. Individual nations may not love the TCA, but I suspect they love the idea of a freighter crashing into one of their cities at relativistic speeds even less.

It's the only allowed FTL capable power (according to the insider) that doesn't mean that the big Earth nations don't have their own non FTL means of self defense. Destroying a freighter isn't that hard, especially since human ships don't have Screens and they are heavily monitored anyways.

Individual nations are allowed to have armed FTL vessels (police vessels aren't much use if you can escape them simply by jumping to the next system, and most colonial nations buy their ships from Earth or Mars and so those ships have to be FTL capable to reach the customer), but they are sharply limited in size, number, and capability. And all spacecraft and especially all FTL craft must be carefully licensed and regulated, in the same way that aircraft are today. All spacecraft are potentially weapons.

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