Archive for February, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Science Fiction starships

Based on a recent minipoll that was conducted on Twitter, I was inspired to create this list.

This is my top 10 favorite starships from Science fiction films/TV. We’ll go from number 10 and count it down. Feel free to comment and tell me your own favorites!!

10. Mon Calamari Star Cruiser
Appears in: Return of the Jedi

The first ship from the Star Wars films to appear on this list, the Star Cruiser didn’t exactly have a very auspicious showing in the film itself, but the expanded universe material surrounding the ships makes them pretty cool. First off, they were originally built by the Mon Calamari people as luxury liners, but as the Empire rose in power, the Mon Cals joined the Rebellion and armed their ships. The Star Cruisers have a very organic design to them, and no two Star Cruisers are ever the same. The numerous blisters that cover the hull have multiple purposes, some are concealed weapons emplacements, others are pods of sensors, and even a few are cleverly disguised cluster mines. The ships serve as the muscle of the Rebel fleets, able to fight a standard Star Destroyer to a standstill. It symbolizes the uniqueness and freedom the Rebellion represents, contrasting the hard-angled militaristic design of it’s Imperial Counterpart.

9. Battlestar Galactica
Appears in: Battlestar Galactica, 2003 series

The Battlestar Galactica is humanity’s only military defense against a powerful and heavily armed robotic race that seeks nothing less than to wipe them out. To make matters worse, it’s an older Battlestar that was due to be decomissioned, having been supplemented by newer and more advanced designs. By most sci-fi ship standards, Galactica is primitive. It lacks any sort of shields, energy weapons, or viewscreen. It relies on a technology similar to radar and starfighter pilots acting as spotters to see what’s going on around it. So what’s so cool about it? Because despite all these disadvantages, this ship is tough as hell. Galactica took direct hits from Cylon nuclear weapons and held together. She’s got a large number of cannons on her, as well as numerous missile launchers, and gave more than one Cylon Basestar a hell of a fight. The Battlestar Pegasus was more advanced than Galactica in almost every way. It had stronger weapons, armor, and the ability to fabricate new Viper starfighters on board. But Galactica is the ship that delivered humanity to salvation, and for that it gets a spot on my list

8. Imperial Star Destroyer
Appears in: The original Star Wars Trilogy

The famous Triangular wedge design of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer is almost instantly recognizable. It’s the symbol of the Empire’s military might. It’s heavily armored and boasts strong shields. It’s bristling with Turbolasers, Ion Cannons, and multiple types of missile launchers. It carries six squadrons of starfighters and an entire military garrison’s worth of troops and support vehicles. And at the height of the Empire, there were twenty-five thousand of them in the Imperial Fleet. The ship’s an iconic symbol of the Star Wars universe, as much as the lightsaber.

7. Klingon Vor’cha-class attack cruiser.
Appears in: Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space 9

This one’s a personal choice for me. The Vor’cha-class isn’t the most recognizable Klingon ship by any means (that honor likely belongs to the Bird-of-Prey), but since I first saw it, I have absolutely loved the design, especially the massive forward-mounted disruptor cannon. As a kid, I had a small model of this ship that I would play with for hours, and I still get a little kick of nostalgia every time I see the ship on TV.

6. USS Enterprise (alternate reality)
Appears in: Star Trek (2009 film)

I’ll probably get branded as a heretic or something by the more adamant trekkies, but I don’t care. I can’t stand the original Star Trek series. I get that it’s classic and that it paved the way for Science Fiction on TV and Film, but I don’t care. It’s campy and corny to the point of unwatchability for me. The reimagining that JJ Abrams did in the latest film is utterly incredible, and the new Enterprise is no exception. This ship is gorgeously designed. It looks amazing, both inside and out, far better than the original series Enterprise ever did. The film does very well in making the ship appear technologically inferior in a lot of ways to the starships of TNG/DS9/Voyager, but far more advanced than anything we have today. I can’t wait to see what future Star Trek films do with the ship.

5. Rebel B-Wing / Imperial TIE Defender (tie)
Appears in: Return of the Jedi / Several Star Wars expanded universe sources, most notably the TIE Fighter game

The Star Wars universe is doubtless the most responsible for popularizing the “Starfighter” concept of ships in Science Fiction, and the sheer number of variations throughout it’s many films, TV shows, games, books, comics, and the rest is staggering. I felt that at least one of them deserved mentioning on my list, and in the end, these two emerged as my favorites. Both of them are heavy assault fighters, bristling with weapons. They’re not the fastest, or the most well known from either of their respective factions, but they are among the most heavily armed and have very cool designs.

The B-Wing is a Rebel Alliance fighter designed by Admiral Ackbar. In basic flight mode, it flights on it’s side with both wings folded down, essentially looking like a massive arifoil. When battle is iminent, the ship rotates along it’s cockput to a vertical stance and extrans the wings, giving it the characteristic shape. The ship’s weapon emplacements are modular, and can carry any number of configurations. It’s a very cool design, something very much unlike anything you had seen in a ship design, which oftern looked like variations on airplanes.

The TIE Defender doesn’t appear in any film, but prominently appears in several Star Wars videogames and novels. The ship is described as one of the most fearsome starfighters ever designed. It’s very fast, heavily shielded, boasts 4 lasers, 2 ion cannons, and 2 proton torpedo launchers. It tears though nearly any other starfighter it’s pitted against, and is only defeated by superior tactices or overwhelming opposition.

4. USS Enterprise-E
Appears in: Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek: Nemesis

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I can’t stand the way the USS Enterprise-D, the ship that was the focus of the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, looks. I seriously hate it. It’s clunky and ugly looking. The warp nacelles look stubby and undersized, and the saucer section is way too large. The Enterprise-E, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous. It’s slender and sleek, eliminating all of the clunky design features of it’s predecessor. The original artist has said that he was inspired by the work that had been done on the Voyager, the ship of Star Trek: Voyager, and wanted to reflect what he called “the new Federation design” into the ship, and it looks incredible. It’s also very powerful, commanding a large number of phaser arrays and quantum torpedo launchers. I just wish we could have seen more of this ship.

3. Serenity
Appears in: Firefly TV show

No list like this would be complete without the infamous Firefly-class transport ship. Serenity lacked guns of any sort, hardly had anything in the way of advanced technology, wasn’t paricularly elegant, and looked like some kind of oversized insect. But she was a home for her beloved crew, she got them out of a large number of tight scrapes, and had just as much personality as any of the folks aboard her. It’s a shame this larger than life ship didn’t get more time on the small screen.

2. Slave 1
Appears in: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back / Attack of the Clones films

The ship of the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett and his father Jango Fett before him, no minor ship from the original Star Wars trilogy garnered near as much attention as Slave 1 did, mostly thanks it it’s unusual method of “laying on it’s back” to land and the mysterious nature of her pilot. The expanded Universe revealed much information about this ship, revealing it to be heavily armed with 2 rotating laser cannon turrets, and concealed proton torpedo launcers, a hidden concussion missile launcher, and a hidden ion cannon. It wouldn’t be until years later that viewers would see the ship in action in Attack of the Clones. While the acting of her pilot and passenger are lamentable, the ship itself was very cool to finally watch in combat. Boba Fett was (and still is)my favorite minor character from the Star Wars universe, and his ship remains among one of my favorite designs.

And the winner of my absolute favorite science fiction ship goes to….

1. USS Defiant
Appears in: Latter half of Star Trek: DS9

DS9 remains my absolute favorite Trek series, in part due to the ongoing storyline of the Dominion war. The Defiant was introduced to the show to give the writers a means to have more direct conflict with this new adversary, something stronger than the Runabout shuttles the crew had been using for episodes away from the station. And boy, was it ever. The Defiant is sleek, very fast, heavily armed, and tough as nails. It also featured some very cool new advances in technology for the show, including ablative armor, quantum torpedoes, and possibly the coolest feature of the them all, a cloaking device. Because of it’s nature as a ship designed as a warship first, we got to see many more battle scenes in DS9 than we ever had in Next Generation, resulting in some truly spectacular visuals for the show. This excellently designed “tough little ship”, as it was called in the First Contact movie, was a key point in a truly groundbreaking series, and for that, I call it my favorite science fiction ship.

Honorable mentions go out to the the Millenium Falcon,  USS Voyager, the Rebel Escort Frigate, the Terran Battlecruiser from Starcraft, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and the TARDIS.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my list. What are some of ya’lls favorite ships from science fiction?

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Version the Two

Welcome to Conflagration Version 2, my friends. My blog has a new home at WordPress.com. Why the switch, you ask? Well, we needed a refresh, so to speak. We needed a new look, a new tagline, but most of all, a new host. WordPress has a LOT of options for blogs that Blogspot was seriously lacking. So we’ve moved and set up shop here. Hopefully this change will mean more posts for sure.

So, as you can see, we’ve got a new look around the place. The Particular WordPress theme I picked has quite a few color options, I might be messing with them a bit over the coming days, or trying out new themes entirely. Hopefully everything was moved over correctly. Let me know if you like it or not, as well.

Karen and I will be celebrating six months together on the 15th. Yeah I know, half a year? Trust me, it’s a very important milestone for both of us. It’s the longest relationship either of us has had in a long time, and it shows no signs at all of going anywhere. I’m thrilled, so so very much, to be with someone so amazing. I have to say that I can’t stop thinking about the times we shared as friends in college, and how strange yet wonderful it is to be in love with her. I sometimes wonder if that’s weird or not. I suppose since it continuously reminds me of the time we’ve had together, and thus continuously brings to mind all of the feelings I have for her, it’s probably not.  And I know what question is now forming on all of your lips, and you can button em right now! That will come when it comes, and you can all know about it as soon as it does! Until then, you ask, I thwap ya.

Finally, let’s end this with a quick discussion of the iPad. You’re all, I hope, familiar with the device by this point. If you’re not, what bloody rock have you been living under? Go research it. Apple.com/ipad is a good place to start, or look it up on CNET.com and possibly Wikipedia. Do it now, I’ll wait.

Okay, all caught up? I’ll thwap you if you haven’t! Okay, so what do you think?

I have to admit, I was unimpressed at first with the feature set. It seems to me, at first blush, to be nothing but a large iPod Touch with the extra features of an e-Book reader and the ability to buy/use Apple’s iWork office suite. Not really a terribly compelling set of extra features. Plus it’s missing Flash support (take that as bad or good as you like), no camera features (no external facing one for taking photos/video or internal facing for videoconferencing use), and the 3G models are STILL tied to AT&T.  And while the 3G data plans, which require no contract, are fairly inexpensive, I’m struggling to understand WHY the 3G receiver has to cost an additional $130?

All those issues aside…I can kind of imagine myself using one around the house, where it’d be impractical to take my laptop, which as a gaming machine, is rather large. It’s still portable enough to take with me to other locations, but for around the house computing, it’s somewhat impractical. This, as a mobie internet and personal media device, with the side ability to edit office documents, could prove useful, especially with the larger screen and supposed 10 hour battery life. The Flash support still worries me though. I would LOVE to see a Netflix streaming app for this where I could browse and watch movies/TV shows. Same for Hulu.com, as well as the many network-independant sites (CBS springs to mind: I LOVE CSI: NY, NCIS, and several other shows on that network). If we got something like that on the iPad, I’d be sold. Right now, all we’ve got is Youtube, which is coverting from Flash to HTML5 anyway.

Right now, I’m not sold on it to spend the money. I want some real world examples of how the battery life is going and I need to see some apps that take advantage of the iPad’s features. Maybe then we’ll see about it.

Frankly, I also want to hear if they’re coming out with a new iPhone model or not. My Contract’s up soon, and if I’m going to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS, only to have a newer model come out a month later, I’m going to be hacked off. Come on Apple, let’s hear what you have planned there, eh??

That’s it for now. Enjoy the new site everyone, talk to you soon.