08 May 2011

Making Sci-Fi Connections

I have been playing a (pencil & paper) RPG semi-regularly with some friends in which the setting combines some concepts from Cowboy Bebop & Firefly/Serenity, among other things (thanks captain_pooky, dianoga7, ElipsicusDrat, & recently GrumpyTea). It was in preparation for this game, and the fact that I love both of those properties (Browncoat!), that I happily re-watched these shows. However, something strange has happened in addition to the furthering of my adoration of the properties.

I have found myself revisiting my DVD library with some intensity. In no small way, the combination of no money and no work of late aided in this endeavor (immensely, truth be told). My mind (working in its usual abstract way) has started to form a very loose conceptual timeline with a multitude of other titles.

I will be the first to admit that some of these have to be altered a bit to fit into a specific timeline, but the concepts and even specific stories oftentimes do seem to fit together rather nicely. Well, that is my opinion, it is for you to decide whether you might agree or not. I do look forward to reading thoughts other than my own, so I do hope people other than myself will be reading this.

*Quick disclaimer: This list is by no means complete, comprehensive, or anything more than the musings of my overactive mind and fanship of many different things. Others are fully encouraged to provide addendums as they see fit in the comments.*

I will start by listing the title and a brief description. Once they are listed, I will try to explain how they might come together (including what needs to be changed to fit). Incidentally, these descriptions were fun to write, hope they are even close to as much fun to read.

01) Robocop (1&2) - Police officer is killed in the line of duty, and thus gets volunteered for an experimental cybernetic-based law enforcement program. Hilarity & violence follow (perhaps not so much on “hilarity” save for the retrospect of the clearly 1980s in which this film was made)
02) Blade Runner (any of the 5 freaking versions out there) - Genetically engineered “replicants” come to meet their maker (literally) in an attempt to find a way to continue to live, and have it be like normal(ish) people. Unfortunately for them, breaking the leash (and not being emotionally up for it) means being hunted by a special sort of police officer.
03) Mad Max (& subsequent films in the series, I suppose) - A vicious biker-gang ravages the countryside as a tribute to a fallen comrade (as vicious biker-gangs are like to do). A tough cop is pushed to go rouge to destroy the lot of them.
04) Cowboy Bebop - A group of generally down-on-their-luck bounty hunters traverse the galaxy looking to make enough scratch to be able to have some beef with their bell-peppers, for a change. This is a rich and diverse series that is difficult to sum up this briefly, so that will have to do.
05) Firefly/Serenity - A group of generally down-on-their-luck “take jobs as they come” sorts travel the new frontiers in search of, among other things, freedom. Yet another rich and diverse series that is difficult to sum up this briefly, so that will have to do. (Fellow Browncoats, please forgive me, please.)
06) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension - Surgeon, Physicist, Rock Star, Strategic Defense Contractor, & Pop-Culture Icon Buckaroo Banzai and his team discover (and are inadvertent catalysts) a war between aliens residing in the eighth dimension. Oh, and it’s got a rocket-car!
07) Predator (1 or 2) - An alien takes a vacation to trophy-hunt some humans in sweltering humidity with some fancy bladed weapons and techno-camouflage. The humans decide they would rather not be killed and do what they can to fight back.
08) Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles - An alien race of bugs attack human-kind. Human-kind seems to not like that very much and gets all kinds of military on their asses. (Not to be confused with the book Starship Troopers or the movie franchise of the same name. Yes, this is based on that book and produced by the 1st movies director, but whatever, let it go.)  
09) Alien (& subsequent films) - Aliens(s) killing humans, humans not really liking that so trying some killing back. A woman named Ripley being all manner of bad-assery. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do not have these films in my library. I just knew they ought to be included in this, especially since Predator is on the list, too)
10) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - A couple of galactic hitchhikers travel about with a book that may not always have the right information, but it has enough information to get you by. (Seriously, I am not about to try to summarize this anymore then that, for it would be asinine to attempt to fit it and have any more of it make sense.)
11) Pitch Black/The Chronicles of Riddick - A bad-assed killer that can see in the dark with glowing eyes and becomes something of a hero, despite just wanting to be left alone.
12) Dune (just the 1st one for simplicity sake) - A spoiled son of a duke gets left for dead in the desert where, it turns out, he is a foretold-of prophet, and thus holds the fate of the entire universe in his hands, so to speak. (I hope that description will do.)

*The timeline goes something like this (only without any convenient illustrations or graphs to make it look in any way like a timeline).*

In the tradition of hiding any and all likelihood of aliens existing, the stories depicted in Predator are unheard. They also foreshadow possible things to come in the very distant to come.

In Robocop we see that things are bad, with alternative methods being looked into for ways to protect (or subdue) the public things are not like to improve.

Mad Max will show us that the breakpoint is not far from tipping.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, Dr. Banzai is utilizing new technologies and methodologies that will eventually lead to all sorts of the weird crap you are going to see later, why not(?). *The discoveries relating specifically to the 8th dimension will, in all of what we will call probability, somehow help to uncover the seeds of how we will eventually be able to “terra-form” other planets.*

The way I see it, these first 4 listed are taking place at close to the same general time… say, within a span of 50 or so years.

With the alternatives explored earlier, the idea of “replicants” is realized ala Blade Runner. This will eventually be the base workforce in early “terra-forming” of planets. *The year in which this is supposed to take place is obviously bullocks, so we’ll just shift it to a later date. Before the next title, the replicants basically die out, because they can’t seem to be made properly without the original genius still being around. Big corporate embarrassments means this won’t take long.*

Now that other worlds are being inhabited Cowboy Bebop now comes into play. This seems pretty straight-forward and simple to me. Only people that might not understand are them that haven’t seen this series before.

Forward expansion into the farther reaches of the black, making a new frontier, we find Firefly/Serenity. *The folly of replicants being something of whispered legend, it somehow leads us to the path of the Miranda incident.*

Our first cannot-be-ignored, cannot-be-hidden glimpse of unfamiliar life-forms that want to kill us dead are depicted in Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles. *In our expanding “galaxy”, earth is obviously not our direct point of conflict origin as it was here*

Fairly obvious to me (hoping others are with me on that ride) that a logical next step puts us right at the front door of Alien. Not much more to say, I think.

Throughout pretty much all of the events up to this point, I am of the opinion that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy would be in there somewhere. *The specific events depicted with Arthur, Ford, and the rest could have taken place early on with no notice made by any humans. I only bring it up now because this is a good point to consider that not all aliens are intent on killing humans.*

Killer aliens and grand galactic political/religious stuff going on, this seems like a good place for Pitch Black/The Chronicles of Riddick, wouldn’t you agree? *Especially when it is a place-card for what is to come next*

What seems to be a perfect progression from there, we find Arrakis, a.k.a Dune. *The galactic political intrigue, plus the alien worms it’s almost like all the stuff before was building to this, doesn’t it? Maybe not.*

I hope this was at least an entertaining prattling of pop-culture silliness. While I wanted to somehow work Tron & The Matrix into all of this, it just couldn’t seem to be in a way that didn’t feel forced with a shoe-horn. So, I believe that they deserve mention in hopes of someone else thinking a good way to incorporate them.

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