Starship Troopers – novel

Disclaimer: the post is not very intelligible, read the novel to understand what I am talking about. 

Want to make a short post on a novel I recently read, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. It is a military sci-fi, meaning it is a novel not only interested in the speculative tech-driven futurism, but also in the military.

The novel is about a young guy enrolling into the army and becoming a brilliant officer. There is no drama and no real tension, it is just a feels-good piece for army fans. The book is set in the future where Earth is at war with some insect-like aliens, and the protagonist is a member of the infantry which engages the enemy on the ground.

The reason why I decided to write about this novel is because, very much like Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, it is full of such utter nonsense, mixed in with entertaining narrative, that it is hard to resist to argue with it. There is no real need too, the book is just cheap entertainment, but still I think I won’t do too much damage if I write a few lines about it ^^’/

The first fun fact about the happy future the book describes is that in that future only army veterans are citizens and only they are allowed to vote. Army service is no trifle either. The army happily killed a dozen people to train a few dozen, as was described in the book. And hundreds were sent home. The training as described in the book is filled with moderately-to-extreme hardships and constant humiliation of the lower ranking soldiers and aggression from the higher ranking army men. As explained in the novel, the army served as a sieve to pick only the most community-minded individuals and allowing only them to vote was good for everyone.

That is where I make my first stop. Obviously such system couldn’t last, it would be dysfunctional from the start. Such a group of voters would be hugely biased and would be easily exploited and lead astray to destroy their country. Not to mention that even in the novel there were plenty of episodes where army was brain-washing its members to follow a certain line of thinking, be it though drills or exams where you had to know the right answers for questions related to governing the planet (like, there was a right answer to a question “should you starrt a war if …”). I think even a little kid would be able to guess that this political system would result in something horrid, probably in extreme militarism.

That is an unfair criticism though. Heinlein didn’t care. He was happy with military dictatorship. Unless he was making a joke, he also believed that it is possible to provide correct answers to moral questions using mathematical proofs (shows he had no idea what math is ūüėÖ), and those were usually that you need to start wars and use other kinds of violence. That is fine, no one says that you have to have pacifist views or whatever. This is a military sci-fi after all.

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Dirty Pair: Project Eden

I¬†am a big fan¬†of good art and animation. If a¬†cartoon looks great I would be happy to watch it, regardless of its other qualities. I would also like to tell other people about how good it was, but that is when things become difficult.¬†Talking about art is hard in general, even if you limit yourself to a particular genre or style. Talking about modern animation where every piece¬†may consist of a wild mixture of dozens of different styles is harder still. Not to mention that animation isn’t only about art, it is also about movement, which¬†makes everything even more complex.


That is why when I see an anime that showcases one particular aspect of animation I feel an urge to share it with others, which is the reason I am writing this post.¬†Project Eden is¬†a comedy, a movie about two girls with bad enough reputation to be called Dirty Pair. Same as in other Dirty Pair movies, they are solving a crime case, blowing up stuff in the process. But more importantly, Project Eden is about an art style. But,¬†what is an art style? I’d say it is a combination of the color palette the anime uses, common details of the character designs, the drawing and animation techniques and the choices of what to show on the screen. It seems arbitrary, but¬†hopefully it will make sense in a moment.

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Lily C.A.T.

Once again I am going to talk about an old show. I know, I know, no one watches that except of me. Still, you have to bear with me :P

This time I am not going to make a review, but instead it will be a reaction post. And the difference is that I am going to spoil the whole thing. Let’s get started.

Lily C.A.T. captain

Lily C.A.T. was made back in 1987 by Hisayuki Toriumi. The show is a classic sci-fi story about a space ship going on a mission with the crew put to sleep. They will fly for 20 year to get to another planet and it will take them the same amount of time to get back. So they are more or less cut off from the civilization while on the mission. Not to mention that they will return to a new world, that where 40 years has passed and almost no one knows them anymore. I have seen¬†books that discussed this same problem of a long-term space travel (I am talking about books by some Russian sci-fi writers, Strugatsky brothers in particular; by the way I am sure some of their books are translated into English), but this is one of those things that don’t get old. So I had some expectations for the movie from the very start.

Lily C.A.T

You will see the significance of this screen cap in a moment ^.^

I am not going to recap the plot in details. In short, something went wrong and the ship got infected by some terrible bacteria that was killing people and creating some weird sort of monsters out of them. Also they learned that there is a criminal on the ship, so they had this issue to deal with as well.

And don’t worry. They failed in every aspect and all died. Well, the two people survived for the time being, but not for too long I guess. Spoiler! I told you I am going to give away the plot :P Anyway, here why I decided to give away the plot.

Lily C.A.T

That is a bacteria?… I guess?… O.o

You see, while the premise of the show was really good, I can’t say that they made a wonderful job developing on it. The show still was really good, with impressive atmosphere. But it wasn’t¬†outstanding. Yet there was something interesting there. Here it is.

First, the villain was a cyborg cat that was made by the company that hired the crew. It was send¬†to kill them so the company can save the money on the salary. Yeah. That isn’t something can¬†you see coming.

Lily C.A.T

Again, you will see what this picture means in a few seconds ^^’

The second thing was the way characters reacted on the horrible things that were happening around them. Here is an example. Imagine you are one of six or something survivors on a ship filled with deadly bacteria. And you see a hole in the wall made by this bacteria. What would be your reaction? Well, the character who saw this said “That is awesome” and proceeded to put his head close to it. We never saw him again.

A few minutes after, the last four survivors¬†are standing in a corridor. One of them explodes, eaten by the bacteria from the inside. A horrible creature comes out of him and runs away through a vent shaft. A few seconds after one of the guys starts to talk about how interesting it is that this bacteria can use human flesh, yet it leaves the clothes. I don’t think I would be quite as calm in such a situation O.o

Lily C.A.T

So this guy just saw what you saw on the picture above. How shocked is he? Not that much -. –

And the last bit is just brilliant. So the last two survivors¬†(a guy and a girl) left the spaceship that was blown up shortly after. They are descending on a planet that is in an archaic period of its evolution (no big creatures, only insects and plants, as I understand). So they are doomed to spend their lives on this planet, not to mention that they are probably going to die of starvation. Oh, and there is this gigantic monster that is clinging to their ship that being burned up in the atmosphere. And here is the scene. The guy sits in his chair in front of all the shuttle controls and he got this thoughtful look at his face. And the girl asks him “is anything the matter?”. Well, YES! Everyone dead, the spaceship is blown and you are descending to your grave! Besides that, nothing much.

So, personally I like this movie a lot. The animation was awesome and the character designs were very lovely. Orchestral music is always welcome too. And unlike many other old anime this one is safe for kids, there isn’t even that much violence, only a little horror.

But anyway, sorry for spoiling the plot. But I had to let it out. See you next time (^_^)/

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