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Old November 7 2009, 06:12 PM   #16
MeanJoePhaser
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Brent wrote: View Post
I can believe that in our entire universe of possibilities out there, there might be systems like these
And devoid of alien life entirely, too. Cuz we want a space western, not a forehead-alien-of-the-week.
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Old November 7 2009, 06:13 PM   #17
RoJoHen
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

bigdaddy wrote: View Post
That is your huge plot hole?

How about the fact they were supposed to be doing very poorly and still got money for a hover car?
Money they likely got from selling the Lacetar laser pistol that they stole "Trash." Remember, 6 months had passed between "Objects in Space" and the movie. A lot can happen in 6 months.
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Old November 7 2009, 06:22 PM   #18
Kaijima
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Forbin wrote: View Post
Joss freely admits he has no grasp of real science. But his stories are about people, and the firefly verse is just a framework to let him tell his stories about the people.
Joss wasn't the only worldbuilder involved though; I'd be curious to see how much Tim's input went in. Also, Firefly's universe is, overall, still better constructed than most television sci-fi universes. I mean, there's elements in it that are still more plausible or make more sense within, ironically, science, than say, Babylon 5. (I don't just mean that there's no FTL either.) Also, when Whedon has joked about "don't mention science" to me, it seemed more in the vein of "save me from fanboys quoting physics books". People seemed to take his comment to mean he was ignorant, anti-science, or didn't care one whit about plausibility.

The map of the verse is interesting. While it may seem a bit outrageous, I do believe that within the fiction of Firefly itself, it is stated that the "verse" was considered an incredible find; not just a random star system humanity picked and aimed at. If the verse is suppose to be at the extreme edge of possibility within the setting itself, I find suspension of disbelief easier - after all, we don't complain about Hyperspace in tons of scifi. Meanwhile, "all" we're talking about here is a very rare arrangement of stars.

The scenario also DOES make for good fodder for plot and drama; the weird-ass verse creates a very unusual geopolitical landscape for a setting in which nobody has faster than light travel and is restricted to living in a single stellar neighborhood. Even what we already saw of Firefly did begin to take advantage of this setting.

As for the Reavers, they're actually a much bigger plot hole potentially than the shape of Firefly's star system(s). I suppose, the way I look at it is that the Reavers may be driven insane by the sight/smell of normal humans; the Pax may cause the Reavers to react to stimulation from pheromones as well. Fear response in humans may actually drive them into a greater rage; from their behavior, the Reavers themselves may actually be truly fearless and thus not trigger aggressive in one another.

Also, bear in mind, that in Firefly's universe people are as used to basic spaceship controls as we are to automobiles. People have a lifetime of experience with the technology. Any ships advanced enough to be workaday vessels in such a universe must also have very good computer and automated systems to make /basic/ (not fancy flying) operation relatively simple. It might be plausible that the Reavers remember enough of spaceship operations at a hindbrain level that they can operate airlocks, push buttons on nav screens to travel to charted planets, etc. Keep in mind that there's every sign the Reavers do not maintain their ships. The ships are falling apart. Many have "core leaks" implying their reactors are on the verge of giving out. The Reavers might logically be headed for extinction within another decade or so, unable to use working ships to get anywhere.
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Old November 7 2009, 07:07 PM   #19
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

The explanation of the Reavers never bothered me. What I really don't like about the film is how it tries to imply that River's psychoses are all the result of her knowing the Miranda secret, rather than the years of constant torture and experimentation. The Operative's line about "Judging from [River's] deteriorating mental state, I'd say we're both better off [for not knowing what she knows]" makes me cringe every time I hear it, as does River's long gaze into the camera and emphatic declaration of "I'm alright" after the secret is outed and she can, I guess, be perfectly normal now since everyone else can share the psychosis-inducing secret.

No part of that even begins to make sense to me, especially since "Ariel" gave a much better explanation for River's behavior - the fact that her brain had been sliced and diced by Alliance scientists. And if she is still crazy at the end of the film, then Mal must be feeling a touch suicidal when he makes her the new pilot.
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Old November 8 2009, 03:12 AM   #20
Gaith
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

^^ I hadn't even noticed that, but you're right; that's pretty asinine.

As for the planets/moons, the high ratio of the latter to the former did cause me to raise an eyebrow, but that I can accept as part of the basic premise. However...

@ Kajima - that's a very well thought-ought out and stated explanation of the basic theory Lindley proposed... but I still don't buy it. When put in close proximity to each other, extremely aggressive people remain extremely aggressive, and the woman's recorded message made it quite clear that they were totally overpowered by the beserker gas.

@Forbin:
Joss freely admits he has no grasp of real science. But his stories are about people, and the firefly verse is just a framework to let him tell his stories about the people.
I'm not going on "real" science here, I'm going on the rules of the franchise, that ships are incredibly difficult to fly and maintain. When he showed total crazies getting the better of perfectly sane people, he broke his own rule.

As for the "about people" stuff... well, I can't say that there's much there either. The Tam brother was on the ship for months on end, with his sister mostly wandering around in a daze, and he "never had time" to hook up with the engineer gal? That's just lazy sitcom plotting.
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Old November 8 2009, 03:36 AM   #21
Lindley
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Gaith wrote: View Post
As for the "about people" stuff... well, I can't say that there's much there either. The Tam brother was on the ship for months on end, with his sister mostly wandering around in a daze, and he "never had time" to hook up with the engineer gal? That's just lazy sitcom plotting.
Did you watch the series? Simon spent most of it putting his foot in his mouth repeatedly when it came to Kaylee. It wasn't a time issue, he was just out of his element. His reaction to her advances was always a bit awkward, which I can completely understand.

It might be a bit non-obvious since movie Simon was a lot more take-charge than series Simon. In the series, Simon only ever really took charge once, in "Ariel", when the plan was playing out in a setting he knew. The rest of the time he seemed very much adrift, and pretty much clung to River as his only link to something familiar.

I'm not going on "real" science here, I'm going on the rules of the franchise, that ships are incredibly difficult to fly and maintain. When he showed total crazies getting the better of perfectly sane people, he broke his own rule.
I never got the impression anything was "incredibly" difficult about maintaining ships. It wasn't something anyone could do, but it obviously didn't require a PhD.

"The parts are crap, but you put them together, you got a Firefly. Thing'll run forever, you have a mechanic who's even half awake. It's a good catch. She comes this way, you prep the nets."
-"Our Miss Reynolds"

On the other hand, "Out of Gas" showed that the entire ship could be disabled by the failure of one part, which shows the design does have some flaws.

"Catalyzer's a nothin' part, captain."
"It's nothin' till you don't got one. Then it appears to be everything."

On the third side, once Mal *got* the replacement part, it seemed to be just a matter of plug-and-play to get it installed.
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Old November 8 2009, 03:48 AM   #22
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

I have the same problem with the modern (Star Trek III and later) Klingons that you have with the Reavers: I don't believe for a moment that these people are capable of inventing the light bulb, much less achieving any ongoing technological culture over periods of centuries, because they're just too stupid and violent.

So, I guess there's always some suspension of disbelief involved.

I'm not sure this is exactly a plot hole, in either case; it is a conceptual weakness in both, though.

BTW. the "rules of the franchise" are not that ships are "incredibly difficult to fly and maintain."

The rules are just the opposite - craft like Serenity were mass-produced for purchase and use by settlers striking out from the civilized worlds to make lives as farmers and herdsmen on less developed planets. We see that a young war vet with a little money can buy one secondhand in order to launch a small cargo (smuggling) operation, find a young woman with an intense interest and native skills but no formal training to maintain it as the chief mechanic, etc. These things are nearly the equivalent of trucks or small steam boats. So while you have a point - it's hard to see the Reavers keeping a big rig on the highway past the point of needing to change a tire - the ships are anything but incredibly advanced or challenging technology in the Firefly 'verse. They're workaday transportation.
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Old November 8 2009, 03:52 AM   #23
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Australis wrote: View Post
The thing that derails that film for me was the whole inner/outer planets thing.
Didn't Whedon backpeddle furiously on that one (after his plaintive "science is hard!" statement ). There were uh lots of terraformed space stations, asteroids and whatnot.

I have the same problem with the modern (Star Trek III and later) Klingons that you have with the Reavers: I don't believe for a moment that these people are capable of inventing the light bulb, much less achieving any ongoing technological culture over periods of centuries, because they're just too stupid and violent.
Eh? Modern Klingons have been depicted as being boisterous and sometimes looney but overall I can see them having a coherent, successful spacefaring society. They are smart, aggressive, creative, adaptable, insanely courageous and occasionally over the top but not self-destructive. They have their places in society and it takes a lot to get one of them to dishonor themselves by stepping out of the bounds.

They derive their social order from that "honor" shit they keep nattering on about to everyone's annoyance. There's a reason they make a fetish out of honor the way Vulcans make a fetish out of logic - those are both elements their respective cultures use to keep from imploding.

Of the two, I think the Vulcans are the ones with the more endangered culture. Their emotions are more violent than humans and made it extremely difficult for them to cohere as a society. So the Vulcans came up with one adaptation to their inborn handicap. The Romulans presumably came up with another adaptation (extreme xenophobia and its mirror image, extreme loyalty within the group - I can't think of what else it might have been).

Romulans and Vulcans have it much harder than Klingons. Humans have it very easy. That's probably why everyone is always hostile to humans - spoiled brats!
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Old November 8 2009, 03:58 AM   #24
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

The movie describes the hardscrabble planets as having been terraformed, yeah.

If one were desperate to achieve the kind of consistency that some Trek fans pursue with regard to explaining away the many small (and large) nonsensicalities of nomenclature and backstory in that franchise, I suppose one could rationalize the idea that "inner and outer planets" don't refer to their astronomical locations but have some social meaning along the lines of "upper and lower," "greater and lesser" etc.
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Old November 8 2009, 04:19 AM   #25
bigdaddy
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
bigdaddy wrote: View Post
That is your huge plot hole?

How about the fact they were supposed to be doing very poorly and still got money for a hover car?
Money they likely got from selling the Lacetar laser pistol that they stole "Trash." Remember, 6 months had passed between "Objects in Space" and the movie. A lot can happen in 6 months.

In the movie that said they had very hard times the last few months.


Times so hard that they got a hover car?
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Old November 8 2009, 04:20 AM   #26
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Hey, they stole the fucking hover car. Where's the problem?

Actually, I think the transformation of the "mule" from a tractor or something into a hovercar was just one of the cinematic upgrades that they hoped we'd accept happily instead of demanding some OCD-required explanation - same as with the fact that the cockpit of Serenity was bigger, curvier and had better electronics. Or all the nifty new structural stuff in the cargo hold. Or the completely different cowlings on the ship's external engines. Or the fact that Alliance vessels and uniforms and equipment in no way resembled the Alliance vessels and uniforms and equipment of the TV series. Or...
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Old November 8 2009, 04:24 AM   #27
Lindley
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Well, naturally they'd start the terraforming process on those worlds which were already most suitable for human life, so those rocks would get a head-start on infrastructure and development.

As the initial population began to expand, they'd need to push terraforming on less and less hospitable rocks. "Shindig" established that terraforming was ongoing during the series.

If one assumes that their particular terraforming techniques have an easier time heating a rock than cooling it, then it would make sense for the later-terraformed rocks to be further out from any star. And if one further assumes that some initially overlooked rocks actually had decent habitability due to proximity to secondary stars, that could explain why some outer planets seem to be fairly well-developed like Persephone.
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Old November 8 2009, 04:31 AM   #28
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

More troublesome was the implication that "terraforming" must include control of gravity on a planetary scale - those "dozens of planets and hundreds of moons" varied enormously in size despite all being terrestrial worlds...
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Old November 8 2009, 04:35 AM   #29
Lindley
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

Ah. Well, you see, in the future they generate artificial gravity by means of nanotechnology gizmos which invert the ploticon field. So essentially, gravity control is reduced to crop-dusting!
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Old November 8 2009, 04:44 AM   #30
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Second time for "Serenity"... and ran right into the huge plot hol

I'll buy that, because science is hard and I don't fucking care!

My favorite Whedonism on the general subject is "do not ask me science questions or I will cry."
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