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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old February 1 2013, 05:49 PM   #16
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Worst science goofs

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I think it's more a question of Han trying to impress who he assumes are just a couple of local hicks than him not knowing the basics of space navigation.
Obviously inexperienced farm boy and old man with dated mannerisms: "We want to go to a big important planet on the other side of the galaxy, now, because we're apparently in trouble with the law or something, or else we've pissed off someone we shouldn't have".

Han: "Well, you've come to the right place. My ship made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs...And it has a point-five doohickeytron engine with bullshit injectors".

Farm boy (wide-eyed ignorance): "Really?"

Old man (Trusting): "Why, that does sound impressive, good sir".

Han: "Yep! Which is why I'm charging the perfectly normal rate of half a zillion credits which, being such experienced space travellers, you know is a good bargain!"

Or something.
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Old February 1 2013, 05:54 PM   #17
Silvercrest
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Re: Worst science goofs

That fits the scene; it just doesn't exactly fit with what Lucas said about Solo not knowing what he's talking about.

On the original topic, I once saw a passage from a pre-Kirk novel about the Enterprise where a guy ran into a room that had been evacuated of atmosphere and instantly froze solid as a result. Ummm... I don't think it works that way....

The artificial gravity was also off, so the guy also sailed across the room, hit the opposite wall, and shattered. Just to underscore the point that he was frozen. solid.

Anyone remember this novel? Was something else supposed to be at work there, or am I getting the particulars wrong?
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Old February 1 2013, 09:11 PM   #18
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Re: Worst science goofs

^That's in Diane Carey's Final Frontier. Which, regardless of many things, is still my favorite Trek novel.
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Old February 1 2013, 09:31 PM   #19
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Re: Worst science goofs

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
That fits the scene; it just doesn't exactly fit with what Lucas said about Solo not knowing what he's talking about.
Well, to be fair, that's what I said, and I may not have remembered it exactly right. Maybe what other posters suggested above was right, that it was more about him being a con artist.


On the original topic, I once saw a passage from a pre-Kirk novel about the Enterprise where a guy ran into a room that had been evacuated of atmosphere and instantly froze solid as a result. Ummm... I don't think it works that way....
Oh, absolutely not. As anyone who's ever used a thermos should know (but sadly doesn't), vacuum is an insulator. You lose heat far more slowly in vacuum than you do in air or water, because there's no conduction or convection to take heat away from your body. Space travellers have more to worry about from overheating, which is why spacesuits have cooling systems built in, not heating systems.


The artificial gravity was also off, so the guy also sailed across the room, hit the opposite wall, and shattered. Just to underscore the point that he was frozen. solid.
Which doesn't work either. Even if you flash-froze a body with liquid nitrogen, there's a limit to how fast the heat can be leached out of the body, so the surface would be frozen but the interior wouldn't. And even a body frozen solid all the way through wouldn't shatter like ice; that's a myth. There's still plenty of tissue and stuff in there that wouldn't become that brittle.
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Old February 1 2013, 09:53 PM   #20
Silvercrest
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Re: Worst science goofs

Actually I remember the Lucas story the same way you told it, except I've never seen anything that says it's in the script. I first read it in the letters page of the Marvel Comics adaptation of the original movie. Some readers were complaining about the parsec thing. The editors quoted Lucas (who had already come up with this response for someone else) as saying that Han is the sort of bull artist who doesn't always know what he's talking about.

Well, someone is, anyway....

I wasn't sure I was remembering the Carey novel correctly, but I guess I am. I was hoping that there was a technobabble explanation for the freezing. (I can excuse the brittleness if we had that.)

So she actually wrote that momentary exposure to vacuum will flash-freeze a human body?

Just... wow....
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Old February 1 2013, 10:00 PM   #21
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Re: Worst science goofs

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Actually I remember the Lucas story the same way you told it, except I've never seen anything that says it's in the script. I first read it in the letters page of the Marvel Comics adaptation of the original movie. Some readers were complaining about the parsec thing. The editors quoted Lucas (who had already come up with this response for someone else) as saying that Han is the sort of bull artist who doesn't always know what he's talking about.
That's my original source for it too. But I think I've seen something more recently that showed the script reference.

From the Wookieepedia page on the Kessel Run:
In the revised fourth draft of A New Hope in 1976, the description for "Kessel Run" is put as follows:

It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation.

So it implies that the puzzling speech of Han Solo is "misinformation" and not truth, and it has nothing to do with the nature of the Kessel Run in any respect. Han means nothing other than impressing Obi-Wan and Luke with pure boasting. Indeed, even in the final version of the script, the parentheses attached to Han's line state that he is "obviously lying."
Which is ambiguous, admittedly; it could either mean that he isn't using "parsecs" correctly or that they know it's impossible for the ship to perform as well as he claims. So it's inconclusive.

It goes on to say:
In the commentary for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope DVD, George Lucas mentions that the parsecs are due to the Millennium Falcon's advanced navigational computer rather than its engines, so the navicomputer would calculate much faster routes than other ships could.
So in this case, it would seem that it's Lucas's claim that it really does make sense that's the revisionist explanation, and the original intention was that it didn't make sense (in one way or another).
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Old February 1 2013, 10:20 PM   #22
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Re: Worst science goofs

How's this for worst science goofs: Pretty much the entirety of The Black Hole.

For their part, nobody really knew what a black hole was when that movie was made. They were just making shit up. They could re-film that same script today, but just call it "Wormhole," because that's what that thing was - obviously not a true black hole as we understand it today.
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Old February 1 2013, 10:21 PM   #23
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Re: Worst science goofs

Christopher wrote:
So in this case, it would seem that it's Lucas's claim that it really does make sense that's the revisionist explanation, and the original intention was that it didn't make sense (in one way or another).

That doesn't make sense!



(But you knew that.)
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Old February 2 2013, 12:15 AM   #24
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Re: Worst science goofs

The explanation I recall is that the Kessel Run is near a mass of black holes, and the closer you get to the black holes, the more space is warped and the shorter the actual distance is.
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Old February 2 2013, 01:02 AM   #25
Silvercrest
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Re: Worst science goofs

It's still a science goof. A technobabble explanation by another writer YEARS AND YEARS after the fact doesn't change that the first writer didn't know what a parsec was.
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Old February 2 2013, 01:08 AM   #26
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Re: Worst science goofs

^Or that the character wasn't using it right. I know people have reason for skepticism about Lucas, but just as a general rule, one shouldn't assume that a character's ignorance reflects the writer's ignorance, especially when the script explicitly has the other characters reacting to him with disbelief.
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Old February 2 2013, 01:16 AM   #27
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Re: Worst science goofs

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
It's still a science goof. A technobabble explanation by another writer YEARS AND YEARS after the fact doesn't change that the first writer didn't know what a parsec was.
Yeah, but it's pretty clear that Lucas did know what a parsec was way back in 1977. The only reason that it's an issue is that fans have trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that Lucas had his character utter some bullshit. To make sure it was bullshit, Lucas had to misuse the term, and the only way to misuse the term on purpose is to know how to use it correctly. If the scene failed, it failed to anticipate that people wouldn't get that Han was bullshitting when he said it, leading to years and years of overblown controversy, over-analysis, and wanky explanations, like going around a black hole at the shortest distance.

ETA: Or, what Christopher said.
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Old February 2 2013, 02:10 AM   #28
Silvercrest
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Re: Worst science goofs

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
It's still a science goof. A technobabble explanation by another writer YEARS AND YEARS after the fact doesn't change that the first writer didn't know what a parsec was.
Yeah, but it's pretty clear that Lucas did know what a parsec was way back in 1977.
I guess that's not clear to me. It reads as though he misused a term and when someone called him on it, he shifted the blame by claiming the character was written to be foolish. Maybe that's not what happened, but that's how it reads from here. And it doesn't really ring true.

If he had claimed the character was written as trying to put one over on his customers, that would ring true to the character and I'd have believed him. As it is, I can't see it as anything other than writer error.
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Old February 2 2013, 02:28 AM   #29
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Re: Worst science goofs

^But it's right there in the script drafts that Han was providing "misinformation" and "lying." We know for a fact that Lucas intended Han's line to be an exaggeration that his listeners didn't find credible, because it says so right there in documents that were written in 1976, before the movie was even shot. So it doesn't make any sense to assume that it's something Lucas made up after the fact to cover himself.
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Old February 2 2013, 04:11 AM   #30
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Re: Worst science goofs

Actually it makes a great deal of sense considering all the other time he's done it. But I'll reconsider.
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