Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 14:25:46 -0700 From: Allen Michael Retodo (email@example.com) Subject: Off topic Geometric shapes in spaceship design. I was just reading Cinescape May issue, and I came across an article talking about the Star Trek Ressurection, the next Trek movie to come out this X-mas. There is a picture of the cubed shaped Borg ship. After looking at it awhile I wondered why this ship was designed after such a simple shape. Maybe it had something to do with dramatic content or lack of production time and originality. Lets think about it. They have maybe a week to design Borg ship and not to much money to play with. Why not make a cube and stick excessive left over model kit sprue over the entire surface. Yeah that looks cool. So we have highly detailed Rubics cube. The borg ship always bothered me. Lets look at Star Wars. The Death Star was a planet sized sphere. It was humoungous on the movie screens because it emulated a moon or planet. So we have highly detailed volley ball. Babylon 5, the space station was modelled after revolving cylindrical shape. So we have a highy computer generated paper towel spool. Stargate was of course a giant pyramid. So we have a highly detailed stunted Trans-American building. So what is up with these geometric shapes anyway? Is this a lack of creativity or the influence of contempory asthetics breed from the deco-esqued Treked out ships. You know stick a disc here, add a couple cylinders, bang intant Starship. Yeah pretty simple and conservative designs. So lets look at :1999. I'm being biased when I say this, but :1999 had the best spaceship designs than any other show. Well, I put it to a tie with B5. Brian Johnson, Martin Bower and crew really turn out some impressive stuff for :1999. I wonder what the budget was for this and the time frame. I heard it was pretty tight as the time frame was concerned. There are no instant starships here. Maybe minor modifications here there but always a ship of the week or month. This must take a toll on the special effects crew. I wonder what the Eagle was modeled after. Of course it was modelled after an eagle, but I heard it was also derived from grasshopper or other insect. Well the Sidon ships were certainly insect related, just look at the heads. The Eagles' command module has an insect feel about it. :1999's spaceship designs always pushed the envelope as far being creative and bizzare at times, but for certain never over detailed geometric shape. Mike firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.well.com/~ndver/ndver.html
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 15:58:23 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (email@example.com) I read a book on the films of Stanley Kubrick (who is about to make his first new film in 10 freaking years!) discussing his artistry, and the shapes of the spaceships in 2001. 1999's Brian Johnson worked on 2001, so this is not that far off topic subject. Anyway, reviewers commented on the themes of birth and death in the film. The birth of mankind (the apes), the deaths inflicted by the bone-wielding apes, the deaths inflicted by HAL, the birth of the StarChild, etc. They likened the shape of the spaceship "Discovery" to: 1. A skeleton, with the arms and legs ripped off, leaving only a skull, backbone and pelvis. (Definitely a death image.) 2. A sperm! (Sort of related to imagery of birth.) (They likened the pods emerging from the Discovery to childbirth too.) Kubrick supposedly had all the models destroyed! All the spaceships, spacesuits, filming sets, everything! Oh the Humanity! He didn't want it to ever be reused in any other scifi movie, as often happened in 1950's schlock movies, the prime example of which would have to be Robbie the Robot, who debuted in "Forbidden Planet" and showed up in lots of other films and TV. For "2010", Peter Hyams had to recreate the Discovery, HAL, Bowman's spacesuit, everything from scratch. I think Kubrick even had the blueprints destroyed. I will have to recheck "The Odyssey File", a sort of "Making of" book, to be sure. At the other end of the spectrum would have to be the villan's spaceship from the CBS Saturday Morning show "Jason of Star Command" It was basically human shaped, with a head that turned too! Nothing subltle there! Ronald It is a show so outstanding that it makes 'Star Trek' look like children playing astronauts in the backyard. Tampa Tribune/Times, 1975, on Space:1999
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 17:32:37 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gareth Randall) Given that the Borg are supposed to be an unbelievably powerful force, I would imagine that the show's producers wanted to come up with a design of ship that immediately stood out and made you think "Hmmm, this is a bit out-of-the-ordinary". The normal SF cliche is to make powerful ships very, very large, while retaining a sleek, predatory look - the Borg ship turns that cliche on its head while retaining a strong visual image. I find the Borg ship to be extremely effective and interesting *because* it's so totally different to the "usual" design of spaceship. After all, if a spaceship never has to enter an atmosphere there's no reason for it to look elegant and aerodynamic - just make it any old shape that suits its purpose. Gareth
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 19:52:13 -0700 From: email@example.com (Alan Girton) I have to agree with Gareth. The Borg ship also underlines the basic premis of the Borg, that is, "assimilate" new beings into the collective. The Borg ship design reflects that utilitarian, one-size-fits-all, philosophy. It also would make replacement of defective parts (personnel, material, equipment) easily accomplished.
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 09:04:10 -0700 From: GT3083@SIUCVMB.SIU4tag.EDU Subject: Re:Geometric shapes for ships Regarding the cube shape for the Borg - I read somewhere that the cube was chosen because it is a shape that just does not occur in nature, thus emphasizing the unnaturality of the Borg. Also, I heard someone mention 'Jason of Star Command'...I -loved- that show as a kid; that, and 'Space Academy'. Anybody out there have any of those shows, or know someone who does? Some of you may notice I've been quiet lately....I've been busy trying to graduate from college. But I am still here. For those still interested, my original Alpha novella, "Inheritance" is still in the works, and new chapters will be posted over the summer (when I'll have much more free time on my hands). One last note: I want to give a HUGE round of applause to our two Roberts (Baldassari and Ruiz) for their efforts with the Eagle blueprints. I recieved mine last week, and they are -fabulous-! Dennis Campbell GT3083@Siucvmb.Siu.Edu
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 05:15:08 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (mr. wonderful) >Kubrick supposedly had all the models destroyed! All the spaceships, >spacesuits, filming sets, everything! True, true, all true. And BLESS HIM for doing it. -- Jon "Mr. Wonderful" Stadter
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 08:31:04 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (email@example.com) Well, he may have saved his spaceships and spacesuits from being reused in schlock movies, but how are we, the fans supposed to collect models or blueprints? It seems a little arrogant of him to have thought "You may watch my film, but you dare not make or own facsimiles of anything in it." If it was a blessing, then it was a mixed blessing.
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 10:22:22 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (mr. wonderful) Yes, but Kubrick wasn't interested in making a genre, or in the merchandising (such things were extremely uncommon at the time. He made the FILM, and that was his only goal. He wasn't making a movie about spoaceships or hardware. Actually, I think his decision to destroy the originals is what has kept 2001 at such a venerated level, even after 30 years. -- Jon "Mr. Wonderful" Stadter
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 13:38:41 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (email@example.com) WHAT? Kubrick wasn't interested in spaceships or hardware? His 2001 is very much about spaceships and hardware! If you want a director who didn't care about spaceships or hardware, then Edward D. Wood Jr. is the director for you! Hubcaps for spaceships, as used in his masterpiece "Plan 9 From Outer Space"
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 04:34:07 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (mr. wonderful) No, 2001 _features_ spaceships and hardware...it wasn't what his movie was ABOUT, however.
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 09:35:34 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (email@example.com) I don't buy it. Kubrick spent millions on this film to achieve just the right look to his spaceships, spacesuits, and hardware, yet your claiming that the movie isn't about the things he spent those millions on! You might as well argue that Space:1999 isn't really about living on the moon! Of course 2001 is about deeper things than the hardware, but not to the exclusion of everything else. It can be and indeed is about both deep things and hardware. The film IS about spaceships. I saw too many of them not to believe this. Kubrick is saying something about spaceships as our latest tools, in comparison to bones, the earliest tools of those apemen. Will anyone seriously argue that 2001 isn't about technology, tools, and spaceships? The film is about birth and death. I saw lots of deaths in 2001. Kubrick is saying something about birth/death/rebirth, although just what may be in dispute. The film is even about eating. I saw apes eating a pig-like animal. I saw Dr. Floyd sucking stuff out of straws. I saw Dr. Floyd eating sandwich looking things in the moon bus. I saw Bowman spooning stuff out of a tray into his mouth. I saw aged Bowman eating fancy food with wine. Kubrick is saying something about eating, or usine eating to say something. The film is about the struggle to survive. Leopards attack the apes. The apes fight over a water hole. The americans don't trust their secrets with the russians. Bowman has to fight HAL to the death. And struggling to survive is what 1999 was about too. 2001 is about many things, and space-hardware is certainly one of them.
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 05:15:05 -0700 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (mr. wonderful) Subject: Re: Off topic Geometric shapes in spaceship design. >So we have highly detailed Rubics cube. The borg ship always bothered me. Actually, I thought the Borg ship, coming from a race with no aesthetic outlook, was quite sensible, and presented a nice impersonal quality that fit the characters... >Lets look at Star Wars. The >Death Star was a planet sized sphere. It was humoungous on the movie >screens because it emulated a moon or planet. So we have highly detailed >volley ball. The bigger stupidity about the Death Star was that it had decks arranged side to side (as seen while building MK II in 'Jedi'), when a mass that large would be much more sensibly built with concentric decks, like the skins on an onion. >Babylon 5, the space station was modelled after revolving >cylindrical shape. So we have a highy computer generated paper towel >spool. Well, B5's shape has a definite purpose in its environment (the 'gravitational' effect of its' spin). This is an old concept going way back to Tsiolkovsky. >Stargate was of course a giant pyramid. So we have a highly detailed >stunted Trans-American building. No, the alien's ship was a pyramid...the Stargate was the big metal donut. >So what is up with these geometric shapes >anyway? Is this a lack of creativity or the influence of contempory >asthetics breed from the deco-esqued Treked out ships. You know stick a >disc here, add a couple cylinders, bang intant Starship. Yeah pretty >simple and conservative designs. Yes, Paramount is definitely dry in the creativity department, as evidenced by its complete inability to do anything but the same (or slightly modified) configurations for the Starfleet ships, and weak, uninspired Sternbach cookiecutters for 'everyone else.' Star Wars, as a rule, was a little too "World War II" obsessed IMHO. >So lets look at :1999. I'm being >biased when I say this, but :1999 had the best spaceship designs than any >other show. Well, I put it to a tie with B5. Smart qualification to make <g>. >:1999's >spaceship designs always pushed the envelope as far being creative and >bizzare at times, but for certain never over detailed geometric shape. You can thank two factors for that. Firstly, Gerry Anderson. He obviously gets off on models, etc, look at UFO, Thunderbirds, etc. Secondly, thank the Brits. In America, we have a tendency to want spaceships vaguely airplane-like, painted modestly, usually with a single overall color with insignia added, like airplane schemes. The British, however, indulge wild shapes, colors, and configurations. They allow aliens to look 'alien.' I'm a science-fiction artist, and have really taken to the British artists like Chris Foss and Jim Burns because they understand that a ship in vaccuum doesn't have to be streamlined, that hard edges and smooth curves aren't neccesssary, and that a sense of fantasy is to be stretched, not just met. Jon "Mr. Wonderful" Stadter
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 10:43:27 -0700 From: Amardeep_Chana@xn.xerox4tag.com (Chana,Amardeep) Subject: Spaceccraft shapes & Borg vs. Alpha > Regarding the cube shape for the Borg - I read somewhere that the cube was >chosen because it is a shape that just does not occur in nature, thus >emphasizing the unnaturality of the Borg. Hmmm, salt crystals are cubic... but I get your point. The Borg ship did come across as exceptionally unnatural. It kind of reminds me of a "junkyard" ship like in Salvage I. "Resistance is futile." "Alan, open fire!" [weapons fire exchanged. All eagles except Alan's destroyed.] Gosh, Alpha would really have a tough time if they came across the Borg. But assuming that, like in every other episode, they would survive in the end, I wonder what Koenig et. al. would do to defeat them? They would obviously have to use ingenuity and human spirit in place of the hokey technobabble the UFP guys used. "Paul, equip Eagle 8 with nuclear charges. Shield them with lead so they can't be detected. Kano, have main computer select a pilot for Eagle 8. Preferably someone who needs a tan..." Amardeep
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 11:14:44 -0700 From: David Weis (email@example.com) Subject: Re:Geometric shapes for ships > Regarding the cube shape for the Borg - I read somewhere that the cube was > chosen because it is a shape that just does not occur in nature Anybody ever look at TABLE SALT (sodium chloride)? Nice, nearly perfect cubes. In fact, you can get cubes of sodium chloride that are so good, that they are very nearly flat on atomic dimensions. The cube turns out to be the simplest of crystal structures and ubiquitous in nature. (I don't think any biological systems exhibit a cubic structure, though . . .) From a tactical standpoint, a cube is a really bad idea. If your enemy positions itself in front of one of your six faces, none of the weapons on the other five faces can be brought to bear on the enemy. In mathematical terms, only one sixth of your surface area is available. With a sphere on the other hand, you always get 50% of your surface area to face your opponent. Just my 1.999 cents worth . . . David Weis, Ph.D. Candidate firstname.lastname@example.org Dept. of Chemistry Voice: (812)855-6700 Indiana University Fax: (812)855-8300
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:55:21 -0700 From: David Washke (email@example.com) Subject: Re: Off Topic: 2001 Discovery model project Mike Retodo wrote: > destroying the models was a good thing. Remember the movie "Silent Running?" > If you do, there was a ship called the Valley Forge and other ships that > were of the same design. These models were retained and later one used in > Battlestar Galactica as an agro-ship. When the "Valley Forge" showed up on Battlestar Galactica, I don't think they reused the models -- It looks more like they just used some of the footage from "Silent Running" and matted some Cylon ships and laser fire onto it! The "low-cost" approach, I guess. Dave Washke firstname.lastname@example.org Nitpickers of the World, Unite!
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 19:15:22 -0700 From: email@example.com (Alan Girton) Subject: RE: Off Topic: 2001 Discovery model project On April 23, Allen Michael Retodo (firstname.lastname@example.org) recalled Shuttle = Orion model kit from "2001." When I was a kid, my uncle had a model of = the moon bus. So Kubrick had to have released some of his designs = somewhere along the way.
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 02:05:15 -0700 From: "Allen R. Barnella" (email@example.com) Alan: Here in the states the now defunct Aurora Products Corp. offered a Space Shuttle Orion kit as well as a Moon Bus kit that had a detailed interior. If memory serves me correctly, Monogram has reissued some of the old Aurora kits, although I don't know if that includes either of the 2001 kits. Fly Like An Eagle, Allen
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 04:05:02 -0700 From: Michael Jerry Decker (firstname.lastname@example.org) Hi guys, Here's the deal on the 2001 kits Aurora made...They made the 2 kits you mentioned. The Pan Am Clipper Orion in 1/144th scale and the Moon Bus in 1/55th scale. Monogram bought all of Aurora's surving molds some years ago and isn't saying what they do and don't have. Recently they rerelaesed the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Flying Sub as a selected subjects series. This means that they produce X number of kits one time only. If you don't get them when they come out, you are gonna miss getting them at all. That may sound like a cruddy way of doing things, but it keeps production costs down, and Monogram doesn't have to sit on a lot of inventory waiting for it to sell. The last time I spoke with them (I own a hobby shop, that's my job) they were considering rereleasing the Battlestar Galactica line. This is tentative, but if you're interested, let them know. They do occasionally listen to the consumer. As for 2001 kits, I wouldn't hold my breath. But then again, stranger things have happened. Who knows, maybe if we all bitched loud enough, MPC (now AMT/ERTL) might even reissue the old Space: 1999 kits. I don't have AMT's or Monogram's phone numbers and addresses handy, but I'll post them when I have a chance. Michael
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 05:46:27 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (email@example.com) Michael Jerry Decker writes: > , They do occasionally listen to the consumer. As for 2001 > kits, I wouldn't hold my breath. But then again, stranger things have > happened. Who knows, maybe if we all bitched loud enough, MPC (now > AMT/ERTL) might even reissue the old Space: 1999 kits. I don't have AMT's > or Monogram's phone numbers and addresses handy, but I'll post them when > I have a chance. I would imagine that there will lots of renewed interest in 2001 around the year 2001. Orwell's 1984 was remade in 1984 with Richard Burton and John Hurt, and there were anniversary reissues of the book, so I imagine that MGM or Ted Turner, or whoever owns the rights will do all they can to get more money out of their property simply because 2001 finally arrives. Perhaps even Kubrick will issue a "Director's Cut" version. 2001 did have something like 20 additional minutes of footage at its premier that was cut for general release weeks later, after critics complained about the length. It was mostly footage of special effects, like spacewalks. If Stephen King can reissue "The Stand" with restored pages, and Ridley Scott can reissue "Blade Runner" as a director's cut, why not the great 2001, perhaps with all the merchandising that snob purists despise, like T-shirts, toys, models, "action figures" (dolls), video games, screen savers, trading cards, halloween costumes, and all other the stuff fans love to collect? Maybe some twisted genius will create a HAL9000 virus, that will first tell lies, then turn all robotic machinery against its users, and finally turn off all the life support machines and cryogenic storage systems in hospitals and mortuaries world wide? Possibly even 1999 will get some interest in 3 years. Perhaps Polygram will finally issue remastered VHS NTSC tapes here in the US? Perhaps the Sci-Fi Channel will treat the show decently, and show it uncut? Ronald
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 06:04:41 -0700 From: Ronald Dudley (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Spaceship shapes again Here's another spaceship shape: A flower! In the 1985 movie "Lifeforce", space shuttle astronauts bring back to earth 3 naked space vampires from Halley's Comet, which then run amuck in London, spreading vampirism everywhere. And that's just the first 20 minutes, no kidding! Patrick Stewart had a small role as a psychiatric doctor, and it was weird to see him in a suit, tie, and raincoat. (The only other roles I have seen him in were TNG, Dune, and I Claudius.) Anyway, the space vampires' spaceship was hiding in the Comet, and was shaped like a flower, maybe a rose, with the closed up flower bloom at one end, a long leafless stem in the middle, and roots at the end. This does make it the same shape as Discovery from 2001, except the thing was 2 miles long. John Dykstra of Battlestar Galactica did the effects for this movie made by Golan & Globus, the same movie geniuses who the year before gave us Bo Derek in "Bolero". Ha! In one part of the movie, the rose-spaceship parked over London, its flower petals opened up, and it started vacuuming the city of all the lifeforces that the vampires had been consuming. Sorry if this gives away too much of the movie, but as I said, after the first 20 minutes, you can pretty much see what is going to happen for the rest of the film. Suspenceful it ain't! What this film has going for it is a vampire queen played by a 19 year old french girl who runs around naked, and gory corpses that come back to life by sucking electricity/lifeforce from their victims faces. Ha! Ronald
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 1996 09:41:17 -0700 From: Allen Michael Retodo (email@example.com) Subject: Re: spaceship designs again Yes an elegant spaceship indeed. One of my favorites. Another celestian flower like spacecraft design would the Vorlon crafts from B5. Specifically Kosh's ship. The shape can also be described as cephlapodian in nature resembling a squid, but what makes it closer to a flower would be the articulating petal like wings in full bloom. The colors are rather striking in bright yellow and blue. In nature bright colors usually mean stay away because I'm poisonous. Pretty effective use of design and colors. The vampire flower ship which harbored the vampires had a disturbing dark color to it. Dark and grey like a dead thorn piercing the skin and infecting your inner soul. You can possibly describe the ship as a virus cell also. I believe cancer cells are symmetrical in nature. I remeber staying up late one night thinking of designs for space ships and celetial bodies for a screenplay I want to write for my film class and the coffee was taking effect. It was 4:00 AM and I had my drawing pad in hand. I reached deep inside of me to think of disturbing shapes and thornish star like shapes came to mind. Then a name came to mind. At that moment I clicked the TV on and there it was, the alien Gigeresqued vampire ship. That was it, the design I was looking for. Then a title and a name came to mind it was The String the String are here! Highly degererative forms of darkness which pierce the skin and corrupt your soul. See this is what happens when you drink coffee at 4:00 AM in the morning watching space vampire flicks. Pretty scary! The String are here oh no! Mike