So you’ve got some very big dreams of destruction to fulfill, and shopping around for Death Stars is a little bit tricky. I mean, there aren’t many manufacturers, and there’s sort of a de facto monopoly on who gets to own one… it’s hard for your average Joe Supervillain to get his hands on the kind of weapon. And hey, we might be mad scientists, but that doesn’t mean we’re all mad inventors, right? But fear not, my ambitious world-conquering friend. Superweapons are actually a lot easier to come by than you’ve probably been led to believe. Giant lasers aren’t the be-all, end-all of earth shattering kabooms. So here are 4 sci-fi technologies you might not have realized double as great superweapons (in order of difficulty to obtain, not destructive force).
Evil empires are a sci-fi staple, and every evil empire is going to have its own sci-fi rebellions to deal with. The only problem? Well, the bad guys are way better organized and equipped. This isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, but for some of the resistance movements out there, it may as well be. Not every Rebellion has the Force on their side, after all, and some of them can barely agree that they’re all on the same side. When you add infighting, tactical missteps, and poor planning to the mix, it’s a miracle they ever even accomplish anything at all. With that in mind, here are 4 of the least effective rebel groups ever to show up in sci-fi.
A few weeks ago, we looked at four of the biggest shake-ups to the status quo; for better or worse in-universe, things were never quite the same after those moments, even though it was almost always for the best from a narrative perspective. History has these kinds of days, too, and September 11th, 2001 was one of those moments for the real world (and indirectly, for our fiction as well). So this week, in honor of that, we’re going to turn to the sadder side of things, looking at 4 of the big tragedies that turned these sci-fi universes into the worlds we know and love. These things can disrupt the status quo, like the Wolf 359 example from before, but they don’t have to; often, they’re backstory elements that explain why the universe on screen is different from ours, or they occur in the first episode. And much like how tragedies can shape the course of the future in real life, so too are fictional worlds shaped.
Did you know that across the multiverse, the number one reason Mankind gets destroyed before expanding into space is robotic rebellions? It’s true! Maybe… okay, fine, but it’s definitely up there on the list. People like to think we’ve got this one figured out already–Asimov’s three laws of robotics, for example. What they generally fail to remember is that Asimov’s stories are all about why the three laws approach is a flawed one. Sure, they’re a good starting point, but you’re going to need more than that if it you want to be completely sure that these AI servants don’t become AI overlords.
When it comes to starships, bigger is better–or so sci-fi would lead us to believe, anyway. This is most evident when it comes to movies, which often use the spectacle of a massive ship to help convey the true scale of the danger our heroes face. And these massive starships in movies are almost always under the command of the bad guys–Star Wars has The Death Star, Star Trek had the Narada, Independence Day and its alien mothership… It’s rare to see the good guys with anything that can compare.
This tends to show up less for TV series than movies; budget is a big reason why, but that doesn’t mean it never happens, and it tends to have a lot of impact when it does. After all, if you’re used to the Enterprise-D being the big ship on the block, seeing it completely dwarfed by a Borg cube for the first time is appropriately awe-inspiring. It also tends to be a result of the series running for a long time; SG-1‘s Goa’uld Hatak-class motherships are pretty big, but the Ori motherships are significantly bigger, and the Wraith Super-Hive ship from Stargate Atlantis is bigger still.
Regardless of their origins, the real reason for having enormous starships is obvious: they’re just so cool! So here are 4 of the biggest starships I’ve been able to find on TV. And keep in mind–it’s starships, so they gotta be able to move. Deep Space 9, Babylon 5, etc. are stations and thus not applicable to this list.