Friday, June 7, 2024

Fire Emblem Heroes: Book VIII - In the Shadow of Yggdrasill

I must admit that Fire Emblem Heroes: Book VIII has continued to be one of the most intriguing of the game, not the least because we are unsure of the motives of our adversaries, one that caused a family of cosmic healers to become assassins. We have faced conquest for conquest's sake several times from both gods and mortals alike, and even the living embodiment of apocalypse merged with a cyclical nature of time. But the current crisis has no even semi-obvious cause, adding a most appealing element of mystery that I dearly hope will not end is cosmic and, for Alfonse and Sharena, person tragedy. As Book VIII's official description says, "Deceptions lurk around every corner, yet there is no choice but to move forward..."

Monday, June 3, 2024

Quote of the month

"Thus is it spoken: Oft hope is born, when all is forlorn." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, May 27, 2024

The Millennium Falcon vs. the USS Enterprise

Ever do people make comparisons between the ships and technologies of Star Trek and Star Wars, namely a hypothetical battle between the Millennium Falcon vs. the USS Enterprise, so now I shall. And I will begin by saying that I deem the comparison silly beyond belief. Why? Well, let us delve into broader technological differences between the 24th century Milky Way and those in a galaxy far far away.

Millennium Falcon
It begins with speed. In Star Wars the Galactic Republic/Empire is just that, galactic, spanning basically the entire galaxy. On a routine basis across all the films ships – be they Star Destroyers, Queen Amidala's royal starship, to one-man ships like Luke's X-Wing – traverse half the galaxy and back again in a matter of days or less. Which makes sense, as how else can a galaxy-spanning political entity keep together? 

USS Voyager
In Star Trek, however, it is completely different. The entire series Star Trek: Voyager was the USS Voyager getting thrown over 70,000 light years away from the Federation, across the Milky Way, and having to seek out new technologies to shorten what would at Maximum Warp be a 75 year journey home. And the same can be seen in Next Generation, each episode often referencing in the Captain's Log and through dialogue how many days it would take to reach Point A to Point B. For example, it would take a Starship traveling at Warp 9.975  one month to traverse 132 light years. A month. Now Star Wars does not get into the intricacies of tech as much as Star Trek, but, again, I point to the fact that Star Wars ships travel across galaxy and back in a matter of days. Luke's X-Wing, much less the Millennium Falcon, would have seen the USS Voyager's 70,000 light years journey as nothing to sneeze at; an average flight. In short, Star Wars hyperdrive engines are worlds superior to Star Trek Warp Drives.

Death Star
Now onto weapons. In Episode IV: A New Hope when Obi-Wan Kenobi says that Alderaan was destroyed by the Empire Han Solo replies "the entire star fleet couldn't destroy a whole planet, it'd take a thousand ships and more fire power than I've seen in a..." though a Tie Fighter interrupted him, the Captain of the Millennium Falcon told us all we need to know. Namely how many imperial ships – all armed with the best weapons, mind – it would take to destroy a planet. In short, in Star Wars it takes nothing less than a fully operational Death Star to do the job.

USS Defiant
Now on to Star Trek, which is where the irony comes in since the Federation loathes war and Starfleet is not strictly a military organization. Ironic because Federation weapons leave Galactic Republic/Imperial ones in the dust, the proof lying in the fact that there are several episodes where the USS Enterprise uses its phasers to drill into planets, and the Deep Space Nine episode the Broken Link Worf catches Garak attempting to gain control the USS Defiant's phasers and quantum torpedoes to destroy the Founders' homeworld; as Garak puts it, "we have enough fire power on this ship to turn that planet into a smoking cinder." Granted that the USS Defiant is one of the most heavily armed ships in the Federation, but it is also one of the physically smallest. Bottom line: basically a single Federation Starship can do what, in Star Wars, only the moon-sized Death Star can.

So, to recap, Star Wars hyperdrive engines wipe the floor with Star Trek Warp Drives in the speed contest, yet Federation phasers make Galactic Republic/Imperial laser cannons looks like outdated pistols. Again, let us appreciate the irony that something called Star WARS actually has the weaker weapons.

USS Enterprise-D
Which brings us back to the age-old Sci-Fi question of: Who would win, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise? Like I said before, it is a silly question – and the reason why should by now be clear. In an even battle the Enterprise would blow the Falcon to pieces without breathing hard, yet the Falcon would not give it the opportunity since it could outrun it as easily as a regular falcon would a robin. Indeed, even in Star Wars how often does the Millennium Falcon truly fight? Usually only when trying to escape; since speed is the ship's claim to fame, the whole purpose behind it is that the Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca can outrun the Imperials; indeed, it is made very plain that Millennium Falcon cannot best even a single Imperial Star Destroyer. The USS Enterprise, however, is an utterly different animal: the flagship of a vast interstellar power and home to over a thousand people, it was designed to hold its own in a fight against the best the enemies of the Federation had to offer. Whereas the the Millennium Falcon is a freighter; the faster freighter in the galaxy and capable of taking out several one-person attack ships, but a freighter still.

Imperial Star Destroyer
Hence my belief that the whole Millennium Falcon vs. the USS Enterprise debate is silly because, to employ an aphorism, it is comparing apples and oranges. The two ships are so utterly different, both in technology, size, and purpose, and if the two ever did cross swords it would ends as I described above: with the Falcon either in pieces or leaving the Enterprise literally half a galaxy behind. Indeed, it would be the same between the Enterprise and its nearest Star Wars analogue, a Star Destroyer. Given the overwhelming superiority of Federation weapons, a Starship could fry a Star Destroyer easily, leaving the Imperial ship no option but to employ its overwhelming superiority hyperdrive engine to escape.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Quote of the month

"There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book." - Sir Philip Pullman

Thursday, May 9, 2024

My father and I just finished Wish by Victoria Harris

My father and I just finished Wish by Victoria Harris.

A quaint yet poignant Fantasy steeped in the author's own rather unique take on Irish lore, it teaches the lesson that even in the face of grief and betrayal one must shine bright with inner sparkle, because otherwise the darkness will - very literally in this case - win. Oh, and a certain spiny familiar has an attitude problem.

A new Lord of the Rings movie: The Hunt of Gollum

To quote the Washington Post: 

A new Lord of the Rings movie was announced by Warner Bros. on Thursday, marking a cinematic return to the Oscar-winning film franchise based on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The new film, the first of two that will explore previously untold stories in the universe, will see Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker Peter Jackson back at the helm, along with Andy Serkis, who still star in and direct the first of these films, “The Hunt for Gollum.”

“Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends,” Serkis said in a statement, playing off the slithery, CGI-rendered Gollum character that he performed to much acclaim in the original film trilogy. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav first announced the new films during an earnings call Thursday, with “The Hunt for Gollum” tentatively scheduled to release in 2026. The film’s script is still being written.

My reaction? Given the travesty of movies they made for The Hobbit, I have some concerns. Still, to quote Bilbo Baggins, "where there is life there is hope" and this is Peter Jackson's chance to redeem himself in a major way as Aragorn and Gandalf traversed much of Middle-earth to find Gollum. Of course, the real question is whether Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen will reprise their old characters. This could, as ever with the works of the great J.R.R. Tolkien, be a cinematic masterpiece in the making.

Friday, May 3, 2024

I have started Destiny, book three of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages

I have started Destiny, book three of Elizabeth Haydon's Symphony of Ages.

It is time to hunt the F'dor and all those born and controlled by its black flames. Black flames which threaten Past, Present, and Future as now Rhapsody the Singer, Achmed the Snake, and Sergeant-Major Gunthor are past the help of Meridion the Time Editor. The Three must stand, survive, and save the world from nothing less than unending, timeless oblivion. Prophecies have declared they can, prophetic visions the price of failure. The attack comes from all sides. Will the many ambitions and secrets of be the Cymrians overcome? How many steps into apocalypse can the world endure? Will a love that began on a lost island in the distant Past finally be permitted to burn bright as Daystar Clarion for all to see? Only Time will tell. Let the harmony continue.