sci-fi

Screen Heroes Awards

Screen Heroes Awards
Screen Heroes

 
 
00:00 / 124:37
 
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Welcome to the 3rd Annual Screen Heroes Awards! This year, we bring you 32 categories spanning film, television, and video games. Join us as our three Screen Heroes hosts are joined by hosts from all across the Heroes Podcast Network to discuss the nominees you’ve been voting on for weeks and who the winners are, plus our own takes on those choices.

We do apologize for the echo in the audio. It’s inconsistent and varies in strength depending on who is talking.

Watch the episode here:

What did you think of our nominees and winners?  We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Jon Czerwinski (former Gamer Heroes host)
Thomas Egan (Gamer Heroes host)
Kacey Parnacott (host of a coming soon Anime focused series)
Ian Turner (host of Echo Station and Costume Couture)

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Spreaker

Google Play

RSS Feed

Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

Screen Heroes Awards

Costume Couture: Top 10 Star Wars Side Character Looks

SirynRae and Haus of Turner Cosplay head to a galaxy far, far away with their picks for the Top 10 Star Wars Side Character Looks! These looks include non-lead live action characters. This means the original trilogy, the prequels, Rogue One, and the new trilogy films. While some of these characters get expanded on in the cartoons, we’ll only be looking at their live action form this week.

Hosted by
Rae of SirynRae Cosplay
Ian of Haus of Turner Cosplay

Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and give these videos a thumbs-up!

Enjoy our videos? Want to help us make them even better? Check out our Patreon at Patreon.com/heroespodcasts.

Are you a cosplayer? Do you want a spotlight on Costume Couture? Don’t forget to submit a Cosplayer of the Week form: http://heroespodcasts.com/cosplay-submission!

Costume Couture: Top 10 Star Wars Side Character Looks

SH S4E21: Screen Heroes Awards

It’s time for the 2nd Annual Screen Heroes Awards! We sent out 30 categories across movies, TV, and video games! Then we had you, the listener vote. Now, we’ll see who won each category and which voting viewers will take home a prize in our contest!

What do you think of our Screen Heroes Awards winners and losers? Did you like our show?

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Don’t forget to check out our Patreon for our new monthly movie series! Each month we’re going to do a fun parody scene and so far we’ve done a scene from Pulp Fiction and Scream! November’s scene will have something to do with DC Comics heroes though… maybe even Batman. Want to know more? Become a Patron today and watch the first two videos on our YouTube channel now!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Prefer to watch Screen Heroes? Catch the edited Twitch broadcast below and subscribe our YouTube Channel!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S4E21: Screen Heroes Awards

SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

We build the ultimate Star Trek crew! We cover ten different ship positions\roles and fill those spots with characters from all five previous Star Trek series. That’s right, our Ultimate Crew includes characters from every series currently out. We pick our First Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Counselor, our Captain, and more.

Then, when we’re done, we discussing our Ultimate Sci-Fi Crew that covers the same roles but across all of science fiction outside of Trek!

So listen in and let us know what you think of our Ultimate Star Trek Crew, plus who would show up on your roster!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Prefer to watch the show? Catch the broadcast below!

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Christopher Scott
Jeremy Monken

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S4E09: Ultimate Star Trek Crew

SH S4E06: Top 20 Jedi

May the Force be with you and us as we sit down to rank the Top 20 Jedi! Our list includes Jedi Knights and some who you might not expect. We talk Disney canon plus the Extended Universe, so tons of characters are up for grabs!

Plus, we’ve got a special guest Barry Poole from Kansas City Comic Con to talk a bit about the upcoming convention this November.

So sit back, enjoy our list and then let us know what you would have done differently!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Prefer to watch our show? Check out the Twitch broadcast below!

(Updated 7:23AM CST Aug 17, 2017 to add video)

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Barry Poole
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
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Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S4E06: Top 20 Jedi

SH S4E05: The Dark Tower Review

This week, we enter the Dark Tower by diving deep into the latest Stephen King concept to hit the big screen. Before diving into the Idris Elba film, we talk news including the big Netflix\Disney shake-up and more!

Now to be clear, there will be major Dark Tower spoilers but we’ll give you plenty of warning before we dive into the details. So even if you haven’t seen the movie, stick around for news plus our spoiler-free take on The Dark Tower.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Prefer to watch our show? Check out the Twitch broadcast below!

(Updated Aug 10th 6:14AM CST to include video broadcast)

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Ian Turner

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes Subscription Link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

SH S4E05: The Dark Tower Review

Alien: Covenant Spoiler-free Review

The next installment in the Alien franchise is here. This time Ridley Scott is admitting upfront that it is, in fact, an Alien movie. With that said, if you have not seen Prometheus, I highly recommend watching it before seeing Alien: Covenant. Without spoiling too much from Prometheus, Michael Fassbender’s character David, is a very important part of Alien: Covenant and his motivations are directly tied into the events of Prometheus.

Now, moving on to Alien: Covenant, it’s an Alien movie…. kind of. I say “kind of” because it still sits firmly in the world that Prometheus created, focusing on the tone and overarching plot of that film. Sure, we have a new crew, a new mission, but at the end of the day, it’s the same shtick.

There is a lot to like about Alien: Covenant and if you love monster movies, it’ll be an enjoyable experience for you. With that said, if you are looking for a classic Alien movie that brings you back to Sigourney Weaver’s era, this is not going to fulfill your wishes.

Alien Coventant poster 2

The cast is fine. It features Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them), Bill Crudup (Watchmen), and Danny McBride (Pineapple Express), with Michael Fassbender playing two different characters, David from Prometheus and Walter, the Covenant’s android. They all do a good job with what they are given but as usual, Fassbender steals the show, much as he did in Prometheus and much as he has done in the more recent X-Men films. Everyone else is just along for the ride, in some cases literally.

The story is pretty interesting and has a lot of solid horror movie moments that Prometheus definitely lacked. We spend a lot of time off the ship which, while similar to Prometheus, is still very different from the original Alien Quadrilogy movies. Ridley Scott clearly is trying to pave a path between Prometheus, a movie he was adamant was not an Alien movie, and the original Alien. So, I expect at least one if not two more films before we catch back up to Ripley.

Alien Coventant poster 3

The special effects are inconsistent at best. The ships and technology look amazing and are great updates to the original films while not directly copying Prometheus. The bridge set, the corridors, etc. are all finely detailed and just really well done. The aliens and major action sequences leave much to be desired. The aliens are inconsistent in size, amorphous in shape, and deal damage convenient to whatever needs to happen in a particular scene. When a green\blue screens are used it’s painfully obvious that the backgrounds are fake. With that said, scenes where Fassbender is interacting with himself are very well done and incredibly convincing.

Alien Coventant poster

Overall, it’s a decent Alien movie. You can see my specific rating below. It expands on the universe. The movie provides some very cool and dark explanations for events but at the same time does not stand up to the quality of the original two films when it comes to special effects, suspense, or action. Ridley Scott has tried twice to replace Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and has clearly failed to do so both times.  That’s about as much detail as I can go into without spoiling the movie, so if you’d like to know more, I’ll provide an in-depth take in an upcoming ranking of the Alien franchise films.

Did you like the movie? Comment below!

Alien: Covenant Spoiler-free Review

SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

We’ve got a special preview of Planet Comicon 2017, the largest comic convention in Kansas City! Thanks to special guest, Kirk Chritton, we discuss upcoming plans for this year’s big PCC event including some of the amazing creator guests who are attending like TMNT’s Kevin Eastman and Harley Quinn’s Amanda Conner. Then we talk about the big celebrity guests including the return of Stephen Amell, a hopeful second chance at John Barrowman, Felica Day, Wil Wheaton returns, and Ron Pearlman will be in the house! But that’s not all, Kirk tells us about this year’s new setup that uses even more space at Bartle Hall, plus new features like the Entertainment Space and cosplay group photo stages.

You can check out all the details plus get tickets to Planet Comicon on their website here.

Head over to our Facebook page to keep up with our latest and stay tuned for our Planet Comicon photo cosplay album, articles, and interviews as we will be part of the press at the main event.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Kirk Chritton

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
twitch.tv/heroespodcasts
twitter.com/heroespodcasts
instagram.com/heroespodcasts
Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts
heroespodcasts.tumblr.com

SH S3E13: Planet Comicon Who

Prodigy – A Film from KC

Prodigy (2016) by Kansas City native Alex Haughey is a science-fiction drama. It stars Richard Neil and Savannah Liles, in her debut starring role. It has been billed as a blend of “personal drama and psychological thriller.” Young Ellie (Liles), who is blessed with a razor-sharp intellect, is pitted against non-traditional psychologist Dr. Fonda (Neil). As the two conduct mental combat, the truths and lies are revealed. While the movie makes an enthusiastic attempt at this genre-bending approach, it does fall short on some of its goals.

The film has been shown at some film festivals already including Cinequest and Sedona.

Some spoilers for Prodigy follow after the break.

Prodigy Chess

The story is interesting: Ellie is held captive in a highly-secure shadow government facility. Accused of a crime, it falls upon Dr. Fonda to reason with her and discover the depths of her involvement with a murder. Time is running out: the government wants to euthanize Ellie and learn what gives her the astounding abilities she displays. Dr. Fonda has to work with his former colleague Olivia (Jolene Andersen) to unlock Ellie’s mysteries. In the stunning conclusion, many truths are revealed.

All in all, the film attempts to have a conversation about guilt and responsibility. Through much of the exposition, the characters expound greatly on personal choice, protection, and control. While it is a battle of the wits from the onset, it’s fairly clear that Ellie’s cold, calculating logic is outmatched by the more experienced, nuanced, and feeling Dr. Fonda. There is lesson here that only through understanding and acceptance of powerlessness can brute strength be overcome. It’s an interesting commentary on many social topics facing the world today.

Prodigy at the table

However, there are some technical aspects with which I take issue. For one, the script. While the actors deliver good performances – and they seem to strengthen as it moved along – often times, they seemed to be locked into a very specific dialog. This “tell and not show” approach is a common hallmark of first-time filmmakers. In a way, it assumes that the viewer isn’t in on what’s going on so everything needs to be explained. But, it’s a little too much. Ellie’s lines were almost too sculpted; Liles’ performance was almost melodramatic. Perhaps a stylistic choice; however, it failed to engender any real empathy for her as a character. I found myself on numerous occasions asking “why do I care about this girl?” I found Dr. Fonda’s troubles far more interesting.

In the end, this was very solid attempt at starting a conversation about responsibility and grief. It had great sound, good editing, and (although a bit campy) serviceable performances.

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

You can find more information on Prodigy on the film’s website here. The site includes information about the film, cast, a trailer, screening information, and a gallery of stills and behind the scenes photos.

Prodigy – A Film from KC

SH S3E06: Best Sci-Fi Movies

Science fiction is a genre we truly love. From Star Wars to Star Trek, from Terminator and Alien to iRobot and Armageddon. The sci-fi genre has given us some amazing movies, some we love to laugh at, and others that probably should just stay locked away. This week, we bring what we believe to be the Top 5 Best Sci-Fi movies. That’s right, three different Top 5 Sci-Fi movie lists. We try to be objective and keep emotions out of the decisions.

Be sure to head over to our Facebook page at let us know which sci-fi movies you think should have made the list and which of ours don’t belong.

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Don’t forget to subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Google Play, and Feedburner are below!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Top 5 Sci-Fi Movies Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iwvfusxqyignwamadhc3viav4qy

iTunes Subscription Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/screen-heroes-grid-dailys/id1071922623

Feedburner Subscription Link
http://feeds.feedburner.com/griddaily/screenheroes

RSS Feed Link
http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/screenheroes

Social Media
twitch.tv/heroespodcasts
twitter.com/heroespodcasts
instagram.com/heroespodcasts
Facebook.com/HeroesPodcasts
heroespodcasts.tumblr.com

SH S3E06: Best Sci-Fi Movies

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

Today we turn our indie spotlight to web show Dead Drift. You should give it a watch by clicking here. It’s a short little five minute episode kinda thing that shouldn’t take too much of your time.  Dead Drift is a futuristic sci-fi take on The Office style of comedy that pits three crew members in a interstellar mission where things, well … uhmmm, they get a little weird.

The show consist of short 5 minute episodes with interactions between Captain Ryland Banks and Technician Maurice Morris. In between the conversations or short little asides, the characters break the fourth wall and talk directly to the viewer, much in the way that is seen on The Office.

Described as a screwball buddy comedy Dead Drift is pretty darn funny. Having Technician Morris squaring off with Captain Morris is hilariously done and well acted. I couldn’t help but to chuckle at Star Trek references but what is so funny is that the two man crew is so incompetent. We all have a picture in our head of NASA sending the best and brightest out there but these two are not it. Morris is a insubordinate and a malcontent who has contempt for his Captain. Captain Morris on the other almost graduated West Point and can’t help but to be anything but inspire leadership, Captain Picard he is not.

Banks

Almost Graduated West Point

Morris

Sending Sass Your Way

HANNAH

The Only Competent Crew Member

One scene in particular has the Captain trying to get a replicator to make him, tea, earl grey, hot, and is too incompetent to figure out the device. When he called Morris to correct the problem the technician gives him sass and says holding up a induction clamp voltmeter “I’ll just use my tricorder and run a level 3 diagnostic.” Just about any Trekkie would recognize a level 3 diagnostic. In another scene, Morris runs out of toilet paper and decides to use a technical manual to finish his business and some how manages to use it despite it actually being a tablet. Who says eBooks will replace paper print anyways?

The screwball crew is eventual joined by a sexy and competent AI named H.A.N.N.A.H. Playing the role of the comedic “straight man”, her character does a great job of punting joke set ups to Morris and Banks. And as you might imagine Hannah’s perfect capabilities make these two slobs look even worse.

 

Dead Drift Clones

Attack Of The Clones

There short mission takes them to their first port of call to visit a Mars station where a German Commander named Schneider has is dead wife cloned, multiple times… things get weird for Morris and Banks.

Schneider

You Better Believe German Accents Can Be Funny !!

On the whole, this is great little show, funny, crisp, and sharp in its unique sci-fi brand of comedy. Every episode comes in at just under 5 minuets so it makes it easy to watch either on the go or in that short break between tasks. Dead Drift is a great sci-fi show that deserves to be given a chance to entertain you, if even for a few minutes. Check out there website and check out what they accomplished here.

Have you watched any of Dead Drift yet? Comment below with your thoughts on the series!

Dead Drift: The Indie Spotlight

Starship Troopers, Forever War Compared

Military science fiction is a fairly popular sub-genre but often it swings between two extremes, from ideas that are found usually between liberal and conservative camps. Liberal views of military science fiction often focus on how technology has changed combat and that this change speaks to truths about war that have always been there. While conservative military science fiction deals more with showing that despite how much society has changed, simple virtues that a person, or even a society needs remain unchanged. But both use science fiction as a way of removing the reader from the world that we live in to try to argue for a world that we ought to live instead, for one reason or the other.

Consider two classics of sci fi; Joe Hadleman’s Forever War and Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. These are both polar extremes of views of future warfare with entirely different and contradictory messages despite both depicting futuristic interstellar war. The name Starship Troopers is fairly well known as it was made in to a successful film. Though the film only loosely bears resemblance to the novel it still holds hints as to the views of the conservative thinking found in the book. However Forever War, by comparison, is far less well known and it represents more of the thought from the liberal side of things . Despite such apparent difference both works are considered sci fi classics and both won the Hugo award for science fiction. But it’s a mistake to approach these works looking to reinforce what you already believe about politics or life in general. I mean the whole point of sci fi is to change your perspective, to shake things up. If you wanted more of the same you’d be reading non-fiction, right? So lets get to the two books.

Starship Troopers Preamble
Priority goes to Heinlein, as his work precedes Haldeman by about 15 years. Starship Troopers was written shortly after the Korean War and reflects Robert A. Heinleinmany of the feelings and moods of the country during the 1950s. Its origin lies in a culture of a nation that had just finished fighting the ideologically successful World Wars against fascism and then went on to fight to a frustrating stalemate on the Korean peninsula with another ideological foe, but this time it was communism.

In the early days of the Cold War the crux of the argument is that we were fighting a set of ideals against a nebulous foe. Where in World War II the enemy was a monolithic state ran from high up by some generalissimo or some self-proclaimed fuhrer. Communism was different, at least on the surface. What frightened people about communism though was how different it was, it was much more of a grassroots movement from the bottom up. To counter this, you had to first win the battle in people’s hearts and minds.

Starship Trooper’s Novel’s Message
The general plot of the film follows the novel but differs significantly with its message. It makes it easier to the whole idea of the novel to consider this. Fascism, like found in Nazi Germany, was all about the individual giving up rights for the sake of the state. A strong state meant the individual sacrificed. Communism, at least on paper, sacrificed the state for the sake of the individual. In a communistic state people were free because the government was weak. A compromise between these two ideologies would be the American society, people have some rights but give up others so that the state is somewhat strong. It is this balance that makes America’s brand of democracy strong and adaptable. But what usually happens with both fascism and communism is that a handful of people wrestle control of the government and both drift towards totalitarianism. Democracy is able to flex and change so we are saved from the worse aspects of fascism and communism. We have balance.

Conser and Liv compaired

But it is with this almost knee jerk reaction to the threat of communism that Starship Troopers finds itself in, the Cold War communist scare. Individualism is at the heart of American culture so some worried that communism was thought to have posed a uniquely insidious threat. So Heinlein, like many others of his era, sought to show a futuristic world where people gave even more to the state. It is in the protagonist’s military training and early schooling where these ideas are espoused and the voice of the novel is realized. It is seen as even natural as with the quote:

“Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination– devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues — which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.”

And even the film it is echoed by the main characters teacher:

“Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part…and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.”

Michael Ironside

This could be seen as threatening to liberties of the individual, to give up freedom for a greater good. Though  in Starship Troopers Heinlein argues that this natural and although it can be thought of as being violent to say; lose life, liberty, and wellbeing, it was worth it to Heinlein. As he wrote any kind of government is force as it compels an individual to obey. You can’t have authority without it;

“When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you’re using force. And force, my friends, is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.”

And one could argue that warfare is force of government continued on as a mere extension. And that warfare speaks to essential truths of societies. That

“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms”

Starship Trooper’s Film Adaptation
Interestingly, all of these ideas can still be found lurking in the background of the film, though stretched and skewed. But the devil is in the subtle nuances after all. The director, Paul Verhoeven, admitted to never actually reading the book and the film only really pays lips service to it. Verhoeven probably was appalled by the message of the book. Having lived under a Nazi occupied this undoubtedly left him with a negative disposition with anything drifting towards fascism and I can’t say I blame him for is treatment of the adaptation.

starship trooper
I mean I love Verhoeven’s other works (Robocop, Total Recall). They are counted as sci fi classics in their own right but it’s a little sad that the message was twisted around. In an interview Verhoeven admitted to changing the vibe of the film. When asked why he was making what appeared to be such a fascist adaptation he said:

“If I tell the world that a right-wing, fascist way of doing things doesn’t work, no one will listen to me. So I’m going to make a perfect fascist world: everyone is beautiful, everything is shiny, everything has big guns and fancy ships, but it’s only good for killing fucking bugs!”paul-verhoeven-remakes

The film ignores that nagging voice in your head that tells you’re a nationalistic state is ultimately self-defeating, that it can never amount to greatness. It exaggerates the elements of fascism, taking Heinlein’s vision of a more neutral message found in the novel and pokes a little fun at it. By obnoxiously exaggerating its fascist or more accurately, nationalistic leanings. The film feels cheesy and goofy in a very cyberpunk, or more accurate, “military sci fi punk” way but it’s all done on purpose. It’s meant to poke fun at the idea of fascism. It’s an exercise in satire.

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Another stark difference between the film and the book is the violence. Not only the pervasiveness of it, people dying left and right not only in battle but in simple training, but the acceptance of it. Young soldiers die from the giant bugs and people shrug it off and move on. Violence is even done during basic training repeatedly, both in the film and the novel. Corporal punishment, or whipping, is used to correct behavior but the film takes it a bit further. Extreme violence is used to teach simple things. Such as when a soldier questions why knife combat training is needed in a modern military. To this is drill sergeant answers by throwing the blade, pinning his hand painfully to a wall and saying “what good are your hands if you’re deprived of using them.” Immediately calling out “medic” in a routine way hinting that he has casually injured many others before, just business as usual for him. But this really doesn’t make sense, even for a fascist state. To waste time and resources in injuring a valuable asset such as a soldier makes no sense but in the movie this exaggeration drives home the fascist feel. People are mere resources for the state. The book isn’t about wanton violence though, but as with other his other films Verhoeven uses violence as a set piece so this is understandable.

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It could be argued that physical violence is an extension of being dominated by a fascist government but the novel never truly embraces this level of sadisim. At times, Heinlein’s work favors the popular the “Poor Bloody Infantry concept.” One where a difficult job has to be done and sacrifices must be made but one doesn’t relish it. It sucks but if we don’t do it then someone else will have to. It’s seen as a necessary price that must be paid for freedom as Heinlein paraphrases the Star Spangled Banner:

“the noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and war’s desolation”
What is a little more subtle difference is the general look of the film. It’s too “white washed” for lack of a better term. All of the characters are only one race, despite representing the entire planet. Even the main character in the book, where the novel has John Rico as a Filipino in the film he is played by a Caucasian and no other minorities have big roles in the film. The book was much more multi-ethnic. But this could’ve been done on purpose by Verhoeven to emphasis the fascist, or Nazi feel of the forces. Even the uniforms that everyone is wearing bear a strong resemblance to the ones worn by Nazis. None of this was in the novel, they took creative license with it I suppose. But I wonder how Heinlein took the film when it was released? It had to hurt a little to see is message twisted and turned around to serve a totally different message.

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Forever War and the Counter Argument
Joe Haldeman’s Forever War is far different than Starship Troopers, yet it’s still military sci-fi. For one, it’s much more obscure; no film as been made for Forever War - Joe Haldemanit. However, there is talk of Ridly Scott taking it on with Warner Brothers backing him. But the more significant difference is the more liberal approach to military science fiction and an almost disdain for warfare culture. It isn’t so much that it disdains violence; it does in some ways. It still evokes the ‘Poor Bloody Infantry’ idea at times. It instead rejects the idea of a culture that seeks out war and violence with others. That’s not to say that the
world of Forever War is perfect, far from it. In fact, much of it is rather wretched and in many ways the book’s realistic world view will make it much more palatable than Starship Troopers. Nobody is perfect in Forever War, especially not the government running the military.

 

Forever War’s Plot in Brief
Starship Trooper’s plot was far simpler; space travel has made encounters with hostile life a possibility and war is the result. Society must be strong or it will be defeated. Forever War builds on the much more complicated changes in society, near light speed travel, and the resultant time dilation. To put it simply, the faster you go, the more time slows down for you. Meanwhile, time travels at normal speeds for people back at Earth as per rules of relativity.

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A soldier traveling in space may leave Earth, rocket off for two years to a distant star, and then consequently have society radically change because 50 years have passed back on Earth. When the main character, William Mandella returns to Earth after his first tour of duty, life on Earth has changed so much that he is alien, an outsider. He doesn’t belong. People speak differently, using strange inflections and slang. Life is much harder and it has become more dangerous with violent crime at every turn. Making a living and feeding yourself has totally changed. Even getting a job and earning a living is hard for Mandella to adapt to.

dystopian future
Mandella’s military service has alienated him from the society who he was sent to protect; he has become an outsider, very reminiscent of the 1970’s post-Vietnam War American culture that the book is very much a product of. The consequence of this alienation is Mandella questioning why it is he is fighting and he really doesn’t have a good answer for it. The whole war seems pointless. Even the leadership seems to have lost track of why it is being fought. The message of the book is that wars of aggression are wrong.

Vietnam_War
After hundreds of years being lost because of his near light speed travels and many battles where luck seems to be the only thing that determines life or death, the war is suddenly over without much warning. It just stops abruptly. No reason is given, territory lost, or prizes won. It was all because of leadership, who saw a simple difference between two species as hostile and they went to war. They thought this was just like the last ones and we just had to fight. It was one big mistake. Mandella’s feelings in his gut where true. The war was pointless. The death and sacrifices where for nothing, same as the alienation and no real logical purpose.

Contrast and Compare, Conclusions
Forever War is very much a story of the post-Vietnam War era, but people can still identify with it as it speaks to the innate human objections to violence and war. Though it’s diametrically opposed to the ideas found in Starship Troopers, they have too much in common to ignore. Beside being futuristic, they are both coming of age stories. Both speak truths about war and combat but use sci-fi to offer a new perspective. Most interestingly they are like little time capsules that represent the moods and feeling of their era and most importantly, speak to the truths of combat and war that anyone who has studied it or experienced it will understand. They actually have much more in common than at first glance.

 

Forever War - Cover
It is these common traits that are interesting. So when Haldeman won the Nebula award for Forever War back in 1976 he received a congratulatory letter from Heinlein that “meant more than the award itself” to Haldeman. And though he felt that Heinlein’s Starship Tooper’s message was something he didn’t agree with, he still saw some truth in it, the honesty of the message. Despite their differences the two authors still admired and respected each other because they spoke to some simple truths. It was just that society had changed.

In the end the message of both Starship Troopers and Forever War are totally different, about being pro-war or not, to put things simply. But there is merit in both stories, not only in the method of telling the story but the message that they bring. And although each novel is perfect for its time they can both equally apply to the present because truth is a fluid thing, always moving and reshaping and one has to adapt with it. Reaching down, back in to the sci-fi classics like these, contrasting and comparing is a great mental exercise in objectivity. Not only that, but studying and enjoying such works brings us closer to the truth of warfare, all the while looking at it with a much different lens, one of science fiction.

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Have you read Forever War or Starship Troopers? Comment below with your thoughts on how they analyze war and its effects.

Starship Troopers, Forever War Compared