Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saving NBCs Revolution

If you're going to make credible science fiction, things have to work within a framework based on modern science. You can change a couple of parameters -- working room-temperature fusion, faster than light travel of some sort, flying dragons people can ride -- but you can't just have things go POOF! for no reason. 

So a big EMP blast -- a solar flare, an alien spaceship crash, whatever -- shuts down all electronic and electrical gear. Fine. Plausible enough for willing suspension of disbelief. But planes will NOT instantly fall out of the sky, and diesel engines will still run. And the guys like me, who understand technology and know how to read books (library books don't require electricity to read), will get some stuff going somehow or other, and once we get something going, we'll get more stuff going, and so on. Many of us have been in the military (I have) and know how to make ballistic weapons that don't require electricity, too. 

I watched about 20 minutes of the pilot. That was enough. They had *candles burning* which means combustion worked. And a guy was drinking what looked like a hot mug of tea or coffee. Let's see... combustion plus hot water gives you power. And power = technology. 

The premise of this show seems to be that people are so stupid that after 15 years they haven't figured out how to put together a steam engine or at least *some* kind of heat-cycle mechanical device? And what about water wheels? Simple stuff. Maybe the people who write, direct, produce, finance, and schedule TV shows can't figure out how to do something like that, but lots of Americans can. Really. 

Same 'Post-Civilization' Premise, Used Correctly

Basic plot: Some of us tech guys hook up with a smart warlord and make better weapons than anyone else in the area has. We make things like steam tractors and combines with steel wheels, which may not be fancy or air conditioned, but will plow and harvest a field just fine with a little care and feeding.   

Climbing out of the EMP-caused technology failure can have lots of drama. The warlords fight, some tech illiterates like the ones behind this moon show steal plans for a tube-type transceiver from the engineer people and use it to gain favor with a warlord, except they can't make it work. Plus the basic human drama of love/lust/sex, which has been used as the basis for stories since before the guys Shakespeare stole his plots from started to put on shows in the market square.

Thinking of which, a traveling troupe of actors would be great additions to the post-EMP society and valuable additions to the plot of a sensible but Revolution-like TV show. They could even secretly be king-hell engineers, using their traveling show to cloak their true mission: spreading technology. 

Ah, well. It's seriously astounding that this show was made without anyone consulting a physicist, engineer, car mechanic or anyone else who knows how stuff works. But I have no stock in Comcast/NBC, so I don't really care. 

1 comment:

  1. I have no problem with unexplained technical faiures... those are an everyday fact of my life.
    The difference between fantasy and science fiction is that science fiction is supposed to be explainable : fantasy need not provide explanations. The rules are different, that's all.