links for 2008-12-30

  • Star Trek used to hoard all the nerd love for itself. Starting with its debut as a wildly unsuccessful TV show in 1966 and continuing after its cancellation three years later, Star Trek was the only space adventure franchise in this sector of the galaxy — until the arrival of Star Wars in 1977. Since then, Star Wars and Star Trek (and by extension, Fox and Paramount) have had their ray-guns trained on each other in a heady standoff for dork dollars. Star Trek and Star Wars are like matter and antimatter: They cannot truly exist without each other (for both are necessary to keep the geekosphere supplied with oxygen in the form of new material), yet both cannot occupy the same place at the same time. An ascendant Star Trek precludes a strong Star Wars and vice versa, as both vying simultaneously for sci-fi fans’ attention would prove too nerdsplosive for the mainstream media to handle.
  • Anthony Breznican of USA Today paints a harrowing picture from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico: The United States military has declared war on giant, shape-shifting alien robots. Amid blinding platinum dunes baking in the 105-degree sun, scores of elite servicemen and women cluster in and around real tanks, rocket launchers and personnel carriers as they unleash a machine-gun barrage at an invisible (and entirely fictional) enemy: Transformers. Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on whether alien invasion was a childhood dream or nightmare), the scene, like the enemy, is entirely fictional. It's from next summer's Transformers sequel, Revenge of the Fallen.
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