Loose ends special: Sci-fi sustainability

Sort of a Halloween special here… Which sci-fi universe might be the most sustainable and ultimately the nicest to live in?

image - flickr user ShellyS

image – flickr user ShellyS

Star Wars

Pros:
The Force – surely a good source of clean energy? (but is harnessing an universal life force to boil the kettle ethical?)
Multiculturalism – alien species a plenty, most seem to get along okay and have a shared Galactic language
Moisture farming – even desert planets like Tatooine seem to be colonizable.
Lightsabers – again, very powerful and seemingly no emissions (is it primarily for war or defence though?)

Cons:
Galaxy wide civil war – yeah, so not very harmonious a lot of the time (it’s almost like theres a clue in the name!)
Political incompetance and bureacracy – I bet the Trade Federation are all over the local planning departments
Wookie hunting – I’d rather go naked than wear (Wookie) fur

Star Trek
(nerd side note: specifically the humans/Federation)

Pros:
No money – “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”
No nations – Yeah, ultimate one-ness of humanity, dude (and a lot of non-humans too)
Replicators – Turn any matter into any other matter – aside from things like gold, dilithium and living beings
The Holodeck – It’s great until the holograms become real and start wrecking up the place. Which is constantly.
The Prime Directive – “Don’t interfere with other civilisations…”

Cons:
The Prime Directive – “…Except when you have to. Which turns out is all the time.”
Equal rights for robots? – Data and The Doctor characters in particular. Philosophical landmine this one.
Starfleet itself – Seems to be made of one part noble-scientist-diplomat and one part scheming/incompetent useless Admirals
Bad guys – The Borg? The Dominion? Species 8172? Actually quite a lot of them threatening to kick off most of the time
Synthehol – Like alcohol but with none of the downsides. Booooring. Well, actually, maybe this one is a positive.

The Culture (Iain M Banks)

Pros:
Huge prosperity: Essentially limitless resources and technology, no need for work, hunger, disease… that whole Star Trek thing
Equal rights for robots!: Loads of robots, AI’s or ‘Minds’ knocking around the place. Nice guys, for the most part…
Anarchy: Yes, but the good sort. No need for theft or murder for the most part.

Cons:
Equal rights for robots!: Yeah, The Minds can be pretty wacky in themselves. Actually, they are probably running the place.
Special Circumstances: Basically the Anti-Prime Directive (from Star Trek) bunch… DO interfere with other Civilisations, CONSTANTLY!

Dune

Pros:
Fremen: “The inhabitants of the planet, the Fremen, must compromise with the ecosystem in which they live, sacrificing some of their desire for a water-laden planet to preserve the sandworms which are so important to their culture.”
Weirding modules: Power from your voice, good for blowing things up, but surely could be made non-destructive? (film only)
Collapse of an empire: Plot has similarities between the collapse of Rome with/because of the rise of Christianity?

Cons:
Aristocratic: Houses and Barons and Emporers… at least they get toppled for the most part, but replaced with a prophet?
Spice: Yes it’s really awesome – makes you live for ever, travel through space – which is why everyone is fighting over it.
Arrakis: If you don’t like endless sand dunes, at least you can get eaten by a giant worm.

And the winner is:

4th Place: Dune. It’s an interesting but fairly grim place with lost of dynastic, political back-stabbing and fighting over spice.
3rd Place: Star Wars. Be a Jedi, do something interesting and get killed, or be a farmer, do nothing interesting, and probably get blown up too.
2nd Place: Star Trek. Lots of interesting stuff to do, practically limitless resources, live on a far flung planet somewhere… sadly, quite a large chance of apocalyptic doom every now and then as well as bumbling and evil Federation Admirals.
1st Place: The Culture. Essentially all the good parts of Star Trek, except the humans are the evil empire (gently) ruling the rest of the universe.  Maybe the robots are secretly running the show, maybe we are interfering with other cultures, but who cares. Throw your morals out of the window, let’s party!

Happy Halloween :)

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