Pahzik Horn

The Pahzik are a species of semi-domesticated herd animal, native to the planet Kupoh a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Their meat is tasty and nutritious, but it is their horns that they are most prized for.

Pahzik horn is reputed to have aphrodisiac powers, and a thriving black market exists in selling it to various off-worlders, usually ground into a powder for easier transportation and consumption. It is unclear what, if any, powers Pahzik horn possesses beyond the power to separate rich idiots from their credits.

1983 – Ted Kennedy criticises the SDI

If there was one Democrat who kept the torch alight in the long, dark years between Carter and Clinton, it was Ted Kennedy. His early promise had fizzled, the deaths of his brothers and his own misadventure at Chappaquidick leaving him mired in grief and public disapproval. But by the time the Eighties rolled around, Kennedy was the elder statesman of the Democratic Party (which spent entire decade shut out of the White House).

He did a good job of being the loyal opposition: supporting where he agreed, and criticizing with polite intelligence where he did not. He was a particular opponent of the more sexist policies of the Reagan government, and also of many of its foreign policies – and their use to justify massive defence expenditures. Few things aroused Kennedy’s ire more than the Strategic Defence Initiative (or “Star Wars” as the media dubbed it), which was ludicrously expensive, impossible to create with then existing technology (and remains so today) and widely seen as likely to reignite the Cold War arms race. Thanks to Kennedy and many, many others, the SDI never became a reality.

Referenced in:
One-Way Ticket To Pluto — Dead Kennedys

Bacta

A colourless, watery liquid, Bacta has incredible healing properties. Administered in a variety of manners, but the most effective is to entirely immerse the body in a tank full of the substance. Bacta promotes tissue regeneration and prevents the formation of scar tissue.

As such, it is an effective treatment for nearly any kind of injury, in a great number of species across the galaxy. Its nature is unknown, but the name suggests it may actual be some sort of incredibly potent anti-biotic bacteria.

Star Trek Training Exercises

I’ve had some difficulty over the last few weeks trying to find the right crossover to go with Star Trek, because so many of them have already been done to death. And then it occurred to me: so many crossovers don’t work because the contrast between them and Star Trek is too great. But such a contrast can be useful in an instructive way. Here’s a few crossovers I’d recommend to Starfleet Academy as training exercises via holodeck simulations:
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1977 – “Star Wars” premieres

It all started out pretty humbly: George Lucas, a filmmaker with one hit and one interesting failure (American Graffitti and THX-1138, respectively), was able to leverage his success into a reasonably large budget for the time (about $8 million in 1976 dollars), and make a fantasy with scifi trappings inspired by his love of action movies and serials from the past.

Star Wars (as it was originally titled – both the Episode IV and the A New Hope are later additions) riffed off classic Westerns (the cantina sequence), World War Two dogfight movies (the Death Star assault), martial arts movies (the Force training sequence), Flash Gordon serials (in general) and, of course, Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress.

It would go on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, second only to Gone With The Wind (in inflation-adjusted figures), spawn five sequels and any number of spin-offs, and make scifi mainstream in a way it had never been before. Along with Jaws, it also helped to create the blockbuster-obsessed culture of Hollywood’s last three and a half decades.

Referenced in:

Bicycle Race — Queen
Californication — Red Hot Chili Peppers

Deathsticks

Deathsticks are a serum, usually distributed in glass tubes – to consume, the user simply ingests the contents, which are bright red or yellow in colour (the different colours are purely cosmetic and have no different effects).

Taking Deathsticks is quite popular among a certain class of people living not quite as long a time ago in a galaxy far, far away: among other effects, it deadens the user’s connection to the Force, which can be desirable to those who want no part of the endless Sith-Jedi struggles.

It is a potent hallucination, which makes it easier to dismiss any Force-ghosts one might see as mere hallucinations. As the name suggests, however, taking it tends to shorten one’s lifespan not inconsiderably.

Santiago and Star Wars

Completing the set of excellent space westerns, this week the chain of crossovers goes back to the original – and still the best – western in space.

Well, ‘the best’ if you leave out the prequel trilogy, and the Christmas specials, and…
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Star Wars and The Princess Bride

The best thing about this crossover is that it provides a consistent alternate explanation for the origin of Darth Vader which works just as well – if not better – than the one we’re being subjected to in Star Wars: Episodes I to III.
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The View Askewniverse and Star Wars

Hell, this is a crossover that Kevin Smith would probably give a testicle to write. (Not his own, but still, a testicle.) When I started trying to think of something to cross View Askew over with, there was really only one choice.

Well, two, but Jaws struck me as requiring too much contrivance…
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