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The holy grail of Sci-Fi weapons
April 14, 2009 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps the test didn't work out and you need to retire the replicant.

Or you could always terminate them. I would suggest sending in a Hunter Killer. Screamers also work well, not as good as facehuggers though. Need help from a Starfighter, or perhaps the Bene Gesserit or maybe even a Spartan?

Tons of good stuff here folks, like the definitive proof of who shot first that you can shove in Lucas' face! The Sci-Fi stuff starts around 670ish, but don't miss out on some of the good stuff before that!
posted by P.o.B. (54 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
LEON: Sign up! Time to buy!
posted by adipocere at 7:00 AM on April 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Star Wars?
posted by odinsdream at 7:06 AM on April 14, 2009


If I was rich I would totally buy Hoss and set him up in my living room. Hoss!
posted by dirtdirt at 7:21 AM on April 14, 2009


Arguably one of the single most important weapons in Science Fiction history is the hero firing blaster used by Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to "retire" replicants in Ridley Scott's timeless Sci-Fi classic Blade Runner.

"Single most important" ? Puh-lease.
posted by mecran01 at 7:26 AM on April 14, 2009


Here's the classic article where Wave Magazine administered the Voigt-Kampff test to all the candidates in the San Francisco mayoral race. The article concludes that Gavin Newsom is a replicant, but if Joanna Newsom is his cousin, wouldn't that make Joanna Newsom a replicant too? And I have hard time believing there's much of a market for a Joanna Newsom replicant.
posted by jonp72 at 7:31 AM on April 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


"One of the single most important . . " Okay, that makes no sense, but yes - at least Science Fiction film history. They have one of these as well, which will probably fetch more, and it certainly deserves the title as well, but as a kid (and even today, as a grown up) what I wanted more than almost anything else is Deckard's gun. If I had the 150 grand they expect to get for each of those two items, and I had to spend it on one, it would be Deckard's gun. The craftsmanship alone on that prop is worth it.
posted by The Bellman at 7:33 AM on April 14, 2009


"Single most important" ? Puh-lease.

If only for the amount of detail and craftsmanship that went into its construction. There are a lot of other really iconic and clever hero props (the Pulse Rifles from Aliens, and the flame throwing D.S. pistols from Logan's Run come to mind.) but for a lot of weapons/ prop geeks, Deckard's pistol really is sort of the pinnacle of weapon design.

Unlike most props today, where it's really clear what the base gun was developed on, Deckard's gun was beautifully enigmatic. You could see that the frame was likely from a revolver, but it had a well integrated bolt action it really didn't look like it could have a cylinder hidden in that slim body.

In every close up photo, the fit and finish is beautiful, and it incorporates some technology that is never explained (the LED lights, more difficult to add in in the early 80's than now.)

I'm sure there are some props that could be arguably more important, but for a sci-fi hero weapon? I think that "The single most important" might be a fair call for this one.
posted by quin at 7:44 AM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Screw that. I want a sunbeam
posted by jefftang at 7:45 AM on April 14, 2009


I'm still waiting for the: 'This post was deleted for the following reason: All Done -- pb'
posted by gman at 7:48 AM on April 14, 2009


Top Ten Sci Fi Weapons of All Time (feel free to argue with it to your heart's content haterz)

1 The Lightsaber.
2 Star Trek Phaser.
3 M-40A1 10mm Pulse Rifle.
4 Welles' Martian Heat Beam.
5 The smart bullets from Michael Crichton's Runaway (with Tom Selleck w00t!)
6 Gridfire from Iain M Banks' Culture novels.
7 The Zorg ZF-1.
8 The BFG-9000.
9 A Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40w Range (yeah you don't get to see it but you've heard of it).
10 Molly's Fletcher from William Gibson's Neuromancer Trilogy.
posted by longbaugh at 7:57 AM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t, not without your help. But you’re not helping. Why is that? Chicken butt?
posted by cavalier at 7:58 AM on April 14, 2009


Here's the classic article where Wave Magazine administered the Voigt-Kampff test to all the candidates in the San Francisco mayoral race.

And they determined that this in-human horror is NOT a replicant?

...but if Joanna Newsom is his cousin, wouldn't that make Joanna Newsom a replicant too?

I don't know how it is in the movie, but in the book there's one major replicant who is a "relative" of an actual human.
posted by DU at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2009


longbaugh : 3 M-40A1 10mm Pulse Rifle.

Minor nitpick: it's the M41A Pulse Rifle.
posted by quin at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2009


I've seen vast numbers of dolphins intercept Somali pirate ships, and the internal machinations of online gaming societies, all so beautiful....wake up, time to read.....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know what's really nice? That beautiful photo of Forry Ackerman in the Flash intro...
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2009


Dear god I can't believe I got the Pulse Rifle's nomenclature wrong. I even have the Aliens Technical Manual which creates an entirely fictional background for the (entirely fictional) US Colonial Marines.
posted by longbaugh at 8:10 AM on April 14, 2009


And they determined that this in-human horror is NOT a replicant?

His answers were pretty awesome.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2009


Longbaugh: You're going to put the smart bullets on there and not the L.O.O.K.E.R.? I think not.
posted by The Bellman at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2009


6 Gridfire from Iain M Banks' Culture novels.

I'd plump for the Lazy Gun myself. No weapon is more powerful - or weirder - than a Lazy Gun.
posted by panboi at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Single most important" ? Puh-lease.
Maybe. But you gotta admit those amber grips are pimpin'.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2009


Deckard's gun, the Holy Grail of Sci-Fi weapons? I admit, it's pretty wicked, but not exactly an integral part of the story, or the character. Pretty much any handgun would suffice in it's place, at least functionality-wise. It's not nearly as iconic as the Lightsaber, or as intensely fitting in prop design as the Colonial Marine's M41a.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2009


What, no Dian Bachar reference? The gun his character made in the second Parker & Stone flick seemed a bit more practical than most mentioned here.
posted by MrZaius at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2009


"I have hard time believing there's much of a market for a Joanna Newsom replicant."

The heart wants, what the heart wants.
posted by mecran01 at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2009


DIY M-41a pulse rifle replica that was the subject of a recent-ish FPP, I think.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2009


feel free to argue with it to your heart's content haterz

Before getting to your comment, longbaugh, I'd already done a mental "(1) Light saber, (2) Phaser, (3) Deckard's pistol, (4) rifle from Aliens" in my head.

Creepy.
posted by rokusan at 8:57 AM on April 14, 2009


The great thing about these hero versions is that because they're made from real gun parts and made to fire actual rounds (well, blanks), you just know that they must feel great. Imagine how great that M41a feels.

That's not true of most movie props.
posted by rokusan at 9:00 AM on April 14, 2009


On the subject of great hero props, I've always been a big fan of Blade's Mac 10 (practical, heavily modified real gun, uses LEDs, etc.). And Stephen Norringtons earlier film Death Machine makes use of some similar beautiful props.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2009


No Predator shoulder cannon, shuriken, or self-destruct device on your list, longbaugh? Surely you jest.
posted by misha at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2009


maybe even a Spartan?

I can just barely imagine a world in which I decide to get really REALLY buff and walk around in a cape and leather manties. Though really in the event that I somehow woke up as Captain Buff I'd be more likely to get a nice ski suit. It's like you're wearing nothing at all! Nothing at all! Nothing at all!

But I cannot imagine a world in which I would EVER want to purchase used leather manties.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2009


longbaugh, you're very, very wrong, but I expect you'll listen to Reason.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:12 AM on April 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm noticing a distinct lack of Chaingun.
Kurt Russel and Gov. Ventura must get their due.

(just hits me that Soldier > Blade Runner and Predator > AvP. Officially on topic :) )
posted by djrock3k at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2009


The M-214 Six Pak from Predator doesn't count as SciFi in my personal opinion.

Reason Ultima Ratio Regum! would be great but I never got the use of the weapon if you don't have a big pool of water nearby for the heat exchanger. I kind of wanted to stick to one weapon per film/book/author.

You can't make everyone happy.

Unless you effectorise them from a nearby system :D
posted by longbaugh at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2009


Deckerd's gun is certainly higher on the list than the Aliens rifles, which were just tommy guns with a fairing.

quin is dead right, imho. The cunning economy of the prop designers coupled with the obvious nuts & bolt realness of the weapon, on top of the unusual design, make it iconic.

The Logan's Run blasters are also never truly given their due.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:47 AM on April 14, 2009


Or you can make your M41a 1:1 replica out of a few (30) sheets of paper.

Pew! Pew! Pew!
posted by willmize at 10:20 AM on April 14, 2009


The Logan's Run blasters are also never truly given their due.

I hope that the long-rumoured Logan's Run remake manages to reintroduce the aspects of the gun in the book in which they could fire different cartridges such as a heat-seeking bullet, web, explosive charge etc. (an idea subsequently "borrowed" by the Lawgiver guns in Judge Dredd).
posted by panboi at 10:32 AM on April 14, 2009


Hmmm... The problem with administering a V-K test in the real world is that the context is totally different... In Bladerunner (and the book), there are almost no animals left - they're incredibly rare. Thus the synthetic pet shop in the slums, and the exchange about whether the owl is 'real' or not. Being given a calf-skin wallet would be equivalent to getting a wallet made of, say, freshly poached polar bear or something. But probably even worse. All of the questions are concerned with blatant disregard for biological organisms; they are dependent on a kinship with a destroyed world for their emotional responses.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


longbaugh, all those options are great, if you're limiting your list to weapons that were designed to be weapons. But IMHO one of the most interesting science fictional wars was won by an army whose options had been limited to throwing rocks...
posted by roystgnr at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2009


The Holy Grail of science fiction weapons is the Wave Motion Gun.

The wave motion engine is not just good for destroying planets and entire fleets, it is a means of propulsion, dimensional space warp, a means of defense via reflective shield, and potentially a means of destroying the universe.

Just saying.
posted by linux at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


But yeah, Deckard's pistol is my favorite science fiction personal weapon.
posted by linux at 10:57 AM on April 14, 2009


The Holy Grail of science fiction weapons is the Wave Motion Gun.

Naw, I could whup Yamato's ass with three CAMdusters tied behind my hull.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:57 AM on April 14, 2009


Top Ten Sci Fi Weapons of All Time (feel free to argue with it to your heart's content haterz)

1 The Lightsaber.


Uh-hum! Since when is "Star Wars" considered sci fi? It's pure fantasy, from a long time ago. :)
posted by waterfrog at 11:03 AM on April 14, 2009


Han Solo's blaster is at least as iconic as Deckard's gun.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2009


Kaibutsu is right in that the Voight-Kampf test is predicated on the nearly total extinction of real animals in a nuclear war...but I seem to recall that this was a defect in the film, as well. Aside from missing the humor in Dick's original book (understandable), my recollection of Bladerunner is that they do not explain the efficacy of the empathy test is caused by the mass extinction. Tell me if I am wrong, somebody. (Plus, no damn electric sheep!) (Still a fantastic film, though.)
posted by kozad at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2009


I have been wanting to make a replica VK machine for several years. Bugger of a job getting the right measurements. I wonder if the design schematics are out there somewhere?
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:30 PM on April 14, 2009


Han Solo's blaster is at least as iconic as Deckard's gun.

No argument. But it's a difference of quality and creativity. Solo's blaster is really nothing more than a standard broom-handled Mauser with a flash suppressor and what looks like a scope attached to the side.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, because the end result certainly looks cool. But anyone who is familiar with the iconic shape of the Mauser instantly knew what it was at a glance.

Deckard's gun, on the other hand, required a talented fabricator time to make all the disparate parts fit together like they were manufactured that way. Similarly, Malcolm Reynold's pistol from Firefly is also based on a revolver, and converted into a firearm that no longer carries most of the common visual cues that you are looking at a wheel gun. (I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that whoever developed Mal's gun got the idea from Deckard's pistol.)

It's not to say that there aren't other great hero props out there, it's just an effort to explain that for a lot of people who get into this stuff, there is a reason that the Deckard piece is so well loved.
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2009


Does the Sleeper Service count? Probably not, because then the fanbois would want to include that not-a-moon-thing too. So put me down for the Lazy Gun.
posted by bonehead at 2:38 PM on April 14, 2009


but I expect you'll listen to Reason

Ah, yes, the most cringeworthy pun in modern SF history.

I will agree that the lightsaber is the most iconic weapon in SF, but Deckard's pistol is pretty badass.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:59 PM on April 14, 2009


If I were to put together a list of Sci-Fi weapons I'm not sure what I would end up with. The Sun that was used as a weapon in the second Ringworld book would probably end up on there somewhere.
As I went through some of this stuff I did see a Star Trek Phaser in there, a Darth Maul Lightsaber, and the Tomb Raider Pistols. But keep in mind some of those props were just wood or rubber. Whereas the Deckard pistol was actually metal.

But I cannot imagine a world in which I would EVER want to purchase used leather manties.

ROU_Xenophobe, I think I saw Burt Reynolds wetsuit from Deliverance in there somewhere. Except I'm not sure which one is less stinkier from constant usage during filming.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:13 PM on April 14, 2009


I also like the Prop Store of London, which has some interesting artifacts and high-quality images. A sampling:

Canopic Jars!

Apocalyptic Time Magazine!

Various newspapers (Doomsday, 28 Days Later, Children of Men, Superman II, Superman II again)

Also, a bona-fide Presidential Kidnapping Release Blue Form! From the Hitchhiker's Guide movie.

OK, so they're ludicrously expensive and usually not that glamorous. But they're at least interesting to look at...

P.o.B.: "or maybe even a Spartan?"

FTFY.

(Better yet...)
posted by Rhaomi at 3:36 PM on April 14, 2009


It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response... Shall we continue? Describe in single words only the good bad things that come into your mind about... New Zealand.
posted by panboi at 4:10 PM on April 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Molly's flechette gun is cooler than her retractable razorblade nails?
posted by sixswitch at 6:27 PM on April 14, 2009


I'll say this for Deckard's Pistol, Han's Blaster, The Lazy Gun and others of their type. They are unique, or (at the very least) not reproduced elsewhere in the canon of their respective settings. This is partly what makes them so wonderful

Unlike the lightsaber or phaser or the M41a, unique hero weapons (I like that term) show up just a few times and are never repeated. I would argue that the repetitive nature of the iconic weapons gives them their nature, but simultaneously robs them of any inherent soul. In a way the hero weapons are an integral part of the character and seem to be more an extension of the person than a tool. While the iconic weapons come to represent the genre or setting as a whole rather than a particular character.

I know that some will argue that a lightsaber is unique. And it is, in that the blade is made by the Jedi. BUT, every jedi had one, and there were a lot of jedi. We got into lightsaber overload when Lucas presented us with eps 1-3. Those treatments robbed the lightsaber of any mystique.

As props the Hero weapons are instantly recognizable, placeable within their particular settings and to their particular characters.

If you're making a top 10 list the hero weapon may not appear on it. Because it may not have the fictitious destructive power, or may not represent the setting or plot as a whole. But, for sheer recognition nothing tops something like Deckard's gun.





that and Harrison Ford carried it.
posted by Severian at 9:53 PM on April 14, 2009


Decker's blaster is a propmaster's propmaster masterpiece.

I can't remember where I read it, but it seems like the combination of the revolver + mannlicher assembly was inspired directly from Do Androids - police carried both a standard laser tube and, because there were anti-laser 'shields,' cops carried a chemical projectile weapon (ie., gunpowder pistol) and somehow the laser tube and handgun got incorporated into the same weapon in the movie.
posted by porpoise at 9:57 PM on April 14, 2009


After seeing the user manual, I decided to upgrade Voight-Kampff's identity. Here's their new Voight-Kampff logo, business cards, and T-shirts.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:41 PM on April 16, 2009


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