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Saturday, February 21, 2009


So I'm watching Alien on cable--for like the 1000th time or some such. (This is the director's cut with Dallas in cocoon, so to speak, so I've only seen this one like 25-50 times.) And for the last 500 times I've seen the movie . . . I've wondered why one would build a self-destruct mechanism in an interplanetary space vehicle in the first place.

If you were really worried about the vessel falling into enemy hands, OK, I can see that. But the Nostromo is commercial. So you would have to be concerned with your cargo falling into enemy (competitor) hands. But the risk of an accidental self-destruct--although minimized by the multiple steps needed to blow the ship up, admittedly--would mitigate against such a step for merely pecuniary reasons.

It's not like the Nostromo was state of the art, or a ship of the line . . . it would be like every Metro bus having a self-destruct system. Or every freight train.

I know, I know . . . it's a plot device.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

According the Economist this past week, a self destruct device should actually be illegal, since space debris never degrades . . . .

Number Three, are you a dad now? How did I miss that? Bee is adorable.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Wilson said...

This is a great question; and it is not even a necessary plot device. She could have done basically exactly what she did under the pretense of 'overloading the engines' or some such nonsense.

I will have to think about this. I think there is some credence to the thought that the Nostromo is more a military vessel than a commercial one in an essentially anarchistic wild-west economy.


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