This year is the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, so what better way to mark the occasion than with a list of the Top Ten Fictional Weapons of Mass Destruction? Well, yeah, lasting world peace and the criminal conviction and imprisonment of the evil/stupid/greedy/insane people who took the world into that awful, pointless war would clearly be a much better way of paying tribute to everyone who died or suffered in it… But a geeky-come-satirical list is the best I can come up with at such short notice, ok?
Here is part one:
TOP TEN FICTIONAL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
10: The Death Star(s)
Blair wished Saddam had had a Death Star. If Saddam had had a Death Star, the invasion of Iraq would probably have been entirely justified (if a little more difficult). In fact, Blair would have liked it more if he had had a Death Star – or at least access to one owned by someone else, probably Bush. If Bush had had a Death Star, Blair could have borrowed it at weekends or something, or sort of frowned a bit in mock disapproval whenever America used the metal moon’s superlaser to eradicate an enemy of the West.
There are actually two Death Stars, so Bush and Blair could have one each. Except actually they can’t, because Death Stars, like all the WMDs in this article are entirely fictional devices.
But Star Wars gets way too much press, so let’s move on…
9: The Ark of the Covenant
Obviously I’m talking about the Ark as fictionalised in Spielberg’s 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, and not the Ark as fictionalised in Moses’ The Book of Exodus. In the film the Ark is hunted by evil Nazi occultists who seem to want to use it as a weapon against the forces of not-being-an-evil-Nazi or whatever. If Blair and Bush had been in power back in 1936, and Spielberg had somehow made his film forty-five years earlier than he actually did, we would have gone into WWII three years early on the basis that Hitler had possibly acquired ancient, magical artefacts.
The funny thing is that the Ark – far from being a face-melting WMD – was actually (well, in a fictional sense) the container in which Moses or someone bunged the Ten Commandments when everyone had done looking at them. If only Indiana Jones were real maybe someone from the Bush administration would have got into that big Area 52 warehouse they store the Ark in at the end of the film. Maybe he would have read the commandments. And maybe he’d have reported back to Bush the one that goes: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”
8: The One Ring
The One Ring (from Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings films, and also the inferior J.R. Hartley novelisation) is a pretty amazing WMD. Not only does it make the ring-bearer invisible, it also gives him power over some dead kings, or command of some other bits of old finger-wear or whatever. I can’t remember. In fact, I don’t think The One Ring’s true power is ever really revealed. As far as I can tell from the evidence presented in the films, the magical trinket just makes Hobbits a bit more Gollum-like and irritable. They can’t even wear the thing to go invisible without risking a giant fiery perve-eye gawping at them, so what’s the point? (The book give more detail, but as it is nothing more than a cheap, non-canon derivative, I’ve chosen to ignore it.)
Personally, I think Gandalf and that Strider bloke just made the whole thing up as an excuse to bring down the tyrant in the East, invade Mordor and sell off all its resources to the highest-bidding dwarf.
Not to be confused with PAYE, PyrE is a fictional weapon of sorts in Alfred Bester’s brilliant science fiction novel The Stars My Destination. PyrE is a substance which, when activated by a hard-thunkin’ thinker, realises the desires of the aforementioned thunker – for good or for ill. The hero (or anti-hero) of the story, Gulliver Foyle, lobs loads of it around the Earth before farting off all over space-time like an undone balloon with a flux-capacitor up its spout, telling the human race: “…learn or die. We’re all in this together.” A sort of time-slipping, space-bending, proto-David Cameron.
What does all this have to do with the invasion of Iraq? Well nothing really. Except – and this is a big stretch – it sort of illustrates the dangers of just removing the authority figure from a country , replacing the mustachioed twazzock with Democracy overnight, and then expecting everything to run smoothly. But sod all that (it was TEN YEARS ago, get over it!), what really matters is that PyrE is a great fictional WMD… READ THIS BOOK!
As fictional WMDs go, Akira is pretty awesome, having managed to completely destroy a fictional Tokyo in a fictional 1988 and survive! Akira, you see, is some kind of psychic, created in some kind of military experiment gone horribly awry or whatever. Or is he? I have absolutely no idea: the film confuses the krudd out of me…
But it is pretty cool I guess. I like the way bits of Akira’s body are kept in jars under the Neo Tokyo Olympic Stadium, and the way that he is later reborn (is he? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!) And then the stadium gets rubble-ised to bits and stuff and Tetsuo (some annoying biker kid who is somehow magic) shouts “Kaneda!” in a silly way a lot, loses an arm, grows it back as some kind of hideous, pulsating monster limb, goes to space, steals a satellite, comes back down, turns inside out, grows gigantic, gets absorbed by a big, white bubble apparently made by some creepy-looking child-things, and finally becomes some kind of god in a shiny-new universe all of his very own… or something. All that and it still makes more sense than the invasion of Iraq.
[[part two coming next week or never, whichever comes first]]