Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Martian war machines

At this link you will find a very scary piece of video, sent to me by my Czech friend, Filip Marek. Someone has mangled it, and the beginning is missing, but it appears to be a legitimate Channel 4 documentary out of Britain. And what is documented in this is pretty scary: the use of remote-controlled drone aircraft, whose controllers are enlisted personnel with basic computer skills based in Arizona, to attack people in the eastern hemisphere, whose countries the United States is not at war with. I have heard about this before, but this presentation is very hard hitting.

Let's just think about one point raised in the video, by implication: wouldn't any counterattacks against the Arizona base be considered by the US government to be terrorism? And in fact wouldn't terrorism be one of the few possible responses to robot attacks from the air? And then we are presented with the information that the recent Times Square bomber was inspired by a desire to get revenge for such airborne attacks...

In the end it may simply be a lack of fuel that may save us from a really terrifying kind of war.

This brings back to me one of the more terrifying visions of the future I have ever had. In the movie Apocalypse Now there is an amazing scene where the US helicopters fly into battle -- a battle that involves shooting people on the ground who may or may not be the enemy -- playing the Ride of the Valkeries on a really good sound system.

I realized then that the Martian war machines were no longer H. G. Wells' vision from a fantastic feature, but a reality. Mine wasn't really a vision of the future, of course, despite my words above. It was a vision of the past.

Now I've got another one to match.


  1. The relentless killer robots used to be aliens of some kind. Now they're us.

  2. Anonymous7:41 pm

    Elsewhere on my blogroll, the science fiction author Peter Watts was sharing some of his latest work this week. It turns out to be rather eerily similar. That's the problem with trying to write hard dystopian science fiction these days: the real world keeps catching up with you.