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Starcruiser Anonymous

Some notes and reflections about...


Starcruiser Anonymous--like all of Sfstory--is full of extraterrestrials. Heck, one could make the argument that all the characters are extraterrestrial, since the Anonymous left the Earth long before the story begins. Despite this abundance of non-humans, there's only one character who is explicitly described as non-human looking: Bob, the reptilian bounty hunter. It's not terribly realistic, I'm afraid, but Sfstory has always had a unique notion of reality.

Why do the Blargoloids, Caphanites, Foobarhians, and Aroruans look like humans with some make-up? It's an Sfstory tradition, really. Cheesy sci-fi has always had aliens that look like humans with make-up on. If you look through Sfstory's past, you'll run into countless characters that aren't human but could pass for human.


You'll also notice that everyone seems to speak English. This is a deliberate choice I made early on in the series. Sfstory tradition is less clear here--there are references to alien languages in a few places--but generally, everyone has been able to understand everyone else. There are two ways to handle this:

  1. Come up with some sort of explanation, like the universal translator from Star Trek and the babelfish from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  2. Ignore it.

I've chosen the latter route. There have been passing mentions of universal translator-like devices in other parts of Sfstory, and it isn't unreasonable to assume there were a few left over on the Anonymous for our Terran characters to use, but I don't want to deal with all the headaches universal translators bring into the story. By just declaring "Everyone can understand everyone else's language," I can save some trouble. The down side is that I can't do anything involving foreign languages or translation, but that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

Again, it isn't 100% realistic, but neither is faster-than-light travel. At least it's consistent.

Faster-Than-Light Travel

Another Sfstory tradition, although the specific method (overly-hyped space) is more of a Superguy joke than an Sfstory one. I've never really bothered to specify the mechanics of overly-hyped travel, beyond some vague rules of thumb. Different ships can travel at different speeds. It's unsafe to translate too close to a gravity well (and "too close" varies with the technology level). Traveling in overly-hyped space is faster than traveling in realspace. That sort of thing.


Some random thoughts and explanations about a few of the characters.

Prince Lotekh

There really aren't that many villains in Starcruiser Anonymous. Although the all the Zakavians qualify as antagonists, Lotekh is only one who really strikes me as villainous. Emperor Vakaz and Kvasha are more misguided than anything else, while their underlings are mostly people trying to do their jobs as best they can. Even Mselt's treachery was motivated by his loyalty to the Empire. Admittedly, "I was just doing my job" isn't much of a defense, but the Zakavians haven't exactly been going around committing atrocities, either. (I suppose Number One, leader of the rebels on the Anonymous, might also qualify as a villain, but he's a relatively minor character.)

Lotekh is based on my memories of Prince Lotar from Voltron. I had originally thought to parody the character, but I recently saw some Voltron episodes recently and I realized that Lotar is already pretty close to parody. Even Lotar's father, King Zarkon, thinks he's a nut. Of course, Lotar didn't have anyone like Mselt to hold him back. That, at least, is something new.

Anme Rifba

After writing the name "Anme" for several months, it occurred to me that her name is one letter different from anime, a popular term for Japanese animation among its English-speaking fans. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and he told me that he had assumed I did it on purpose! Although Starcruiser Anonymous does have some anime influence (Ampron pokes fun at Voltron and the Anonymous was inspired by Macross), Anme comes from a different source. She and Horlun were originally supposed to be beatniks, but I never really developed that idea. As a result, they just drifted along without really serving a purpose until I worked them into the Anonymous rebellion.

Dave Menendez

Why, you ask, is there a character with my name in this series? The simple answer is: It's another idea that didn't turn out the way I expected. It's not uncommon for Superguy authors to insert counterparts of themselves into their stories (that is, versions of themselves that have lived their entire lives in the Superguy universe, as opposed to versions that lived in the Real World and were somehow transported into the story). Over the years, Sfstory has become a sort of Superguy sideshow, so I figured I might as well try it myself.

I didn't want my counterpart to be the hero, though. That seemed a little too arrogant. Instead, I stuck him in Black Squadron. Green Squadron was originally supposed have the hero role, while Black Squadron was its rival. That nicely reflected the way author-insert characters often compete with the "real" characters of a story for the reader's attention. It didn't quite work out that way, and the Black Squadron/Green Squadron dynamic is subtler than I intended--but I'm not complaining. It's more interesting this way.

David Menendez, zednenem@alumni.psu.edu
Updated 7 February 1999