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Author Topic: Empire
Fiver
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The book "Empire", by OSC, what does anyone have to say about it?
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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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It doesn't take a lot of searching to see the many threads that have been posted about it.
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Noemon
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Empire. For Those Who Don't Get It. With Spoilers
Empire!
Empire Cover Art
"Empire" Parallel
Empire: Hari SeldEn???
Is 'Empire' part of the Ender-verse
What ever happened to Empire?
Empire - is OSC a Homestar Runner fan?
Empire
Empire
Criticisms of Empire (and another rant: Sorry!) (this one is three pages--one of the longer threads on the topic)
Empire - intent of the partisan language?
Empire: Slight Hypocrisy (tongue in cheek)
cover art and front flap of Empire
Finished reading Empire (lots of spoilers, beware!!!)
Help settle a bet on Empire *slight spoilers*
Was Empire set up for a secuel? ***Spoilers***

[ April 24, 2008, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: Noemon ]

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Fiver
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I admit it, I just started this thread to sa how much I hate the book Empire. So sue me. I just think that politcal ideologies and propoganda does not belong in fiction. It ruins the book for liberal readers like me. So sue me. I don't Orson Scott Card, in fact, I love his "Xenocide" series, I just hate Empire.
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Fiver
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Besides, I'm a new member and lazy. I don't have the time or inclination to search for spicific threads on my topic when I know that no one would take me seriously.
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Marek
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I'm a liberal too, and I loved Empire, Card just chose a party to be the bad guys in it, it could just has easily been a conservative plot, which was even pointed at one part of the book. Also political ideology does belong if fiction if it is set in America because politics have been part of American life since we were just colonies.
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rivka
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Fiver, new members who take the time to read old threads tend to be taken a bit more seriously than those who are self-proclaimed to be lazy.

In any case, welcome to Hatrack. [Smile] Is your SN from Watership Down?

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Fiver:
Besides, I'm a new member and lazy. I don't have the time or inclination to search for spicific threads on my topic when I know that no one would take me seriously.

You forgot to ask us to sue you.
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rivka
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I think that was less a request and more a dare.
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Noemon
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It's a good thing he didn't double dog dare us, or we'd have been almost obligated to bring suit.
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Brett Moan
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I personally loved Empire. As Marek stated the story could have easily switched roles. I'm more concerned with the idea of "America becoming an empire through a civil war" and less with "America becoming an Empire because of a Liberal Plot".

The idea of America becoming an empire just fascinates me. It makes me wonder if the only way the entire world will come under one ruler is for something like this to happen. We haven't closed of our borders to the world like the America in the Enderverse. We also don't have many of the other factors that Led to Peter's Hegemony, (unified Muslim state, a brief period of unification against the buggers, etc.) so one can only speculate as to how the world would come to such a Leadership. In fact the more I come to think about it, the more i wonder if life in an Empire would be the right way to live. If America could become much stronger militarily and Economically, then the Country would be better off. If a Dictator let the people keep their freedoms for the most part, then I think i might be just as happy as I am living under a democracy. While I am not yet of Legal age for voting, but i often find that the voting process is not as great as i would like. The country is just too large for the common people to really know who is the best choice. Many times I feel as though the best Candidates for presidency on both the republican and Democratic side lose most of their support early in the primaries.

The winners of elections are not necessarily the best leaders, but people who are the best speakers, the best manipulators of the crowd. I know that my particular beliefs may both be criticized and agrees with but i fear i must mention Hilliary Clinton. This is not an attack on Hilliary's ability to lead, but i don't see how she made it as far as she did in the Democratic primaries, when she had previously attacked violence in video games as though it was ruining and corrupting today's youth. Somethings she said were dead on with statements that were said about Rock n Roll in the past.

As far as her opinions on topics of real importance i don't currently care to discuss. the point was to show how far someone can come in the primaries of the presidential election having never held a political position. In an Empire the Successor to the throne would not get to be chosen by the public. It would take a highlly intelligent person to pull off the dictatorship in the first place, and once the were in power he/she would be able to create a process for Finding his successor. Maybe even a process similar to Battle School in the Enderverse.

I would elaborate further on why I love Empire, but instead i feel the need to sleep so instead i will mention that there is a lot of hate on Empire at Amazon.com

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If a Dictator let the people keep their freedoms for the most part...
And there's the rub. A freedom someone "lets" you have is no freedom at all.
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DDDaysh
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Except, in reality, that's all any of our "freedoms" are. Society LETS us do this or LETS us do that, but at any time these things could be taken away. Sure, we get to vote, but if the majority goes against us - there goes that freedom.
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scottneb
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quote:
And there's the rub. A freedom someone "lets" you have is no freedom at all.
That's interesting Tom, I never thought this through until now. Here the U.S. is out 'giving' freedom to countries that we don't think have it. Could I also understand you as saying, "A freedom someone "gives" you is no freedom at all."?

(I'll need someone to tell me how to end that sentence. I've never understood how to end a sentence in a quote in the form of a question without making the quote INTO a question.)

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Orincoro
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insert the question mark after the last word, and then put the quotes after that. Changes in punctuation are allowable when quoting only a part of a sentence.

So it should read: "at all?" Because you are at once borrowing the fragment of the sentence you are quoting, and incorporating it syntactically into your sentence, the needs of the larger sentence supersede the punctuation from the quote. As a general rule, you quote words, and not punctuation.

Also as a further pointer, quotes within quotes have 'single' quotation marks and quotes outside of other quotes, or the larger quotes themselves have "regular" quotation marks.

"This sentence uses 'quotes' correctly."

'This' is not correct.

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Brett Moan
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quote:
Originally posted by scottneb:
quote:
And there's the rub. A freedom someone "lets" you have is no freedom at all.
That's interesting Tom, I never thought this through until now. Here the U.S. is out 'giving' freedom to countries that we don't think have it. Could I also understand you as saying, "A freedom someone "gives" you is no freedom at all."?

Well in that cause the only freedom you could have would be a freedom you personally take. Soldiers wouldn't be able to fight for our freedom, you would have to fight for it yourself.
In any case it all really depends on your definition of freedom. In America your being given your freedom by the constitution and the government. The government is allowing you to have your freedom, so are you truly free? I believe so. Its when someone stops allowing you to do things that you lose freedom.

*edited for grammar

[ August 15, 2008, 05:59 PM: Message edited by: Brett Moan ]

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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Fiver:
I just think that politcal ideologies and propoganda does not belong in fiction.

That would wipe out almost all scifi, going back to the 40's.
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DDDaysh
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Good point Sean. Much of what makes Sci-Fi great is that they can "blow-up" problems in every day society by ignoring certain "rules" of reality, making the problem larger and much more important. Then they can explore what these problems, dilemmas, or issues really do to people and society.
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odouls268
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quote:
Besides, I'm a new member and lazy. I don't have the time or inclination to search for spicific threads on my topic when I know that no one would take me seriously.
Was OSC just the victim of a drive-by hater?
...and a lazy one to boot.

[Confused]

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T:man
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Ya know, I thought about freedom last night, I don't think the U.S. goverment gives us freedom, it protects our freedoms. Does this any less or more free though?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Good point Sean. Much of what makes Sci-Fi great is that they can "blow-up" problems in every day society by ignoring certain "rules" of reality, making the problem larger and much more important. Then they can explore what these problems, dilemmas, or issues really do to people and society.

And the peril therein is that the author can stretch the rules too far to be credible.
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DDDaysh
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Wouldn't that be "surf-by"?
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AchillesHeel
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quote:
Originally posted by T:man:
Ya know, I thought about freedom last night, I don't think the U.S. goverment gives us freedom, it protects our freedoms. Does this any less or more free though?

By design, we fly and fall through our own ambitions and resolutions, it is here in America where the prince and the pauper trade places regularly. Even when the one in rags has the impudence of an heir to some vast fortune, all Americans born and immigrated hold the possibility to defy the status quo.

Wow, I really sound like a nationalist.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
quote:
Originally posted by Fiver:
I just think that politcal ideologies and propoganda does not belong in fiction.

That would wipe out almost all scifi, going back to the 40's.
I suppose that's one way to get rid of the Star Wars prequels...
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DDDaysh
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You made my laugh 3PO
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Fiver:
I admit it, I just started this thread to sa how much I hate the book Empire. So sue me. I just think that politcal ideologies and propoganda does not belong in fiction. It ruins the book for liberal readers like me.

Well, people have certainly started their first threads on sillier points. [Wink]

I do think that a lot of stories that are trying to raise a particular point and set themselves in what they want us to think of as "our world"- especially "our world, the present day"- often end up shooting themselves in the foot. The moment the reader says, "Ah, no. That's not the world I live in, bub, and if you think otherwise, you're mistaken," the author is pretty much projecting static from then on as far as that reader is concerned.

I don't think it's wrong to want to convey political ideology in fiction, though (and if I did, I'd be a hippocrite, as I've done it.) It's just wise to do so with a greater degree of subtlety. If an author employs a world that is not our own, or is "our own assuming x happened" (the other side won a significant war, the internal combustion engine never became popular, the natives of South America repelled Cortez, etc.), or at least is not our own in the present day, he or she has a lot more latitude.

I suspect it's the difference between "Let's assume "a"... "A" leads to "b"... "b" leads to "c"...", where the reader feels they've been given the choice to accept or reject each step, and even whimisically go along with something slightly unlikely because, hey, it's fiction. When the author says "We are at "a". And the horror that may result is..." And the reader begins by saying "Whoa, whoa, whoa. We are sooo not at 'a'."... Again, static.

I'd also suggest that there are very few ideas that one couldn't argue have their footprints or parallels in the political theater.

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Orson Scott Card
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The project of Empire was to write a story about an American civil war between red states and blue states. My first response to the idea was that it was silly. But then, as a sci-fi writer, I thought: How COULD such a thing arise? How would it be handled?

It is simply a fact that our all-volunteer military is overwhelmingly of a conservative bent; there's no ideological test, it's just that the Left is so vehemently anti-war and anti-military it's hard to see how any of that group would decide to volunteer for military service. I didn't make that up - it's a simple fact.

I have also met a lot of soldiers. I have spent time with military officers in various settings and I have found that, with rare exceptions, the intellectual standards, the reasoning, the historical awareness of these officers is far, far superior to what I find among professors of soft subjects in universities. These are smart guys with well-thought-out views.

I don't agree with them about everything. But they treat my views with patience and respect (something the Left could learn from - you should see the vile, murderous hate mail that "liberals" send to anyone who disagrees with them), and so in writing Empire, from the point of view of American officers, I felt honor bound to present the views of the vast majority of the officers I know as fairly as I could.

What baffles me is the arrogant assumption by people of different opinions that those who hold the views of these soldiers have no right to have them sympathetically presented in fiction. Only people with certain opinions get to have sympathetic characters in well-written novels! Isn't that childish?

The irony is that, starting with the red-state blue-state premise, my characters act to try to avert civil war, to create reconciliation.

But if anyone doubts that we have the level of hatred and rage and unwillingness to compromise that are the foundation of civil war, they have only to see the bigoted response to a book with characters whose views reflect the actual views of most of the soldiers who lay their lives on the line to defend our country.

Shame on those who would silence those soldiers and give them no sympathetic hearing in our culture. Especially if those who are enraged by their views are not willing themselves to serve in the military.

I wish the anti-military Left, who are so quick to condemn the Right-dominated military, would remember one thing: The Right has all the guns, and yet the Left is never interfered with in their bigoted condemnation of those very soldiers. They hear the vitriol directed against them and their views; they have the means to silence their opponents; but THEY do not do so. THEY are patient and tolerant. THEY remind each other: the Constitution is too important to violate the rights, even of people who defame us.

Who, then, are the "liberals" in the classic sense? Compare the obvious and constant tolerance of our soldiers with the open intolerance and hate and rage of the puritanical (anti-military) Left, which cannot bear any kind of dissent from their dogmas, and you can see why I do indeed feel great sympathy for our military's dominant culture - even when I disagree with them strongly on many of their views.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
something the Left could learn from - you should see the vile, murderous hate mail that "liberals" send to anyone who disagrees with them
Am I correct in assuming that no scare-quoted "liberals" post at Hatrack, which is a reasonable place?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Orson Scott Card:


It is simply a fact that our all-volunteer military is overwhelmingly of a conservative bent; there's no ideological test, it's just that the Left is so vehemently anti-war and anti-military it's hard to see how any of that group would decide to volunteer for military service. I didn't make that up - it's a simple fact.

Ahem. See Tom's post in the other thread about your tone. You state a fact, yes, and it next to your assertion about "why." What about the fact that most members of the military, especially regular soldiers, come from low-income families? What about the fact that southern states are highly represented? Is the *only* reason because the left just refuses to join out of being "anti-military?"

This assertion you make is laughable if it is meant to be taken as a solid fact. It's a soft fact, it's a fact that invites a great number of possible explanations, and owes its existence to none specifically.

You talk in black and white to criticize those who do what you are doing. Do you not see it? Does it not matter to you? Are you working for some greater purpose?

quote:

I have also met a lot of soldiers. I have spent time with military officers in various settings and I have found that, with rare exceptions, the intellectual standards, the reasoning, the historical awareness of these officers is far, far superior to what I find among professors of soft subjects in universities. These are smart guys with well-thought-out views.

I am in agreement. My experience has been the same. However, I have not found that these people agree with you on most of your politics. Here's a thought, you heard what you needed to hear from them, and represented that. This work is your work of fiction- it is not truth, and it is not necessarily truthful. Just because you talked to soldiers, doesn't mean you fairly or accurately represent them, just as when professors and politicians cite individuals they've talked to, they are speaking *about* those people, and not *for* them. Yet you presume to do this? Do you think that really works? Do you think you are entirely capable of representing views you don't hold, and doing so fairly and accurately. If you are, you have a gift I have never seen.
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Lyrhawn
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My brother was liberal when he joined the Marine Corps, and was, for lack of a softer term, brainwashed while he was in there into being a hardcore pro-war conservative. Six months after he got out, he was back to his original views.

The change in his view was absolutely astonishing. I knew he views on things before he went in, but in letters I received from him while he was away I had to get to know a totally different person.

The change back was equally startling. Six months after he was out, as far as his political views go, it was like he was never even there. He had the experience from being there, and the memories, but it was like someone flipped a switch and he was back to himself.

I don't pretend to know what goes on in the military, or what soldiers go through in basic training and what not that could effect their views, but my experience with soldiers, both friends and family, is far from cut and dry.

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kmbboots
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Asronishing the number of veterans that I have met in the anti-war movement.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

I don't pretend to know what goes on in the military, or what soldiers go through in basic training and what not that could effect their views, but my experience with soldiers, both friends and family, is far from cut and dry.

Your story is particularly interesting because conservatives so enjoy citing the support of soldiers "on the ground" in support of them personally, or of their politics. Is it "anti-military" to take into account the fact of a soldier's life and work, when weighing his input?

Like your brother, most soldiers likely feel a need to conform to the military culture in which they live. Aside from that, life in the military itself could lead one to view the world from a more conservative, pro-war viewpoint. Certainly, the very fact that it is someone's job to wage war would probably influence his perceptions of the political landscape that either makes this job harder or easier.

Then there's the appeal of anecdote. It's easier to cite a soldier on the ground and say: "he's in touch with what's really going on." But when that person is being actively and forcibly removed from his life, his family, his community, and put into a new situation, who's to say that situation will give him clarity? Who's to say that his perspective from the ground is clearer, rather than more myopic, like an ant's eye view? Who's to value your brother's two perceptions of the world around him, and claim that his life at home is somehow invalidated by his war experience, and his then-beliefs, as if they were truer?

Then there's oft-cited and equally dubious claim that more higher education is associated with liberal leanings. How do we know that the corporate cultures in which people with higher education, their lifestyles, don't simply have that much influence on their worldviews? Why directly associate education with liberalism, thus implying that liberalism is associated with intelligence? Perhaps most of our political leanings are associated with our experiences, with our community's expectations of us. Why would that be a bad thing to admit, or consider?

But the story is interesting and informing. It's not something I'd really thought about before.

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AchillesHeel
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When I read the book I was generally interested in all the characters and the sudden death of a main character was quite a surprise... but I did roll my eyes during the New York chapter. Future bikes and mechs, just seemed so forced upon a story that wasnt looking for cheap gimicks.

Even when I loaned the book to a friend and fellow OSC fan he would talk to me about the every time he saw me, and then one day he walked up and just started laughing and I knew exactly what part he had reached that day.

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LockeDemosthenes
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I agree with AchillesHeel, about the New York chapter. I didn't like how the technology seemed to be maybe 5 years in the future, or possibly not even that far ahead, but all of a sudden, we've got AVP style body armor, highly focused EMP rays, and giant machines on feet. I do have to ask, why leave us hanging Orson? The ending made me not feel entirely satisfied, like there was something missing. Please tell me there's some kind of sequel? Where Torrent stood wasn't superbly clear, nor what he was going to do, was he part of the Aldo Verus deal and backstabbed him, who set up the assassination of the President, etc. Other than those parts, I found it extremely good.
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Steve_G
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the tech level was bothersome, which is a flaw that came about with paring the book with a (still unfinished) video game AND trying to fit it into current events.

Personally I'd prefer Card to not be so encumbered by the baggage of trying to fit a story into somebody else's mold.

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beanssmallerbrother
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The tech level increase was abruptly high but who knows where we are technologically (how close were the machines to an iron man suit?) but it also helped to show what would be needed for a takeover of a city.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
(how close were the machines to an iron man suit?)
The machines were a lot easier than an Iron Man suit. But Iron Man is make-believe.
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beanssmallerbrother
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we will see how close they are when the video game comes out but I'm just saying lots of weapons with guys in a suit that is all. Overall I liked the idea of how the civil war would take place and I'm very curious about if there would be a sequel because I could picture about 100 ways he could go with it that would all be equal or even better then the original story.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by beanssmallerbrother:
The tech level increase was abruptly high but who knows where we are technologically (how close were the machines to an iron man suit?) but it also helped to show what would be needed for a takeover of a city.

Uh, you definitely don't need silly hoverfloatyrepulsorbikes, mechs, and plagiarized Halo tanks to take over a city, you could just do it with troops.

Speaking of which, I think someone mentioned that the tank on front is obviously a Scorpion, but have we really talked about that yet? [Smile]

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
(how close were the machines to an iron man suit?)
The machines were a lot easier than an Iron Man suit. But Iron Man is make-believe.
And Empire isn't. [Wink]
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