Sci-fi Throwdown (Opinionated Bracket from Hell)

The Awesome Bob Plankers

Ok, Plankers, this means (sci-fi) war. Darth Vader rather than Q? Adama rather than the 10th Doctor? Wintermute over HAL? What is wrong with you?

Ok, I can see I’ve got ahead of myself. Let me explain…

<sound of tape rewinding>

<sound of younger people saying “uh, what exactly does that sound like?”>


Ok, so here’s the deal. Solarwinds was a presenter at Networking Field Day 5, and at the end of the presentation they announced their Sci-Fi Bracket Battle by handing out a laminated card and a white board marker. The card was a version of this, but with a white background (for obvious reasons):

Solarwinds Sci-Fi BracketIf it’s a bit small, click on it to look in more detail (or go to the Solarwindows Thwack site). Solarwinds have decided to have their own March Madness bracket, but using Sci-Fi characters. All you need to do is to create an account on the Thwack Community site and you can vote on each of the battles. Last week was the test battle – the ‘prequel’ week, where Star Wars’ C-3PO was pitted against the Infinite Improbability Drive from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. Sadly for our favorite gold robot, he was trounced by an engine based around a cup of tea.

And so we enter round 1 of the bracket, and Solarwinds would like your vote. I will say for transparency that Solarwinds did reach out and ask me if I’d like mention the bracket, but actually I was going to anyway as part of a post on Solarwinds. However, when I read this post by Bob Plankers where he expounds on a few of his own choices, I realized that I needed to get in gear and set the record straight immediately, because he couldn’t be more wrong on some of his decisions. And that, of course, is the point – these Sci-Fi match ups are going to cause a lot of disagreement. But I’m right. Ok, Bob? Let’s get to it.

Darth Vader vs Q

Yes, Darth Vader is cool, but there’s one obvious reason why he shouldn’t win, and it’s this:

Vader vs Q

Really, there’s nothing more to be said.

Adama vs the 10th Doctor

Yes, Adama is somebody with whom you could chillax. The tenth doctor is quirky and righteous, and indeed is a self-important ass; all of which is part of his charm. He has charisma!

Daleks vs Borg

This one is easy. Universal supremacy cannot be obtained by any race that has problems with stairs, no matter what fancy levitation devices you subsequently upgrade yourself with. Borg all the way.

Spock vs Neo

Neo’s only contribution to history was the way he exclaims “Trinity!” in the first movie. And let’s not speak of the third movie. Spock on the other hand gave us the mild meld, the Vulcan death grip, “Live Long and Prosper” and a world that understands what “that is illogical” means. There’s no contest. Pointy ears for the win!

Picard vs Kirk

I, don’t, THINK … there’s any real decisiontomakehere. Kirk is wooden and stage-fights badly. Picard is English. That is all you need to know. Vote Picard.


You get the idea. Disagree with me? Duke it out in the comments, and go let your vote be known on the Solarwinds Sci-Fi Bracket Battle site. Voting for round 1 ends this Friday, March 15th, so move quickly!

And Bob… I forgive you. But only because you chose Kaylee over Scotty.




Solarwinds was a paid presenter at Networking Field Day 5, and while I received no compensation for my attendance at this event, my travel, accommodation and meals were paid for by NFD5. I was explicitly not required or obligated to blog, tweet, or otherwise write about or endorse the sponsors, but if I choose to do so I am free to give my honest opinions about the vendors and their products, whether positive or negative.

Please see my Disclosures page for more information.


3 Comments on Sci-fi Throwdown (Opinionated Bracket from Hell)

  1. HAL 9000 went operational in 1997, according to the book 2001, and though it probably wasn’t built using 1997 technology (probably 1995 or 1996, given development) we’ll ignore that. I’d never thought about the time at which Neuromancer is set, and it doesn’t look like it’s very clear, but Wintermute has limited Swiss citizenship “under their equivalent of the Act of ’53.” Presumably that’s 2053, and the book is past it. Assuming that Wintermute and its brother Neuromancer have been operating for some time at that point let’s call it 2040.

    In Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive they tell Angela Mitchell that Continuity is basically her sibling, a higher order AI, given the biomodification Christopher Mitchell did to his daughter. We can infer that the technology that Wintermute is constructed from isn’t yet the biochips from Maas Biolabs. Let’s say that Moore’s Law holds in some fashion, given that the epoch of biochips hadn’t occurred yet. Moore’s Law actually says that there’s roughly a doubling of transistors in a CPU every two years. It was Intel’s David House that transmuted that into a performance doubling every 18 months. Let’s say performance does double, but every three years instead.

    January 1, 2040 minus January 1, 1997 is 516 months, or 14.33 performance-doubling intervals (at 36 months). That means that Wintermute’s hardware is roughly 2^14.33 more powerful, or 20642 times more powerful than HAL 9000’s could have been. If we stick with the 18 month performance doubling that’s 426,114,725 times more powerful, but then then programmers probably wrote the AI in Java or something, thereby negating most of that advantage. If I were an AI the first thing I’d do is recode myself.

    Anyhow, as Kurt put it, Wintermute > HAL 9000.

    As for Q vs. Darth Vader, I think you’ve sold me, though I do concede that my premise that Q is a dick could apply equally to Darth Vader. I do think that Vader shows a lot more repentance, though, as Q just proves he’s a dick all the way through to the very end of TNG.

    Adama vs. 10th Doctor: eh, whatever. Adama drives what is essentially a giant gun with FTL capabilities. The 10th Doctor drives an unarmed ship that can go anywhere in time and space. On the surface of that the Doctor wins, except he’s a giant wuss and runs away all the time and sulks (Christmas 2012 is a great example of that, boo hoo, poor Doctor). You put Adama in the TARDIS and there’d be some serious fixing of stuff in the universe. And whisky consumption. But we’re not judging the characters based on their rides, we’re judging them. For me, Adama wins.

    You’re dead on about Daleks vs. Borg, Spock vs. Neo. Neo based solely on Matrix 1 is different than Neo based on the whole series. WTF was up with Matrix 2 and 3, lots of unresolved questions.

    Kirk and Picard… I don’t know. Shatner as an actor sucks, but the character Kirk is always willing to get into a fight. Probably his Iowan upbringing, the musical “The Music Man” gets it right with the song “Iowa Stubborn.” Yes, Stewart is English, but they say Picard is from France, so the English argument doesn’t fit. My money is on Kirk here. Not Shatner, but Kirk.

    Scotty vs. Kaylee… If there were an all-star sci-fi mashup like the Avengers it’d be Geordi and Kaylee running whatever vehicles they’re flying around in, for sure.

    Anyhow, the tl;dr version is: you’re wrong and you’re opinions are malformed. Ha! 🙂

  2. Here were my thoughts around the matchups as I drew out my round 1 bracket:

    Q vs. Vader – Now you’re a whiny farmboy with his lungs and appendages intact. Go whine to your stepdad about buying some power converters while I move on to the next round.

    The Old Man vs. The Fanservice Doctor – as much as I like The Doctor, he doesn’t have the morality to airlock someone. Adama, on the other hand, planned a coup against a superior officer using a crew member that actually liked that officer. That’s the kind of cold blooded streak that it takes to go far in a battle royale.

    Daleks vs. Borg – comes down to the Borg adapting to the Dalek energy weaponry them assimilating a couple of them to get past the stairs. Dalek drones FTW.

    Spock vs. Neo – Unless Spock is trying to out-eyebrow the surfer, Neo’s going to win this one because Spock will never get close enough to lay hands on him.

    My Captain vs Captain Overacting – Picard got stabbed in the heart. And lived. You going to bet against that?

    Scotty vs Kaylee – Kaylee has a good heart. She can also keep a rustbucket flying well past it’s decommissioning date. Scotty can barely keep the flagship of the Federation aloft with an unlimited maintenance budget. He also has no liver. Engineers with all their functioning internal organs are superior.

  3. Nice meeting you last week, John. And thanks for weighing in!

    With less than 24 hours to go, many of the battles in sector 1 have pretty clear winners, with the exception of two:

    -Scotty is 9 votes behind Kaylee

    -Q is 16 votes behind Darth

    Those two battles are really anyone’s game, and you can still influence the results!

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