#3. The Star Trek Galaxy
In the idyllic future that is Star Trek, warp speed allows mankind to travel in comfortable starships to the furthest regions of the galaxy. Rather than barren rocks and lifeless stars surrounded by light-years of nothingness, this universe is inhabited with fascinating metaphors for humanity, wise philosophers and whole races of humanoid female aliens who want to learn want love is.
On top of this, in the human society of Star Trek, abundance and satisfaction are so widespread that money is actually obsolete. People work simply for the joy of it. And the jobs are great, particularly in Starfleet: intrepid space adventurer, hardcore science officer, seducer of many babes.
Why It Would Suck
Starfleet, which apparently holds a monopoly on cool space exploration in Star Trek, is run pretty much exactly like a military organization. And in the average military, the ratio of officers to enlisted averages around five to one. On Star Trek, we usually just see the officers' decks, quarters and day-to-day life. What we don't see is that the majority of people on starships--the enlisted--clearly work in places like engineering, in unsafe conditions around unstable bulkheads and vats of flesh-eating gas.
Petty Officer Ricky, RIP.
Well, we do see them sometimes, when something explodes and they are graphically ejected into space to die in slow agony, their bodies destined to float through the void for all time with shrieks of pain still frozen on their faces. But more often we hear about their deaths in passing, while the camera zooms in on Captain Kirk or Picard's face so we can see his guilt over the death of so many of his men. That's your life, majority of people in Starfleet. A passing bad mood before Kirk cheers himself up by bedding a green-skinned woman on his sparkly bed made of gold.
But at least these poor dudes can relax after work in the flesh-eating gas room with a stiff drink, right? Wrong. In Star Trek, you drink synthehol, a drink with all the pleasant-tastingness of whiskey but without its "undesirable elements" like well, drunkenness.
So in this galaxy, you can't even get drunk and fantasize about the sparkly officer's sheets that without a currency, you can't even save up to buy.
The inhabitants of James Cameron's fantasy moon live at one with nature in an unspoiled world full of beautiful glowing plants and ubiquitous high-speed Internet connections. The kind, attractive locals, the Na'vi, spend their days hunting fantastical creatures from the air and worshipping their gentle mother goddess.
As if that's not enough, when times are tough they allow outsiders to ease their Western guilt by fighting with them against their greedy corporate oppressors. In our disconnected, technologically advanced world, it's only natural that many would want to join the Na'vi and live in a place where you can fight dinosaurs and communicate via fiber optic cable in one day.
Pretty rad, yes?
Why It Would Suck
You wake up in a daze one glorious Pandora morning among the helicoradian plants, after a long night featuring way too many unobtainium cookies and fermented rainforest dew. As you cough and squint your eyes against the fading bioluminescence, the Na'vi woman next to you whose name you can't remember turns happily and says: "Now we are mated for life."
"Should have let that panther thing kill me."
If you thought that annulling a Vegas marriage was complicated, try getting out of a relationship after Na'vi sex. Sleep with a person once and find out that you're not sexually compatible? Your life partner loses interest in you, and starts synching up with the neural whips of every life form in town? Too bad. You're stuck with her forever, because there's no divorce in paradise.
Oh well, at least you can get some private time all alone in your bunk, right? Wrong. The Na'vi sleep in close proximity to each other in their giant tree, in improbably dangerous hammocks.
That's right, communal barracks. Even if you're lucky and nobody near you snores, you still have to contend with continuing the Na'vi species while your grandmother lies in bed three hammocks away, wide awake in silent, repulsed horror.
#1. The Star Wars Galaxy
Space princesses, precarious ledge battles, faster-than-light travel across the galaxy. Who wouldn't want to live in a world where you can pick right up and travel into space without even having to take your shoes off or walk through one of those nude scanners?
And then there's the infinite number of worlds to explore (each with perfectly breathable atmosphere) and alien races to impress with your cool midichlorian powers. What better place is there to spend your life?
Why It Would Suck
The medical care.
At first glance, the medical technology in Star Wars looks far more advanced than ours. After Luke's hand is lopped off by Darth Vader, he is easily provided with another robotic one which is virtually indistinguishable from a real hand. Even a generation before that, Anakin Skywalker is given a not-quite-as-natural-looking but still functional robot arm.
But once you look more closely, this apparently superior medical science falls apart like a battle droid who has been kicked in the chest by a four-year-old girl. Let's take Anakin Skywalker. Horribly burned, in the care of the best droids the Galactic Republic has to offer. We see the future Darth Vader is operated on without any form of anesthetic, in a galaxy where nobody's invented skin grafts or even simple bandages.
But, you say, "How often do people need that kind of surgery? I'll just stay away from lava pits, and I'll be fine." Well, the Star Wars galaxy also shows us a far more common medical experience: childbirth.
Padme Amidala, a rich ex-Queen who presumably has health insurance, gives birth to twins unsedated and with her legs held together in some sort of narrow metal skirt, apparently because the delivery droid is highly religious and didn't want to see any naked woman parts.
And then there's the glimpse of what can only be described as a "birth paddle":
That sound you hear is a million women crossing their legs in terror, and then being suddenly silenced.
You might argue that this birth experience wasn't typical. They were on an asteroid, after all. Maybe Padme wasn't sedated because she wanted a natural childbirth, which somehow includes robots. But if this was the case, why, when Anakin had a premonition about his wife dying in childbirth, did he try to make a deal with a Sith Lord rather than just admitting her to a good clinic?
The only obvious answer is that he knew that medical care was universally shitty, and that the droids in the medical industry hate humanity and will routinely let patients die with bullshit excuses about them "losing the will to live." Say what you want about our health care system, but you try that shit and you're about to get handed one hell of a malpractice lawsuit.
Read more from C. Coville at http://bloodslides.livejournal.com.
Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.
Make sure you swing on over to our special Craption Contest to achieve Internet (and possibly Hollywood) glory.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 4.01.2010) to see why living in Arkansas is also very terrible.