There seems to be some confusion about when Starmageddon takes place. It takes place far enough in the future that the Strategic Defense Initiative works – and it works like a charm – and close enough to when it was written that all other technology is exactly the same as the day KAL Flight 007 was shot down. Same fighter jets, same airliners, same missiles, same radar, same beacons, same radios, same inflight “delicious breakfast.” (Same East and West Germany.) Because Rohmer had paid for that research, for Massacre 007, and it was still fresh and tasty. So Fall, 19200083.
Brian, I know you’re inclined to chalk this up to Rohmer pulling another Patton’s Gap/Rommel & Patton, Separation/Separation II. And selling the same thing twice with a new cover. But I think it’s something deeper and prettier than that.
I think, in order to believe in the Strategic Defense Initiative, you had to set aside everything you knew about the nature of matter and time. I think that’s what its fans loved about it. The only thing between it working in theory and it working in practice was physics itself. In hack screenplay terms this is known as “a buy.” You have a place where your story starts and a place where you want it to end up, and you have a buy in the middle. A little coincidence. An accident. An inheritance. A magic spell. A friend at City Hall who owes you a favor.
The jail cell has an air duct, and the air duct is just big enough to crawl through.
How was SDI going to overcome everything we knew about science? Top scientists were going to figure it out.
If we could knock down all of Russia’s ICBMs, what would stop them from using their bombers, cruise missiles and submarine-launched missiles? Well, they just wouldn’t, that’s why. Because they’d be so disheartened.
It’s a buy.
When Reagan said, “Here’s my strategy in the Cold War: We win, they lose,” it wasn’t bluster, really. It was a script note. Now figure out how we get there.
When does Starmageddon take place? It takes place inside Ronald Reagan’s brain. It takes place now and in the future. In a parallel universe where Reagan is president forever.