Looking for movies and books where engineers did their jobs right
January 26, 2014 3:07 PM Subscribe
In many spy or action movies, the technical systems seem to be designed by total idiots. Especially everything concerned with nuclear weapons. While this creates an easy and straightforward plot, it destroys my suspension of disbelief more severely than if talking unicorns just walked into the scene. I'm looking for fiction with systems designed by sane people. Inexplacible things, utter idiocy and madness may exist, but should be acknowledged as such in-universe. Spoilers for "Olympus has fallen" inside.
posted by Triton to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
A positive example is "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality", where everything is questioned by at least the protagonist. I also enjoyed reading "The Atrocity Archives" from Charles Stross, where magic and demons exist, but people create sensible safeguards and containments to deal with them. A negative example is the movie "Olympus has fallen": The safety self-destruct mechanism for nuclear missiles not only triggers the warheads, but has a five minute countdown! This being a terrible design mistake should be obvious to anyone, especially nuclear engineers tasked with building a safety system. No one of the characters notice this. Surprisingly, the old Dr. Strangelove was more straightforward in that regard: Crazy people act crazily, terrible mistakes are pointed out as such and the characters described as sane actually act sane-ish.
Can you point me to some other media where this is the case?