MISCELLANEOUS DATA

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), extrapolations,
and other miscellaneous information

 

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Q:        Were there two different novels of the 1984 movie “The Terminator”?

A:        Yes.  Randall Frakes and Bill Wisher wrote one novel and Shaun Hutson wrote the second.  The Frakes / Wisher novel is the one to search for as it not only follows the movie and gives great insight into the technology and details of the hardware used but the novel also expands upon concepts which we don’t see in the movie.  The Hutson novel glosses over many of the details found in the Frakes / Wisher novel and in doing so, comes in far short of the former in length; 240 pages for the Frakes / Wisher novel compared to only 172 pages for the Hutson novel.  There’s a lot of detail lost in those 68 missing pages and Mr. Hutson’s novel also takes great liberties with some of the facts presented in the movie.  Some of the more notable factual errors in Huston’s novel include:

The Terminator acquires, from the gun shop, a “Heckler and Koch MP-44 assault rifle” instead of the Armalite AR-180 as featured in the film and the Frakes / Wisher novel.  The Terminator also acquires a twelve gauge pump action Remington 870 shotgun instead of the twelve gauge dual action autoloading Franchi SPAS-12 described in Frakes / Wisher novel (and seen in the actual movie).  In fact, the Remington 870 pump shotgun is mentioned in the Frakes / Wisher novel, but this is the weapon which Reese removes from the police car, saws the stock off and later uses it to defend Sarah against the Terminator in the “Tech-Noir” bar scenes.  It should be noted that if the Terminator did in fact acquire an HK “MP-44” then it would have been using a weapon that, even if it was in pristine condition, would at the time of the movie (1984) have been 39 years old.  The MP44 is a late model German machine carbine of World War II vintage, circa 1944 to 1945.  Finding one for sale would have been quite hard as most are in the hands of collectors and an MP-44 wouldn’t have made a very good main weapon even if you could find ammunition for it.  The fact that the Terminator chose the SPAS-12 autoloader and why it chose the weapon is another idea that was missed.  With an automatic shotgun in one hand and a fully automatic assault rifle in the other, the Terminator could have fired both weapons at the same time, bringing a massive amount of firepower to all levels of range from short to far depending on target and distance.  By using a pump only shotgun like the Remington, the Terminator would have had to manually rack the slide after each shot, not something easy to do with both hands holding weapons and during a firefight.

It is interesting to note that in both the Frakes / Wisher novel and the Huston novel that the Terminator asks the gunshop owner for a “phased plasma pulse laser in 40 watt range,” yes, it asks for the exact same weapon, specifically.

In the first future battle scene / flashback, Reese carries an AK-47 (why?) while his female companion (who is named “Ferro” in the Frakes / Wisher novel but who is unmentioned by name in the Huston novel) carries an AK-47 as well.  Reese uses a limpet mine against the tracked HK while his female companion attacks it with three sticks of dynamite lashed together by wire.  Dynamite.  Reese slams the limpet mine home against the treads of the HK and takes off running.  His companion has to light the fuse on the dynamite and in doing so, gets killed by the HK’s guns.  Reese then hops into a Chevy Camaro with a .50 heavy machinegun mounted on the back and races through the ruins against an aerial HK which pursues them and destroys the car.  Reese is pulled from the wreckage by a young boy.

Huston refers to the supercomputer that leveled the world as being called “Titan” rather than “SKYNET.”  This from Reese’s conversation with Sarah in the parking garage after the Tech-Noir bar sequence.  Later, in the time when Sarah and Reese are in the cheap motel, she refers to “SKYNET” as “Titan” again though she does mention “Skynet” as being part of “Titan” yet it comes off as if “Titan” either controls “Skynet” or “Skynet” is simply part of “Titan.”  They seem to be two different objects and it is “Titan”, not “Skynet” which leveled the world.

When the Terminator attacks the police station, it uses the MP-44 and the Remington 870.  The pump action only Remington amazingly seems to have magically reverted to an automatic shotgun as the Terminator fires it over and over again without ever pumping a fresh round into the chamber.

The second future battle / flashback scene is also keyed down.  Reese and his patrol consist of four people total, three men (including Reese) and a girl, all in their 20’s.  One man has a double bandoleer of 9mm ammo for a sniper rifle he carries (a 9mm round doesn’t make a very good sniper round and I personally know of no 9mm sniper rifles), the other man and woman carry Ingram submachineguns (which are probably either 9mm or .45 caliber ACP and won’t do any good against an HK or Endo).  Reese is said to be carrying an “energy rifle, a powerful weapon capable of holing an H-K from close range.”  No other info is given on this weapon.

Later in the sequence, when the Terminator attacks, it pulls out what is described as a “plasma pistol” and starts eliminating the humans in the underground complex.  What is confusing is the fact that the story mentions several laser beams striking various support columns and bringing the roof of the place down, though no actual laser weapons are ever mentioned.  Where the laser beams came from and what generated them is anybody’s guess…

What is interesting is that the Huston novel differs in one very important aspect from the Frakes / Wisher novel in that it hints at something we won’t see in print or on screen until the T2: Judgment Day novel / movie over half a decade later.  In Chapter 24, it is Sarah who tries to convince Kyle Reese to go with her to blow up Cyberdyne Systems.  She pretty much orders him to carry her to Cyberdyne so they can blow up the company in order to change the course of future events, to prevent “Titan” from being produced and to prevent the War from happening.  That’s an interesting point since the Frakes / Wisher novel doesn’t even mention this line of action or reasoning nor is it found in the original movie at all.  Indeed, the idea of blowing up Cyberdyne itself is an important plot device that does eventually become a major part of the T2 movie and story.  Sarah Connor does try to blow up Cyberdyne but she is caught and put into the mental hospital.  We know this from the T2:JD movie.  The fact that she tried to blow up Cyberdyne sometime between the end of the first movie and the beginning of the second is also fact.  Did the 1991 T2 movie take an important plot hint from the off-key 1984 Huston novel?  We may never know.  One other interesting point is this; in the Frakes / Wisher novel, it is the destruction of the T800 endoskeleton (and its subsequent discovery by two disgruntled employees at the factory) which leads to the creation of the Cyberdyne corporation.  In the Frakes and Wisher novel, Cyberdyne does not exist (but will come into existence based on the two disgruntled employees reverse engineering the CPU and materials taken from the smashed T800.  In the Huston novel, Cyberdyne is already in existence and apparently is working on "Titan" which will become SKYNET.  Interesting.

Huston’s novel also differs from the Frakes / Wisher novel in that in the end, Sarah rides off in a Landrover instead of a Jeep and she wears her .357 magnum revolver in a shoulder holster.  In the Frakes / Wisher novel, she has the .357 in her lap, ready to use it should trouble arise.

Overall, if you have a choice between the two novels, get the Frakes / Wisher novel as it not only follows the movie exactly but also gives you insight into some of the minor characters and a great view into the depths of the technology and struggle.  The Huston novel is pretty light, gets several things wrong, advocates ideas that weren’t present in the film and glosses over a great amount of detail. 

Perhaps it should say "Loosely based on a screenplay by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd."  The Huston novel was not marketed in the US.  It is a Star Book, published in 1984 by the Paperback Division of W. H. Allen and Co. PLC, of 44 Hill Street, London, W1X 8LB.  The book itself was printed and bound in Australia by The Dominion Press- Hedges and Bell, Victoria.  Original asking price was UK pound 1.95, $4.95 Australian, $4.95 Canadian or $6.95 NZ.  The ISBN is 0-352-31645-4.  A price sticker on the back fails to list a price but does have the curious numbers of 10 84 1 which is either October 1, 1984 or January 10, 1984 or it could be something entirely different.  The names of “Angus and Robertson” are printed in red on the price tag.  There is another number at the bottom, a “9” followed by the “$” dollar symbol and nothing else.   I acquired the novel by chance off of Ebay while looking for a replacement for my much worn Frakes and Wisher novel.  Before that, I never knew this book existed.  The previous owner had bought this novel at a used book store and was gracious enough to ship it to me here in the US.

Shaun Hutson does have a website (you can find it on Google by typing in his name) and he seems to be a well established author if a wee-bit of a braggart.  This particular novel is listed on his site as one of his accomplishments (though I wouldn’t go as far as to call it that myself).

 

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Q:  Are you sure all of this is actually YOUR work?  I mean ... come on, guy!  I've seen a lot of this material before on a lot of other websites...

A:  Yes.  Everything on this website is my work and 100% original.  Unfortunately, my work has been so well received by the fans that it is often copied, wholesale, and taken elsewhere as fast as some visitor can hit CTRL-A, CTRL-C and CTRL-V (what I have come to refer to as a "six key hijack").  What you have seen on other websites is simply my original work cut and pasted (often without permission), sometimes modified (often without permission) and then passed off as the original creation of someone else who has no imagination yet tries to take credit for producing my work.  A few months ago, I even found some of my original artwork (copied from this site right down to the image file name being unchanged), posted on another site, with text inserted into the artwork changing it into something it was not.  If you see something here that you saw posted before somewhere else, then you've found your way home to where it all began and to where it rightfully belongs.

Recently, I was amused when someone contacted me wanting to know how to get in touch with the author / designer of another now long defunct Terminator site.  The fact that this site came to life years after my site and has since vanished years ago simply eluded the person emailing me.  In respect to that site, it was a nice site, but much of the guts were just regurgitated technical information gathered from this site, again mostly by cut and paste and with, I admit, some slight permission given to the author (of whom I had a few good conversations long, long ago via email).  The people who contacted me wrongfully assumed that all of the work on that other site was original and that I had either borrowed heavily from it for my site or had been under the tutorage of the other site owner and they wanted to know how to get more of the work in question.  When I explained it was the opposite way around, that I knew of the site and that most of the information there was taken from my site, they were dumbfounded and apologized for the mistake in ownership.  As for how to get more of the kind of work they were looking for, I simply told them to bookmark my site and I would try to be more timely in my updates.

I've seen whole Terminator based sites built upon fast cut and paste jobs taken from info displayed on my site.  It bothers me somewhat that people are, again, not being original enough to come up with their own stuff but rather that they have to resort, once more, to copying other people's work.  That's the whole problem with the Terminator mythos, it's built upon copies of copies of copies of other people's work.  There's not much originality out there, don't compound the problem by diluting my site and spreading it thin, please. 

There is an old saying: "imitation is the greatest form of flattery."  I firmly believe that bit of horse sense but I never thought the saying included outright plagiarism!

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Q:  Did you know that (insert some Terminator website name) has ripped off most of your stuff including your designs, your ideas and even some of your original artwork?

A:    So I've been told and so I've seen with my own eyes.  Pity.  I guess that plagiarism really is the greatest form of flattery.  It's so easy on the Internet to commit what I laughingly refer to as the "Three Finger Hijack" ... i.e. CTRL-ALT-A (select all), CTRL-ALT-C (copy) and CTRL-ALT-V (paste).
 

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Q:    I see a bunch of skulls on the ground in the movies.  Where did all of the other bones from the bodies go?

A:    Good question.  I've always wondered where all the other bones went.  We see plenty of skulls but where are the ribs, the leg, hand, and arm bones?  Where are all of the vertebrae or the spines?  You would think that if "somehow" all of the skulls survived that the rest of the bones would have too.  I imagine the battlefield is littered with many, many sets of bones, blown this way and that by the force of combat.  When the nukes went off, most people were vaporized so a large portion of those bodies simply ceased to exist.  For every skull you see, there should be a complete set of bones nearby.  The bones have to be somewhere.  Bone is bone, it's not like everything but the skull turned to dust ... leaving just a million skulls behind but that's what it seems like in the movies.  Of course, it could also be that skulls are a lot easier to mass produce than full skeletons so the creators of the movie just dumped a ton of skulls out there to look impressive and never figured that anyone would ask where the rest of the skeleton bones were.


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Q:  What is the red "CSM-101" text that displayed in the black sunglasses of the Terminator on the original movie poster and what does it stand for?

A:    CSM-101 stands for CYBERDYNE SYSTEMS MODEL- 101.  it is the designation of the model of Terminator as depicted in the original film.

 

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Q:  Was there another movie, back in the 1960's, which dealt with a military supercomputer going rampant and trying to take over the world?

A:  Yes.  That movie was the 1969 classic Colossus: The Forbin Project.  It was a science-fiction film depicting a near-future world in which the nuclear defense of the United States had been entrusted to the cold, unemotional judgment of a powerful, impregnable computer which turned out to know more about human nature than its creators.  It is an interesting movie to watch though the technology displayed within the movie is laughably outdated.   Still, this movie shows how a super computer like SKYNET might have become the master of mankind in a much less overt way.  Here is a link to a review of the movie and another site which has pictures and other information.

 

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The Gun Shop

Pictured from front to back ... what appears to be a full frame nickel plated .38 special, the Uzi 9mm SMG with folding stock, the Armalite AR-180 and the Terminator is holding the SPAS-12 shotgun.  Not pictured (but near the shotgun ammo on the counter) is the .45 long slide with laser sight.  I personally remember that this particular scene caused an uproar among pawn shop and gun shop owners when the movie first appeared in theaters.  Professionals were crying out how dumb it was to have live ammunition on the counter where the customer might could do the very thing that the Terminator does in the movie.  The uproar settled down after it was pointed out that most people who had shops that sold guns weren't as stupid as the character in the movie and that most ammunition wasn't in easy reach of a customer.  Still, it was a funny little spirited debate that appeared in several iconic magazines at the time as well as caused many gun shop owners to rethink how they displayed their merchandise.
 

Q:    What weapons did the T800 acquire and use in the 1984 film "The Terminator" ?

A:    In the movie, the T800 acquired the following weapons from Garrett's Gun Shop;

According to the novel, the Terminator also acquires a Desert Eagle .357 magnum semi-automatic handgun with ten round magazine and a Colt "Commando" AR-15 (CAR-15) 5.56mm carbine with the collapsible buttstock (why it needed the CAR-15 and the AR-180, both 5.56mm assault rifles that used the same magazine, is open for debate ...), along with the other weapons listed above (though the Terminator never really uses these additional weapons in the novel).  The Desert Eagle .357 automatic magnum is only used once, in the novel, in the humorous scene with the janitor and the Terminator at the Panama Hotel.  According to the novel, when the janitor knocks on the door to the Terminator's room, the Terminator goes into full combat mode, grabs up the DE .357 automatic magnum and points it at the door, choosing its responses to the janitor's inquiry of "Hey, buddy?  You got a dead cat in there?"  In the movie, the Terminator never lifted a weapon in conjunction to his response to the janitor.  After that, the DE .357 is never heard from again in the novel.

According to the novel, somewhere along the way, the T800 also acquires what is referred to at first as a "nickel plated .38 caliber pistol."  The movie shows this weapon being acquired from Garrett's Gun Shop (pictured above) while the novel does not mention it yet the .38 appears in the next chapter along with all of the other weapons.  The novel does not elaborate on the origin of this pistol but we can make a reasonably good assumption of where it came from, especially given the evidence presented in the movie.  The T800 carries the "nickel plated .38 caliber pistol" along with the 9mm Uzi and the .45 Colt to Tech Noir though in the movie and in the book again only the Uzi SMG and the Colt .45 pistol are used by the T800 at that encounter.  The "nickel plated .38 caliber pistol" is again used by the T800 in the final chase of the story, when the AR-180 runs out of ammunition, the T800 discards the rifle (on the bike), draws out the "nickel plated .38 caliber revolver" and starts firing at Reese and Connor.  This is the last weapon that the T800 has at its disposal in the story, the least powerful and least effective so it's little wonder that it resorts to it as a last desperate attempt to complete its mission.

The .38 caliber nickel plated revolver, the last weapon, the last six bullets,
at the T800's disposal before it has to get all Cro-Mag and roll knuckles

The fate of this weapon is unknown but it is presumed lost when the Chevy pickup that Sarah and Kyle are driving slams into the Kawasaki 900cc motorcycle that the T800 is riding.  When the T800 recovers and takes control of the semi-tanker truck, it no longer has the .38 caliber revolver in its inventory.

Reese's weapons

Reese, on the other hand, acquired a six shot, Smith and Wesson .38 caliber Police Special service revolver (chambered for .38 caliber Super) from LAPD Sgt. Michael Nydefer but discarded it somewhere along the way while being pursued by the LAPD officers.  Reese later snuck back out of the store up to a patrol cruiser and stole a brand new Remington Model 870 twelve gauge pump shotgun (later sawing off the stock for concealment).  Why the LAPD left one of their cars unlocked is also a topic for debate (much as the gun store owner who handed a stranger a shotgun while having shotgun ammo out on the counter is also a topic for debate).  The Remington Model 870 twelve gauge pump is the weapon which he used to engage the T800 in the Tech Noir bar.  This weapon is assumed to be confiscated from him by the LAPD after the car chase with the T800 ends in both vehicles being disabled and surrounded by LA's finest. 

Reese later acquires another police revolver, this one appears to be a common issue Smith and Wesson .38 caliber snub-nose, when he beats a detective unconscious in the detective's office and takes the handcuff keys and sidearm from the unconscious man while the T800 is attacking the police station.  This weapon is simply referred to in the rest of the novel as a "police revolver."  Somewhere between the motel room, the theft of the Chevy and the explosion of the gas tanker truck, this weapon mysteriously drops out of the story (according to events in the novel).  The last we hear of this weapon is when Kyle drops it on the bed in the motel room and Sarah stares at it as she calls her mother (not knowing that the T800 has terminated her mother, is intercepting her call and impersonating Sarah's mother's voice).  Neither Kyle nor Sarah use the stolen handgun again in the story.  Whether they left it behind by accident in their flight from the T800's attack on the motel or whether it just wouldn't have done any good against the T800 and thus was not brought into use (and subsequently left in the wreckage of the Chevy) is again, another topic left open to speculation. 

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Q:    What does the "SPAS" stand for in the "SPAS-12" shotgun?

A:    SPAS -12 stands for "Special Purpose Automatic Shotgun" or "Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun" depending on who you are selling it to.  The number 12 is indicative of the gauge or size of the weapon, in this case, twelve gauge magnum.  The weapon was popular with action novel writers, action movie heroes and a host of other "tough guy" types during the 1980's due to its futuristic / tough looks.  The SPAS-12 made many cameo appearances in movies throughout that era, in action TV shows (many times in Miami Vice) and other pop media.  If the 1980's could be said to have a specific shotgun choice to associate with that particular decade, it would be hands down the SPAS-12.

 

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Q:    Do all Terminators wear sunglasses?

A:    No, probably not.  In NOW comics, every single Terminator always wore sunglasses (I guess they were too stupid to read anything else into the movies, NOW Comics thoroughly butchered the TERMINATOR license with their series of lame-ass comic books in 1986 and later....).  Look at it this way...   On the future battlefield, if you saw someone walking along at night wearing sunglasses, you would probably be curious as to what they were doing...  IF sunglasses exist in the future after the nuclear war, and if you can find a pair that are not broken (or melted).  A Terminator wouldn't need to wear sunglasses, much to everyone else's amateur perceptions.  The Terminator that busted into the underground bunker during the Sarah / Reese future dream sequence in the first movie wasn't wearing sunglasses, yet it was a flesh covered Terminator.  The T1000 only wears sunglasses when it imitates someone who was wearing sunglasses (they are part of the mimic and the disguise).  When it reverts to another form (the fat mental hospital guard, the police officer, Sarah Connor, etc.) the sunglasses are not present. 

Do all Terminators wear sunglasses? 

No.

You would think that optics as advanced as what the Terminators are equipped with would have some form of glare protection built-in and be self polarizing.  The only time that the T800 wore sunglasses ("Gargoyles") in the first movie was when it had suffered physical damage to its eye that could not be repaired.  In the motel room, the T800 removes the dead tissue from its eye socket, cleans out the wound and stares at the mechanical lens beneath.  Knowing that this lens and this gaping wound will never pass for "normal" in public or around humans, the T800 dons a pair of large sunglasses which neatly hide the wound and the rather obvious machine parts under the skin.  This was why the T800 wore sunglasses, it was trying to maintain a human-like disguise in order to accomplish its mission more efficiently.  There was never any fashion logic to the choice.  Here is an excerpt from the Frakes and Wisher novel describing the particular scene with the sunglasses.

"Standing above the fouled sink, (the) Terminator examined the lacerated eye.  The lens was fine.  Vision impairment was due to the shredded flesh around it.  Clearing it would not take long.

The X-Acto blade sunk into the gory socket and in a few smooth cuts scooped out the ruined sclera and cornea.  With a faint plop, it fell into the sink basin and slowly drifted through the water to the bottom, leaving an expanding pink trail.

(the) Terminator dabbed at the socket, soaking up the excess blood.  Now the chrome-like alloy sphere was clearly visible, suspended within the metal socket by tiny servos, its high resolution video tube glowing behind the concussion-proof lens.  They were functioning acceptably.  However, there was no way to easily explain away its radical appearance.  But anyway, (the) Terminator was not much of a talker.

It fished a pair of sunglasses from the small horde of clothes and equipment it had gathered and put them on.  Its eye was barely visible beneath the dark shades, which were the a wrap-around design that even hid the damage from the side."

-Frakes and Wisher, "The Terminator"

If I care to remember, every single Terminator in NOW comic's adaptation of the continuing story all wore sunglasses.  The point is, the sunglasses were not fashion or required for the Terminator to operate, they were simply part of the camouflage required to complete the mission in the most efficient manner possible ... after all, walking around in public in 1984 Los Angeles with part of your face and skull exposed as that of a hyperalloy combat chassis (and with an obviously red glowing robotic eye) would have quickly lead to an unacceptable social-attention index for the T800 unit (and subsequently vastly compromised both its mission and range of operational options).

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Q:    Do Terminators kill people for their skin so they can wear it?

A:    Bwahahahahaha!  No.  This had to be the most asinine concept to ever come out of NOW Comics "Terminator" books.  The fact that Terminators killed people and skinned them so that they could dress up in human skin.  What a concept!  The answer is a most resounding NO!   I remember taking the particular issue (the issue where Kyle Reese's little brother was bumping off a bunch of Terminators while shouting at them "You won't get our skin!") and shouting out "WTF?!" before throwing the comic book as far and as hard across the room as I could.

What a frigging ridiculous concept!  Robots that want to skin humans and wear their skin... why?  Are the robots cold?  Human skin is pliant and resilient, to a large degree, but only when it is still part of a living organism.  Taking the skin off of a five foot eight man who weighed 120 pounds and trying to stretch that skin over the frame of a six foot four combat machine that weighs several hundred pounds is just going to end in tattered strips of skin.

There was one scene in one of the NOW comic books where a Terminator is damaged, he has the skin of one of his hands torn off or burned off or something and he reaches down, skins the hand of a guy he just killed then puts the skin on his own metal hand like it was a glove.  Why?  It's not going to heal, it's not going to magically attach itself to the other skin and grow back.  Logic and common sense were two things that NOW Comics were in very short supply of when it came to the Terminator series.

The whole idea of Terminators killing humans so the Machines can wear their skin and then infiltrate into the human Resistance was ludicrous. 

Oh, the NOW Comics "Terminator" series even had a Terminator 'town' with a little Terminator bakery, a Endoskeleton in a baker's outfit with a little baker's hat, a 'Nator nun, and a nice Terminator endoskeleton policeman in a cop's uniform with a little billy club and a traffic whistle directing traffic and ... you see why I stopped purchasing the comic shortly after that.  It was evident that the comic was being written by people with the story telling capacity and the sum total imagination you would expect from a broken PEZ dispenser.  Hell, Richard Scarry could draw a better Terminator comic than NOW Comics ever did...

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Q:    What ever happened to NOW Comics?

A:    NOW Comics did one redeeming feature for the Terminator universe and that was TERMINATOR: BURNING EARTH, a five part mini-series where the art (if not the story) was simply outstanding.  Still, the Terminators all wore sunglasses and pranced around in high fashion gear (like that wouldn't be a dead give away to the dirty, rag covered scavs and other fashion-less survivors after a global nuclear war...).  After T:BE,  I think NOW Comics fell into the massive sucking void of their own mediocrity and were extinguished from all that is good and natural without even a whimper to mark their untimely demise. 

Honestly? 

I don't know. 

I'm just glad they aren't destroying the license and franchise that is the Terminator mythos anymore.  They took it for a hell of a ride for a few years and did a lot of damage born out of just plain ignorance and silliness.  If you know what really happened to NOW Comics, please keep it to yourself.  I don't want to know nor do I care.  What a bunch of brain numb losers...

On the bright side (if you can call it that), NOW comics did produce TERMINATOR: BURNING EARTH which featured the art of Alex Ross.  It is worth finding and collecting (being a 5 issue mini-series) just for the artwork.  If NOW comics could have presented (let alone maintained) the kind of story and artwork found in T:BE from the very start, then I would have been impressed.  As it is, the first series of NOW Terminator comics are so badly drawn and colored that they make the worst Charlton Comics look good in comparison.  In conclusion, ignore every Terminator book available from NOW comics unless it is the 5 part TERMINATOR: BURNING EARTH series featuring the artwork of Alex Ross.  You can probably find those five issues either on Ebay or comic stores on the Internet.  Good luck!

Damn.  James Cameron and Carrolco must have been really desperate for money to ever sign off on the crap that NOW Comics was dishing out...  Dark Horse Comics did a much better story line (and art), but even their stories followed the same tired old "send a Terminator or bunch of Terminators back in time and fight it out in modern day America" ... 

I find it sad that there are really no good Terminator tales out there, let alone anyone that has taken the future battles that make up the untold stories of the War and expanded upon it.  Most future vision sequences, if we're lucky enough to see them at all, simply lay the groundwork for another group of Terminators or Resistance fighters to come crashing back through time to duke it out here in the present.  The stuff that we've seen so far from various artists and authors has been rather cookie cutter plain, IMHO.


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Q:    Do all "infiltrator" Terminators look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?

A:    No!  No!  No!   Not in the 'real' future world of SKYNET, but in the make-believe world of Hollywood the answer is "Yes!  As long as people will come to see a Terminator movie and Arnold will draw in lots of money, then YES!!!!  All Terminators look like Arnold Schwarzenegger."  Apparently, star power is going to overcome common sense in Hollywood (which happens 90% of the time).  Truthfully, SKYNET would have made many, many variations of organic skin covered infiltrator terminators, not just one particular model.

If SKYNET could produce a machine as advanced as a living skin covered endoskeleton, it could certainly change the variance or appearances of the units.  Eye and hair color would be simple to change, as would hair length, muscle tone, and skin color.  There would have been male and female, big, small, fat, skinny, short, tall, long hair, short hair, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, blue eye, brown eye, green eye, blonde hair, black hair, red hair, etc. 

SKYNET had plenty of prisoners (unwilling as they may have been) to experiment on, dissect, and study in creating its newest model of infiltrators.  Having every single organic skin covered Terminator look the same or be based upon the same likeness would be a tactically stupid idea.  Once the Resistance figured out what was happening, all they had to do was post pictures of the likeness of the Terminator and every time a human saw someone who looked like, say for instance, Arnold on the battlefield, they would blast them without asking any questions first.  If the humans caught on to the trick that SKYNET was using one single model over and over again as an infiltrator, and a composite sketch of what that model looked like, let alone a picture or two (digital, shared by Connor's network) got out, the trick would be useless in quick order, now wouldn't it?   The Resistance would be looking for that model with those physical characteristics all the time.  Infiltrators were different, highly specialized units, and in the words of Kyle Reese, "Very hard to detect...."

This theory was proven out in Randall Frakes' novel, "T2:JD":

"... For the first time since he was a boy, John no longer had the answers.  With growing apprehension, he handed the rifle to Winn, took the probe, and abruptly walked across the room to a heavy steel door covered with a thin sheet of melting ice.  John punched out the code and waited. . . .

Ice shattered like glass as the door broke its seal and opened inward.  He started to enter when Fuentes stepped in his way, rifle at the ready, and moved inside ahead of him, scanning the room for potential attack.  His breath formed in front of him.  They were in a cold storage room.  Fuentes gasped as his beam fell on a row of naked bodies, hanging on steel racks suspended from the ceiling.

John panned his light around.   There were hundreds of men and women, in rows of ten.  Within each row, the bodies were absolutely identical.

"Terminators," Fuentes whispered, his hand on his rifle butt, uneasy.

John quickly walked along the synthetic bodies to the end of a row and hesitated.  He scanned the faces.  No, not here.  Then he gazed down the other row.  All the same.  Strange to him.  Then... he turned to another row and stopped.  it was filled with identical, familiar faces.  The broad, brutally handsome features sent a shock of recognition through John." 

-Frakes, "TERMINATOR 2: Judgment Day"

IMAGE: Another model variation of the T800 Terminator, Infiltrator series.  This model is equipped with the camouflage organic skin layer and armed with a General Dynamics RSB-80 plasma gun.  This unit does not in any way resemble the T800 sent back to 1984 nor does it resemble the T800 sent back to 1991, thus proving that SKYNET had multiple variations of body, color and gender.

Kyle Reese said that the newest Infiltrators were "very hard to detect..." which means that they were different models with different physical characteristics and that SKYNET didn't use the same model in the same area repeatedly, it changed out its models for maximum tactical effectiveness.  The Terminator infiltrator that busted into the underground bunker in the last third of the first movie (second, longer future dream sequence after the escape from the LAPD) didn't look at all like Arnold but it was a organic skin covered Terminator / Infiltrator model.  I guarantee you that for T3, they will bring Arnold back again, despite common sense that screams to the contrary (and I was right, eight years before the movie ever premiered, my prediction was correct- CTS). 

I know Arnold had to come back for the second movie, but to me, the second movie would have been more powerful if someone ELSE had played the benevolent protector Terminator.  After all, Robert Patrick portrays a Terminator in the second movie, and he is built nothing like Arnold.  Terminators come in many shapes and sizes, just because it is small, doesn't mean it isn't powerful or dangerous.  The T1000 batted the T800 around like it was a toy in several sequences.  In hand to hand combat, the T1000 always seemed 'stronger' even though Robert Patrick's build is far slighter than Arnold's.

I guess that's what technological innovation is all about, the next model will be smaller, faster, lighter, more powerful and more efficient.  Standardization of design will also make it cheaper to produce in the long run, whether you're talking costs or amount of materials.

Maybe in T4 (if there is a T4) we can allow common sense to overcome star power, just once, in the quest for a logical, better story. 

Meh.

Probably not.

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Q:  What is the chance that John Connor would pick the exact same model and series, as well as the exact same facial variations as SKYNET when he was choosing a Terminator to reprogram to protect him back in the past?

A:  Slim to none.  Actually, with literally hundreds, if not thousands of variations and combinations present in the cold storage vaults near the chronoporting machinery, John Connor would have just as likely picked any Terminator rather than an exact copy of the first Terminator sent back to kill him.  There was nothing special about the Terminator which he picked, other than it was a T800 model and apparently his technicians could not only crack the hardware and software locks of the T800's CPU but could also reprogram it.  In that regard, any of the other T800s could have done the same job just as well.  John Connor's guardian could have (and should have) been any combination of skin, eye, and hair color, it could have been male or female, black or white.  Hollywood and big money win out again in the war for common sense.

The other question you have to ask yourself is "did John ever see a picture of the first Terminator?"  I'm sure that there were police sketches released so maybe he was just recognizing something from memory, a face he never knew before he actually met the Terminator.  In closing, the chance that John would have picked an exact duplicate of the first Terminator would be incredibly small.

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Q:  Did SKYNET create itself by accident when it sent a Terminator back in time?

A:  Or, is SKYNET it's own daddy?  One theory is that if SKYNET had never sent a Terminator back in time, then John Connor would never have sent Kyle Reese back in time to stop the Terminator.  If this didn't happen, then Kyle Reese would never have met and impregnated Sarah Connor, and the debris of the T800 Terminator would never have been discovered.  If the super high technology gathered from the CPU of the Endoskeleton would not have been copied and SKYNET would have never been built.   CYBERDYNE systems was the creator of SKYNET, but CYBERDYNE itself was created by two disgruntled employees at the foundry where the T800 was destroyed by Connor and Reese.   The employees stole the debris, including the micro-chip / CPU from the Terminator and started their own business, which they called "CYBERDYNE."

And the rest is history.  Without the debris from the Terminator, CYBERDYNE would not exist.  In one school of thought, SKYNET created itself when it sent the first Terminator back.  Also, since Kyle Reese was John Connor's father, then if SKYNET had never sent the first Terminator back in time (or played around with time travel), then John Connor might never be born, thus, SKYNET sealed its own fate when it tried to tamper with time.

it's one theory that the whole time loop is self perpetuating with a lot of branches.  An interesting debate that causes logic circles and headaches to be sure.

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Q: Were there ever any "Terminator" songs?

A: There were at least two songs that were inspired by the movie Terminator and T2 and one piece of theme / ambient music inspired by my work on this site.  A heavy metal group known as "PHANTOM" produced an album titled "DEAD OR ALIVE" in 1986, on New Renaissance Records.  The album title song, "Dead or Alive" cast some very familiar images out at the listener.  Here are the lyrics.  You be the judge.

"DEAD OR ALIVE"

by PHANTOM

(circa 1986, approximately two years after Terminator was released)

You can run, there's no hiding
Infrared eyes search for human prey
Icy sweat coldly sliding
Killing machines sent out to terminate
Dead or Alive

Hunted men take no chances
Sane or insane it's a razored line
Death machines' laser lances
Kill without pity as two worlds collide
Dead or Alive

Somebody please tell me I'm dreaming
Hunting machines are not far behind
Can't you hear is it laughter or screaming
or am I slowly losing my mind
Dead or Alive

Hunted men take no chances
Get a grip if I am to survive
Killing machines, this is madness
I don't know if I'm dead or alive
Dead or Alive


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fearfactory.jpg (24478 bytes)

FEAR FACTORY

Fear Factory, a heavy duty industrial thrash band (and a damn, damn good one!) did a song that you could read the Terminator mythos into; HK (Hunter Killer) and the remix entitled T1000 (HK Hunter Killer).  Here are the lyrics.  If they aren't inspired by the Terminator movies, then it just must be pure coincidence.  Fear Factory also uses a lot of 'background' noise on their songs that sound like they came from the Terminator movies, music clips and machine sounds that are all too familiar to any fan of these movies.  I doubt it is just coincidence...

HK (HUNTER KILLER)
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FEAR FACTORY "DEMANUFACTURED" CD
*AKA*
 T1000 (H-K HUNTER KILLER) on the "REMANUFACTURED" CD
The conscious man is dead
And I buried him
Beneath this scarred tissue
Armored skeleton
The machine is now alive
Desensitized with open eyes
Powered by an angry mind
And is refueled by those I despise 
I've become what they detest
A delinquent survivalist
Without fear and no regrets
They fucking say 
I am a criminal
I am a criminal
I am a criminal
I am a criminal 
I must steal
To survive
I must kill
To moralize
Leaving people victimized
Fuels my angst inside 
I'm your judge
And your jury
You don't get
An attorney
With my verdict
Of guilty
An execution in fury 
The machine is now alive
To wreak havoc in your lives
There's no use to hold me back
I am ready to attack 
I've become what they detest
A delinquent survivalist
Without fear and no regrets
They fucking say 
I am a criminal
I am a criminal
I am a criminal
I am a criminal 
 

It was funny, but on the REMANUFACTURE album, where all of the DEMANUFACTURE titles were renamed (with the original titles in parenthesis) and remixed to a more upbeat (sad, truly sad), HK (Hunter Killer) was listed on the album jacket as being titled "T1000 (HK Hunter Killer)."  You be the judge where the inspiration for the song came from.

In case there was any doubt as to where Fear Factory was headed with their songs, it is this band which does the soundtrack to the excellent ATARI console video game "TERMINATOR: DAWN OF FATE."  Their songs are called "FULL METAL CONTACT" followed by "HI-TECH HATE."

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Music inspired by my work on this website

VIRT- "The Machine Planet"

Jake "Virt" Kaufman is a very talented musical artist who contacted me via email in February of 2005 A.D. and told me that my work here on this site had inspired him to write some very Terminator-like music.  I asked him to let me know when he had finished his music as I would very much like to hear it.  In October of 2005 A.D., I received this email from Jake:

"Hey!

I sent you mail many moons ago about having been inspired by your website, and sure enough, it panned out into actual music! The debut release of my net-label Hellven
(www.hellven.org) went better than we could have imagined, and my track is called "The Machine Planet
".  ...  Just wanted to thank you for inspiring the piece, and for all your hard work in satiating us closet SKYNETophiles."   -Jake

Outstanding!  Check it out, ladies and gentlemen.  It's a very good music piece and the Terminator inspired beat and background is unmistakable.  Thank you, Jake, for sharing this with us and thank you for letting my work inspire you.  It is an honor.

Update - Unfortunately, Hellven.org seems to be gone for good but you can find Jake Kaufman's personal website at Big Lion Music and if you look under the "Originals" section, you'll find this piece of music available for download.  Also, in Jake's own words, here is how "Machine Planet" came to be:

"My last contribution to Hellven, my beloved music group. This was actually inspired by a Terminator fan site I found which had all kinds of cool speculative technology and interesting / horrifying machine designs (we’re talking serious nightmare fuel), but the question was posed — after the singularity and whatever robot war wipes us all out, what would the final, pristine techno-earth be like?" - Jake Kaufman, 06/01/2008


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Q:  How long does a Terminator "live?"

A:  We have two conflicting accounts of the 'battery life' of a T800 Endoskeleton, which one is actually correct is up for argument.  In the original novel of "THE TERMINATOR," Randall Frakes tells us that the T800 sent back to 1984 has a life-span of operations as described:

"Where a man's heart would be, shielded in a case-hardened subassembly inside the hyperalloy torso, was the nuclear-energy cell.  It supplied power to run the most sophisticated system of hydraulic actuators and servo-motors ever constructed, enough power to run the lights of a small city for a day.  It was designed to last (the) Terminator considerably longer, especially if intense activity was varied with conservation procedures.

When (the) Terminator dropped off-line into economy mode, compact energy sinks collected and stored the excess.  If the torso was breached and these vital power supplies disturbed,  (the) Terminator could be stopped.  But the torso was triple armored with the densest alloy ever smelted.

(the) Terminator could keep operating at full power for twenty-four hours a day for 1,095 days.  During that time it would certainly have opportunities, like now, for economy mode, where power was cut to 40 percent of nominal function.  The optical system switched to infra-red only.   The motivation units lost 40 percent of hydraulic pressure as the pumps slowed.   Power was shunted into sinks and stored.  With conditions like those so far encountered on this mission,  (the) Terminator could operate indefinitely, plow through all opposition, and complete the target elimination, then stagger program-less through the nuclear devastation caused by SKYNET and walk up to its machine masters to be programmed anew."

-Frakes and Wisher, "The Terminator"

Yet, in the novel of "TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY," Frakes tells us that the T800 sent back to 1991 has an operating life-span much greater than the unit sent back to 1984.  When Sarah, John, and the T800 are in the garage recovering from the fight with the T1000 at the mental hospital, John asks how long the T800 is good for.

"A hundred and twenty years on my existing power-cell, under normal conditions." the T800 replies.

This second note is illogical, since both Terminator units would have been up to date models, and would have been identical in design and specifications, drawn from the same storage area near the TDD.  Indeed, the amount of time between SKYNET sending back the first T800 and then sending the follow-up T1000 was only minutes, presumably to build up power for a second TDD operation.   Connor and his sci-tech crews monitored the energy readings from SKYNET's TDD machinery and noticed that when Reese left, his signature was one that was easily tracked on their instruments.  His departure into the past had been preceded shortly before by two identical energy signatures, meaning that the TDD had been activated twice before Reese had ever stepped into it.  When Connor went looking for a T800 to reprogram, it only took him a few minutes to find the cold storage vault and determine which of the many Terminators stored there had been the one which he had sent back in time to protect himself decades ago.  The point is, not enough time passes in the future between the departure of the first T800 and the departure of the second T800 to result in a quantum upgrade of power-plants, and I doubt that John Connor's crew would have been smart enough or have long enough not only to redesign the power systems of an Endoskeleton, but also to swap out the old T800 power-plant for a micro-sized nuclear power cell of forty times more endurance, let alone seal up the skin and camouflage epidermis so as to pass visual inspection.

My thought is that the power of an Endoskeleton may be nuclear, but it's very limited, as given in Frakes' first vivid description.  When in doubt, it is always best to go with the first description presented in the mythos as being canon in nature, thus Frakes' original description of a three year power cell is not only more logical, but also was the first note on this subject and thus supersedes the latter description.  Perhaps what the T800 means when it says "under normal conditions" means that with routine, scheduled maintenance, it could 'live' for 120 years before its power cell would have to be physically replaced (thus giving 40 refuelings of 3 years between refuelings).  Perhaps with frequent refueling, scheduled maintenance, that the micro-nuclear energy cell could be expected to perform up to standards for twelve decades.  That's quite a well made piece of hardware.

Endoskeletons were combat units with high attrition rates, and putting a 120 year power cell in one isn't a logical thing to do, not if SKYNET is trying to win a war of both material and resource attrition.  Why would SKYNET waste the resources required to build a 120 year nuclear power cell and put it in such a high attrition unit when a three year cell would be much easier to produce and just as efficient (at least for three years)?  The 120 year power cell doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Q:  What is plasma?

A:  "Plasma" is a fourth state of matter distinct from solid or liquid or gas and present in stars and fusion reactors; a gas becomes a plasma when it is heated until the atoms lose all their electrons, leaving a highly electrified collection of nuclei and free electrons.  Plasma is a collection of charged particles (as in the atmospheres of stars or in a metal) containing about equal numbers of positive ions and electrons and exhibiting some properties of a gas but differing from a gas in being a good conductor of electricity.  Plasma is also able to be affected by magnetic fields. 

In the dark future world of Terminator, plasma is a very hot ionized gas, either used for power production in nuclear fusion reactors or as the primary means to inflict damage in plasma based weapon systems.


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Q:  How do plasma weapons work?

A:   For more information on the weapons and equipment of the 21st century, click here.

 

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Q:  What does the Terminator mean when he asks the gun shop owner for a "phased plasma rifle, forty-watt range"?

A:   Good question.  In all likelihood, true to Hollywood style, it is just something that the producers or writers threw in to sound "cool" and "technical" at the time.  In other words, it didn't have to make any sense as long as it sounded good and "futuristic" to the average movie patron.  Forty watts isn't a whole lot of energy, considering that the average household light bulb is sixty watts and that a hundred watt bulb would be over two and a half times more powerful than the claimed operating range of this weapon.  Perhaps he should have asked for a phased plasma rifle in forty-kilowatt or forty-kilojoule range.  That would have made more sense, logically.  A man portable plasma weapon ("rifle") at the bare minimum would have an output that would be measured in kilowatts or megawatts and kilojoules or megajoules of release energy on impact.  In my humble opinion, the term "forty-watt range" is meaningless pseudo-scientific jargon (PSJ) thrown in for the entertainment of the uneducated masses.  

Curiously, the term 'phased' might refer to the fact that this particular type of weapon, as part of its design, may hold its plasma reaction slightly longer until a fusion reaction is about to take place, releasing the ionized gas just before the fuel reaches fusion temperatures thus producing a hotter, more effective bolt.  Or it could also be just more PSJ thrown in.

On a side note, in Frakes' and Wisher's novel, the Terminator asks the gun store owner for a "Phased plasma pulse laser in forty-watt range."  In the Shaun Huston novel, the Terminator asks for the exact same thing.

Go figure.

 

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Q:  Where exactly is SKYNET located?

A:    SKYNET was built at NORAD headquarters, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.  This much is given to us in the TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY novel by Randall Frakes.  Page 13 of the novel states:

"... there were battles against SKYNET's forces all over the world.  But the two most important ones were happening in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, where SKYNET's mainframe was housed.  The other was here, in the Westside, where the real prize was; the site of SKYNET's second largest and most guarded underground complexes."

-Frakes, "TERMINATOR 2"

This second complex is SKYNET's temporal lab and advanced design center, TEMPUS 1, where the time displacement device (TDD) is located.   This complex is located in western Los Angeles and includes not only the massive TDD, but also the accompanying power generators and control equipment as well as the R&D facilities for testing the theories and applications of time travel.

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Q:  Why was SKYNET experimenting with time travel or was it?

A:    SKYNET may or may not have been trying to actually invent time travel.  The military supercomputer may have been trying to invent a form of magnetic shielding (aka "force field") to protect its combat units and chanced upon teleportation by accident ... or it may have been trying to work on the theory of teleportation (and accidentally discovered time travel, or rather time displacement).  SKYNET's technology web was very intricate and very advanced, branching out into everything from medicine and construction techniques to high energy weapons and theoretical physics.  One of the more pressing items that SKYNET was researching was matter manipulation, whether on a molecular level (nanotechnology) or to nearly instantaneously transport that matter from one location to another (teleportation).  SKYNET was decades (perhaps generations, possibly even sometimes centuries) ahead (technology wise) of mankind, from computers to electronics to energy weapons to alloys and materials and it was gaining advantages in this area at an almost geometric rate.  What it discovered in one line of research opened new doors to other research and other lines of technology.

One interesting note is that judging from the various computer and console games produced from this genre, one thing is pretty evident; SKYNET has teleportation and time displacement technology, albeit late in the War, and one technology evidently seems to have stemmed from or to have led to the other.  Which technology actually came first is open for debate.  Perhaps they were discovered simultaneously but it seems more likely that one or the other was more likely the realm of serendipitous fortune.

Teleportation would be an incredibly invaluable tactical (if not outright insurmountable strategic) advantage for SKYNET.  Imagine: the ability to instantly shift critical resources, raw materials, individual units, groups of units, and perhaps even entire armies around the world instantly and at one time would allow SKYNET to exert global projection of force to an extent heretofore never dreamed of by mankind.   The magnitude of control for precise teleportation or time displacement would be incredibly complex, perhaps just a little bit cantankerous if not outright dangerous but the theory was (to SKYNET) solid and the research seemed to prove that it was capable of being produced, or it would be in a few years with some further research.  I'm also sure that short range teleportation would be used a lot first, then refined into longer and longer ranged systems until global ranges were available.  Teleportation has always been a realm of science fiction.  The crew of the USS Enterprise move from ship to ship, from ship to planet and back to ship using a device called a "transporter" which teleports them where they need to go.  The scientist who mixes his DNA with that of a common housefly in the self-titled sci-fi horror classic "The Fly" was working on a teleportation device.  Jeff Goldblume reprises that role in the 1980's remake of the movie.  Teleportation is not a new concept and SKYNET would have been very intrigued if not fanatical about developing it.

Still, the inherent danger of a system crash and a core overload was tremendous ...  

Perhaps this is why SKYNET houses its main processor array in Colorado and has the teleportation / temporal study lab located so far away in California...  If something should go wrong, well, SKYNET felt assured that it would survive a catastrophic failure of its experiment, if not fully intact, at least to a degree where it could repair itself in an acceptable time frame.

 

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Q:  If time displacement requires that only living beings or tissue be sent back in time, then how did SKYNET send the T1000, a completely inorganic object, back through time?

A:    This is a good question and one that may be a 'flub' in the logic of the movies.  You have to realize that when it comes to science fiction, Hollywood isn't very good at using previous movies to set the standards for logic for the following movies in the series.  Kyle Reese gives us some background information on the operation of TDD.  During Dr. Silberman's interrogation of Kyle Reese in 1984, Reese claims that only living organisms can come back through time.

"You go naked . . . something to do with the field generated by a living organism.  Nothing dead will go."

"Why?"

"I didn't build the fucking thing." Reese retorted.  He was starting to lose it.

"Okay, okay.  But this uh" - Silberman glanced down at his notes - "this cyborg . . . If it's metal, how -"

"Surrounded by living tissue."

-Frakes and Wisher, "The Terminator"

Since the T1000 is not surrounded by living tissue, nor does it have any organic or living components anywhere within its design, it can therefore be classified as 'dead' in regard to the conversation listed above.   Logically, what this means is that the T1000 could not travel backwards in time using the TDD as we know how it operates (or at least according to how Reese and possibly the humans understand it to operate).  The two T800s, with their external vat-grown organic camouflage, and Kyle Reese would have been sent through fine since they are considered "living" things, but the T1000, being all inorganic, would not have been able to be sent, at least according to the understanding of the TDD that Kyle Reese has.

If you look at things logically, the T1000 must have been encased in some form of organic 'shipping' container, perhaps SKYNET created an organic sabot which it used to send the T1000 back in time, a sort of "living mailing envelope" with a finite life span, perhaps the envelope was ablative in nature and by the time the T1000 arrived, it had been reduced to nothing more than a fine layer of white ash.  The T1000 would have been placed inside the organic pouch, sealed up, thrown across time, and then would have emerged in 1991 to assume its correct form and begin its mission, the organic sabot having been completely consumed or ablated in transit.

On the other hand, perhaps John Connor and his people didn't know everything about the TDD that they thought that they did.   Perhaps SKYNET had a much greater, much more precise control over the system than the Resistance did and it was only the Resistance who could not send back inorganic material.  Perhaps, since SKYNET created the system and knew it inside and out that SKYNET really could send back 'dead' things (i.e. machines) through time.    Perhaps the humans don't have fine enough control, handling the system without SKYNET's supervision (they had smashed the supercomputer before they sent Reese and the T800 back but only after SKYNET had already sent its two Terminators back) and intricate precision of control. 

Indeed, in the ending sequence of ATARI's TERMINATOR: DAWN OF FATE game, we see a Terminator clothed in a simple black bikini brief (I laughed at that) step into the TDD, kneel, and vanish into time.  When Reese does this later, all of his clothes and gear are left behind on the TDD floor.  So, what happened to the Terminator's bikini briefs?  Perhaps SKYNET could send back both animate and inanimate objects, but that the Resistance, without all the processing power of SKYNET and certainly with only the bare minimum time to learn what was obviously the most complex piece of equipment on the planet, did not have the finesse to handle the TDD like its creator did.  But then again, if SKYNET could send back both organic and inorganic material, why didn't it send back the T800 with a load of weapons and equipment from 2029 A.D.?

Another matter open for debate.

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Q:  Why is the Terminator called a "cyborg" when it has no living parts internally?

A:   The term "cyborg" is often thought of as a robot with a human (or other) brain and / or other natural living organs tucked inside.  While this is the typical image given to us by Hollywood and many sci-fi authors, it is also not entirely true or correct.  A cyborg, or cybernetic organism, is a blend of organic and non-organic parts, the marriage or fusion of human and machine.  The popular 1970's TV action series "The Six Million Dollar Man" was about a cyborg, an ex-astronaut turned government super- agent through having both of his legs, his arm, and one of his eyes replaced with "bionics," thus becoming the "Bionic Man."

The term "cyborg" can be interpreted very liberally.  A person with a pacemaker would be considered in some circles to be a cyborg, the same could be said for someone with a hearing aid, an artificial limb, or a replacement bone or joint made out of contemporary space-age materials.

When the T800 is referred to as a "cyborg," it simply means that the T800 combat endoskeleton (machine) has been wrapped in a living layer of muscle and tissue, an organic camouflage skin coating.  This skin is alive, and can regenerate to a large degree judging by the writing in the novels and the dialog in the movies.   it is this organic layer of material, bonded over the hyperalloy combat chassis which gives the T800 the definition of being a 'cyborg'.  Apparently, the organic layer limits the movement of the Endoskeleton to some degree and once the skin is destroyed or discarded, the Endoskeleton apparently can move in degrees and ranges not normally available to a human being as evidenced by this description from Randall Frakes.

"The machine had shut down temporarily to allow maximum heat shunting.  As the flesh burned away and the superalloy of its chassis began to glow red, it came back online, its internal power growing in rapidly multiplying increments.  it was using the fire to strengthen its energy reserve, waiting for the ruined covering of flesh to be purged so it could continue the mission with more freedom of movement.

And now it rose up, smoking, purified of the outer skin, more clearly revealed for what it was- a chrome skeleton with hydraulic muscles and tendons of flexible cable." 

-Frakes and Wisher, "The Terminator"
 

The T1000, by comparison, is not a "cyborg" even though it is sometimes wrongfully labeled as such.  The T1000 has no organic material present in its design and as such, cannot be classified as a cybernetic organism.  The T1000 is a machine, a robot, but a very, very advanced one at that.  The fact that it has a neural network and may be borderline sentient (or capable of evolving into full sentience) is of important note as well.

The T800 Endoskeleton is a machine.  The T800 Endoskeleton Terminator with Infiltrator option is a cyborg.  The T1000 Terminator is a machine, no matter if it assumes the shape of a human or not, it is still totally a machine.  On the other hand, if the T1000 is so advanced that it can mimic any object, perhaps it can also mimic the "life field" of a living creature thus it can utilize the TDD effectively by "tricking" even the TDD into thinking it is human.

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Q:  Wasn't a "T1000" a type of American economy car?

A:    Yes.  The T1000 was a car produced by Pontiac (General Motors) in the late '70's and it was based upon the Chevy Chevette.  Unlike its movie namesake, it wasn't very powerful or very intimidating and the only thing it could morph into was a pretty good imitation of a pile of junk in a short period of time.  No, I never owned one but I've seen a few in traffic.  If you are lucky, you might still find one in the junkyard and be able to get the emblems off of it for use in displaying some of your scratch-built Terminator models.  If you are even luckier, you'll see one of these econoboxes in traffic, remember the name connotation between the movie and the car and have a good laugh.

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Q:  What was the name of the band that did the catchy New Wave songs in the Tech Noir night club sequence of THE TERMINATOR?

A:  "TRYANGLZ" was the name of the band that appeared on THE TERMINATOR soundtrack (vinyl album form).  I'm not sure but the cassette should have been the same as well.  The two songs were entitled "Burnin' in the third degree" (the song playing as the Terminator zeroes in on Sarah in the bar and the laser sight beam lands on her forehead) and "Photoplay."  Both songs are listed as being performed by Tahnee Cain and Tryanglz, and being produced by Kevin Elson for Cain Street Productions.  I have no information on Tahnee Cain or the band "Tryanglz" past this.  These songs, as well as a third song, "Pictures of you," performed by Jay Ferguson and 16mm, did not appear on THE TERMINATOR SOUNDTRACK, THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION.    Jay Ferguson also did "Thunder Island," a catchy pop love song from the late '70's for those familiar with his work.  I'm sure that you can still find Jay Ferguson's song on one of his albums, if you can find any of his albums but as for finding the two songs from Tahnee Cain and "Tryanglz," well, good luck!

For those interested in the actual Terminator music score soundtracks, here is some information on them:

TERMINATOR SOUNDTRACK and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY SOUNDTRACK-  Both soundtracks (score) are composed by Brad Fiedel.  Both now have limited availability so you're going to have to look for a bit to find them.  I still have an original copy of THE TERMINATOR on vinyl (record) with the TRYANGLZ songs.  The preferred format is the definitive edition CD, which has none of the pop songs, but all of the soundtrack including never before released material that did not appear on the vinyl or cassette edition of the original soundtrack.   The T2 soundtrack is very good as well.  The Terminator soundtrack (CD) can be found on Edel or Edellon records, copyright 1994 by the Edel Company.  It has a stock number of "edel 0029022EDL".

The T2 soundtrack was sold under the Varese Sarabande label, and has a stock number of "VSD-5335".  Find both via special order from music stores or a variety of online auctions.

 

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Q:  Why is the T1,000,000 a really, really, really bad idea?

A:  SKYNET would never produce the T1M because it was scared to death to produce the T1000.  The technology required to produce the T1000 was barely understood by SKYNET and the T1000 was a last chance, a final gamble to be used when SKYNET had nothing left to lose.  SKYNET didn't know if it could control the T1000 or if the T1000 would even continue to obey SKYNET once it was activated.  What was worse was that SKYNET didn't know if it could defend itself against a T1000 which went rampant or out of control.  What if the Resistance somehow found a way to capture and reprogram a T1000?  SKYNET did not like the worst case scenarios it computed when dealing with the idea of a T1000 gone rogue.  The following excerpt from Frake's novel, T2: Judgment Day proves this point rather succinctly.

"To the liquid brain, the world was a simple puzzle box of broken reality, the hard pieces easily fitting back into the river of cosmic order.  Cause and effect was the closest thing to humor in a mind so alien that even SKYNET had difficulty understanding it fully. The T1000 had deduced several possible avenues of continuing the mission in the most efficient manner possible.  It was methodically following one while constantly processing the others for branching opportunities.  It was fully autonomous, and barely under the allegiance of its creator, SKYNET.  SKYNET had hesitated before creating this latest weapon system.   There were unpredictability factors related to the liquid poly-mimetic alloy's longevity and the ability to process commands without interpolating its own priorities over those of its creator.  It was so volatile a construct that only in the last throes of defeat, only when it appeared that the Resistance would finally be able to mount an offensive against the inner command components of SKYNET, even threatening the Cheyenne Mountain complex itself, did SKYNET go ahead and create the T1000.  Einstein once said that God didn't play dice with the universe.  SKYNET had no choice..."   -Frakes, "Terminator 2"

To put it simply, the T1000 was the perfect infiltrator / terminator, the product of a science that was almost sorcery even to SKYNET.  The T1000 might even be so advanced that SKYNET could not defend itself against its own creation should the T1000 go rogue and turn on its creator (much as SKYNET did with its own creators, a powerful lesson even it could not forget).  With the ability to adapt perfectly to any facet of SKYNET's regimented world, the T1000 would be a very difficult adversary to protect against or destroy if the need arose.  Able to use any equipment, morph into any shape (T800 endoskeleton, piece of paneling, etc.) the T1000 would have been able to either walk or flow through any part of SKYNET's facility with ease, even reaching the super computer in a far shorter time and by routes that the Resistance never could make use of (conduits, pipes, maintenance passages, air ducts, etc.).  If there was one weapon on Earth that could single-handedly destroy SKYNET, it was probably the T1000. 

A T1M, a ludicrously larger version of the T1K,  located near the heart of SKYNET's core, would not only be totally illogical, but completely suicidal as well.  SKYNET was smart enough to produce the T1000 in limited numbers, very limited numbers, if it ever produced more than one or two at all.  SKYNET would never have produced a T1M unit, the amount of resources would have been astronomical, even to the super computer and the threat posed versus the security gained would have been far out of balance.  There are easier ways to defend your core than with five tons of feral poly-mimetic alloy (see HELICIS) stomping around and thoroughly wrecking the place while it was trying to take care of your best interests.  Interesting eye candy for the masses but in reality, a T1M would have been tactical suicide on the part of SKYNET.  If the T1K posed such a threat to SKYNET, then something a hundred times larger would be far more than a hundred times more of a threat to its intended reign of the world.  SKYNET was paranoid, it would never create a weapon that it had no defense against itself let alone put that weapon right next to its core systems, especially a weapon that was fully autonomous and might not only become aware, but might also evolve to a higher state of being than SKYNET itself.

SKYNET may have been paranoid.  It may even have been psychopathically insane but it was far from being stupid.


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Q:  What did you think of the T3: Rise of the Machines movie?

A:  Yeearrrgh!  I thought it was bad, in a serious, not-good way.  That movie was pure heresy.  My initial bad feelings about the movie caused me to avoid seeing it in the theater altogether and to instead wait for it to come out on DVD.  $2.00 USD was still overcharging you to see this waste of film.  I thought that Cameron had destroyed all the rejected scripts for TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY but apparently one survived and someone probably bought it on Ebay for a $1.50, then turned around and somehow made a movie out of it.  Having nothing more original to do, a lot of time to do it, and a very real desire for money, the makers of T3 took what they had and ran with it.  They didn't have very much and they obviously didn't ( or couldn't ) run very far with it.  T3:ROTM must have been the rejected script for T2: Judgment Day, as the two movies were almost identical in plot and story, with T2 being the much better example of the two.  Read my rather scathing review here
 

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Q:  What did you think about the television series TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES?

A:  If you handed the Terminator franchise to a network like the Oxygen channel then you'd get something like T:TSCC.  After watching two seasons of this series and after its death in prime time, I've written a little review.

 

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Q:  What did you think of the T4: Salvation movie?

A:  Well, T4 is out and, truth be known, it actually is half the stinker that T3 was.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that T4 is still not what we, the fans, wanted because the writers apparently can't understand that you can beat a plot to death and by the fourth time that you've used the same plot for the same franchise of movie ... well, there's just no life left in it.  Read my review of this film here

 

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