The good people at the Ford Motor Company are doing their part to ensure that no matter what the calendar says, it will always be 1984 in the US of A.

The new 2011 Taurus SHO comes with one of two engines: the standard 3.5-liter V6, which they advertise at 18 mph city/28 mpg highway, and the 3.5-liter “EcoBoost” V6, which they advertise at 17 mph city/25 mpg highway. That’s right: designating an engine as “EcoBoost” reduces fuel economy by 11%.

I see an entire new world of science fiction possibilities opening up, one in which new technologies become increasingly heavier, clunkier, and less efficient. For years we’ve all been wondering when we’ll get the jetpacks envisioned by SF writers of decades past. Now we know the answer: with the geniuses behind “EcoBoost” technology leading the charge, we’re lucky to have motorized vehicles at all. Perhaps next year’s Taurus will actually be a mechanical bull.

As soon as the credits rolled in Episode II, allegedly of the Star Wars film franchise, I said Episode III would have to be the greatest sci-fi story of all time. Somehow III’s script would have to explain how the sleek, super-high-tech world of episodes I and II would degrade into the blocky, dirty tech level of episode IV. Natalie Portman flies around in a shiny, dagger-sharp spin-off of a SR-71 Blackbird. Carrie Fisher flies around in a boxy hunk of junk. Even the handgun technology needs to retrograde a few hundred years. The guns in the new pretenders are all trim, streamlined, Star Trekky things, whereas the guns in the real trilogy are all big and cumbersome. (Hell, Han Solo’s is actually a modified German WWII pistol.)

At last we have an answer: the Galactic Empire put all its starship and small arms engineers through internships at Ford Motor Company. I can see the ads now: “Are your droids capable of laying down blazing fields of fully automatic laser fire while protected by their own self-generated force fields? Don’t worry! The Wizards of EcoBoost can have them tottering around like humans in bulky costumes in no time. Before you know it, they’ll be incapable of overcoming so much as a flight of stairs, and any backwater bumpkin with a crowbar will be able to dismantle them in no time.”

Thank you, EcoBoost Wizards, for filling in this gaping plot hole between the real Star Wars films and the new pretenders. Your next assignment: explain to me how I’m supposed to believe Darth Vader can possibly have come out of Little Orphan Ani.

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