Pop Culture References

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Scott Sigler likes to put references to pop culture into his books. This page attempts to identify the sly inclusion of the references into a storyline. Overt references to pop culture are not included. For example, specifically mentioning ...Ecto-1 or the General Lee, or the Mystery Machine...[1] is not intended to be cleverly hidden in the text. The references listed below might be completely passed over and not recognized if the reader was not familiar with the item of pop culture.


The Rookie

The Starter

Scenario/Text Reference
After Ju Tweedy joins the team, Quentin Barnes invites him to extended practice sessions:[2]
Ju laughed. “Practice? What are we talkin’ about, man... practice? 
Not a game, not a game... we talkin’ about practice? I save it for the games, Q.”
This references a press conference held by NBA star Allen Iverson in which he states much the same thing.

The All-Pro

Tom straightened, hands on hips, eyes scrunched. “My ankle ... killing me. I’m ... trying ... Q.”
“There is no try!” Quentin screamed at the entire team.
This is a reference to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Yoda is counseling Luke.
  • After the sentient dolphins successfully sued for their independence, they were released to the ocean:[4]
Dewey swam back only long enough to utter the famous words, 
“So long and thanks for all the fish,” and then the three weren’t heard from for another two years.
This is a quote from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and is the last words the dolphins say before they leave the doomed planet Earth.
  • Doc Patah chastises Quentin for getting too injured during games[5]
“Young Quentin, it’s like you want to get hurt. Do you like the pain? Because you certainly eat it like candy.”
This is a reference to a scene in Any Which Way You Can, in which Clint Eastwood's character is complimented on his fighting ability.
  • Doc Patah continues to chastise quentin for not sliding:[6]
“You still need to learn how to slide. I’m a doctor, Young Quentin, not a mortician.”
This is a reference to the constant correction by Dr. McCoy on the Star Trek television show.
“The entire galaxy knows that you’re the real deal, blue twisted steel and sex appeal.”
Twisted steel and sex appeal is a phrase often used to describe professional wrestler Sputnik Monroe.
"Akbar, you are starting to make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
This is a nod to a line by David Banner in The Incredible Hulk TV show.
  • After Quentin shoots and destroys a pirate ship:[9]
"I got him!" Quentin said. "I got him!"
"Great, Quentin," Virak said. "Do not grow overconfident."
This is a reference to the scene in Star Wars when Luke shoots a TIE fighter and has pretty much the same conversation with Han.


“No military in, like, the entire galaxy would ever send a ship captain to board another vessel. 
That would be as dumb as, I don’t know, sending a ship captain down to the surface of an unknown planet or something.”
This basically pokes fun of how often Captain Kirk was a part of the away team in the original Star Trek series.
  • The Prawatt play The Game, which is an on-ground version of Quidditch, from the Harry Potter books.
  • Petra describes room 931:[11]
“A room like this, in a university, on another planet far, far away in a time long, long ago, was where our kind came into being.”
The phrasing is reminiscent of the opening screen in Star Wars:
"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
  • When Petra asks Quentin to speak to the Sklorno on her behalf, he asks for some reciprocation. Petra asks if that means she'll owe him a favor:[12]
“That day may never come, but yes. I haven’t agreed to help you, but if I choose to do what you ask, then you will owe me.”
This is very reminiscent of a scene in The Godfather.
  • After Quentin answers, "No, I'm not!" to a Sklorno priestess who asks him is he is their Godling. Don Pine pulls Quentin aside and says:[13]
"When someone asks you if you are a godling, you say YES."
This is a reference to a scene in Ghostbusters.
  • Tom Skivvers, in a live broadcast from the border between the Sklorno Dynasty and the Prawtt Jihad, refers to the amassed sklorno armada as:[14]
"...the rag-tag, fugitive fleet of the Sklorno..."
This is a reference to the closing narrative of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica TV show:
"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest...a shining planet known as Earth."
  • The Incredible Hulk television show reference made previously in The All Pro is made again in The MVP when John's face tattoo reads:[15]
YOU WOULDN’T LIKE MA WHEN SHE GETS ANGRY scrolled across John’s face.
He closed his eyes and held his fingertips to his temples.
This behavior is similar to the mannerisms used by Johnny Carson for his character Carnac the Magnificent.
  • John Tweedy teasingly accuses Quentin of doing drugs:[17]
JUST SAY NO! flashed across his forehead.
In this context, the words bring to mind the anti-drug campaign headed by former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s.
  • During halftime, the Prawatt ask John Tweedy for Halftime Adjustments:[18]
“Halftime adjustments? We don’t need no stinking halftime adjustments.”
This is a reference to the classic western line often spoofed in pop culture.
"I despise these primitive screwheads."
"Primitive screwheads" is a phrase from Army of Darkness, though the actual phrasing is a little different.
Quentin smiled at her. "Aren't you a little small to be a Green?"
This is a reference to the scene in Star Wars when Leia first sees Luke dressed as a stormtrooper.

The Champion

Quentin saw a Creterakian dressed in a black bodysuit with bright images of bouncing cherries moving on it. 
The cherries were being chased by what looked like a yellow pie missing one slice, except the slice opened and closed 
like it was the pie’s mouth.
This is a description of the 1980s arcade game Pac-Man.
  • The bar where Quentin and the others ended their pub crawl around Neptune is called Kessell's Run.[22] This is a reference to the scene in Star Wars when Han is incredulous that Ben and Luke have never heard of the Millennium Falcon.
  • Paul "Bandit" Preston is killed in the attack on Bord.[23]
“Paulisdead Paulisdead Paulisdead,” Denver said, her tone sad for once.
This is a reference to the Paul is Dead hoax about The Beatles' Paul McCartney in 1969.
  • Quentin winds up on the cover of Madden 2686, then by season's end falls victim to the Madden Curse.


Dew stopped and put his hand on his hips. He was too old for this crap.
This is a reference to the Lethal Weapon franchise, in which Sergeant Roger Murtaugh repeatedly expresses similar age-related laments.
“Sir, yes sir!” Climer said. “I want you to get your mind right, sir!”
This is a nod to a scene in Cool Hand Luke.


“Everybody out!” he screamed as he stumbled around to the other side. “Move, move! Get to the chopper!”
This is a reference to the scene in Predator where Arnie calmly advises someone to get aboard the helicopter.


"Kissing dudes is my business and business is good."
This is a nod to Megadeth's 1985 debut album "Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!"

A temporary working page, Nocturnal Egg Mission, has been established to gather and evaluate all of the 30+ hidden easter eggs of 1980s (and other) pop-culture references that Scott included in his 2012 rewrite of Nocturnal. Those approved by Scott will be added to this page later.


The Reporter

Yolanda again looked right — no way out — and then left — no way out there, either. She had only seconds.
“Follow me if you want to live,” she said.
This is a reference to the Terminator franchise. Like Star Wars' I've got a bad feeling about this, the phrase appears in multiple Terminator movies.
  • Turon the Ugly is holding a welder aloft, threatening to burn Yolanda Davenport to get information out of her.[29]
“You don’t need that,” she said. “I’ll tell you everything.”
“I know you will.” He walked out from behind the desk, the flame still hissing from the welder.
He walked closer.
She pulled harder, as hard as she could, but it was no use. The trembling increased. They were going to burn her?
This is a reference to the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark (from 1:57 to 2:12), between Marion Ravenwood and Toht.

The Rider

  • The Incredible Hulk television show reference made previously in The All Pro and The MVP is also made in The Rider[30]
“Stay still now,” Ian said to her. “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Character Names

  • In the GFL era, the first sentient dolphins are named by Dr. Albert Bietz:[4]
He named his three test subjects Huey, Dewey and Louie.
This is a reference to the classic Disney character Donald Duck's three nephews.
  • In The Rider, two of the mounts belonging to the Loppu Ogres are named Pinky and Brain[31]. They are named after two characters from the 1990s children's television show, Animaniacs.
  • In the GFL, the Prawatt are sometimes named with references from pop culture.
Katzenbaum Weasley has the same surname as a major family in the Harry Potter books.
Tommyboy Snuffalupagus has a first name that was the name of a 1995 comedy, and a surname that was a character on Sesame Street (with slightly different spelling).
  • In The All-Pro, the drydock vessel CAS Linus Torvalds is named after the principal developer of the Linux Kernel.
  • In the GFL novels, the bodyguards of gangster Stedmar Osborne are named Frankie, Sammy, and Dean. These are the names of three of the members (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin) of the notorious Rat Pack from the 1960s.
  • Two members of the Hunterson Family are named Bo and Luke, after the brothers from the 1970s television show Dukes of Hazzard


(hardcover, unless otherwise noted; ebook page numbers are approximate)

  1. War Journal Volume One, p. 12
  2. The Starter, p. 377
  3. The All-Pro, p. 129
  4. 4.0 4.1 The All-Pro, p. 295
  5. The All-Pro, p. 300
  6. The All-Pro, p. 301
  7. The All-Pro, p. 376
  8. The All-Pro, p. 384
  9. The All-Pro, p. 543
  10. The MVP, p. 13
  11. The MVP, p. 85
  12. The MVP, p. 90
  13. The MVP, p. 105
  14. The MVP, p. 108
  15. The MVP, p. 134
  16. The MVP, p. 139
  17. The MVP, p. 303|
  18. The MVP, p. 314
  19. The MVP, p. 330
  20. The MVP, p. 346
  21. The Champion, p. 313
  22. The Champion, p. 365
  23. The Champion, p. 398
  24. Contagious, p. 261
  25. Contagious, p. 277
  26. Pandemic, p. 572
  27. Nocturnal, p. ?
  28. The Reporter, iBooks p.231
  29. The Reporter, iBooks p.116-117
  30. The Rider, p. 137
  31. The Rider, iBooks p. 155