Tag: science fiction
By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter — one book. This was the book of the Machine. – E. M. Forster
Welcome, my son.
Welcome to the machine.
— Pink Floyd
Writers of fiction are obviously not bound to set their work in their own times. (more…)
Equilibrium is a 2002 science fiction film that was poorly received and underviewed, largely seen as an also-ran to 1999’s The Matrix, which set the tone and style of cyberpunk thrillers to follow. Equilibrium is unjustly forgotten, a sleeper non-hit that deserves revisiting; a thoughtful and condensed statement on huge volumes of preceding dystopian literature and cinema.
Equilibrium plays to the strength of film as a medium in its ability to succinctly put salient points into character narratives that otherwise require full-length novels and academic treatises. (more…)
The Bene Gesserit Books:
Frank Herbert’s Heretics of Dune & Chapterhouse: Dune
Frank Herbert’s six Dune novels fall into three pairs. Dune (1965) and Dune Messiah (1969) chart the rise and fall of Paul “Muad’Dib” Atreides, a man who becomes a superman and the God Emperor of the known universe. Children of Dune (1976) and God Emperor of Dune (1981) narrate the rise and fall of Paul’s son, Leto II, a superman who transforms himself into a monster and rules for 3,500 years. Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1985) are set 1,500 years after God Emperor and focus on the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood’s struggle with their evil twin, a sisterhood that calls itself the Honored Matres. (more…)
John Locke’s Blank Slate & the Unique Development of Children’s Literature in the West
There is an elective affinity — a relationship of reciprocal attraction and mutual reinforcement — between a) John Locke’s argument that a child’s mind initially resembles an “empty cabinet” or a “white paper void of all characters” which can be shaped by controlling the education impressed upon the child’s mind, and b) the origins of a literature specifically written for children in the 1700s in England. (more…)
“I Write About Communist Space Goths”: An Interview with Beau Albrecht
“Many Strange & Terrible Days”: Gothic Science Fiction & Modern War, Part 2
“Many Strange & Terrible Days”: Gothic Science Fiction & Modern War, Part 1
Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 here)
It was perhaps the most famous description of a (space) alien in English literature. The narrator felt an “utter terror [grip] him” as a thing from a nightmare emerged slowly, slowly from the pit that its smoking spacecraft had cratered in the Earth. As its body “bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather.” A pair of huge, fathomless dark eyes regarded him intensely, “steadfastly. (more…)
Larry and Andy Wachowski’s The Matrix (1999) is a science fiction classic. The setting is a devastated Earth in the far future. The premise is that humanity has been enslaved by artificial intelligences. Human beings spend our lives in what are essentially coffins while mechanical vampires drain our energy. We don’t know it, because we are asleep, dreaming that we are in a radically different world. This is the Matrix. Today we would call it a multiplayer online game.
Like many dystopias, The Matrix is actually too optimistic. The Wachowski brothers thought the human race would have to be forced into the pods. (more…)
Before it was overshadowed by social media, click-bait, and online shopping, the internet provided the dawn of the twenty-first century with limitless potential. It’s worth noting that there was a dark side to it as well, and Mark Gullick’s Cherub Valley shows its readers the creepy underbelly of the “invisible world of information.”
The novel takes the genre of techno-dystopia to a whole new level and leads the reader down a rabbit hole they’d surely avoid in the real world. It’s descriptive without being dense with terminology, which is a common flub of science fiction and cyberpunk writers. (more…)
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Part I is now in theatres. I can’t recommend it. It isn’t terrible. It is merely mediocre. I found it dull to the eyes, grating to the ears, and a drag on my patience. Villeneuve spends 156 minutes and only gets halfway through the novel. David Lynch told the whole story in 137 minutes. Of course audiences are willing to sit through long movies if they are really good: Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for instance. But this film isn’t in that league. (more…)