Reviews

Blade Runner 2049 (3/10 stars)

Blade runner was not an enjoyable movie for me.
People are praising the atmosphere. They are correct to do so, however there is more to a movie then atmosphere.

The movie was really slow, even boring. I think it really comes down to three things. The atmosphere was dark and depressing, the plot was very slow to develop, the main character was unemotional.
Any one of those things, or even two and it could still have worked, but with all three makes the movie slow and plodding.
And that is besides the fact that the thing the bad guy was after just did not make sense, and they covered it up by making him not wholly rational even though he was a CEO of one of the largest companies on Earth.

The original movie was good in large part because of the gray, because of the unknowns in it. Were Replicants machines or not? Was Decker a Replicant or not? Was what he was doing right or not?
The new one has a more cookie cutter plot, there are bad guys and good guys and they make clear early on that the Replicants are human.

on IMBD

Like Stars, Like Dust (4/5 stars)

Like Stars, Like Dust by Issac Asimov

One of the lesser known works for the grandmaster himself, Issac Asimov.
One the reasons that he was so good, one of the few to rightfully be called a grandmaster of science fiction in fact, is that he knew his history.

I don’t just mean he knew names and dates, I mean he understood the hows and why’s. Nowhere is this more apparent then in this book.
In the book the Tyranni are an empire of fifty worlds, between one and two generations before they left their world and over the course of decades conquered the worlds in the nebular cluster. The thing that is striking is how well they are thought out, they ran an empire that was more then large enough to crush them if given half a chance. They did this by sticking to a few simple rules:
1) The government of any state should be left intact, with as little changed as possible. The Tyranni might for example pick the next king, but it would be the son of the old one.
2) The sciences and economies of the planets were locked in place, this meant they ranged from farmers to barely industrial.
3) Military strength was limited.
4) Taxes were paid.

They turned their empire into a machine for enriching their home world. One thing you see too often in science fiction is large empires that would cost so much to maintain they would be a money sink, this is not that.

While the characters could be more three dimensional I do think it showed well how people who were born to be upper class and to be rulers would act. It also showed people acting intelligently and it has an ending that you will not see coming.

If you do like sci-fi mystery you will like this book.

All my reviews on Goodreads

Science Fiction After Death

For this week I am going to do something a little different, I am going to talk about books that explore a theme that is almost never covered in science fiction, the afterlife. And I do not mean uploading your mind or something, I mean that your soul is real and it goes somewhere when you die. I have only read a few science fictions that deal with the idea.

The first is the most recent, the Reality Dysfunction trilogy by Peter Hamilton (One of my favorite modern authors).
It’s a space opera in the grandest tradition of the genre, with a large confederation of human worlds with only a few known aliens races. On a new colony world an energy being sees a human die and the path his soul takes, and in so doing accidentally opens a bridge from there to the here and now.
Out come the first souls, all near insane with sensory deprivation and wanting to make a war on the living, wanting to keep their bodies at all costs. They can allow other dead to take their bodies, you get one of them on your planet you could have hundreds the next day, thousand after that.
It handled the idea well and was able to weave all the various plot elements and themes together, much better then I would have thought possible if I was told the basic idea of the book before I read it.
The sign of true art is the ability to make very hard things look very easy, this series does that.

The second is the Riverword series by Farmer.
The basic idea is that everyone who died after the age of five and before 1984 (or somewhere around there) wakes up all at once along the banks of a river all at the same time. This river is bound by mountains and runs in a helix from one pole of a planet to another.
If you die once there your reborn somewhere else along the river.
The book does explain the hows and whys but the series is a good example of what I call exportation scifi.
The series is a classic, with a really unique idea.

The third example that I have read is Traitor to the Living also by Farmer.
This is a much darker book then the Riverworld series. It starts with the idea that someone invented a device that allows you to see into the afterlife, but that its hell and everyone is there. I would like to say it gets happier from that, but it really does not. Still it is thought provoking and takes another look at the idea.

REVIEW: INHUMANS (3/10 stars)

I did some facebook posts on this but I think it deserves a full review. To be clear I am talking about the first two episodes that were shown on Imax in movie theaters.

To be honest I think the people making it made the mistake of assuming that people watching would care about the “good” guys because one of them was the “rightful” king. Given we are talking about a show in the marvel universe I can see why they would make this mistake, knowing who the good guys are is rarely never really an issue for superhero shows and movies. They might have just written if off as a non-issue and moved to other things.

Same could be said for making sure the audience hated the bad guy, or at least wished him to fail. The only real reason they show for this is that he launched a coop to make himself king. I admit this could be my knowledge of history but that is just how monarchies work. If you don’t like how things are run you have two choices. You can either convince the king to change his mind or you can kill him. That is one of the major disadvantages of monarchies after all. In fact the coop looked to be executed with a minimum of bloodshed.

Even in plays written in the renaissance when monarchies ruled in Europe playwrights make it clear that rightful kings were good guys, that they were the kind of people who SHOULD be king. Or that they were good guys BECAUSE they were the rightful king.

Either way it was not done well in inhumans, I can’t think of a single sympathetic character. The closest strangely enough is the brother, because while he did what he did for the worst possible reasons he very well could make his kingdom a much better place in ways his brother never would.

On a more meta level, The powers are also just..boring. None of them really scream “That would be awesome to have” or “Think about how that would change things” The Xmen they are not.

Also, something that is becoming a pet Peeve, they rejected any dealing with earth (at least officially) by saying “They would just kill us all” Lumping every nation and group on earth together. Why not approach a small nation, offer then the cheapest way to space ever in return for help? They are on the moon, how do they think we would kill them?