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  • Showing only topics with the tag "science fiction". Back to normal view
    1. Science fiction that presents immortality in a good light?

      It seems incredibly common in works of science fiction that touch upon technological immortality to focus on every possible way that such a technology could go wrong, create problems, or worsen...

      It seems incredibly common in works of science fiction that touch upon technological immortality to focus on every possible way that such a technology could go wrong, create problems, or worsen social dynamics.

      Among the negative outcomes that have attained trope levels of frequency, off the top of my head, I can name the following:

      1. Immortality becomes available only to the ultra-wealthy, allowing them even more power to abuse everyone else, leading immortal people to be antagonists in a pretty generic dystopian plot.

      2. Immortality subtly twists the morality of its beneficiaries, causing them to lose sight of "the real meaning of life" according to the author's worldview, and the protagonist usually fights for society to recognize how important death and endings are

      3. Immortality causes people to go insane, become monsters, or otherwise utterly lose their humanity (this is more of an extreme version of case #2, but I feel it's distinct in the way a story plays out)

      4. Immortality ultimately leads to the extinction of the human species due either to biological effects of the immortality technology in question, or due to cultural/societal shifts that lead people to stop reproducing

      I'm sure there are many others that I'd recall if prompted, but my point is that I don't think I can name any science fiction that involves immortality technology that doesn't also decry it as ultimately a harmful development.

      Are there any works of science fiction that any of you can think of that do more to celebrate the idea or look forward to it with some optimism?

      16 votes
    2. So ... The Expanse

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Looks like Tildes hasn't discussed this show for a year or two. I just finished binge-watching the first 5 seasons (I'm hoping there is a Season 6 in the offing), and of course, I now feel like discussing it. This thread is wide open to whatever anyone wants to bring up about the series. But my first question for people is this--

      Did anyone notice any significant change in quality after Amazon took it over? If so, better or worse? How?

      For me, somewhere around Season 3 or 4, it felt like the story quality declined. Not that it's "bad" in any way ... just that it got less original, more like traditional series plot devices. And that could just be me, or that--in general--even the best shows tend to lose some of their edge after the first few seasons ... or maybe they're just following the books (never read 'em) and this is how the books went.

      But, yeah ... it's turning into a nicer, more nuanced Stargate ... the Good Guys trying to save humanity from The Terrorist Mastermind ... the Evil Post-Soviet Empire conspiring to help said Terrorist, etc. They even had Snidely Whiplash tying the poor girl to the railroad tracks.

      I'm obviously over-simplifying here; it is still an excellent show ... just, like I said; it started to feel less original. I'm wondering if that's just my impression, and if not, do we know that it's an "Amazon" thing, or what?

      15 votes
    3. Recommendation: Person of Interest (2011-2016)

      I want to talk about Person of Interest. A CBS series created by Jonathan Nolan, more famously known for his work on Westworld (and brother of "that" Christopher Nolan, talent runs in the family)....

      I want to talk about Person of Interest. A CBS series created by Jonathan Nolan, more famously known for his work on Westworld (and brother of "that" Christopher Nolan, talent runs in the family). This is a spoiler-free post.

      Premise: An ex-military badass is hired by a rich ex-usgov genius who built an AI that is plugged into the NSA's spying supernetwork, and can predict crime based on all the datapoints.

      Strong similarities with: Westworld, Mr. Robot.

      Person of Interest is a series that really took me by surprise. I didn't really care for Season 1, which I left running in the background after it was apparent to me that this was a very run-of-the-mill CBS police procedural. I gave it a chance based on a friend's recommendation, and because IT/sec references were accurate and didn't make me cringe. It also had an interesting premise which was written pre-snowden and raised some interesting philosophical questions on privacy and crime prevention.

      Then towards the Season 1 finale, the music got pretty good, the scenes were very action-packed and the series started feeling like it was getting very entertaining. So I kept watching.

      Without spoiling: throughout Season 2, the series actually completely shifts genre almost unnoticeably, from "generic police procedural" to "long-arc Westworld-style tech scifi".

      I was stunned by how smooth the genre transition was. Of all the series I watched, it's something truly unique to that one, which is one of the reasons I rate it as one of the best TV series in my catalogue. It's also, from what I heard, Nolan's strategy from the get-go in order to get a very unique show greenlit on a "safe" network like CBS.

      By the end of the series, Person of Interest had inspired me. Made me extremely interested in AI and data. It affected my work and the way I think about the world. POI really toes the scifi line by taking concepts which are possible, but not there yet and explores the possibilities (again, Westworld); unlike most other Sci-Fi shows which take abstract ideas of what we may want to see in the future, regardless of how possible/reasonable they are.

      POI does require some suspension of disbelief. You have to accept the trope of a "supergenius" who can build an AI like this all on his own, for example. I think that's fine, and I found that the show was very rigorous at taking only practical shortcuts with very little fridge logic.

      I keep mentioning Westworld and that's no accident. POI predates WW and it feels that WW was a continuation of Nolan's ideas about the implications of AI, in a much higher budget setting. (And as an aside, if you haven't watched Westworld, you should)

      Tag spoilers in comments :)

      21 votes
    4. Science fiction movie recommendations

      I just signed back up for the Netflix dvd subscription and am looking for some sci-fi movie recommendations. I tend to not like the horror themes but am open to just about anything else (even...

      I just signed back up for the Netflix dvd subscription and am looking for some sci-fi movie recommendations. I tend to not like the horror themes but am open to just about anything else (even "bad" movies that are so bad they are good). Looking for movies that have come out in the last decade or so. May also be open to television series that can be had on dvd that were not on Netflix streaming.

      27 votes
    5. Discussion - Raised By Wolves

      Available on HBO Max, the first episode can be streamed for free. From Executive Producer Ridley Scott, Raised by Wolves centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious...

      Available on HBO Max, the first episode can be streamed for free.

      From Executive Producer Ridley Scott, Raised by Wolves centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.

      8 votes
    6. Our Popcorn Movie Dystopia

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Our Popcorn Movie Dystopia is a movie put out by Some More News.

      It's certainly an interesting ride. A 135 minute blend of sci-fi B movie, documentary-grade movie analysis of dystopian films over the last 30+ years, and a heavy dose of political commentary (as would be expected from Cody)...complete with some minor celebrity cameos. I've not watched anything quite like this before.

      There are some hefty movie spoilers throughout...makes sense given the topic, but I think the only recent one is the new Bill and Ted movie.

      7 votes