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  • Showing only topics with the tag "science fiction". Back to normal view
    1. Down to earth, present or near-future, science or science fiction stories featuring space?

      I just finished binging The Habitat, the awesome podcast about NASA's simulated mission to Mars. And I'm feeling the urge to read something along those lines: fiction or true stories and indulge...

      I just finished binging The Habitat, the awesome podcast about NASA's simulated mission to Mars. And I'm feeling the urge to read something along those lines: fiction or true stories and indulge my fascination with space (and things coming from it) and how that relates to contemporary imagination.

      Any suggestions?

      11 votes
    2. A couple of thoughts about Annihilation (2018)

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Just finished Annihilation. Decided to share some random thoughts:

      The film looks absolutely stunning. Perfect blend of beautiful and horrifying. But the characters… ugh. They are your classical horror film bunch of idiots. And, as per tradition with the modern sci-fi horror, they're supposed to be “scientists”. Bah.

      It seems like both the screenplay and the visuals were heavily inspired by Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, and possibly Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaptation, Stalker (1979), as well as a bit of his other sci-fi work, Solaris (1972), here and there. Honestly, if you like the idea of “alien shit twisting stuff around it”, and you like reading, you're way better off just reading Roadside Picnic.

      Why didn't most trees change? The flowers, the moss, and the animals get all kinds of wild twisted colours and mutations, but the trees remain just green? That really bothered me. They also don't mention all this mutated flora and fauna going outside “the zone”, which, I assume, would be a giant issue.

      That lighthouse would be so destroyed if it was really hit by an object of that diameter.

      I found it ironic that the psychologist of the team was the one who was severely depressed. Here in Russia we call that a “barefoot cobbler” situation. But the way the film shows severe depression is pretty accurate.

      Overall, I reluctantly enjoyed the film, but I couldn't stop thinking that all those visual effects and designs would be much more amazing in a Strugatsky bros. adaptation film.

      15 votes
    3. 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas.

      ABC's media release: 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas. (Ignore the references to...

      ABC's media release: 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas. (Ignore the references to 'Doctor Who'; the only connection they have is that they were both science fiction shows made in the mid-1960s. I suspect that show is name-dropped just to get people's interest.)

      I've been watching this show. I'm 5 episodes in, which means I'm up to the last episode of the 1st season, with another 6 episodes in the 2nd season (only 12 eps in total).

      It's bad but also good (not in the "so bad it's good" way). The production isn't great: the special effects are low-grade, the sets are ordinary, the acting ranges from hammy to wooden, and the writing is clunky. However, despite all that, I find myself hooked. I want to know what's going to happen next. It's an interesting premise: the remnants of an alien species eking out an existence inside a rocket-equipped moon, having left their home planet after an unspecified ecological disaster, to seek out a new home. The plot is good enough to drag me along with it. It also has historical curiosity value.

      I doubt it's available outside of Australia, but here's the streaming link. Be warned: it's very slow-paced to start with. The first episode doesn't even mention aliens, and the second episode only has hints.

      7 votes
    4. Sci Fi trends over the decades

      I've just finished The Sirens of Titan from 1959 (after seeing it recommended here, actually) and something struck me compared to more recent books. A lot of the more technical stuff is kind of...

      I've just finished The Sirens of Titan from 1959 (after seeing it recommended here, actually) and something struck me compared to more recent books. A lot of the more technical stuff is kind of hand-waved away. It's not a criticism, just something that stuck out as I was reading. Is this a trend? Do readers demand more details these days? I've read a bunch of sci fi from the 60s until the present day, but I've only really gotten back into it more recently with Sirens.

      Perhaps I've read too much Neal Stephenson, who has likely never hand-waved anything away! The Martian also springs to mind, but that's very deliberately focused on the details and keeping it realistic, IIRC.

      Spoilers

      I'm mostly thinking about the radio-controlling of the Martian army beyond "there is a little box in their pocket" and most of the atmospheric questions beyond how they breathe.

      13 votes
    5. Moontrap: Target Earth, possibly the worst movie ever made

      This is what you get when you search VUDU for free science fiction movies. The plot is banal enough. A spacecraft is discovered in Colorado that is 14,000 years old. A linguist and her lover are...

      This is what you get when you search VUDU for free science fiction movies. The plot is banal enough. A spacecraft is discovered in Colorado that is 14,000 years old. A linguist and her lover are hired to read an inscription and then summarily paid and told to go home by the mysterious and unlikeable head of the project, Richard Kontral.

      This description in no way does justice to how bad the script is. My first theory was that a rich father gave his fourteen year old son a chance to create a movie for his birthday present. But it's really just a low budget sequel to an obscure cult film called Moontrap.

      The lead character, Scout, is played by Sarah Butler who evidently rose to wordly fame in I Spit on Your Grave. Every line that Scout says to the villain includes adolescent sexual insults. The villain is I believe a washed up actor from an old sitcom called The Nanny. This guy is really hard to watch, the acting is as bad as the script.

      There's a scene of robots fighting that looks like it was choreographed with Rockem Sockem Robots, a toy from my childhood. If you're a collector of bad movies, this is a true gem.

      It was tough to watch, but our free streaming was slim pickings that night. I wanted to watch Day of the Triffids a classic bad movie from the '60's , but got outvoted. At least that movie was based on an interesting SF novel by John Wyndham. Maybe tomorrow night.

      5 votes