• Activity
  • Votes
  • Comments
  • New
  • All activity
  • Showing only topics with the tag "science fiction". Back to normal view
    1. Hello fellow Tildos! I normally never write reviews, but i just had to after i finished watching. It's also an easy way for me to continue practice my English/writing skills, feel free to pm any...

      Hello fellow Tildos! I normally never write reviews, but i just had to after i finished watching. It's also an easy way for me to continue practice my English/writing skills, feel free to pm any feedback that you might have :)


      The first time i put on the movie Primer closer to it's release i ended up putting it on the shelf half way through or so, i was probably to tired and not in the mood, because it´s one of those movies that requires your full attention.

      Years went by and i forgot all about the sci-fi indie movie that shook Sundance back in 2004, only for it to emerge not long ago when i made another list of movies to either watch or re-watch once more, as i do now and then. I usually make these lists with a theme, or dedicated to a specific genre, this time it being sci-fi.

      During my time watching this super low budget movie made by the software engineer Shane Carruth(his background really shows off in the movie) i had a hard time not thinking about the high quality of cinematography. We are shown some really nice angles right from the start, and very appealing lines of symmetry all the way through, similar to scenes found in movies made by Wes Anderson. Same goes for the acting and writing, - some of the dialogue really got me captivated. Every scene had things to say about the characters early on, but it also leaves enough out to keep you curious of who they really are, and what their motives might be, character development, check. An example of this is how they used wardrobe + setting, which obviously where very limited due to the extremely low budget(i have not looked up the actual numbers, but i think i have watched enough indie movies to identify extreme cases like this one). They did a lot with how little they had, which is an art in itself in the business of movie making. This probably bit me in the butt a bit(in a good way, no not that way, grow up), instead of trying to figure out the time paradoxes, i was captured by how well the movie was made.

      After i finished watching i had an ocean of questions. Questions i wont mention here because it might spoil the experience for you. This is a good tell that it`s a movie in my taste in a sense that it leaves gaps in the story for you to fill in yourself, it´s a type of storytelling i enjoy, but also a type of storytelling that many dislike.

      There is no hand holding in this movie, no explanation at the end, It trusts you to re-watch the movie until you have figured it out(or at least think you have), which is bold, but also embraces the charm of time traveling themed story's in a way, making you travel back in time by rewinding and figure out the time-lines. Or do as i did and watch a explanation video on youtube for closure.

      I understand now what all the fuzz was about, why it won prices at sundance, and why it became such a strong cult classic almost instantly.

      If you want a mind bender, and a movie that treats you with the respect that you can think for yourself, this might be something for you. If you are into sci-fi, and especially time travel, it´s a must watch as long as you can allow yourself to get confused more then you usually get by this type of movie. I also recommend watching this when you have a fresh and rested mind, not after a long day of work.

      7.8/10 - will paradox again sometime in the future

      26 votes
    2. I'm (re)watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and after a few episodes I started to tune out every time they detail how some specific solution is possible. There's little care with consistency,...

      I'm (re)watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and after a few episodes I started to tune out every time they detail how some specific solution is possible. There's little care with consistency, everything is bent to fit the story. "Oh, I get it, if I reverse the trusters and focus the beams using a microwaved non-Euclidian logarithmic abstraction, we can get the shields back and fix the time distillation!".

      I know Star Trek is soft sci-fi, but come on! If it's all meaningless, at least keep it to a minimum. Focus on the interesting bits: the politics, the culture, the philosophical exploration, the juicy paradoxes.

      I still love Star Trek and I definitely don't want it to become hard sci-fi, but sometimes it feels like /r/VXJunkies/...

      9 votes
    3. I'm trying to recall a short story I read about 10 years ago in English class in school. It would probably be fair to call it "sci-fi", but I'm not sure how important that is. What I remember: the...

      I'm trying to recall a short story I read about 10 years ago in English class in school. It would probably be fair to call it "sci-fi", but I'm not sure how important that is.

      What I remember: the story was set in the midst of an escalating arms race, Cold War-style, and the characters were chiefly military personnel (I think).

      At some point, a chief actor obtains technology that is designed to (from memory) "disintegrate all weapons (certain materials/metals?)" within a vicinity.

      I believe the technology is then used, and what ensues is a world-enveloping nuclear winter. I'm not sure how the weapons disintegration tech leads to a nuclear winter. It's also quite possible that I'm conflating two separate stories I read in that class.

      Anyone have any idea what short stories I could be thinking of? This would be at the very latest pre-2010 stuff, and knowing my English teacher (old bloke from Yorkshire) probably 20th century. Probably.

      7 votes
    4. Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let...

      Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let alone among science fiction stories. Though The Expanse wins for sheer SFX pyrotechnics and breadth of technical scope, it's wonderful to sit in for a deep, thoughtful drama like Counterpart. The series focuses on character, story, world-building, plausible plotting, and avoidance of the usual alternate universe cliches. Counterpart is a genuine Cold War Noir spy thriller which happens to occur in a science-fictional setting, and the writers have managed to avoid or refresh the tropes of both genres in ways that ask interesting philosophical questions. It's quiet, slow, and meticulous in a way that most current television writing seems to have abandoned. There's tense action, but no primary colored-supersuits, no scary aliens, no gaudy laser beams, just... a split of history that leaves two distorted mirrors, reflecting each other.

      J.K. Simmons' performances in the roles of Howard (Prime) and Howard (Alpha) are mesmerizing in a way that outmatches Tatiana Mazlany's Orphan Black characters. There's a slow unveiling of the respective parallel worlds' history, with continuing evolution and interplay of characters and relationships, which brings to mind the best of series like The Wire or The Americans.

      To the extent that Counterpart borrows from literary canon, the most significant underlying influences are John LeCarre's find-the-mole games in the Smiley series, China Mieville's The City and the City, and Philip K. Dick (particularly, The Adjustment Team).

      The really guilty pleasure, and the lightweight pressure relief from the grimdark of Peaky Blinders or Counterpart, was a spit-and-giggles Canadian production called Letterkenny. I didn't have high hopes, but the 22-minute episodes are exactly what my brain needed to get over the daily doses of blah.

      The opening credits of each episode refer to the fictional rural Ontario town of Letterkenny as follows:

      There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.

      The plots are barely coat-hangers, with most of the comic tension spent on interactions among the Hicks (farm people), Skids (creative-but-disaffected Internet subculture wannabes), hockey players and Christians - a/k/a small-town tribes recognizable anywhere in North America. The portrayals are caricaturized enough to be both humorously offensive and humorously sympathetic simultaneously. [Could be some toxic racial/gender meta, but mostly, the treatment of women and minorities is in keeping with the setting.]

      The banter, and the utter Spock-like deadpan of Wayne (the toughest guy in Letterkenny)'s Hick character are the stars of the show. Some people have complained that the rapid-fire use of heavy dialect in the dialogue is impenetrable; that actually helps with comic timing. When your brain catches up to what was actually said, it's like receiving a two-by-four between the eyes of funny. I've got a bit of home-team advantage in the midwestern North American dialects area, and usually get it on the first run, but it's good enough to re-watch happily if the spouse needs a do-over. Transcripts are available, but watch the show before looking.

      We now have a new battery of in-jokes and gag lines to add to our secret spousal language - "Hard no.", "That's what I appreciates about ya", "...and he was never the same after that."

      There's really nothing quite like Letterkenny, and it's exactly smart/dumb enough to make fantastic comedy. Two seven-episode seasons are currently available on Hulu.

      6 votes
    5. Out Here

      Space. Mankind’s last great mystery. Our modern day ‘Wild West’. What a privilege to be born during this golden age of space exploration, to have the chance to strike out and see a universe so...

      Space. Mankind’s last great mystery. Our modern day ‘Wild West’. What a privilege to be born during this golden age of space exploration, to have the chance to strike out and see a universe so full of absolutely nothing.

      There is nothing out here, there’s a reason it’s often referred to as a void. Okay, yes, the more astute members of you will point out space isn’t truly empty, planets and nebulas, and even us, the humans and our crafts. But for the sake of the scale upon which we view it, its empty.

      Just look at me, stuck out here, stranded, in dark space. For those of you still catching up on your terminology, that’s what we call the space in between galaxies. Yes, those galaxies, the big ones that contain untold numbers of stars. No, I don’t know how I got out here. If I did, I would have done something to reverse it.

      All I can tell you is that I’m out here with a busted ship that only has enough power for life support and basic functions. Ugh, I bet you the caravan has already made it to Port Dalle, and Swiv’s drinking that blasted sludge he wouldn’t shut up about. They’re probably raising a ruckus at the bar, starting brawls and revelries alike.

      And here I am, alone. Well, I have Ping. That’s what I call that eternal pinging. If you listen closely, you can hear it, every few seconds ever so faintly. Ping, ping. I can’t tell if the universe has given me company or is taunting me. My headache leans towards taunting.

      Ping.

      I tried turning it off, I really did. But I can’t figure out where it’s coming from. It’s almost as if the entire ship resonates with the noise. It’s not a big ship, kinda, cozy. I think that’s the word. I have to duck down to pass through the doors. The bed’s a few inches too short. But I make do, plenty of room in the storage closet if I push the tools to the side. Well, I might have jettisoned them. But, hear me out! It’s not like I’d be able to use them anyway.

      ‘What are you doing on that blasted ship if you can’t fix it?’ You may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. It wasn’t supposed to break. I was only supposed to be here to press the on and off buttons.

      Ping.

      They just didn’t include any for that blasted noise. Maybe it’s coming from behind this service panel here, it seems to be louder in the bridge, if you could call this glassed in closet a bridge.

      Bang. Ow.

      Note to self: pulling on random panels is a bad idea.

      Ping.

      Yeah yeah, keep on pinging, you stupid pinging, thing, a-lator.

      Ping.

      That was not a request for you to ping more frequently!

      Ping.

      ...

      What did I do to deserve this? All I ever did was try to lead a semi-normal life. As normal a life being some intergalactic space trucker, shipper, can be. I payed taxes, obeyed the law mostly, didn’t cheat. I mean, I’m not a bad person. I didn’t do anything wrong! Or did I?

      I mean, there are several possibilities. Maybe one of the times a delivery was late it costed someone more then a few extra minutes of paperwork. Maybe I inadvertently stood in the wrong spot, ruining some poor tourists prized photo. Maybe I-

      Ping.

      Maybe I’m dead, and this is my eternal torture.

      Maybe, just maybe, there isn’t such a thing as fate or karma or metaphysical legacies. Maybe, this is just some freak thing that occurred because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time? How’s that sound? Must be hard imagining not having someone to blame for all the things that go wrong, huh? Well, I’ve been stuck here for who knows how long. No one’s coming. And there’s nothing wrong with the ship except some inexplicable power loss.

      Ping.

      Maybe whatever’s making that noise is the cause?

      Ping.

      Pong.

      How do you like dem apples, huh?... Well, I guess you like them. Seeing as you haven’t immediately thrown them back at me. Maybe this’ll keep me entertained for awhile, huh?

      Out here, you take whatever you can get to pass the time. There is literally nothing.

      I even look out at nothing. I mean, sure, I see some of the Milky Way nearby, as well as light clusters that are the other galaxies. But I’m so far off the beaten path that the ship’s computers don’t even register any gravitational pull, and they’re tuned for the center of the Milky Way to set a universal constant for direction. Uh, simple speak, the big thing at the center of our galaxy? That’s down.

      There’s some velocity. So the ship will drift for millions of years, preserved in the inky cold of this wonderful frontier, until it get’s close enough to, something, so it's pulled in and crashes or burns. What? It’s not like anyone will find it anytime soon.

      I suppose you can’t really see the futility of existence yet. Me? My days are numbered, and I’ve already run out of gum.

      Ping.

      Pong.

      Where was I? Right, existence. It’s a funny thing really. Out here, with nothing to do or see, you start to question if anything was really real. Everything turns into this far off dream, the distant past of another person. Here and now, its just you, and the void. Well, that, and the flimsy metal contraption keeping you safe from said void, but even that’s debatable.

      Isolation was the worst punishment we were able to come up with for criminals, after all.

      Eh. I’m waiting my time. You don’t want to hear a condemned man ramble on, or maybe you do, you sicko, you. You want stories, you want to hear the high flying adventures of traveling this wasteland. Tales of explorations and intrigue. Maybe even a little romance mixed in.

      There really aren’t any. Space is, well, space. Big, and-

      Ping.

      -empty, and boring. As for the people, well, the Captain Buck and his intrepid crew all work for the military. The only civilians that do this are either, criminals, insane, or desperate. And any combination of those.

      So there it is. The reality of this grand fantasy you’ve always held in your head-

      Ping.

      -laid bare at your very feet. Not very palatable, huh? Makes me think of that paste you get fed out here. Chemically infused with all the calories and nutrients you need to live. Tastes like they blended cardboard and water into sludge and called it food.

      That’s not even the worst example. There was this one time... one time that...

      Ping.

      Ah, thank you Ping. There was this one time a station had a rodent infestation. Nasty stuff. You know what they did with the buggers? (Not the Editor, Editor’s Note: Not actual bugs.) Used them for meat! You had rodent steaks, and ground rodent. Didn’t stay at that station for long.

      Oh, look. A red light is blinking. Must be time to party.

      Ping.

      Ping agrees it’s time to party. Where’d I put the people to party with? Oh yeah. They’re all back in inhabited space. C’est la vie.

      Vie la c’est? Why are you asking me?

      You know? I’ve done all the talking up until now. I think it’s your turn to tell me a little abut yourselves.

      Yeah?

      Really?

      No.

      Ping.

      Ping doesn’t believe it either. He’s even making this slight hissing noise. Just like a cat. Maybe Ping’s a cat that goes ping? Or a ping that cats?

      Having trouble understanding that one? Do what I do. Don’t.

      Stuff doesn’t have to make sense. I mean, does it make sense for some random guy to be stuck literally nowhere? No, it doesn’t. He should be back home wondering what dinner will consist of. Well, truthfully, I’d probably be stuck with the nutrient paste still.

      Ping.

      I agree Ping, that paste is a travesty and insult to the human palate. At least include something that gives it some flavor. Maybe lemon juice? And some water, and sugar. You know what? Take the nutrient paste out all together and give us lemon, water, and sugar. We had a name for that back home.... I can’t seem to...

      Ping.

      Oh, right! Lemonade. Life’s gift you didn’t ask for. Well, would you look at that? There some ice dust outside. Almost like some rock had a gas bubble inside and it leaked. There you have it folks, the lemonade for today; ice dust!

      You know, I’m getting kinda sleepy and light headed. I have been up for quite some time now. Why? Well, you and Ping are such good listeners, I couldn’t just walk away. No, it was my responsibility to entertain at the expense of my own health. I hope I did a good job, I don’t like to disappoint people. Only peaches disappoint, you expect them to be all flavorful, and they tase like the fruit has been soaking in water.

      Well, guess this is it for now. Nature calls, and I don’t think I’ll be awake for much longer without really going off my rocker.

      Ping.

      Yeah, good night Ping.

      Ping.

      ...

      Ping.

      7 votes
    6. Finished this last night. It's been so long since I read any Bradbury for the first time. His style shows some age, but he's a really poetic and visionary writer. Published in 1953, this tale is a...

      Finished this last night. It's been so long since I read any Bradbury for the first time. His style shows some age, but he's a really poetic and visionary writer.

      Published in 1953, this tale is a battle between visual media and books, but taking the form of the fleeting versus the permanent, the here and now versus history, pop culture versus capital C Culture.

      In a way, its datedness is a strength, because of so much of Bradbury's prophetic vision and because of the way his 1950's idea of dystopia contrasts with the more numerous recent ideas.

      If there was ever an object lesson about filter bubbles, Farenheit 451 is it: recent enough to be relatable and distant enough to be outside our current filters. Readers should take note of this when relating and evaluating fiction and any work that lies outside their personal space. A valuable lesson in itself.

      So often we're totally unaware of the walls we create for ourselves, our comfort zone. It's precisely because they provide comfort that we tend to stay within them.

      And of course, Bradbury's whole novel is both about this issue and again a reference object for it.

      8 votes
    7. Ursula K. Le Guin was my favourite SciFi & Fantasy writer. Her passing earlier in the year was a great loss. I'm reading her scifi-fantasy book Always Coming Home (1985), a compilation of...

      Ursula K. Le Guin was my favourite SciFi & Fantasy writer. Her passing earlier in the year was a great loss.

      I'm reading her scifi-fantasy book Always Coming Home (1985), a compilation of "in-universe" codices and oral traditions as seen by an anthropologist. Her works were usually put in the "soft scifi" bin, as opposed to the "harder" genre. What caught my attention was a passage from the book, as appeared in an oral narrative (p. 161):

      There are records of the red brick people in the Memory of the Exchange, of course, but I don't think many people have ever looked at them. They would be hard to make sense of. The City mind [a vast autonomous network of computers] thinks that sense has been made if a writing is read, if a message is transmitted, but we don't think that way.

      Here we're called to notice the information vs. meaning distinction, for which a lot has been said and will be said. It was striking to me how the definition of "sense" according to the "City mind" closely paralleled the concept of information in Claude E. Shannon's seminal paper, A Mathematical Theory of Communication (PDF link). There, "information" simply meant what was transmitted between a sender and a receiver. It gave rise to a consistent definition of the amount of information based on the Shannon entropy.

      However, we implicitly feel that this concept of information isn't encompassing enough to include meaning -- a vague term, but one we feel to be important. It seems that meaning enters information only as we (or someone) interpret it. In the words of computer scientist Melanie A. Mitchell, "meaning" seems to have an evolutionary value (Complexity: a Guided Tour, 2009). I feel that we could as well say, meaning may be bonded to the bodily and messy reality where flesh and blood living is at stake.

      Returning to the passage in the novel, for me it was read as a rare spark of "hard" science in Le Guin's scifi works. Was it possible that she actually read into the information theory for inspiration? I don't know. But it appears to have captured the tension in the "ever-thorny issue" of meaning vs. information. For the computers, "sense" follows the information-theory concept of information; but for the human people in the story, it "would be hard to make sense of" the information in that way.

      Do you have similar "aha" moments, where you find a insightful moment of grasping an important "hard-science" idea while immersed in a "soft" scifi/fantasy work?

      Or, we can talk about anything vaguely connected to this post :) Let me know.

      10 votes
    8. From CBS: New details, trailer from "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 2 From Gizmodo: In The First Trailer For Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, The USS Enterprise Boldly Arrives As someone outside the...

      From CBS: New details, trailer from "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 2

      From Gizmodo: In The First Trailer For Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, The USS Enterprise Boldly Arrives

      As someone outside the USA, the videos in those articles didn't work for me, but this one from Netflix UK & Ireland does work for me: Star Trek: Discovery | Season 2 Trailer [HD]

      7 votes
    9. tor.com/2018/06/06/meat-and-salt-and-sparks-rich-larson/ A futuristic murder mystery about detective partners—a human and an enhanced chimpanzee—who are investigating why a woman murdered an...

      tor.com/2018/06/06/meat-and-salt-and-sparks-rich-larson/

      A futuristic murder mystery about detective partners—a human and an enhanced chimpanzee—who are investigating why a woman murdered an apparently random stranger on the subway

      Found this today and read it for my morning break. I'm worried about spoilers, but I'm curious about people's thoughts on being a non-human intelligence and the subsequent integration into human society. Did this short evoke any particular emotions in you?

      9 votes