Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I'm Here" a short film by Spike Jonze

What is it like to be a robot in a world of people? Maybe not so different... Find out for yourself below.




Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guilts & Frustrations & (apparently) Kij Johnson

For those few loyal followers out there left wondering what has happened to this blog, I'll give you a short explanation of why I've been inactive. But first off, I'd like to confirm that this blog is not dead.

Basically, I had a few issues where I was picking up the wrong books at the wrong time that simply did not grab my interest. And then I became captivated by some really great stuff any other genres. This site is genre specific, so I can't exactly blog about those books. Explanation over.

In the meantime, I ran across two great short stories that I'd like to share with everyone.



illustration by CHRIS BUZELLI

Published on Tor.com. This story is a surrealist piece of fantasy with a strong flavor video game culture in there. It's hard to explain. You'll see what I mean. And without giving away too many spoilers, I feel like the story has some strong metaphors for the common tribulations of a little girl growing up in a cliquish world.

The other story is--goodness me... I'm only now making this connection but it's also written by Kij Johnson. Okay. I just became a big fan.

Spar by Kij Johnson
Anyway, this story was a nebula winner published by Clarkesworld. In the most sensationalized and over simplified way I can imagine it could be stated, the story is about a human being having sex with an alien because she's got nothing better to do. Yeah, it's even better than the description.

Enjoy the wonderful free stories of the interwebz that I've found for you! XD

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Movie Review: REPO MEN

It's a good thing I decided to rent two movies this weekend, since SPLICE ended up being not so great.

REPO MEN has single-handedly redeemed my faith in good SF. No, make that outstanding SF. I'm giving this one 10 out of 5 stars. And the fact that I am completely biased toward Jude Law as one of the best actors alive has nothing to do with it.

Well, maybe it does. But only a smidge. *grins*

The concept of this movie trumps all, and it can be summed up in a few choice words by the MC himself:

My job is simple. Can't pay for your car? The bank takes it back. Can't pay for your house? The bank takes it back. Can't pay for your liver? Well, that's where I come in.

Just imagine, for a moment, that you need a new organ of some sort or you'll die. Rather than have to wait for a donor to die first, you can get an artificial organ immediately... for a price. And you'd better find a way to make the payments, or else you've just signed your own death notice in the form of a legally binding loan contract with a much too high APR.

The repo men are extremely good at what they do (ex-military elite tend to be efficient killers), and they seem to have no conscience. They live by the phrase "a job's a job." Until one of them is suddenly on the other side of things...

After an accident during a routine job, Remy (Jude Law), wakes up in a hospital bed with an artificial heart. No turning back. No heart, you die. But now that he knows he could just as easily be on the receiving end of a repossession if he can't pay up, his "a job's a job" mantra doesn't quite make sense anymore.

It becomes too personal, as is clear from his own words at the first major turning point of the film:

Listening to Jake swapping stories about some schmuck and his overdue liver, all I can think about is how that schmuck has a name… and a wife… and kids.

He can't perform his job anymore, and without a steady income, his payments quickly go into past due status. Now he has a very short period of time (one of the most tried and true "up the stakes" techniques in storytelling) before the repo men can claim the company property that's keeping him alive. Where the story goes from there is a near-perfect example of how to use a great concept to its full potential. Cliche' as it may sound, my heart was literally thumping through this entire movie. There are also some effing hilarious LOL moments.

And the ending? Completely unexpected twist. If I could kiss this movie, I would. Totally in love.

But before you go running out to rent/buy it, a bit of warning: This movie is not for those with a weak stomach. Lots. Of. Blood. And just when you think it can't get any more bloody, it does.

As far as near future SF is concerned, though, the story is expertly delivered. Not only is it great entertainment, but all the ethical dilemmas make you think without forcing any philosophies down your throat. It simply says, "This is something bad that might happen in the future. Perhaps we should think twice before we go down that road."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Movie Review: SPLICE

If you're in the mood to be seriously effing creeped out, rent SPLICE.

I'm considering ending the review right there. But I won't.

The first 2/3 of this movie was great. It fed the sci-fi nerd in me with high concept and *gasp* actual scientists carrying out actual lab experiments. This is something that could potentially happen in our world, which made it kinda scary.

Note: THIS IS NOT A HORROR MOVIE. It's just effing creepy. There is no other way to put.

It's basically human DNA experimentation gone wrong. In a HUGE way. This is the kind of sci-fi I love, but unfortunately, it's also the type that screenwriters can easily ruin.

The female MC, Elsa, really pissed me off. If I knew her in real life, I'd probably knock some serious sense into her with a good one-two punch (don't judge me on that until you've seen the movie). Her partner, both in the lab and in life, Clive, had a bit more logic in him... until he decided to **** *** ***** in the ****. (I had to asterisk it; major spoiler in there).

Like I said, the first 2/3... brilliant. Then we get to Act Three and the whole thing went more sour than a jug of milk left in the sun all day. There's a reason why you have to be at least 18 to rent this movie. There's also a reason why it was only in theaters for, like, two minutes?

Overall, I'm giving it three stars, mainly for creative concept and some awesome CG effects. But the characters were thoroughly unlikable and the story could have had a much better ending.

Worth renting? Maybe, if only to satisfy your curiosity. I probably won't ever watch it again, though, even for free on television.