Ted Chiang - Stories Of Your Life And Others (2002)

The story the collection is named after - which is wonderful beyond words - was made into the movie Arrival. That film was pretty ambitious considering how uncinematic the original was. Beyond that, the math geek in me loved "Division by Zero". The other stories are extremely entertaining, occasionally clumsy, and a bit forgettable.



Red Dwarf - Season 3

This season is the awkward transition from a half-horror show about isolation, hopelessness, and hatred, into something a little less bleak, and more adventure/concept-oriented. This includes a horrible redesign of the set, a stupid new intro sequence that replaced the iconic original, and the crew suddenly remembering that they have an undisclosed number of large shuttles, most of which are destroyed over the course of the season. Also, Kryten becomes a regular - it's hard to image the show without him - and the show starts its hilarious tradition of shrugging off cliffhangers.


"Marooned" (more old-Red Dwarf style) and "Timeslides" (more new-Red Dwarf style) are as good as anything the show has ever done. The rest of the episodes are a bit weak and gimmicky, but, on the other hand, how could you not love female Holly? Or the rewind gags? Or Alphabetti Spaghetti? In spite of being a bit of a low point for the show, they manage to slip in some of the greatest sitcom moments of all time into the worst episodes.



Young Leslie Nielson In Forbidden Planet


Looper (2012)

Mostly good. Dumb ending.



Guardian Of The Crystal Gate


2001: A Space Odyssey (The Book) - Arthur C. Clarke

I read this once as a child and once in my thirties. Both times it was like a punch in the face. But a happy punch in the face. Even knowing the outline of the story, there's a sense of tension and fear hidden in the details that I've never experienced in any other book. The philosophical themes are subtle and unpretentious, and tangle themselves effortlessly into the frighting sense of vastness and emptiness and time. Maybe the best proof there is that a book can be short and sweet and part of a low-brow genre and still blow most fine literature out of the water.



Love, Death And Robots

Apparently they wanted to do something like 'Neo-Tokyo', or 'Heavy Metal', or 'Memories', but whatever weird cultural conditions that made those movies possible are long, long gone. Instead, this is very, very fancy CGI with writing that ranges from below-average to cringey. A lot of one-dimensional characters, a lot of jokes that don't land, a lot of extremely old science-fiction cliches exhumed and presented with as little enthusiasm as possible.

The constant attempts at edginess in 'Love, Death And Robots' are offset by the fact that all of the stories are older than Poodle Skirts. No amount of CGI titty is going to cover the fact that they're selling young people watered-down versions of stories that were written before sitcom married couples slept in separate beds.

I want to say that this is an example of style over substance, but those old anthologies managed to be cool in spite of or because of style over substance. Besides 'Love, Death and Robots' isn't really that stylish, in spite of the top-notch CGI. I kept going 'Wow, that CGI is marginally better than CGI from two years ago!', then getting quickly bored of scenes that were basically visually uninteresting. I have no idea what kind of decision-making process lead to such a poorly-executed project.



19-05-26 Weekly Links - Reading Edition




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