This Tamil film, Robot, is not only the most expensive film ever made in India, but surely also a candidate for the greatest WTFness in science-fiction history. Below are the highlights, as culled and overdubbed by a Russian gent, Teztigo. Part one is fairly sedate but reasonably easy to follow. Part two is sheer chaos and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the first half of the movie. But do yourself a favour and watch it!
Dark Roasted Blend has a nice review up of Alfred Bester’s The Computer Connection as part of the site’s look at some classic science fiction.
I haven’t read that novel yet, but The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination (originally called Tiger! Tiger! after the William Blake poem) are among my favourite books. Although they were written in the 50s, they are still fresh and accessible, dealing as they do with justice, freedom and human potential.
His use of technology as aiding punishment in The Demolished Man is excellent and not at all unrealistic: the point is that this is an extreme, but effective, form of chastisement in a possible future. Whether the demolition of a human’s mind is ethical is another point, but it makes you ponder the limits of justice: should we allow science and technology to advance to the point where it can completely dominate the individual, or maintain more traditional forms of punishment. It also throws up a traditional literary motif, which is what can happen if such power can be abused.
The Stars My Destination has a reasonably light beginning regarding teleportation through willpower, but is a profound story on humanity’s potential when it thinks outside the familiar three dimensions. Not at all upbeat yet no less valuable for it, the novel also silently wonders about how society so readily forms into classes and hierarchies.
BoingBoing is getting very excited about the upcoming adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s novel, though to be honest I’m not a big fan of it. I bought it as part of the Sci-fi Masterworks series and, while it had interesting things to say, it didn’t really grab hold of my imagination. Perhaps I am too removed from its Vietnam war subtext. Ridley Scott could do good things with the material, though, so I remain open to it, if and when it gets off the ground.
One of my colleagues points out that the title was also used by the New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins for his book on Iraq. Can we expect the Scott film to follow along the same lines? Iraq has dragged down US films at the box office, so only time will tell.
One last glance at the news before I hit the sack unearthed this sad note:
Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, an aide said. He was 90.
Although I wasn’t a fan of all his work, the man remained a colossus in science fiction. His short story anthology, which runs to more than 1,000 pages, is exquisite, even much of the work which scientific advances have rendered obsolete. He was last of the old-school hard SF writers, whose number also included the likes of Carl Sagan. In recent years he collaborated frequently with Stephen Baxter, who some list among the finest hard SF authors currently working.
I first became aware of Clarke through his television programmes, and I only watched them because my father was interested. It was many, many years before I picked up one of Clarke’s novels, and even that was after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey. I regret not delving into his work sooner.
The next Microsoft. Robert Cringely looks at “where Google is screwing up, why, and what they should do about it”.
‘Cool City’ to save 60% of its energy. A Japanese team wants to build an environmentally sound city in the UAE.
VerseDay: The macabre and fantastic in verse. I’ve never linked to poetry before, so get it while it’s going.
How to argue productively. It’s possible, apparently.
Make your own lifesize Jabba the Hutt. Oh come on, who hasn’t wanted this?
And the Super Mario theme, remixed for your hardcore pleasure:
Is this the new James Kirk? TrekToday reports that Chris Pine (pic from imdb.com) is being courted to play the role in the upcoming Star Trek movie. I’m guessing at the pic because I’ve never seen him before, but according to the article he was in “the 2006 Lindsey Lohan flop” (Just My Luck), and that’s where I found the image.
O’Dea denies offering to fight in pub row. Said offer was allegedly declined because of the minister’s short stature. The latest screw-up from Wonder Willie the Great Defence Minister, his most prominent being posing with a pistol. (Irish Examiner)
Toy manufacture in China. The hands that make the dolls you pay too much for. (Mazm, via Crooked Timber)
13 scifi mental illnesses. I think I suffer from vacuuphobia. I’m not the only one… am I? (SciFiChick.com)
Group renames asteroid for George Takei. Sulu is an asteroid! (MSNBC)
Mary-Kate Olsen is seven lattes tall. She does not look well. (UnaRocks)
Last survivor of the War of Independence dies at 105. I hope I don’t get fired for linking to this. (The Irish Times)
Single case could reignite ebola epidemic in DRCongo: WHO. We never seem to catch a break. (AFP)
A letter from Optimus Prime’s insurance agent to the Autobot commander in chief.
This is a little late, but Wired has a nice story up about a forthcoming film based on Arthur C Clarke’s short story “Maelstrom II”.
It’s directed by Jeroen Lapré and the sole actor is Chuck Marra. It was shot entirely against bluescreen. Check out the article here.
Seems like Industrial Light and Magic might be a cool place to work. Employees can pitch ideas and the company may give them the go-ahead to use ILM resources after hours. Make sense: a happy employee is a productive employee and is more likely to hang around in the long term.