Other worlds

A visitor from outside our solar system is flying by, and while the odds of it being something sent by alien intelligence, it is still quite exciting to think something from another star, another part of our galaxy, is coming close enough for us to get a good look at.

I can’t help but imagine how the world would react if it turned out this was something of intelligent origins… something built. Would people be excited? Scared? In denial? All of the above? Would it draw us together as a species knowing we have more in common with each other than whatever beings sent it? Or would we just find more ways to be divided over it?

I hope one day to find out…

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The Orville, Episode 9

In another somewhat dull episode of The Orville, all the crew members fall in love with each other. This one was more focused on humor and relationship stuff than real adventure or thoughtful things.

The blue alien that Kelly cheated on Ed with ends up on the ship as a forensic archaeologist, to determine which of two warring species has a true ancestral claim to a contested planet. While he’s on the ship, his hormones cause anyone he touches to fall in love with him–or anyone else he’s touched.

It was fun seeing Captain Mercer go all gaga for the guy he hated just moments ago, and the slime blob sex scene was interesting/messed up. But, there wasn’t much thought provoking–and yes I know it’s a comedy show, but it’s gotten its self a reputation to upkeep in my eyes!

Using the love pheramones to resolve the thousands of years old dispute was obvious and also silly. Though it was humorous seeing those two previously enraged enemies holding hands and googoo eyeing like teenage lovers, in reality after a few days when it wears off they’ll be even more pissed at each-other that it happened at all.

Still better than Discovery, though.

Annihilation movie

Have you seen this trailer?

I’m excited mostly by the ‘writer and director of Ex Machina‘ which is one of the few good sci fi movies to come out in years. The concept and ambiance of this novel (Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy)) was very creepy, weird, and interesting, and if they can translate it into film it will be awesome!

It’s a big if, though. The trailer always looks awesome, but movies are experts at being piles of crap that look nice.

Every once in a while there is a gem though, like Ex Machina, or Arrival. I have some hopes that this could be one of those!

And if it is… maybe we’ll get two more with Authority (The Southern Reach Trilogy) and Acceptance (The Southern Reach Trilogy)!

Solaris (film)

I watched this, partially on the plane and partially after arriving, and my first thoughts were ‘they sure don’t make movies like this anymore’ and ‘music is very overused in modern movies’.

This was a very slow, quiet, and subtle movie. There were lots of long, silent shots of scenery, and of characters looking at things. The first 45 minutes of the movie are mostly the main character looking at a pond and some trees. (not even exaggerating)

But it builds tension, and ambiance, and it sets the tone without forcing you into the mood with music. There is barely any music in the entire movie, and when it is there, it’s used very strategically, which makes it much more impactful.

I wonder what I would have thought of this had I not read the novel first. I probably would have been more impressed. Because despite the positive things I’ve been saying, this movie was very slow and not a lot happened. Looking at it from a story perspective, rather than style, the story doesn’t even really start until nearly 1/3 into the movie. The novel starts right at the action, but the movie decidedly does not.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this to anyone other than film buffs or huge sci fi fans. It probably does not provide what people expect from a movie these days. That being said, I enjoyed it, and I think the absence of music in it will really hold a magnifying glass on music use in movies I watch in the future.

Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem

The end of this novel went in a different direction than I expected. I was drawn into it right away and was excited by the story and the ideas and the potential, but it feels like in the end it left much unexplored.

There was a lot of attention focused on the technical details, research, and visual details of the alien ocean. This did lend a lot to the realism of the world, but I think I would have preferred more about the effects on the characters. We never did get to find out who or what the other character’s ‘guests’ were.

I also wondered about the first version of Harey that was sent up in the rocket… what ever happened to her?

Over all an amazing book that left me wanting more, and one that I’m sure I’ll think about for some time.

Your darkest secret

I’ve been listening to Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem, and it is so far amazing.

Imagine your darkest, most embarrassing, strangest thought. The thing you are most ashamed or guilty for thinking–maybe it just popped into your head, unplanned, as thoughts often do. Now imagine that thought made flesh, and following you around for all to see.

The 2002 movie version of this book is a watered down love story, that hardly scratches the surface of the weirdness in this book… and I’m only at the beginning. The 1972 version is supposed to be much better, but I haven’t seen it. I’ll probably watch it after I finish.

I definitely have missed the psychological side of sci fi, and am enjoying this a lot.

 

Alien Covenant: why

There’s a first time for everything, and I guess people who haven’t seen any alien movies might find this interesting and exciting. But can you even make it into adulthood without being exposed to the xenomorph and the chest burster and face hugger? Is it going to be shocking or scary in the least to see these things again and again? Why? Why can’t you just create something new?

Money, that’s why.

Money: the bane of art.