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Reviewed: The BBC’s “Brave New World” Movie

The BBC is well known for its science fiction. Doctor Who is simply the most well-known. They have also been making science fiction movies based on classics like “1984” and “Brave New World”. The 1980 BBC version of “Brave New World” stands out for both its innovative style and its respect for the source material.

Larry Niven’s Forgotten Fictional Universe

The “Known Space” fictional universe includes characters like ARM agent Gil Hamilton and a Pak Protector’s unwitting human victim, Jack Brennan. Those storylines are mostly forgotten. The Man-Kzin Wars set in this universe is so popular that there are multiple, recent short story collections published based on it. The most famous storyline is the Ringworld Saga. There’s even been discussion of a TV show based on it.

Then there’s “The State Series”. It shares a few assumptions as the Known Space universe. Earth’s population hits 15-20 billion, a tyrannical oppressive government takes over to control population and manage resources. In the “Known Space” universe, the government had mother hunts for illegal births and suppresses disruptive technology. However, it is not totally oppressive. The rich may drive race cars and live in restored English villas while millions live in a single room apartment that recycles everything.

In “The State”, the government that arises is far more oppressive and echoes the worst of Communist regimes. Food, water and other essentials are carefully rationed for the working class. Births are strictly controlled and done per eugenic guidelines. There are even checkers, political officers, based on the Soviet Union’s chekists.

The Psychology Underlying Robert Heinlein’s ‘Friday’

The titular character “Friday” in the novel of the same name is an artificial person. She’s quite human, but she was created in a lab, born via an artificial uterus and raised in a corporate crèche. Her society sees her as inferior, and she sees herself as inferior. That is despite her greater speed, strength and intelligence. I spent a while wondering why, and then it hit me. It is as much due to her upbringing as the much vaunted “conditioning”, though both are by design. Furthermore, social engineering (or a good PR campaign) of broader society has been undertaken for the same purpose.

Why New Exoplanet Discoveries Explain the Dearth of Aliens

Drake’s Equation is a simple formula for estimating the odds of finding intelligent aliens. At first glance, the massive number of exoplanets we’re finding in surveys suggest that there are plenty of opportunities for aliens to develop. However, there are several reasons why the other findings are discouraging.

A Look at “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”

The “And Philosophy” series of books by Open Court Press generally involves two dozen philosophers giving their take on science fiction books, TV shows and movies. I’ve reviewed several of their more recent books like “The Handmaid’s Tale and Philosophy” and “Bladerunner 2049 and Philosophy”.

The “Bladerunner” is a deep franchise by design. The first movie makes you ask yourself what makes you human while encapsulating a very Biblical narrative of a fallen angel rebelling (and killing) his creator. Roy Batty kills not only his creator but the holy trinity of sorts, the creator of eyes/wisdom and the son of his creator, the rather innocent Jesus-analog. “Bladerunner 2049” begins with the birth of a child, the revelation of which threatens to overturn the moral order and liberate an oppressed people. At the same time, a corporate King seeks to claim the child (and likely dissect him/her) while his right hand angel kills, maims, and deceives to follow her false God’s will. Niander Wallace’s god-complex is his only well-defined, personal characteristic aside from being blind. He just wants to possess and likely corrupt the child to build an army to storm heaven. He’s compared to the Demiurge or false material world god in one of the “Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy” chapters.

Pulling Your Cosmic Trigger: Why July 23 Is Robert Anton Wilson Day

An Overview of the Unique Sci-Fi Novelist and Occult Explorer Who Made Contact With *Something* Today in 1973

If I had to pick a single author who has influenced me more than any other it would be the counterculture godfather Robert Anton Wilson whose books, speeches, and ideas have influenced generations of oddball individualists since the 1970s.

 

Sci-Fi Book Review: ‘The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories’

“The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories” by Walter Jon Williams encapsulate his expectations for a post-scarcity, post-Singularity world. These are worlds where you can upload your mind to a permanent virtual reality or raise children in them to be downloaded later. Nearly every one consists of worlds where nano-beds can scan your body, your mind and maybe even your soul to be downloaded into the body of your choice. Whether a gorilla body on Earth or adapted body on an alien colony world is up to you. Each story asks a different question while seeking to answer it.

Could You Make a Disease Kill All of the X?

Could you make a disease kill all members of one group or another? In theory, yes.

Could you create a disease that kills all members of one sex? That premise has already been presented in several horror novels. In Frank Herbert’s novel “The White Plague”, it is a virus engineered to kill women and works only in those with two X chromosomes. In the book “Epitaph Road”, it is a genetically engineered virus that kills only men. The virus can only infect cells with Y chromosomes.

Why Brain Uploading and Telepathy Are Impossible

One of the tenets of the Singularity is that we’ll be able to upload our brains to a digital afterlife, escaping the confines of our current bodies. This is also one of the key drivers of the desire to create human-level awareness in AI; it has to be as intelligent, aware, and soulful as us if we’re going to digitize our souls. You even see lesser versions of this, such as the “Black Mirror” episode where a woman underwent surgery to create a digital copy of herself to act as her assistant.

Why Does Nearly Everyone in Scifi Pay in Credits?

Whether you’re reading a near future dystopia or science fiction adventure far in the future and equally far from Earth, odds are that you’re going to read about someone paying in credits. Why?

First, credits are universal. It plays on the word “credit card” and “line of credit”, so everyone knows it represents money or value. You can simply call the alien currency “Alien empire’s credits”. And the human Federation can have their own credits. You don’t have to invent currency names people have to remember. You don’t have to explain its meaning to the reader like gold-pressed latinum in Star Trek. It is simple shorthand that works in any work of fiction. Then you have more grace for inventing new words to refer to places, technologies and people.

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