What We Talk About When We Talk About Sexy Robots

Speculative fiction is, at its best, a tool for presenting complex concepts in easily relatable packages. From Star Trek modelling a post-racial world for 60s audiences, to Alien Nation and District 9 discussing immigration and integration and prejudice, to Battlestar Galactica's attempts to reconcile faith and science, and its explorations of artificial longevity and serial incarnation, good science fiction, meaningful speculative fiction, has always tried to do something with its premise beyond the merely spectacular.

Ex Machina is very good science fiction, indeed.

A lovely alternate poster, courtesy of Francesco Francavilla


Must See TV, Indeed!

I've talked about The Expanse, before; a book series, written by James S. A. Corey, that deals with intersecting storylines surrounding events that begin with the disappearance of a wealthy dilettante and the destruction of a cargo ship, and ends with... well, given that it's a still-ongoing series, and given what's happened in the series up until this point, it's hard to say where it's going to end.  Though given how quickly things spiral out of control once it really gets going, it's safe to say that it's certainly not going to end with anything that looks all that much like where we started.  The Expanse is brilliant, it's massive, it's detail oriented without being impenetrable, and it's vast without losing track of those all-important human relationships.  It's definitely one of the best book series I've read in a long time.

And now, it's one of the best television shows I've seen in a long time, too.


The Fandom Re-Awakens

Really, is there anything else I could write about for my grand re-entry into the blogging world?

That's right. We're going to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

(The film will now pause for ten minutes while the audience applauds wildly.)
Although I could, of course I could, I'm going to restrain myself from talking about the movie in relation to the history of Star Wars; the prequels, the old Expanded Universe, all those sorts of things. I absolutely will go into those issues at some point, because good heavens is there ample fodder for discussion there! But it feels appropriate to start with the movie, not as the obliteration of nearly twenty-five years of continuity (that's right, I count from the Thrawn Trilogy; suck it, Splinter of the Mind's Eye!) or the rectification of the poor choices and missed opportunities of the now-decade-old prequel trilogy, but as nothing more or less than a movie in its own right. Because ultimately, it has to stand and fall as that.

So, The Force Awakens. Is it any good?