Tag Archives: scifi

#scifitop7 Movies, With Brief Reviews

The #scifitop7 hashtag is back! This week’s #scifitop7 is gonna be movies. Not just blockbusters, but any #scifi movie you hold dear (later in the summer, we’ll go to blockbusters, indies et cetera).

In no particular order, my top seven science fiction movies are:

Alien: Scary, intelligently rendered and tense, this movie is a total genre-buster. It featured Ellen Ripley as one of the earliest modern examples of a female protagonist who combines intensity and complexity, in the type of role typically reserved for men (especially in the late 1970s); it also manages to be scary and outlandish without the plethora of plot holes that plague so many of its kind (and plagued, for example, its latest successor, Prometheus).

Blade Runner: Based on the Philip K. Dick story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, this movie is another Ridley Scott hybrid. It’s classically sci-fi in many of its trappings, but it’s also a compelling rumination on how we define, and defend, our concept of humanity. Rutger Hauer, the leader of a band of escaped android slaves known as Replicants, has some of the best one-liners ever delivered, including: “quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” And then there’s always the classic “tears in rain” soliloquy…a last-second appeal to empathy from the John Brown (yes, I said it) of replicants.

The Thing: A faithful cinematic rendering of a Cold War-era story called Who Goes There?, John Carpenter’s 1982 movie was a claustrophobic look into the breakdown of civility and trust among a group that once thought they knew each other. It’s an allegory for many things, and its lack of gender diversity (along with Twelve Angry Men, it’s probably the only all-male cast movie that I actually have any regard for) is situationally conceivable due to the setting (an arctic expedition)–and is also offset by an ahead-of-its time ethnic diversity, including African-American characters who aren’t all the same guy. As we know, I tend to favor movies that manage to avoid ethnic and gender reductiveness without obviously trying so hard as to overdo it or distort the story…but I digress. This movie isn’t great because of the cast, though like the others on this list, it’s quite well acted. It’s great because it shows how ordinary folks behave when fear and mistrust catch fire in a group setting.

Gattaca: This is an interesting, methodically paced, well acted movie that is yet another rumination on how we define ourselves as human beings. In a society almost entirely driven by eugenics, a person of predetermined low caste decides to “pass’ into high society. Relevant in any time, independent of the more futuristic aspects of the story.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Not science fiction, you say? Consider the premise: the invention of a machine that can erase one’s unwanted memories. The movie follows a possibly doomed love story between a passive-aggressive head case and a mean-spirited narcissist, and inspires us to ponder both the meaning of love and the value of lessons learned. In many ways, it’s an updated version of Philip K. Dick’s We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, except that PKD’s story was made into Total Recall–a classic cinematic case of ‘great idea, interesting premise, cheesy movie with a focus on all the wrong elements.’ If only Total Recall hadn’t been made in the 1980s, with Arnold as the protagonist…alas. Eternal Sunshine is a frustrating, thought provoking movie, well acted and worth watching a couple of times.

28 Days Later: Again, not sure if it’s sci fi? If The Andromeda Strain is science fiction, then so is a movie about a human-engineered “rage virus” that runs amok and almost crashes what we call civilization. This move has it all, and operates at a multitude of levels: it’s epic and panoramic in feel, yet both the violence and the relationships (the moment when papa-bear Frank apologizes for losing his temper, then tells Hannah “I love you very much…keep away from me” before changing over, still gets me every time) have an intense, first-person feel. 28 Days Later explores the breakdown of civilization, the awful choices people make in extreme times, the transcendence of a few brave souls, and the catastrophe that can ensue when humans tinker with virology. it’s got a strong (afro-Brit, moreover) female protagonist and non-reductive ethnic diversity. I think it’s Danny Boyle’s best film, and it’s probably my favorite film, and if not, then it’s mighty close.

That’s my list! Feel free to agree or disagree, diplomatically of course, with my list or with each other. Stay tuned for upcoming #scifitop7 lists, and follow me on Twitter @firstcausenyc to keep the conversation going.

Again, my #scifitop7 movies (not in order): Alien; Blade Runner; The Thing (1982); Gattaca; 2001; 28 Days Later; Eternal Sunshine/Spotless Mind


Interviews With Scifi Author Paul West

Cover of First Cause

Cover of First Cause

In two in-depth interviews with DJ Kory on the BreakThru Radio show Book Talk, author Paul West talks about First Cause, its themes and its inspirations. Paul & Kory also chat about music, politics, sports, society and some of their favorite artists and authors. You can download both podcasts as mp3s (listen to them on itunes or Windows Media Player) and listen to them for free. Continue reading


@firstcausenyc is today’s guest on #scifichat onTwitter!

I’m today’s guest on #SciFiChat on Twitter, at 3pm EST, and the topic is “Social Science Fiction”–drop in and chat with us! My Twitter handle is @firstcausenyc . Join the conversation via this link: http://tweetchat.com/room/scifichat


Coming Soon: Beta-Testing An Excerpt From The First Cause Sequel

First Cause: Homecoming is under construction–stay tuned! In the meantime, a brief First Cause snippet:

After hanging up the phone, Angela wandered to the chosen meeting place to wait for Adam. She sat on a bench, knowing she had a bit of time to kill, and buried her head in her hands. She wondered if she was doing the right thing.

Since birth, Angela and hundreds of thousands of fellow Luceri–collectively known as Terranauts–had been raised on a secluded compound on their home planet of Lucero, as part of an intricate long-range plan called the Terra Project. Representing a generation and a half of highly disciplined warriors, the Terranauts were schooled heavily in selected areas of human history as well as a myriad of combat and survival techniques; the stated purpose of the Project was the repatriation of the Luceri people to Earth, their original home planet. Angela was one of a relatively small number of Terranauts who had been sent to Earth’s industrial centers as advance scouts.

As part of their schooling, Terranauts were repeatedly reminded that they were on the front end of a new era in Luceri civilization, and that theirs was a vital role in the future of the human species. They were sworn to secrecy–a level of secrecy that would have alarmed the average Luceri–about the precise details of their training; in fact, the vast majority of Luceri were unaware of their existence. The average Luceri, Terranauts were told, was not sufficiently informed in certain areas of terrestrial and Luceri history to properly grasp the Project’s context and objectives. As such, Angela and her fellow Terranauts were taught to be proud of their birth into this most select of groups, and to regard terrestrials as kin, but also to use force if it was necessary to make them understand the necessity and inevitability of this next stage in history. Angela had absorbed this instruction as might anyone indoctrinated from birth to the exclusion of opposing viewpoints, and though she had been something of an independent thinker compared with her fellow trainees, her mental acuity combined with what she had been told about the terrestrials to reinforce a guiltless superiority complex.

Cover of First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

Cover of First Cause


First Cause in the Indie Spotlight

Figured I’d repost. Enjoy!

http://www.theindiespotlight.com/?tag=first-cause

Cover of First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

Cover of First Cause


Adam Grey, on progress:

“Society has to evolve in order for humankind to evolve…otherwise we’re just dependent on outliers, on the occasional outstanding person of genius or conscience, to bring us along. And even then, sometimes the occasional person of genius doesn’t have much conscience…or the occasional person of conscience doesn’t have much genius.”

–To learn more about First Cause, click here; to buy First Cause as an ebook, click here.

Cover of First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

Cover of First Cause


Happy 2013!!!!

Dear readers,

I wish all of you, and all the world, a progressive, prosperous and positive 2013. Thank you for reading (spread the word, if you will); I hope I’ll be able to entertain and somewhat inspire you in the coming year. Happy New Year! 🙂

“We don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Howard Zinn

PW

Cover of First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

Cover of First Cause