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Robinson L on The Wonderful Shitbag of Oz
at 20:02 on 12-05-2017 - link
I’ve been working through an audiobook recording of The Once and Future King by T. H. White, and was struck by this quote by Merlyn in The Sword in the Stone, which makes for an excellent commentary on this movie’s protagonist and his character arc:
“Only fools want to be great.” Well said, Merlyn, well said.
- Robinson L on Kickstopper: That Is Not Dead Which Can Eternally Restructure (Part 2) at 20:00 on 12-05-2017 - link Next time I’m in Great Britain I shall have to make another foray out to Oxford, if only to see you in your glorious new fez, Arthur.
Robinson L on Nick-You're-Not-The-One
at 15:30 on 12-05-2017 - link
Interesting. I think I heard one of Mamatas’ Lovecraft pastiches in podcast form years ago, but I remember practically nothing about it. I believe I thought it was okay, but I obviously didn’t find it memorable.
I find Mamatas as a writer a decidedly odd duck. I first encountered him in Star Wars on Trial, writing for the prosecution, where he contributed one of the most vitriolic criticisms of the franchise – which I obviously don’t agree with. On the other hand, I mostly liked the other half dozen or so nonfiction pieces of his that I’ve read.
There’s also Arbeitskraft, a steampunk novelette about Friedrich Engels digitizing Marx’s writings in an attempt to complete Das Kapital (and getting involved in some other shenanigans too, of course). The story goes all-in on transhumanism at its conclusion as well, although the way I read the very ending, there’s a certain amount of ambiguity about whether this might actually go awry. But I enjoyed it anyway for all the Marxian history and politics dimensions.
Shim on The Fouling of the Howling
at 19:06 on 05-05-2017 - link
I find it very pleasing how these articles can take something I just wouldn't watch, and still turn it into engaging and entertaining reads. Even when it's clearly very bad!
You do really have to wonder sometimes how these bizarre sequels happen. I mean, someone clearly makes a series of decisions where you end up with something basically unrelated except where it makes the sequel actively worse - but presumably not on purpose.
Arthur B on Troy Had A Company
at 12:06 on 06-04-2017 - link
Update: Troy has begun rolling out his Clear Lakes 44 replacement, ECKVA. Initially it was a bunch of mysterious ARG-y stuff at a website (eckva.net) along with short, near plotless videos released on the YouTube channel. The subreddit is perhaps the best place to get caught up on the ARGy elements.
The 6th video, however, seems to have a plot coalescing and some pointers as to what we are seeing. To wit:
- ECKVA seems to be a company which was supposed to have closed down ages back.
- The person running the YouTube channel had some past dealings with them.
- They recently inherited an old house where they've discovered that they can pick up broadcasts from some sort of ECKVA system which was supposed to have been shut down ages ago.
- They have set up equipment in the old house to intercept the transmissions and upload them to the Internet automatically. (Interestingly, we don't seem to have access yet to the "raw" footage that's been uploaded - what goes on the YouTube channel is instead picked out by our narrator and has commentary added. Which has the potential for an interesting late-series reveal if we end up getting at the original uploads.)
This is a way more substantive plot that we got in Clear Lakes 44, so I'll be interested to see where things go from here.
Robinson L on I, Reader
at 20:15 on 03-04-2017 - link
@Arthur: That’s true about 50s sensibilities, or so I gather. Maybe he just changed his mind.
Orion: I tend to look at science-fiction as a safe space to float ideas with troubling implications or outright dangerous applications and sort out where the problems are.
See, I dunno about that. I mean, yes, if it actually engages with the troubling implications or dangerous applications, sure, but what I recall of Evitable Conflict was pretty close to unequivocal endorsement of society being ruled by a benevolent dictatorship of machines, which I respond to the same way I respond to any hideously creepy ideas put forth to me uncritically in fiction. Now, if the story were novella or novel length, and actually explored some of the major potential drawbacks, and either made the case that they’re not actually valid, or that they are but they’re still better than the alternatives, I could at least evaluate the arguments the story put forward, if that's what you mean. But I don’t remember it doing any of that.
I still probably wouldn’t agree with it though, because my reading of how the universe operates is that wisdom comes from the bottom up, rather than from the top down; from the aggregated micro views, rather than the macro, so the idea that any being or system is better suited to administrate from a top down position rather than bottom up is going to be a really tough sell for me personally.
Re: Marx and Smith
Marx was critical of Smith (and Ricardo), but also greatly admired the two as economic thinkers, so the idea that there’s a significant overlap between them isn’t that surprising.
However, along with arguing for public rather than private ownership of the means of production, Marx was also emphatic about the need for the proletariat to be masters of their own destinies and have command over their own work – he and Engels even cited liberal democracy as a crucial element to building a communist society. Looked at from that angle, putting machines in the driver’s seat bossing over the humans as in Evitable Conflict is pretty much the opposite of what Marx was pushing for.
- Arthur B on Falling Down the Whirlpool at the End of the Sidewalk at 10:08 on 03-04-2017 - link ...it occurs to me, in fact, that the writers probably realised that they needed the coverup to retain Bruce's motivation for becoming Batman.
Arthur B on Falling Down the Whirlpool at the End of the Sidewalk
at 10:04 on 03-04-2017 - link
Yeah, that example totally makes sense as a "I am going to persuade you to join me in an incriminating crime so that your personal mortality gets eroded by breaking this taboo and you end up with this difficult-to-shake connection to me I can play on to ensure your loyalty" thing. Especially when used against a naive cop panicking about someone being dead on their watch.
But of course, that isn't necessarily how the show plays it.