Capture the Flag, troubling brochures, and Grover gets a bit creepy. Oh, and something-something-prophecy. All this and more on the sixth chapter of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Titan’s Curse, aka…
Archives for April 2015
Season 3, Episodes 3 & 4:
**** out of *****
“Goodbye, you big, beautiful, blue bitch.”
I’m sorry to say that I lost all of my notes for these two episodes when my laptop died, so unfortunately this two-parter won’t get the attention that it deserves. It’s a great little thriller, on top of which it introduces a new shipmate (shrill and annoyingly petulant as she may be), and, most wrenching of all, takes Zhaan away from us. But I can’t put it off any longer, so let’s dive in and take these two episodes at the same time! [Read more…]
After a brief hiatus, I’m pleased to announce that the Guest Geeks feature has now returned! (Always, always use quality locks and chains on any dungeon guest facility for your geek-wrangling. I had a security breach and it took far too long to round everybody up again using those over-sized butterfly nets.) But the wait has been well worth it, because I’ve got a great one for you today from fellow geek and Seattleite Nick Fraser. And hey, if you’re in Seattle yourself, you can join Nick and a bunch of other awesome geeks at the Wayward Coffeehouse for a showing of the 1960 version of The Time Machine at 8pm on Sunday, May 9th. I’ll be there, and you should be, too.
Take it away, Nick!
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Or the moment I’ve all been waiting for. (That’s right, I’ve been waiting for this so long that I’ve become plural! Can you handle us right now?) Apollo finally shows up in the fourth chapter of Michael Reads Percy Jackson: The Titan’s Curse, a.k.a…
Thalia Torches New England
As a Seahawks fan, I can get behind this title. [Read more…]
Hi everyone! For those of you waiting for the next Percy Jackson entry or Farscape rewatch, please know that they’re coming! The Great Laptop Implosion last week wiped out what I had for the next chapter and the next two episodes, and having to re-do what I’d already done is never as much fun. (I make notes in Word on my laptop as I read/watch, then I go from there to actually write the post, only moving things online in the final stage.)
The rest of my last few days have been taken up with other things such as seeing/reviewing Ex Machina, writing more of A Dragon at the Gate, a guest post for another website (I’ll tell you about that when it’s live) and taking part in a podcast about mythology. Oh, and I also did some laundry and went to Costco. Are you not FASCINATED?! 😉
But I do have something quick to amuse you. Earlier today I was out in one of my writing haunts when I looked out the window at the outside table that I was sitting next to and saw this little AT-AT doing a bit of writing of its own…
A few weeks back I made a quick post about Ex Machina, a sci-fi film written and directed by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd), declaring my interest after seeing the trailer. It’s still in limited release here in the United States, but tonight I got the lucky chance to see a free screening here in downtown Seattle attended by Garland himself.
After a young programmer named Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a company lottery to spend a week at the secluded home of CEO and tech genius billionaire Nathan (Oscar Isaac), Nathan asks him to spend that week performing the Turing Test on the android Ava (Alicia Vikander) to determine whether she possesses true artificial intelligence. Isolated with a technological marvel and an intimidating eccentric monitoring his every moment, Caleb’s Turing Test swiftly enters uncomfortable territory.
Ex Machina is an excellent, thought-provoking, science fiction film that intrigues its audience as much with its atmosphere as with its ideas. From the beginning, through both the secluded setting and the subtle, unsettling undertones of Isaac’s portrayal of Nathan, an undercurrent of creepiness pervades the film. Nathan’s home is more research laboratory than a house. Keycards control access. Doors lock during intermittent, unexplained power outages. Caleb is not allowed access to the outside world due to the sensitive nature of Nathan’s work. Yet the film keeps the viewer off-balance with occasional–and well-placed–bouts of humor that both a) keep the tone from feeling so single-minded as to be tiring and b) accentuate the creepiness for the contrast.
Which isn’t to say that Nathan and his home aren’t the only sources of creepiness here. Vikander plays Ava with a charming, innocent seductiveness that draws Caleb and the viewer closer to her despite the unease of knowing that he’s interacting with…what? A machine pretending at being sentient, or an actual consciousness? And if the latter, then just what does that mean?
Ex Machina kept me guessing. Most of the time, I didn’t quite know where the film would wind up. It doesn’t telegraph its ending, and as the details of every step along the way unfolded themselves, rarely was it ever what I expected (save for once–and that’s not to say that’s a bad thing, either). It’s a bit of a mind-screw in a number of ways, which I won’t spoil here.
Furthermore, the film avoids clichés that one often finds in stories dealing with androids, A.I.s, and humans. It also avoids telling the viewer exactly what to think about what occurs, but rather presents itself and lets us decide what to think about it all. In fact, in a Q&A after the film ended, when asked what message he wanted audiences to take away from this film, Alex Garland responded that his goal was not to give a specific message but to start conversations, as the subjective nature of experiencing it could lead to many different points of view.