The 3 Body Problem // Cixin Liu [Thoughts + Spoilers]

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Plot: The Cultural Revolution is laid out for 50 pages and characters that no one knows nor cares about die/suffer. The only one left standing is a woman who will eventually sell out humans to aliens living in the Alpha Centauri System [off-camera]. In modern times, a scientist/nanotech engineer[?] called Wang forgets his family so he can focus on a video game called The Three Body Problem. It’s not a hard game, not as hard as the original Mega Man, and he quickly comes across the alien plot to take over Earth. Luckily, it will take 400 years for the aliens to arrive. Unluckily, they’ve invented nine dimensional protons that fly to Earth and do their best Stasi impression, which in effect limits humans to doing nothing scientifically for the next 400 years, which in turn will allow the aliens to land on Earth and do what?

Subplot: Disregarding the blurb on the back of the cover, 100 odd pages are dedicated to flashbacks of the traitor scientist figuring out how to send a signal to aliens without telling us that’s what she’s doing even though we know that’s what she’s doing cos we’ve read the blurb on the back cover.

Subplot: Wang’s wife asks for a divorce.

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The above summary of the plot may come across as negative, but I enjoyed about half of this book, especially the parts focused on the video game and the three body aliens themselves.

However, it takes a long while to get there.

The biggest problem is definitely the opening 50 pages or so. If you’re gonna write a sci-fi book that starts with some historical context, at least write it well. Or organise it well. Or make it involving, either emotionally or concept-wise. What Liu has done is write a succession of scenes that involve characters we don’t get to know at all and then kill them off. Continue reading

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Blake the leader of men

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Sashimi?

Not until free men can think and ski

Crawl inside the walls

Check on Avon

 

Follow sandy occultists on twitter

Halve Jenna

Break into sewage plant

Push idea

 

Send Callie to the sex moon don’t let her invent things

Rotate Servelan

Fumigate

Self-publish

Cover with tits.

 

Continue reading

Blake’s 7 [Redux] // S01E03 – Cygnus Alpha

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Trying to phase out the sleaze, but it keeps creeping back…

If you can’t be bothered checking the categories at the side, here’s where the other Blake’s 7 reduxes are:

The Way Back

Space Fall

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EXT: SURFACE OF PENAL COLONY, CYGNUS ALPHA

A man dressed like a monk raises a machete and chops a cooked animal in half. There’s a noise nearby and a woman also dressed like a monk appears, telling the man that the federation ship has arrived in the sky.

‘That shooting star up there?’

‘It’s a big ship.’

‘Well-lit, too.’

‘’tis true.’

The man frowns, wondering if any of the new prisoners are either a] bigger than him or b] sexier than him.

‘I guess I’ll leave dinner here and go tell Brian Blessed that the new prisoners have arrived.’

‘The new believers…’ corrects the woman.

‘Huh?’

‘They are believers, not prisoners.’

‘Right. What is it we believe again?’

‘Indulging Brian Blessed.’

The man rubs his nose bridge. ‘He did the Iago monologue last night.’

‘Soft then loud but never really soft?’

The man nods. ‘As if I  were at the back row of a stadium.’

‘You did the Lord’s work. Now go.’

‘Going.’

The woman swishes her hand leftwards and the man trots off in that direction. After staring up at the sky for a bit, the woman walks the opposite way, off the quarry set and straight into a barrage of ‘show us your crystal balls, luv.’

She shakes it off, reminding herself over and over that it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

 

INT: PENAL SHIP COCKPIT, SAME ONE FROM SPACE FALL

The young lieutenant walks through a door with Flight Control Deck stencilled on it and tells the captain that the prisoners are all high as fuck and looking forward to Cygnus Alpha. Continue reading

Blake’s 7 [Redux] // S01E02 – Space Fall

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It’s been a while, but you can find the first episode redux [The Way Back] here

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INT: SPACESHIP/BBC STOREROOM, ONE CIRCULAR WINDOW TO SHOW BLACKNESS OF SPACE, LOTS OF CONVICTS SITTING ON CLASSROOM CHAIRS, NO TATTOOS

Blake sits with his back to the window, restrained by a piece of ribbed plastic tubing curving round his torso.

He surveys the convicts in front of him.

‘Who wants to join my crew?’

Half of them raise their hands.

‘Who knows how to act?’

Hands drop.

‘Okay. Jenna, Vila, Gan, young-looking student.’

Young looking student grins. ‘Hi, I’m…’

‘Should be enough.’

 

SWITCH TO: SHIP COCKPIT/DRIVE ROOM/BRIDGE/ROOM WITH 3 CHAIRS AND CARDBOARD CONTROL PANELS

An old-ish guy tells his crew of two to say some random numbers and set course for Cygnus Alpha. They repeat the numbers for a few seconds then the youngest crew member, we’ll give him the rank of lieutenant, goes back to the book he was studying. Continue reading

Not Another Mishima

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Gena Rowlands met with the scientists somewhere near Almeria, Southern Spain. She didn’t know this but they were the same scientists who’d brought back Pol Pot, the same scientists who’d predicted genocide holes = long distance space travel and the same scientists who would one day put the mind of a Japanese student into the body of an English lit student/gym instructor.

It was 1989.

‘Here’s what I want,’ said Gena, checking her watch. ‘My husband, John…you know him? He’s a director…was a director…he did Shadows and Faces and…Gloria. No? Doesn’t matter. The point is…what I want is my husband, alive again, via science.’

The scientists muttered something in Spanish.

‘I know, he’s dead. But only just. I mean, it happened a few weeks ago. But that doesn’t matter, right? From what I’ve heard of you guys, the science you can do, that doesn’t matter. Does it?’

The scientists nodded.

‘Cool. That’s cool. So the point is, what I want is…’ Gena paused, realising she’d said this part already. ‘Okay, you know what I want. Bring John back. My husband, bring him back to me.’

The scientists looked at each other.

‘You can do that, can’t you?’ Gena said, lighting up a cigarette. ‘I mean, I’m not just talking to a bunch of fucking actors here…am I?’

The lead scientist broke off from the others and led Gena to another part of the desert twenty metres away.

‘We can do it, of course. Explanations, however, are a different matter. Science is…it’s very complicated, the methods are…perhaps not so easy for you to understand.’

Gena breathed smoke on his jacket. ‘Try me.’ Continue reading

Mandy [SPOILERS]

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Director: Panos Cosmatos

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roach, Bill Duke, a bunch of real life cultists, The Cheddar Goblin

Plot: Red and Mandy live a peaceful life in the Shadow Mountains, a place that is idyllic during the day and nightmarishly red and misty at night. One day, Jeremiah Sand and his cult get lost on the way to the recording studio and pass by Mandy, who chooses the worst possible moment to look interesting. Sand decides that he must possess her so sends his goons to summon some demonic bikers and kidnap her.

Subplot: An overweight kid has a gnawing sense of dread as he suspects his new friends don’t like him as much as they say they do.

Subplot 2: Bill Duke sits in a trailer, worrying that ‘Fuck Off’ isn’t clear enough.

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Is there nothing else out there like Mandy?

I don’t watch enough movies to make that claim, but it is weird, and slow-paced, and it does have those moments that transcend expectations and make you think, J J Abrams would never have done that.

Instead of reviewing it, I’m gonna point out all those moments, in no real order.

Calling the satanic bikers using the rock of ??

As with most of the film, there’s no exposition about what the rock of ?? does or how it works or how Jeremiah Sand came across it, the cultists just park their van in the middle of a blood forest and blow on it. Then wait.

While waiting, the blond cultist who always has his mouth open, winds down the window, looks out at nothing, winds it back up again, pauses, winds it down again, looks out at nothing etc. The cultist who blew on the rock is caught in the foreground slowly losing his patience and maybe what’s left of his mind. In most other films, there would’ve been dialogue. In this one, nope.

When they’re not glued to their leader, these cultists hate each other. Continue reading

Suspiria 2

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‘Oi sing yan.

‘Mo chor.

‘Means alien?’

‘Yup.’

‘Okay…’ said Sila, looking to the left of his brain where he’d been told his language conduits were, ‘Oi sing yan hai…yee gah…chu lido…hai Heung Gong.’

‘Aliens are living in Hong Kong?’

‘Yup. Were the tones okay?’

The teacher smiled. The same way she’d smiled when he mixed up wife and grandma. ‘Some.’

‘I’ll take that.’

‘40% accurate.’

‘Ho geh.

‘Lei yau mo gin gwor oi sing yan?’

‘Huh?’

‘Have you ever seen an alien?’

‘Ah. Yau mo gin gwor. I knew that.’

‘Ho lak ju.

‘What?’

 

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The rest of the lesson carried on in pretty much the same way, the same way it’d gone for the last eight years since he’d first murdered ‘lei ho’, not realising he had to sing it, not say it, or say it but with elasticity, showing four tenths teeth and moving his mouth in an alien way, alien to the way he’d been taught while growing up, which wasn’t really taught either as sheep had once been geep, think had once been fink, and Batfink had probably always been Batfink. Continue reading