November 2010

MOVIE REVIEW | Skyline Thumbnail

[Warning: Some mild spoilers.]

If the making of a movie is a series of steps in a long path to the finished product, then the makers of Skyline trod boldly on the first flagstone, took a misstep on the next, stubbed their toes on the third and generally staggered off balance the rest of the way.  The concept is as full of potential as one could want it to be: aliens invade, slaughter and eat the human race while a group of beautiful young people bunker down in an apartment building, fighting for their lives and arguing about what to do next.  Great movies have been based on ideas no more complex than this, but the makers of those movies glided more gracefully along the rest of the production path.

Skyline, though not awful, is not a great movie, nor even a good one.  It displays a respectable technical proficiency which any producer can purchase if his coffers are full.  This and the aforementioned concept are its strongest points.  It lacks artistry in all aspects where technical expertise cannot suffice, and suffers from that mild incoherence which results from underdeveloped and abandoned plot points.

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NEWS ROUNDUP | Star Trek Online, Human Action Figures Thumbnail

I just found out about this great website that has all of the episodes from every Star Trek tv series online for free. It’s probably not legal, so check it out while you can at WatchTrek!

Also, have a gander at this, I’m assuming photoshopped, image of a Jeffrey Tucker human action figure complete with plastic gold coins.

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Via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing comes word of this funny piece of flash fiction, a science fiction story disguised as a review of a set of $6,800.00 audio cables, themselves a free market wealth redistribution mechanism in disguise, designed to seduce gullible audiophiles out of their money.

We live underground. We speak with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives.

PLEASE! You must listen! We cannot maintain the link for long… I will type as fast as I can.

DO NOT USE THE CABLES!

We were fools, fools to develop such a thing! Sound was never meant to be this clear, this pure, this… accurate. For a few short days, we marveled. Then the… whispers… began.

Were they Aramaic? Hyperborean? Some even more ancient tongue, first spoken by elder races under the red light of dying suns far from here? We do not know, but somehow, slowly… we began to UNDERSTAND.

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Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Bruce Alexander

Wĭthûr Wē by Matthew Alexander

[Warning: Contains some spoilers, mainly in the 6th and 7th paragraphs.]

Every so often a book comes along that truly makes you appreciate writing as a subject; one that truly captures the imagery that we see and feel in our lives when we so often lack the time for reflection.

Wĭthûr Wē is such a book. Yet, such a recommendation doesn’t quite do it justice because its beautiful imagery is only a backdrop for a rich libertarian narrative and struggle of ideas.

Wĭthûr Wē is set several centuries in the future.  We never learn the exact year but late in the book we discover that it must be the 28th century.  Humans have colonized a small portion of the galaxy — perhaps a thousand light years across — but have yet to discover any alien civilizations.  Only the three million year old Ruins on the planet Kaldis provide any proof that non-human intelligence exists, or at least existed once, in the universe.

Alistair Ashley 3nn, the main character of the tale and mouthpiece of Rothbardian philosophy, has just returned from his tour of duty on Kaldis, a human colony at war over their form of government.  His experiences have obviously marked him, because those who knew him before he left remark on how different he now is, both physically and emotionally.  Alistair has prepared well for his return to Aldra, his home planet, and its tightly regulated — and therefore wÄ­thà»ring — economy.  Through a clever, and very sci-fi, technique, he smuggles instructions for making black market medicine and sells them to black market merchants.  He demands gold, not the easily inflatable Aldran Credit which is nothing more than a bit of electronic information stored on a magnetic strip.

Alistair, who has disavowed the 3nn which the government tacked onto his name, was taught the principles of libertarianism by his grandfather who died while he was “off” on Kaldis.  He returns angry at the atrocities he has seen and his anger only grows when he sees how much further towards serfdom his home planet has travelled in the four cycles (years) since he has been off.  When his father’s home is stolen by the government in an Aldran version of eminent domain, he uses the money from his medicine sale to begin his own private rebellion.  He begins by burgling the house of the politician who stole his father’s home, bitterly noting as he leaves that most people would consider Alistair the thief, and not the politician.

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