All Systems Red (Martha Wells)

Murderbot with no Asimov program just wants to watch TV, but is rudely interrupted by threats to its human clients and awkward social skills.

There’s not a lot more to say about this novella, very fast and fun, rather Heinleinian. Murderbot is adorable, a cyborg made from clonemeat with autism-spectrum social problems. The mystery/puzzle of the plot is deducible from evidence given, though the political rules aren’t, but they’re just there to drive Murderbot’s character study.

The science, where present, is inoffensive; some kind of expensive wormhole for FTL, otherwise plausible electronics, software, and cybernetics. Not much of the background is given, and I’d like more in this setting, perhaps a picaresque with a unit like Murderbot going star to star solving problems like the Incredible Hulk TV show.

“So, I’m awkward with actual humans. It’s not paranoia about my hacked governor module, and it’s not them; it’s me. I know I’m a horrifying murderbot, and they know it, and it makes both of us nervous, which makes me even more nervous.”

—Martha Wells, “All Systems Red”

★★★★★

Definition of Chutzpah: Dave Winer complaining someone else might shut off a blogging server without telling the users.

Wednesday Music Loves ’80s Glam

And while you’re listening, why not reread Less Than Zero (don’t watch the shitty movie, they just took the title and some character names) and American Psycho (do watch the partially-shitty movie, if only for the Huey Lewis scene, which is how I will always remember Jared Leto).

Here in the post-apocalyptic shithole of the 2010s, nothing’s lit in neon, I can’t get music videos on MTV or cheap, pure cocaine from trustworthy Colombianos, and I blame the Republicans.

Alas Brian Aldiss

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Brian Wilson Aldiss O.B.E. author, artist and poet, at his home in Oxford in the early hours of Saturday 19th August 2017, aged 92.

Some of the most influential books on me were Brian Aldiss’:

A common theme of much of his work is of adaptation, that life evolves and struggles even at the end of the Earth or civilization.

Waiting for Rick Godot

Sunday evening. No Rick & Morty yet. So what’s on?

  • The Bitch in Apartment 23: Krysten Ritter (alias Jessica Jones) is adorable as a mean slutty girl, but the show doesn’t work for me. I lack the ability to empathize with perky people, and screaming blondes exist only to be chased by guys/mothers in hockey masks.
  • What Happened to Monday: Grim, serious, pretentious stylistic imitation of Children of Men, Demolition Man, and Blade Runner; total nonsense unleavened by humor or science or characters. A “European Federation” facing overpopulation and starvation from climate change puts ID tags in everyone and cryofreezes multiple siblings like Simon Phoenix. People are buying dead rats from street vendors. Reality: The birthrates in Europe are far below replacement rate, and would have zero impact on climate change. China showed that one child policies don’t work. Rats don’t look like chicken inside, and are an inefficient food source; you cannot feed seven people on one Rattus norvegicus. Also cryofreeze doesn’t work except on dead bodies, and you can’t possibly get people to put their six-year-old child in a death freezer as shown. Rick & Morty is hard science & social theory compared to this.
  • Witnesses: French crime drama? Seems dry and dull, gloomy cinematography (they found a part of France as grim as Seattle or Scandanavia?), but opening with a weird graverobbing crime is interesting. I kind of like the characters, which is better than most shows. Despite my toddler-level French, I distrust the subtitles because they translate “le flic” (rather rude) more politely as “the force” instead of “cops” or “pigs”, and a few other tone shifts. Gonna keep watching this.

The Defenders

  • Why are they fighting in a sewer with glowing blue walls?
  • Fight choreography brought to you by people not even in the same shot.
  • Oh good we’re starting with racist rich white trash cultural appropriator Danny Rand, this can only go up, right?
  • “New York City”? Who says that, unless it’s followed by “Git a rope.”?
  • Alias is still a mopey drunk, so characterization is established.
  • Cage is boring, so there’s nothing new there.
  • Murdock takes all the best cases of chemicals (they’re in everything!) either crippling or superpowering people, gets $11 million in settlement = $1.1M + court costs for him, but he still wants to go beat up bad guys instead of blowing coke off a stripper’s ass.
  • Sigourney Weaver! In a terribly staged scene with awkward dialogue. I wish this shitshow would kill me, but sooner than weeks or months.
  • Long dramatic scenes going nowhere. I need to drink more than Alias to blackout thru this.
  • Cage: “Hero’s your word, not mine.” No, in the comics he & the less shitty Danny Rand ran a biz called “Heroes For Hire”.
  • Oh no it’s a natural(?) disaster which occurs about once a month in some places, so New Yorkers panic and light up Murdock’s windows with gel lights, not that he can see.

Well, that was Ep 1. I can’t even rate this, it’s just random scenes leading to nothing. Maybe I’ll watch E2 and see if it coalesces. Maybe I’ll just self-flagellate some other way.