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  • Sharon Tootill 12:19 pm on February 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Netflix, sci-fi, ,   

    Review: Russian Doll 

    One of my favourite things outside of regular sci-fi, is almost sci-fi, with aspects of unexplained time travel or time loops. The film Groundhog Day has literally had at least 100 viewings in my home. In fact it’s one of a few movies that gets fished out every time anybody is ill – comfort viewing for the whole family.

    So on Groundhog Day this Saturday, Netflix took the opportunity of advertising its new sci-fi-esque mini series (8 episodes of around 20-25 minutes each) Russian Doll and of course I couldn’t resist.

    There was no coincidence that it chose Groundhog Day, since Russian Doll has a basic plot in common with Grounday Day: the main character is reliving the same day over and over, except rather than the re-set point being 6:00 am every morning, regardless, the loop starts when she dies, which may be in ten minutes or in two days. And she dies, and dies, and dies over and over again, sometimes hilariously.

    The mechanism is never quite explained, although “clues abound”. She is stuck at her 36th birthday party, and I won’t give you any more spoilers, because it is so good, please watch it but be aware that it’s not PG friendly, there is lots of sex and swearing, oh and drugs.

    I love that the main character, Nadia, is played by Natasha Lyonne who is also the writer, director and producer why has she never come to my attention before?). I’ve seen Russian Doll hailed as “The Bandersnatch we deserved”, and yes. Nadia as a game programmer, and at one point she declares, “I’m in the game, I’m Kirk Douglas” referring to the 1997 thriller. The idea of Bandersnatch was good, but it was lacking something; it isn’t thrilling or unpredictable in the same way Russian Doll is.

    I did personally like the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror, but it isn’t a patch on Russian Doll. Watch it, watch it again!

    Have you seen it? Tell me what you thought!

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  • Sharon Tootill 6:01 pm on January 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: sci-fi, ,   

    The Storyteller 

    storyteller

    Summary

    Chief O’Brien, along with Dr. Bashir, visits a community on Bajor that is plagued by a dangerous weather phenomenon which can only be dealt with by the village Storyteller. The Storyteller, the Sirah, dies and nominates O’Brien in his place, provoking the apprentice  Sirah, who should have been nominated, to murderous jealousy. The day is saved when O’Brien, who has no wish to become the village Storyteller, fails to tame the beast and has to call on the apprentice who only really needed the confidence to believe he could do it.

    Meanwhile on the station, two Bajoran tribes – the Paqu and the Navot come to Sisko for mediation of their territorial dispute. The leader of the Paqu is a pretty young thing who has inherited her position and feels she must prove herself. She violently objects to Quark calling her a ‘little lady’ and throws her drink over him (kind of confirming that she is an immature girl). Sisko tries to impress on her that this land dispute is not worth going to war over, but it is really Jake and Nog’s efforts to charm and befriend her that win her over.

    littlelady

    Comments

    Ah! These early episodes are just so random. They obviously hadn’t decided what Bajor or the Bajoran people would be like at this point, so they’re trying things out to see what fits and they have made these country bumpkin Bajorans ignorant and superstitious. This episode doesn’t really fit in with the overall thrust of the DS9 mythology, and when we do occasionally re-visit Bajor, the people seem to be quite different – always spiritual but not unscientific, and when they have later disputes they seem more mature and thoughtful (although they do seem to indulge in petty squabbles and they’re quite feisty and argumentative. I have always thought of Bajorans as being based on New Yorkers).

    The great thing about this episode is the beginning of the huge, series-long, arc of O’Brien and Dr Bashir’s relationship. At this point, they are not even friends, at all. O’Brien just can’t stand Julian who seems pompous and sickeningly full-of-himself, and completely oblivious to what other people think or feel. I would venture to say that Bashir’s character development over the entire series is the most interesting of any of them. He’s obviously not a particularly likeable character at this stage, and it’s hard to imagine that he could be the genius doctor he’s supposed to be when he’s so socially challenged.

    obrienjulian

    Application

    Um, well. I’m the Storyteller, obviously, and nobody can dispute that I am the rightful Sirah (well you can, but I may not approve your comments! lol!). I think I’m also the ‘little lady’, trying desperately to prove that I’m not,  always going to ‘war’ over things that don’t matter, and taking offence where none is meant. I haven’t done that so much lately though so hopefully I really have grown out of it. I think I can sometimes be Bashir as well, not noticing other people’s feelings (I may be a wee bit self-obsessed on occasion as well…)

    The true hero of this story in my opinion is Jake, who finds humour in a ridiculous situation, brings laughter and lightness to the table and that wins the day. In real life, that would be my Sisko. It used to infuriate me because – being the furious redhead Kira character that I am – I really wanted a fight, but he would never give me one. When he’s nervous or threatened or reprimanded, he laughs. And now, instead of smacking him one, I have learned to laugh with him. 😀

     
  • Sharon Tootill 12:13 pm on January 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , dystopian, plague, sci-fi   

    Crazy Sci-fi Dream 

    A crazy dream this time!

    In the dream, I seemed to be walking carrying a clipboard along a city street through a market with stalls, behind which the people selling had parked their caravans. Every now and then, I would pop inside one of the caravans and ask if everyone was alright.

    Finally, I came to a caravan and when I asked if everyone was alright, one of the women was alarmed because – she said – people were disappearing, and she didn’t know where her husband was. She gave me her phone and asked me to wait for a call about a birthday party and tell the caller that she would be there, and then she went off looking for her husband.

    Somebody else came in with diving goggles, saying that the last time he’d been seen, he had been wearing these (I didn’t question this!!). I said, they are probably infected and now you have brought it back here to us, we are probably infected too.

    Then the call came, and the caller projected himself out of the phone holographically. I told him that the woman said she would be at the party, but I thought that it wasn’t a good idea as it looked as though they were infected with the new plague. He immediately jumped back into the phone and disappeared. As he did so, the phone fizzed and crackled luminous green.

    The new person (can’t recall if male or female) pointed at me and said, look! You’re infected. I looked in the mirror and could see a kind of luminous green worm thing in my hair, but when I tried to get hold of it to remove it, my fingers missed it, as though it was not in the same time frame as the rest of us. (That is the obvious conclusion, right?)

    Next, I was suited up in a plastic yellow suit, boots and hood, walking through the sewers with some other scientists and testing everywhere for the infection with a little yellow scanner. I said that the only place that is immune is under the water line of the sewage. Everything above that is infected. So the only way we can counteract it is to go under….

    …..Ugh! But then the phone rang and woke me up, so I can’t tell if the plague of luminous green time worms is beaten by covering everything in sewage. O_O

    I guess we will never know!

     
  • Sharon Tootill 9:49 pm on December 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sci-fi, , , ,   

    Booting Up… 

    Woah, that’s weird. Skype just popped up and I have no idea how to use it. I’m really quite out of practice and behind the times with technological developments.

    I’ve been a little bit… isolated for the last 5 years. I might as well have been in outer space. And while I was offline, my DS9-based blog ‘The Bajoran Exile’ on Open Diary was deleted along with the whole platform. Sad days.

    But thankfully I found a remnant of it on the marvel that is the Wayback Machine (internet archive), and so hope to revive it somewhat and perhaps improve upon it.

    The original blog was written always in character, as Kira Nerys as I once identified with her very strongly. That season of my life has passed and so I probably won’t be writing with the same voice so much anymore. But hopefully you will recognise my voice as a Trek lover.

    I’m not sure I would say that Star Trek is my first love, but I was certainly a ‘Cradle Trekkie’. So much so that I believed quite firmly that my father played Spock in the original series. (There was a resemblance)

    I was quite tickled when my own children told me recently that they had believed when they were young that I played Captain Janeway in Voyager. I can’t claim much of a resemblance, other than reddish hair.

    Star Trek and science fiction / fantasy more broadly remain my escapism of choice, and I confess that I tend to see the world through the lens of Star Trek to a large extent. I think I might have gone a little bit mad without it.

    So, if you are anywhere on the spectrum of being a Trekkie/ Trekker – from mildly amused to seriously fanatic, I would love to connect with you.

    LLAP.

    lcarsani

     
  • Sharon Tootill 10:57 am on June 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cyborg, , robots, sci-fi,   

    Film Review: The Machine 

    I spent half an hour this morning writing a post about this fascinating film, and the internet ate my post. Ugh. So anyway, you can find the basic plot on Wikipedia.

    Here are my condensed thoughts. Warning! Spoilers!

    Netflix has this as a ‘G’ it is NOT a G or PG, it has some really brutal, bloody scenes.

    Now, I know I keep saying I’m not a feminist, but I saw this from a totally feminist perspective and that’s one of the things that made it so fascinating.

    It seems to me that Machine and the Cyborgs could be seen to represent a ‘new world, and perhaps the female world whereas everyone else represents the ‘old world’ of patriarchy.

    One of the scenes that I couldn’t understand to begin with is Suri killing a guard in a horrible scene where he is dowsed in petrol and set alight. But after re-watching a couple of times, I noticed that Suri overhears him say that she is planning a revolution.

    Suri is one of the brain-damaged former soldiers with an implant but she seems to have freedom and autonomy as the assistant to Thomson, although it is a limited freedom.

    The main male character is Vincent McCarthy, and it’s unclear until later on whether he is good or bad. He is clearly tolerating what he must know to be a brutal, criminal system, for the sake of his brain-damaged daughter.

    The main female character Ava is murdered, as was McCarthy’s previous assistant, so you have two ‘girlfriend in the fridge’ incidents right there to begin with.

    Then a cyborg robot is made using Ava’s computer ‘brain’, and Ava’s form, despite McCarthy promising Ava he wouldn’t use her face in that way.

    The implant has the side-effect of taking away the power of speech but Machine and the Cyborgs share a secret, machine language so they can communicate -and plan the revolution -secretly.

    Machine’s female form is shown off when she dances, but Thomson has her fighting for him, and twice calls her an “angel of death”.

    Thomson forces Machine to kill by manipulating her emotions, and calls himself her ‘master’. It was also Thomson who had arranged Ava’s murder. He is clearly without empathy and seems to be the embodiment of patriarchy.

    Machine passes the Turing test, proving herself to be ‘alive’, but Thomson insists that cyborg soldiers with consciousness is too dangerous and blackmails Vincent into doing surgery to remove Machine’s consciousness.

    During the procedure, Machine promises she will be a “good girl”. She also promises McCarthy that she can be less intelligent, less human, she can be what they want her to be. She also says that she loves McCarthy, but he doesn’t hear her.

    The only males who survive the revolution are the ‘good guys’, McCarthy, (and the male cyborgs). At some point, McCarthy has to pick sides. He makes his choice by pretending to have removed her consciousness.

    When the machines overthrow the establishment, Thomson disables as many of the cyborgs implants to try to stop the revolution, but Suri locks him out. Thomson shoots Suri but she survives.

    Later, Ava, although she doesn’t kill Thomson outright, makes him “dead inside, like you tried to make me dead inside.”

    At the end of the film, Vincent is talking to his daughter, whose brain or life essence he has saved in digital form, but she doesn’t want him, she wants her ‘Mother’ (Machine).

    The taking away of the power of speech, the Naming of Ava’s robot as Machine, using her face and body form against her will, the fact that only the men have surnames…everything in this film seems significant.

    Anyway, hopefully somebody with more knowledge can take this further. I would really like to read a proper feminist analysis of this film.

    I’d give it maybe 4 1/2 stars as I didn’t like the blood and brutality, but I thought it was a great film, with really interesting themes.

     
    • lillbjorne 2:54 am on December 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on The Bajoran Exile and commented:

      I wanted to re-post this here as it is obviously a science fiction film. I’m not sure why I liked the film so much as it was really quite dark and creepy! Enjoy! LLAP. (Warning in case you haven’t seen in – contains Spoilers!)

      Like

  • Sharon Tootill 10:30 pm on April 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: sci-fi, structure   

    Fun Will Now Commence! 

    Just to pre-warn you –  we are, it has to be said, an incorrigibly sci-fi-oriented family, frequently to be found talking about transport capability and temporal mechanics, so you’ll have to forgive my tendency to allude to Star Trek and other geeky-nerdy pursuits.  Tonight’s episode of Star Trek Voyager caught my eye especially due to this scene where Seven of Nine tries to impose her idea of suitable structure onto the Borg children who can’t help but resist:

    The subject of structure, and how much or how little (if any) is best for children with a view to providing the best learning environment, is a perennial topic for debate, and I think that ultimately every family finds their own path and their own equilibrium.  Ours, we have found, is fluid and shifting: we have periods of structured learning followed by periods of spontaneity, and periods involving a mixture of the two. With home education, nothing is set in stone and you have the freedom to be able to find the way that works best for your family. There is parenting peer pressure to be found within the home educating community for sure, but we tend to become more and more immune to its effects the longer we walk this ‘path less trodden’. There are footprints out in front of us now for those of us wanting reassurance, but the beauty of our freedom is that we can run on to the grass if we choose to! 😀

     
    • stuart 2:38 pm on June 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love Seven of Nine, she was a cool character for a loads of reasons.

      I think I’ve used the line ‘Fun will now commence’ a few times just before I attack a family member with tickles too.

      Good scene.

      Like

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