We prefer Zamyatin’s We to 1984, which Orwell published three years after reviewing We. We do, however, absolutely love this post from one of our favorite blogs, Utopia or Dystopia: Where Past Meets Future about 1984 and the current political climate in the US of A. From the author, Rick Searle:
“[T]rying to use 1984 as a map through the Trump presidency might pose just as many distortions as insights . . . because our efforts and attention might be drawn into an ineffectual resistance against an enemy unlikely to arrive, while the real villain slips in unnoticed in his place. What’s required, then, is a close reading of 1984 to see where it fits and diverges from what’s happened so far . . . .”
Searle’s close reading is something we should think about carefully. Please click on the link to his blog above and read his thoughts.
Jared from “Silicon Valley” is a pretty nice guy. He is the most compassionate voice on the show. Sometimes to get a laugh the show will also have him say something incredibly dark and tragic about his past. His childhood, thru several grim anecdotes, was a bleak affair referencing intense loneliness and poverty.
One example painted so dark we can only laugh follows:
Jared: I had a stuffed animal named Winnie.
Winnie: Oh, wow.
Jared: I mean, it wasn’t technically an animal, I took a Ziploc bag and I stuffed it with old newspaper and then I drew a smile on it.
Its super sad, but it also reveals how even then Jared was an eternal optimist. I have had several favorite characters on this show. The entire cast is very funny and each person is a well thought out and acted character, but Jared really won me over this season as favorite.
It was completely crushing to see Jared’s final action of the season, but it also felt so real. Jared knows poverty better than anyone else on the team and his action shows us he is willing to go further than anyone else on the team to never be poor again. For the rest of the team success is movable swimming pools and celebrity, for Jared it is finally killing the ever present specter of poverty he has known all his life.
If you haven’t seen the show I’ll briefly explain. The main cast of characters in “Silicon Valley” have been trying to release what they hope will be a successful new technology and make them the next Apple, Google or Facebook. They finally launch the app and after a brief initial success the app fails to attract and grow it’s userbase. This is very bad for a want to be technology giant. Jared secretly hires an offshore clickfarm service to make it appear that the app is successful. A clickfarm is essentially an internet sweatshop where hundreds or thousands of humans sit in front of computers repeating menial tasks over and over for third world wages.
Jared knows exactly what it means when he hires this company. Poor people, even well meaning poor people, will continue to screw over poorer people as they claw their way up for the chance to be slightly less poor. And technology remains a revolutionary product for a very few already very well off westerners.
Although the short film Sunspring is more s.f. than dystopian, it belongs here because of its author, Benjamin. I suspect that the last thing a truly terrifying artificial intelligence would do is let us know that it exists. It would probably spend more time learning to hack our brains to distort reality. The two humans who created Benjamin, which named itself and ensured a victory at the annual film festival Sci-Fi London by voting for itself 36,000 times per hour, fed Benjamin a list of scripts from a variety of s.f. films and television shows. The resulting short film and what it teaches us about the scènes à faire for the genre should not be ignored.
Watch the full short film here.
Great writeup of The Forever War.
Ridley Scott is reportedly directing an adaptation. No word on the release date.
Margaret Atwood Talks HBO’s MADDADDAM
Oryx and Crake remains one of my favorite works of s.f. Artfully crafted and intricately layered, Atwood’s work rewards multiple readings. Now you have an excuse to pull it off the shelf.
NOTE TO OUR NYC MEMBERS–Brooklyn’s finest book club is discussing Oryx and Crake on May 7, 2016. PM me for details (if that’s not possible the way the site is setup right now, please let me know in the comments). See past Book Clubb events here: http://eattoread.tumblr.com/
Please excuse the non-dystopian selections.
Blade Runner sequel news.
Ryan Gosling to Star in ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel
It’s too bad Gosling won’t live. But then again, who does?