The Bicameral Mind in Westworld

Dolores
Dolores

Last night’s episode of Westworld went out with a bang. But besides the science fiction elements, the most interesting thing about the show was the bicameral mind reference – first name dropped back in Episode three, and the season finale’s title. It was a provocative theory proposed by Julian Jaynes in his 1977 masterpiece, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Continue reading The Bicameral Mind in Westworld

The Decline of Science Fiction

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In this day and age, science fiction, not to mention its more popularized version, scifi, has lost its prestige. Before we get into its current dilapidated state, first we need a cursory analysis of its emergence, to properly assess its origins. Continue reading The Decline of Science Fiction

The Great Philosophical Divide in Science Fiction

TomorrowLand Concept art

Life without utopia is suffocating, for the multitude at least: threatened otherwise with petrifaction, the world must have a new madness. — Cioran, History and Utopia

There’s a fault line running in science fiction that predates it: the Great Optimism -Pessimism divide. The most obvious trope of each is the role of utopia/dystopia in the science fiction work, but that is slightly more complicated than it appears.

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Scifi film in dialogue with 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) GARY LOCKWOOD TTO 016FOH

A few weeks ago, I came across an article on Grantland that pushed forth the thesis that all science fiction films after 1968 are in dialogue with 2001: A Space Odyssey, and shared it with my colleague in intellectual crime, Paul. Continue reading Scifi film in dialogue with 2001: A Space Odyssey

Best Dystopian Films

1984
1984

Utopias had been the dominant literary form rather than dystopias in the past: Plato & Thomas Moore invented and re-invented the utopian society in order to present their political & economic views that did not extend further than coarse socialism. Once communism became a fact in the early 20th century, socialism switched from utopian fantasies to dystopian horror. Once we figured out how horrible socialism could be in reality, the utopian genre was extinct due to the death of the socialist dream. Zamyatin published We in 1921, not long after the Bolshevik coup d’etat, and ended up as the first book to be banned by the Soviets. Continue reading Best Dystopian Films

Best Post-Apocalyptic films

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by Blur Dot Blog

Before I get into the list, I think a distinction between dystopian and post-apocalyptic films is necessary. Both classifications have been run together too often in recent years to the point that they’re nearly indistinguishable. However, a good understanding of cinema requires clear and distinct earmarks of each genre, and that will lead to a rich & robust discourse. Continue reading Best Post-Apocalyptic films

The Best Time Travel Films ever

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As a trope in science fiction, time travel allows for virtually any possibility and therefore, it’s the most abused plot gimmick ever. Luckily for us, a few diamonds have turned up in the rough. There are thousands of great time travel stories in science fiction, including comic books and television, but only a smattering of films qualify for this high honor. The great time travel film is not necessarily a scientific one, a logically consistent one, or even a time travel type for morons. They are the ones that succeed in presenting a brand new view of our times, or confessing profound truths about human nature.  Continue reading The Best Time Travel Films ever

Death is the road to awe. A movie review of The Fountain

The Fountain of Youth in The Fountain

So far, I’ve heard people call this movie “dull,” “pretentious,” “too cerebral,” and “too slow.” Critics said the same thing about 2001, and nowadays it’s one of the 5 greatest scifi films ever. Possibly the most ambitious film released this decade, if not ever, The Fountain is a multi-layered love story wrapped around a science fiction-slash-fantasy riddle told with three different timelines. The director Darren Aronofsky has pulled it off again in his follow up to his first two fine films, Pi and Requiem For A Dream. Continue reading Death is the road to awe. A movie review of The Fountain