Posts tagged ‘Time travel’

June 9, 2013

“Kindred” Review

Kindred

Octavia Butler

Publisher: Doubleday

Copyright 1979

It took me a while to Kindred. I had to return it to the library then re-check it out, but I’m glad that I decided to finish Kindred. There are a couple of aspects to the story that I would like to share with you that I did and didn’t enjoy.

Dana is my favorite character. She has a strong spirit of survival and adaptation that I find easily believable in someone from the background that she is given by Butler. Not just any character can do what Butler put them through. The character must already be strong of will and self understanding. The fact that Dana is also reflective of her environment and its effect on her is key to her survival. Her ability to methodically evaluate each occurrence and how it affects her and the possible ways she can prevent it from happening made her character easy to route for.

I was really looking forward to a confrontation between Dana and Rufus about their blood relationship. I mean come on it was the precipitating event that caused this whole story.  Would it have changed how he treated her? Would it have stopped him pulling her through time? But even more importantly, would it have changed him to know what his interracial children would grow up to be like? For the last 100 pages, I was looking forward to that clash, but alas no such luck. The characters part ways never knowing what may have been.

Overall, I liked Kindred. It is a well written story with complex characters, a straight forward plot, and detailed setting. It was difficult to pick which character I liked the most because Butler develops each character. Since the story follows the characters throughout their life you watch them grow and experience the highs and lows with them. On top of that the plot didn’t get complicated or provide any leaps or twists that would have been unnecessary and distracting. Instead the story relied on the characters interactions with each other to provide the tension.  The setting was described in detailed and how it was included in the story that it surrounded me when I read it.

One of my favorite science fiction elements is time travel, I mean really what’s not to like? You don’t have to worry about the story getting technical or bogged down in science. Butler doesn’t try to explain how time travel works or create rules for. There is a reference made to rules in other movies but that is brief not even a whole page. I appreciate that. I also like the time distance between Rufus and Dana, there was enough time that it was impossible for any characters or actions to overlap.

I highly recommend Kindred.

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April 27, 2013

Musing on Hugo Award Nominations 2012: Long Form

The Avengers

Science Fiction/Fantasy Elements:  superheroes, other worlds, aliens, genetics, future technology.

Iron Man (Downey, Jr), Captain America (Evans), The Hulk (Ruffalo), and Thor (Hemsworth) have been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D to form a team to protect the world against Loki (Thor’s evil brother) from taking over Earth.

This was one of my favorite movies from last summer and I’m not ashamed to say that a huge part of that was the hunky Hemswoth. This is definitely one of those movies, where you should see the prequels before the movie. There is a lot of history to the characters and their relationships to each other, having this knowledge make it easy to jump right into the story. The story its self was not something I found compelling. I don’t have much to say for character development or thematic developments because these were not elements that drew my attention.  For me the enjoyment of the movie was the comedic relief, the action scenes, and the eye candy.

Cabin in the woods

Science Fiction/Fantasy Elements: Horror, creatures, other worlds, folktales/urban legends.

Five friends go off to a friend’s cabin in the woods in typical horror movie fashion. These are the five typical horror movie friends and for the most part, they follow standard movie roles. The twist is that it turns out they are being watched and manipulated by an outside force. I won’t give away the spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie.

The reviews for this movie did not prepare me for it. I was expecting an A+ and I got a B-/C+. The A+ was for the movie satirizing normal slasher-flicks and all that makes them good and bad, and what we want out of them. My B-/C+ is for the after taste of the movie. The science elements are minimal, while it’s the fantasy elements that rule the show.  I love when urban legends come alive but I didn’t like the combination of science and fantasy. The story development did not satisfy me.

I remember this movie because of the surprise twist and the fact that the ending shocked me in a bad way. I went to the theater to see a slasher flick and that wasn’t what I got. I’m conflicted about this movie and have no intention to watch it again. It was an interesting take on a horror flick mostly because there was a science experiment that went wrong but not the mad-scientist experiment gone wrong.

 LOOPER

Science fiction/Fantasy: time travel and psychokinesis

Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper, a futurist hit-man for a crime syndicate. Loopers kill and dispose of people sent back in time. Loopers look forward to “closing the loop” or retirement, at which point his future self is sent back in time for the younger self to kill. Joe’s closing the loop goes wrong when his older self escapes and sets off on a quest that endangers both men and can change the course of history.

There isn’t a lot of talk about the science of time travel or psychokinesis because the why of the science is not integral to the development of the story. In the future psychokinesis are 10% of the population. The movie deals mostly with the psychological and emotional aspects of the lives of the people with these abilities. It also explores the idea of choices and decisions and how these elements affect our lives. This was an interesting movie. I would highly recommend it Gordon-Levitt and Willis do a great job of playing the same but not the same character. The special effects to make Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis was fantastic.

 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Magic and other worlds

This is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, who leaves his home in a quest to find the treasure of the Smaug, dragon. Since this is the prequel to The Lord of the Rings series the travel companions are from the same world and several are in this story. For this retelling of the Hobbit, Peter Jackson broke the movie into three parts. So there really can’t be an analysis of the complete story. I am going to hold off any analysis of the story.

The Hunger Games

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Dystopia future, other world, adventure

A future where children 12 to 18 years-old are chosen two from a district to fight to the death in a live annual television event to the death called the Hunger Games.

Katniss (Lawrence) offers herself up as tribute (substitute) when her younger sister is chosen in the raffle for The Hunger Games. The story follows Katniss quest to win The Hunger Games. This is the first in a series both in book and movie.

I really enjoyed this story. I thought that Lawrence’s performance as the young Katniss was great. I enjoyed watching Lawrence in this part and look forward to the sequel. The idea that Suzanne Collins proposes of a world where children are used in death games for the amusement of all people by a government degree, is an idea that is worthy of reflection. We are a desensitized society, the idea that we could get to a point where we wouldn’t care about watching children play games to the death is an appalling idea and valid concern. I like books that push the boundaries and I like movies that push them too.