Wednesday, 24 November 2021

The Ωmega Man (1971)


A time capsule of a sci-fi movie that is enjoyable to watch but lacks the impact and sincerity of its 1964 predecessor, "Last man On Earth"

Directed by Boris Sagal
Screenplay by John William Corrington, Joyce H. Corrington
Based on “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson
Produced by Walter Seltzer
Cinematography: Russell Metty
Edited by William H. Ziegler
Music by Ron Grainer
Production company Walter Seltzer Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Running time: 98 minutes
Box office: $4,000,000


Cast

Charlton Heston: Neville
Anthony Zerbe: Matthias
Rosalind Cash: Lisa
Paul Koslo: Dutch
Eric Laneuville: Richie
Lincoln Kilpatrick: Zachary
Jill Giraldi: Little Girl
Anna Aries: Woman in Cemetery Crypt (not actually shown in the film)
Brian Tochi: Tommy
DeVeren Bookwalter: Family Member
John Dierkes: Family Member
Monika Henreid: Monika Henreid
Linda Redfearn: Family Member
Forrest Wood: Family Member
Rachel Benson: Family Member
Stewart East: Family Member
Steve Goldstein: Last Boy
William Henry: Stricken Man
Henry Kingi: Family Member
Tanya Samova: Family Member
Fred Trombley: Family Member


Trailer


(Spoilers Follow Below......Please excuse the liberties taken with characters, dialogue and events!)


Robert Neville’s Audio Diary

Entry


Another day and another way to blow off steam and sooth my nerves by burning rubber in my (now deceased) convertible. Popped in an 8-track tape and let the music and the breeze flush the cares away when instinct suddenly slammed on the brakes and long practiced intent fired a few rounds of automatic fire at a shadowy figure flitting by a window inside a building.


Anyway, off I roared in the convertible but soon after I rounded a corner and as I tried to avoid junk lying scattered on the street, I crashed the car and got a flat tire for my troubles. Well, never mind. Cars are there scattered around ready for the taking, much like everything else: money, gold, you name it. No value, no-one to guard it all and no body to clean up the goddamn mess!

Not to worry. Just a short stroll to a dealership and hey presto – a new car! I found myself a nice little convertible in the showroom but “can’t say I’m crazy about the paint job.”

I also wasn’t too crazy about the corpse sitting at his desk in the showroom or the sight of the three-year old 1975 calendar mockingly marking the final days of civilization, together with the picture of a scantily clad woman. How may more reminders do I need that I’m the last remnant of humanity and of my solitude and loneliness?

Nothing like a visit to the cinema to cure feelings of loneliness so off I went to catch “Woodstock” screening "for the third straight year." Sure I know all the words and the goings on in the film by now – but I also know what those young, poor, naïve, dumb bastards on the screen and those in the audience back then didn’t know. All the peace, love, happiness and flowers in the hair, the new explanation, the people in motion; ALL of it would soon turn to shit ‘coz no-one bothered to listen or see what was goin’ on. And now the message of youth is endlessly repeated to an audience of one in a deserted cinema.

“The fact that if we can't all live together and be happy; If you have to be afraid to walk out in the street; If you have to be afraid to smile at somebody, right? What kind of a way is that to go through this life?” Well, we sure as hell found out, didn’t we? “They sure don't make pictures like that anymore.”

As I sat alone in the darkness of the cinema pondering and ruminating on what has come to pass, sure enough I failed to notice the approach of darkness outside with the setting of the sun. Night-time always heralds the approach of something too dark and terrifying to contemplate – something which can only be held at bay by the light!


Read on for more.....

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Sci-Fi Future Is Here & Now (Part 16): DYSTOPIA RIGHT NOW!

Political Correctness Policed By A Bot



Yet another brick in the edifice of our emerging dystopia, is the advent of a new 'trigger warning' device for schools that sounds a 'bothersome' two-minute long alarm when it detects offensive speech. No, this is not science fiction! This device for censoring ‘offensive’ language is called “Themis” and is being trialed in classrooms and universities as a debate moderator.




What the device does is to sound an 'extremely bothersome' alarm when it detects slurs, crude jokes and ‘offensive’ speech. Apparently, we are now handing over to technology the power to determine what constitutes being “offensive” in terms of language use. As language is so intertwined with thought, this development should set alarm bells ringing.

Could such a lamp-sized 'trigger warning' detector, ostensibly to be used to moderate debate in classrooms and universities, result in stifling freedom of thought and speech while fostering the spread of political correctness and ‘group think?’ Could “Themis” (Greek goddess of justice and order) signal the death of freedom and independence of thought and speech along with the stifling of discussion and sharing of opinions – the cornerstone of any worthwhile education and democratic society?




Yes, I have brought this up on many occasions in other posts, but such a development as Themis may wind up leading us further down the path toward George Orwell's dystopian science fiction novel, “1984,” which provides the reader with a warning of the dangers of government censorship, mass surveillance and control.

When such technologies as Themis (that employs speech recognition and sound sensors to detect offensive language through its microphone) become normalized, we run the danger of self-critiquing and censoring our own thoughts before even uttering a word. Combine this with mass surveillance and facial recognition technologies that have the effect of causing people to self-monitor and regulate their own movements and behavior. Is this the kind of world we want to live in - emotionally brittle, constantly monitored, self-censoring, intellectually timid, compliant and creatively bland, all under an AI algorithmic tyranny??



©Chris Christopoulos 2021




Next Post: The Ωmega Man (1971)

Thursday, 28 October 2021

“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” by Eve Cabanel

 

A wonderful and captivating story for youngsters!


Eve Cabanel’s debut 44 page children’s picture book, “Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon,” is an imaginative fantasy story of a moon elf’s journey to reverse a dragon’s curse.

The story is set in a beautiful, mysterious and enchanted forest, Cucuruzzu, where lives a moon elf named Eli, along with her friend Luna. The story starts off with Luna’s baby bunny, Doudou turning into hard rock candy by accidentally falling on one of the magic sugar crystals that coat the forest at night that were created from a sad dragon’s tears. Then begins a journey through lands of unicorns, fairies, magical rainbows and dragons to reverse the terrible curse…...

The story is most suitable for children aged 3 to 8 and is very well written without talking down to them at all. The story is extremely well-supported by the wonderful colorful illustrations of Ekaterina Ilchenko. Young children would love to have this story read to them while following it by looking at the illustrations and the accompanying map.

“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” illustrates to young readers valuable lessons about the power of friendship, love, acceptance, courage and belief in oneself.

Hopefully another installment of the story might emerge in the future which focuses on the characters, the forest and the curse prior to and leading up to the events of “Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon.” I see the potential for a children’s series.

Author Eve Cabanel was raised in the French countryside by the woods where she played in suspended tree houses amongst wild forest animals, like her story’s character Eli. She had a goat and pet chicken that would follow her everywhere and encountered foxes, deer, and hedgehogs in her daily forest adventures. A writer and beauty blogger, Eve is the published author of an adult non-fiction self-help book, “Organic Beauty Recipes by Eve – The complete guide to DIY natural beauty.”


“Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon” has been recently released on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Eli-Mystery-Hallowshine-Dragon-Cabanel/dp/1777908817/


Full title: Eli and the mystery of the Hallowshine dragon
Category: Fantasy Picture Book
Author name : Eve Cabanel
Publisher/Imprint: Twenty Two House Publishing
Pub date: Oct 23 2021
Page count : 44 pages
Picture book illustrated
Price: Paperback$14.99 / Ebook $9.99
ISBN Paperback 978-1-7779088-1-2
ISBN Ebook 978-1-7779088-0-5


Eve Cabanel
eve@elipicturebooks.com
https://elipicturebooks.com/

Our mailing address is:
Eli Picture Books
600 Rue Osborne
Verdun, QC H4H 1X2
Canada

Monday, 18 October 2021

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

An important and innovative sci-fi classic film but one that is often overrated

Trailer

Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Ray Lovejoy
Production company: Stanley Kubrick Productions
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Running time: 142 minutes
Budget: $10.5–12 million
Box office: $146 million


Cast


Keir Dullea as Dr. David Bowman
Gary Lockwood as Dr. Frank Poole
William Sylvester as Dr. Heywood Floyd
Daniel Richter as Moonwatcher, the chief man-ape
Leonard Rossiter as Dr. Andrei Smyslov
Margaret Tyzack as Elena
Robert Beatty as Dr. Ralph Halvorsen
Sean Sullivan as Dr. Roy Michaels[3]
Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL 9000
Frank Miller as mission controller
Edward Bishop as Aries 1B lunar shuttle captain
Edwina Carroll as lunar shuttle stewardess
Penny Brahms as stewardess
Heather Downham as stewardess
Alan Gifford as Poole's father
Ann Gillis as Poole's mother
Maggie d'Abo as stewardess (Space Station 5 elevator)
Chela Matthison as Mrs. Turner, Space Station 5 reception
Judy Keirn as voiceprint identification woman (Space Station 5)
Vivian Kubrick as Floyd's daughter, "Squirt"
Kenneth Kendall as BBC announcer



Opening sequence

The film opens with pitch blackness – a complete absence of light and matter as if at the moment before the universe came into being. On this science and religion can agree: in the beginning there was darkness until...until….until, and that is what the sustained musical note sets us up for as it gradually rises to a crescendo of sound.

Our expectation is then met with the view of our planet suspended in the inky void of space with the sun seeming to emerge from behind and above it. Celestial gases and gravity have long worked their magic gradually coalescing to form light and life-giving stars and planets and solar systems, so many of which come together to form constellations.

By some miracle, this single planetary jewel (perhaps one might be forgiven thinking - the only one in the universe) has been blessed with the addition of a single seemingly unique and miraculous element – LIFE!


Read on for more

Monday, 27 September 2021

Sci-Fi Future Is Here & Now (Part 15): DYSTOPIA NOW!

Visions of a dystopian future are no longer confined to the realm of speculative or science fiction books and movies. For some time now we have immersed ourselves deeper and deeper into a way of life that would have once been almost unimaginable in a democratic and free society.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought this situation home to us as we see more and more of our freedoms that we once took for granted being steadily eroded. This is particularly the case in my home city of Melbourne, Australia in the state of Victoria, as I’m sure it is also the case in many other locations around the world.

Melbourne has the dubious distinction of being the most locked down city in the world, with businesses and schools being forced to close down, people having their freedom of movement restricted along with their right to gather and express their opinion via street protest, as well as having their whereabouts monitored and tracked via the use of mobile phone scanning of QR codes.

The situation has reached a point whereby Melbourne (and other cities in Australia) is beginning to take on the characteristics of a police state. People can be and are stopped by the police and asked for their identification, their reason for being at such and such a place and if their response is not deemed satisfactory, they can be hit with a substantial fine.



We also have the disturbing development of our police force being increasingly militarized and weaponized. Take for instance the terrible sight of riot police with shields and batons battling with anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protesters, as well as police employing capsicum spray, firing rubber bullets and using tear gas. 

Although the actions of many of the protesters were reprehensible, it was felt by many observers that the actions of the police amounted to an over-reach of their powers. It is not a sight we are familiar with in this country. The question is, why now? Would this have happened had the protest been over a more acceptable “social” issue rather than one that could be seen as constituting a direct challenge to authority?

The state government has given itself emergency powers and citizens find themselves subject to the edicts of politicians, unelected health and other officials, bureaucrats and law enforcement officers. As a consequence, measures such as night-time curfews have been declared without consultation and without being justified on the basis of any factual health rationale.

Is it any wonder that so many feel a sense of powerlessness and that the mental and emotional well-being of large numbers of citizens is being adversely affected? When faced with such a repressive and confining set of circumstances, acts of anger and conflict will often be the result. In the absence of unifying, effective and meaningful leadership, irrationality and opportunistic figures will quickly fill the void.

Our once proud “world’s most livable city” in a country that was the envy of the world for its democratic ideals and values and its tradition of freedom, has been reduced to almost a Stalinist wasteland in which people’s livelihoods and liberties have been stripped away and replaced by the normalization of compulsion and compliance.

The mantra, “No Jab, No Job” now echoes through the empty canyons of the central business district of Mandatory Melbourne.

A particularly disturbing aspect of this pervading sense of compliance and rule by compulsion, is the proposed trial in Victoria of the Orwellian-termed “Vaccinated Economy.” It is simply a euphemism for forcing people to declare their vaccination status in order to participate in social and economic life. Trials are to be conducted in businesses and events across highly vaccinated parts of regional Victoria to, so it is claimed, help the state open progressively as a vaccinated economy when it meets the key double-dose thresholds outlined in the state government's roadmap.

As one radio “journalist” asked the health minister recently about the proposal, “It’s inevitable, isn’t it? It will happen, wont it?” Of course! It is in the nature of trials such as these to be a mere formality – to confirm what is already a fait accompli. Perhaps the journalist should have asked, “Is it desirable?”




And so we are told that eventually we will have a progressively open economy, with greater freedoms for vaccinated people or at least those who are CONFIRMED as being fully vaccinated. And how will they be confirmed? Why, by means of a passport and digital certificate displaying vaccination status. Ah, the wonders of technology – all the better to enslave us further! As if we haven’t already surrendered enough of our personal privacy.

What of those people who are unable or unwilling to provide the required digital tick of approval? Heaven forbid we’ll have a two-tiered system in which discrimination becomes an entrenched feature of the brave new world…...”moving forward!” Well, who cares, they’re only “anti-vaxxers” aren’t they?

One way to dismiss opposition is to apply a derogatory label to them. It saves thinking too much about the issue at hand. I admit, that many of those so labeled are quite barmy in their ideas and it is very unfortunate that many who have actively protested against the government‘s recent measures have conducted themselves in a very stupid and counter-productive manner. Their lack of intelligence has damaged the very cause they claim to be be fighting for and as a consequence any opposition to the government's edicts are seen to be the product of hard right wing, anti-vaxxer and 'nutter' agitation. Certainly there are many dickheads amongst them, but this doesn't explain away an entire opposition group of people.

In my own case, it was my choice, MY CHOICE to be fully vaccinated based on reputable information sources and a cost-benefit analysis in terms of my own health, the interests of those closest to me and the community I live in. But I’ll be damned if I’ll download and produce on demand any digital certificate to any individual, law enforcement officer or business enterprise in order to participate in society. Anyone who tries to force me to can just go to hell. It is up to each of us to decide whether or not the world we live in evolves into the kind of dystopian nightmare portrayed by science fiction books and films.



DYSTOPIA UPDATE!

With (as we are told) vaccinations hitting 70% and soon to be followed by 80% coverage, the Victorian government in its display of great largess has just kindly informed us that it will be giving us back some of our freedoms. This is followed by a figurative pat on the head with congratulations all round for us on being so good and well-behaved by doing what we’re told.

People will be able to go back to work, but not if they’re not fully vaccinated and cannot offer proof of their status. Businesses will re-open but not to those who are not fully vaccinated and fail to provide proof of their status. In short, under this so-called “Vaccination Economy,” a segment of our population will be locked out of and denied the right to participate in the social and economic life of the community thereby entrenching discrimination based on a person’s medical status and their personal decision to determine what medical procedure they may or may not wish to have performed on them.

Having personally decided to be fully vaccinated, I do not agree with those who have decided not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, but I do defend their right not be vaccinated. I’m afraid they will just have to contend with the medical consequences of their decision.


I most certainly will not participate in a system that coerces people to cooperate by instituting a form of social and economic discrimination against a segment of its population. That is why I will not be downloading to my phone and presenting on demand a vaccination certificate or passport indicating my status. My medical status is no-one else’s business, least of all some “marshal” standing at the entrance of a retail business.

I know I might be seen as being foolish for having elected to be fully vaccinated and yet refusing to cooperate by not agreeing to obtain my so-called vaccination passport. After all, I’ll only be hurting myself by having my freedoms restricted along with those who have chosen to be un-vaccinated. Still, I can’t abide the idea of a government being in a position of thinking it can simply give freedoms back to people when it is not theirs to give in the first place. I also think back to my deceased father’s stories of the second world war when he had Nazi foreign occupying troops in his country and he and his countrymen couldn’t move very far without some soldier or guard stopping them going about their business and gruffly asking for “papers!” It would be an insult to my father’s memory to comply with this government’s assault on our way of life and what his generation fought for.

I also certainly do not defend or support a government’s (or un-elected official’s) supposed right to dispense and withdraw people’s personal freedoms at will and attempting to enforce it’s will by means of a Chinese Communist Party style of system of social credit social engineering that rewards right thinking and officially sanctioned behavior. Not only that, the government has managed to force businesses to act as enforcers of its edicts and will. Businesses are in effect being required to take on policing and medical determination roles which is both unfair and unreasonable. If a government can get away with this kind of approach and conduct, then in what other circumstances and areas will it be tempted to enforce its will by such means?

Such abuse of power and sanctioned forms of discrimination ought to be legally challenged and even presented before an international court of human rights. A government that purports to be “democratic” that would take such draconian and discriminatory action against a segment of its population does not deserve to govern and should be swept from office while the right to do so still remains.

Yes, we have been worn down by so many lock-downs and deprivation of personal liberties and freedoms, so much so that many of us would be prepared to shake hands with the devil and not think about the future consequences of doing so while being seated in a pub with a prescribed number of people, occupying a certain number of square floor space feet and after having our vaccination status verified. Now, raise glasses and salute each other with “Viva la liberté!”


FURTHER UPDATE:

If there is any doubt as to the kind of dystopian future we may be heading towards, just consider the implications of the proposed Pandemic bill (The Public Health and Wellbeing - Pandemic Management – Bill), by the Victorian government:

Under the new Pandemic laws, people found guilty of “intentionally and recklessly” breaching public health orders would face two years imprisonment or a $90.000 fine. How does one define what constitutes as being reckless or intentional? 

Somewhat disturbingly, pandemic orders could be applied to "classes of person" who can be identified by "their characteristics, attributes or circumstances". What on earth does this mean? It sounds rather sinister.

The Premier will have the authority to declare a pandemic, thereby activating the government’s emergency powers. The declaration to be reviewed every three months could conceivably be indefinitely renewed without approval but instead merely "debated" by Parliament. A massive overreach and grab for power?

It is important to note that the powers under the bill will give the government the ability to limit movement of the population, ban gatherings, shut down businesses and enforce quarantine if it deems such action to be necessary.

An independent committee, made up public health and human rights experts, will be able to review any government decisions, but who exactly appoints the members of the committee? At any rate, its advice wont be binding.

This proposed legislative power grab must be opposed on the grounds that;
  • The legislation is a rushed attempt to extend current emergency powers - at a time when an emergency doesn't really exist
  • It is possible that individuals could potentially be detained indefinitely for breaching health orders (i.e., not wearing a face-mask) without any right of appeal to a court.
  • Power is given to the Health Minister to make any order once an emergency declaration is made.
  • The absence of parliamentary and judicial oversight.
Allowing a government to acquire the power to rule by decree will lead our society down the slippery slope to a Orwellian "1984" dystopian future. Not just the stuff of science fiction!

Despite assurances to the contrary in terms of accountability and oversight, etc, we should oppose any kind of proposed laws that serve to or could potentially increase the government’s power at the expense of our personal freedoms and liberties. The kind of future we and our children wind up living in will be determined by what we choose to do now - or choose not to do!

Take care lest we become a society of Oliver Twists timidly approaching the Master, clutching an empty bowl and having the temerity to ask, "Please, sir, I want some more...."




©Chris Christopoulos 2021

Thursday, 9 September 2021

SILENT RUNNING (1972)



A melancholy sci-fi film that makes you think about what could happen, and is in fact happening to our planet, along with the consequences for us all if no action is taken.


Directed by Douglas Trumbull
Written by Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Steven Bochco
Produced by: Michael Gruskoff, Marty Hornstein, Douglas Trumbull
Cinematography: Charles F. Wheeler
Edited by: Aaron Stell
Music by: Peter Schickele
Production company: Universal Pictures
Running time: 89 minutes
Budget: $1,350,000


Cast


Bruce Dern: Freeman Lowell
Cliff Potts: John Keenan
Ron Rifkin: Marty Barker
Jesse Vint: Andy Wolf
Mark Persons: the Drone
Steven Brown: the Drone
Cheryl Sparks: the Drone
Larry Whisenhunt: the Drone
Joseph Campanella: Neal - Berkshire' Captain (voice)
Roy Engel: Anderson (voice)




Trailer


Spoilers follow below....




The viewer is at first treated to a close-up view of a slice of nature in all its colorful and vibrant splendor. The camera takes us on a journey through water droplet speckled plant-life along with glimpses of its insect, amphibious and other denizens.



As the camera pulls out, our view is jarred by the sudden appearance in the shot of a section of an artificial surface feature which appears to be a metal foot-ramp. Next we see a monk-like robed human figure and behind and above him a star-strewn view of space. This is not what might at first have been expected.



The robed individual is Freeman Lowell, one of four crewmen aboard American Airlines space freighter Valley Forge. Lowell is the resident botanist and ecologist who maintains the various plants, cultivates the crops and attends to the animal life, all of which are contained in enormous, geodesic greenhouse domes attached to his and other large spaceships.

The lush foliage being framed against the pitch black of outer space and contained within a marvel of human technology makes the existence of the flora and fauna all the more remarkable and miraculous.



“On this first day of a new century, we humbly beg forgiveness and dedicate these last forests of our once beautiful nation, in the hope that they will one day return and grace our foul Earth. Until that day, may God bless these gardens and the brave men who care for them.”

This is the not too distant future, where all plant and animal life on Earth is becoming extinct. What remains has been preserved in the domes of the 2000 meter long orbiting space freighters. The plan or mission is to eventually return the preserved plant and animal life to earth. The Valley Forge, is part of a fleet of freighters currently located just outside the orbit of Saturn.

Freeman Lowell is passionately and one might say obsessively dedicated to his work of preservation and conservation. Not so, however his crew-mates whose main priority is to return to Earth after their one-year deployment to space.


“Do I have to put signs up here to keep you guys off my grass?”

The tranquility of the scene is rudely disrupted by the antics of Lowell’s crew-mates who burst in on Lowell driving motorized buggies, tearing up the soil and nearly bowling Lowell over. Blowing off steam and having fun is a lot more appealing to Lowell’s crew-mates than dedication and respect for what’s around them and their responsibility toward it.

In the next few scenes featuring his interaction with his crew mates, Lowell comes across not just as some hippie drop-out intent on merely shunning civilization. Instead, this is a man who appreciates the natural world and all that it offers, who is adept at working in partnership with technology as a tool and one who can play a mean hand of poker which suggests skill at strategy and bluff. He probably just prefers the natural world and technology to his fellow ass-hole human beings and is fully committed to the ideals behind the forest preservation mission.

More importantly, Lowell appears to be a hopeless and naive optimist who fervently believes that the authorities back on earth have indeed paid attention to his communications and that “they're about to re-establish the parks and forest system” with him as director. After all, he’s spent the last eight years dedicated to the project and that “here's no way they're gonna announce cutbacks, not after this amount of time.”



“You don't think that it's time that somebody cared enough to have a dream?”

What Lowell doesn’t seem to understand is the fickle and self-absorbed nature of human beings as alluded to by crewman Wolf who tells him, “it's been too long, Lowell, people got other things to do now.”

This sentiment is underscored by a radio transmission from Con Central in which their boss, Anderson informs the crews of the fleet that orders have been received to “abandon, then nuclear destruct, all the forests and return our ships to commercial service.”





It is at this point that something within Lowell’s psyche seems to snap and begins to unravel. It is as if there is no place in the universe anymore for logic, reason, for rationality, for a sense of right and wrong. To him, such a destructive course of action as the blowing up of the Earth’s last remaining forests in space is just “insane.”


"Rejoice in the Sun"

♪ Fields of children ♪
♪ Running wild ♪
♪ In the sun ♪
♪ Like a forest is your child ♪
♪ Growing wild ♪
♪ In the sun ♪
♪ Doomed in his innocence ♪
♪ In the sun ♪
♪ Gather your children ♪
♪ To your side ♪
♪ In the sun ♪
♪ Tell them ♪
♪ All they love will die ♪
♪ Tell them why ♪
♪ In the sun ♪
♪ Tell them ♪
♪ It's not too late ♪
♪ Cultivate one by one ♪
♪ Tell them to harvest ♪
♪ And rejoice ♪
♪ In the sun ♪

(Joan Baez)


A future time where all flora and fauna is extinct on Earth.
The planet's ecosystems exist only in large pods attached to spacecraft.
Commercial interests have now taken precedence.
The pods are to be jettisoned into space and destroyed by nuclear devices.
The crew of Valley forge and other ships can return home to earth.
Botanist and crew member Freeman Lowell has tended the plants for eight years.
How will the dedicated Lowell take the news?
Is the earth destined to lose the last of its forests and living creatures?

Read on for more....

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

O Grave New World!

The following poem is a bit of a reflection on a pervading feeling during the current trying times we are facing with an eye to the future. Science fiction tends to deal with change and human responses to that change, sometimes with an over emphasis on hardware and technology, particularly in films. This poem considers aspects of human nature, much of which has developed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution and which we will carry with us well into the future. How will our basic instincts serve us in such crises as we are facing today and those we cannot begin to imagine in the future? How will they enable us to cope with enormous technological and social change? It’s hard enough as it is right now in these grave times!

With special thanks to the master, Mr. Shakespeare….





O Grave New World

I have opened a door and gazed upon a world
I no longer know nor understand.
I wander its streets, an unheeded and unnoticed
Indistinct reflection in a puddle on a wet pavement.
Each street leads in the same direction
Through many ages of uncertainty,
To finally converge at one final destination.


O grave new world that has such people in’t!
Who can gaze at the heavens down through screens
To wonder at billionaires bobbing about
Within the void and vacuum of their egos,
Just brushing at the edges of space,
And yet failing to reach the heights once gained
By giants propelled by dreams and fueled with the right stuff.
And you wonder now what’s wrong with the human race!
Who seek equality by kneeling and taking a knee
When every fiber of a man demands taking a stand
On two feet with hand on heart and clenched fist
Held aloft – defiant and determined to demand.
Who can’t even define such nonsense terms as “race,”
Fodder for mad Mengele murderous minds
To justify their exit from the human race.
Where “he” is now a “she” and “she” is now “they”
And “old white guys” are told they must cringe with shame,
While the disliked and vilified are deemed “these people.”
Confetti words and labels scattered day after day
As sad dead-eyed masked faces scuttle by
Disguising skin colour, culture and place of birth
And mask-mouthed muffled sounds from far-off places,
In a babel of tongues none no longer comprehend;
None of which amounts to “Race” so why pretend?
Who can willfully trample on the corpses
Of freedom fighters of ages past,
And demand to see permits, passports, passes;
Denying entry to those without the required code,
And proceed to prescribe, restrict, direct and regulate -
Stay tuned for their latest edict and update.


“My, how beauteous and clever mankind is!”
Who can deny truth, facts, evidence and life’s realities
If they threaten their medieval mental fantasies.
Apes with the power of processors, under the power
Of algorithms’ spells and social media mesmerisms.
Time’s ripe for scapegoats and seeing off reason
So dust off the stocks and pillory and light the pyre;
It’s time now to shed all caution and play the game,
And inform on your neighbors all without shame.
Who can be besieged and bewildered by invisible invaders,
A mere prelude to the final future reckoning,
To be met again by proclaiming “we’re all in it together”
Until we break on through to the other side.
Break on through to the other side.
Break on through….
Break…
B...


“We are such stuff as dreams are made on…..”
Foolish jig-saw puzzle patch-quilt world
With ill-fitting pieces and frayed edges,
That sleepwalks while going forward into the future
Of consequences unforeseen but long suspected.
Eyes shut tight against the sky’s orange glow,
Pace unhurried despite lashing flames of heat
And scorching of the feet from hot coals below.


“Awake and arise, and say how thou camest here.”
I sought safety in numbers and was carried by the tide
And was swept along by currents of fear and loathing.
I turned my back on tempestuous winds
That flattened my home and shredded my life.
With head held high, I stood up on tip-toes
While waves lapped around the side of my nose.
I tried to hold back the raging inferno
By pissing on the flames ever advancing.
I guess I missed the CODE RED warning,
Distracted by my shouting for my rights,
While evading all of my responsibilities
.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.’’
For that is our quest, the holy grail for humanity.
To start with, we must awaken our hearts and souls
And be moved to feel by all that’s best in our being.
To feel your soul touched by that conjured to appear
By another’s soul, just sit back and…….


           CLICK HERE

If you were moved by what you have just heard
Then there is future hope for our grave new world.


**************



[Music: Spiegel im Spiegel, (“Mirror in the Mirror”) by Arvo Pärt]




©Chris Christopoulos 2021