City Tech, Fall 2016

Author: Moises Taveras (Page 1 of 2)

Moises Taveras Final Write Up

Abstract:

This is a paper about a lot of things. Namely how mediums of sci-fi interact with the world in a real way. Sci-fi is typically deemed too fantastical to be taken seriously which is a load of malarky. As a matter of fact, it’s perhaps the most grounded thing in a world that’s rapidly accelerating to the far-flung future popularly portrayed in sci-fi movies and novels of yesteryear. It’s about the division of responsibility when it comes to the worlds collective future.

Look at it like this, the three branches of technological development are these: the engineers who actually bring life to creations that enable such things to be possible, the civilization of people who theoretically live under these people, not literally just in the sense that they are the consumers and the market the engineers cater to, and the writers/directors/actors/producers/developer/musicians/artists who bring these worlds to life. And of course perhaps the most human thing about their relationship and the single thing that needs to be righted or at least done more is communication.

Trying to make the point that they all have a role to play in the development of our future. The roles go as such:

  • The “creatives” for lack of a better word, need to put the world together. There is a power in being able to see how the world can go awry. Considering theres is the platform that reaches the most people it can be argued that this should be the earliest/first step in the development of further technology.
  • The society needs to be more receptive and more acknowledging of there own issues. They have problems that need to be worked out which are there own and the ones that can probably be resolved by engineers. They receive the media and need to make informed opinions on future trends so that they can inform engineers of what they need to do.
  • The engineers are the most receptive of the bunch. They need to be aware of what media is doing to see what they can do to be more like or more not like that. While they are developing that, society needs to also be absorbing media and tell these guys what to do and what not to do.

Ultimately each of these branches needs to be in communication with one another so that everything doesn’t go horribly wrong.

Download (PDF, 90KB)

Project Progress Blog #1

Updated Proposal Intro

It’s a little rough but here’s the best I could do for an updated pitch.

Proposal: My project is to explore the notion of how much tech is too much and the balancing act engineers face everyday. In order to do this, I am going to explore sci-fi in visual mediums that paint a dark picture of our future because of our technological “advancements”.I have this initial idea but I don’t know much about what has been written about this to date. Therefore, I am going to research the shows Westworld and Black Mirror, the movie Ex Machina and the video game Inside and see where that brings me.

Updated Sources

  1. Black Mirror- A show that concerns itself with the future “10 minutes from now if we’re clumsy.” The creator, Charlie Brooker, hasn’t necessarily set out to make a show about hating technology though I wouldn’t blame the average viewer for assuming as much. It’s an anthology series, so every episode is it’s own self-contained story with it’s own cast and has to do with technology and its impact. Spoilers: It’s usually absolutely atrocious what happens to us. Not in an overt apocalyptic manner, but in a manner that the world doesn’t explicitly say it’s bad but the viewer can make out that something is clearly wrong. I say usually because there’s is one episode, I won’t spoil where it is or what it’s about, that is arguably one of the greatest episodes in the series run that ends on a happy note. This is the show that’s been on my mind for the last month approximately and it’s what inspired this project and my midlife crisis(jk).
  2. Ex Machina- Disclaimer: Both this movie and an episode of Black Mirror feature the actor Domhnall Gleeson. I swear I don’t have a crush on him. Part of the beauty of Ex Machina is how simple it is and how much complexity that simplicity allows. A man who is typically an outlier, not really a champion in any regard, but is incredibly smart wins a competition. His reward is a week long visit to his CEO’s private home to preview new tech. That new tech manifests itself in a humanoid robot named Ava who has already passed the Turing Test. But it’s now up to the protagonist, Caleb, to test out whether she can truly pass for human. The rest, you need to see for yourself. It’s speculative fiction, it’s grounded in our reality and our time, and it’s totally a cautionary tale on playing God.
  3. Westworld- I was so enraptured by the premiere of this show that I did the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life: I stopped watching the show. As of this writing, the penultimate episode of the first season aired last night and the finale is coming up next Sunday. I look forward to watching everything in the days leading up to Sunday. The show concerns itself with a theme park about, you guessed it, the Wild West. AI’s known as Hosts populate the vast swath of land that composes Westworld and follow storylines that they are programmed to follow. As this goes on, actual people interject in whatever way they want which can end in dumb fun or horrible turnouts. It eschews a Purge vibe but in an actual sci-fi story and as far as I could tell, tackles the issue of what humans are willing to do when they’ve designed a world that freely accepts both the good and especially the bad of us. As of this writing, humans are very bad. But as one guy points out, people come to Westworld to find their real selves, something that is unfortunately very very ugly.
  4. Inside- This is a video game I finished up recently. This game concerns itself with a boy escaping his captors. The game also has to do with how tech corrupts the world. Ex: The rich or seemingly rich seem untouched by the mind control effects in the game. They seem to have reduced the working class to mindless robots who do their bidding. Therefore, you can infer that technology helped create an even bigger divide between social classes to the point that one used a it to debase the “inferior” one even further.

Secondary Source

  1. Playing in the Shadow of Progress in ‘Doom’ and ‘Inside’”- https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/playing-in-the-shadow-of-progress-in-doom-and-inside?utm_source=wptwitterus An article in retrospect to two very important games mainly Inside which informed my choice to further explore it as a Primary Source.

That’s all I’ve got for you for now but I promise the research is coming along. And at least some of the points I’m trying to make are (hopefully) clear. All criticism is of course welcome and necessary so let me have it.

Sic Parvis Magna

“Greatness from small beginnings.”

For lack of a better, snarkier, quipier opening I’ll just say this: The Science Fiction Archive at City Tech is freaking dope!

I had heard much talk from you, professor, about the Archive and I thought It’d be cool but didn’t think it was as expansive as what we got. SO thank you for bringing us, thank you for helping make this a thing. Thank you to Professor Ellis for his part in all this and of course god bless the anonymous donor. I really hope he reveals himself because I’d like to talk to him as an amateur collector to a collecting connoisseur such as he.

I'm glad to see Sci-fi has always been appropriately edgy.

I’m glad to see Sci-fi has always been appropriately edgy.

It’s always great to see how far you’ve come and I feel like for those who are deeply involved in this field, that tiny room is a dream come true. I can’t even begin to tell you how honored I am to be one of the first people to go back there and be able to touch any of that let alone document it via pictures and be able to read some of it. My only regret is that I didn’t read more of what was actually in the magazines. My greatest sin is skimming the pages for more illustrations than stories. Which brings me to an awesome thing.

These are magazines?! Maybe the magazine took a drastic left turn in the last 20 or so years but I was not expecting them to basically be books. Aside from the flimsy covers, the two styles are not that reminiscent of each other which is an interesting development in and of itself. What these mostly are and what I absolutely love about them, is that they’re, in essence, anthologies. The one constant between all of the publications is that they were chock full of hella short stories written by hella authors(sorry for the hella’s that’s the San Francisco in me coming out). Like almost cover to cover. It was ridiculous and incredible. By the way, shout out to the main homie Isaac Asimov, I’ve never read a single thing he’s done but he’s literally on every cover of every magazine. That drive to write and share is what I aspire to have within me.

The closest similarity I see the two distinct eras of magazines having in common is one of my favorite parts though and it’s clearly one of Professor Ellis’ too: the reader letters. In a world, where our favorite writers are an email away, a message delivered in seconds, it’s ridiculously cool to see how far we’ve come in that department. Snail-mail is the best and I won’t have anybody tell me otherwise. Seeing how this portion of magazines created an open, albeit slow dialogue, between writer and reader is incredible. I wonder if there’s a power in that slow burn, you know what I mean? Something about fostering and maintaining relationships with a few short texts feels…hollow. But taking the time to cultivate a well written letter to someone you possibly admire or disagree with and sending that out with the knowledge that it would take a while to get to them is, in my opinion, the best way to start up a conversation. I’m not saying that I want my friends and me to communicate very slowly but if we could all communicate a bit more methodically and properly, that’d be great. I’ve rambled about communication via snail-mail for too long so I’ll just end all of this by saying this: In a genre so caught up with warning us about our future, it was refreshing to see our humble beginnings.

This felt like an apropos ending because of the Adam and Eve-like imagery.

This felt like an apropos ending because of the Adam and Eve-like imagery.

Hear ye, hear ye! Desperate proposal in need of your approval!

My proposal is simple: Watch Black Mirror and see where that puts me. Ok I can, give more than that.

Reasoning:

Ok, let me break it down a little bit. I’m a computer engineering major who’s at an important crossroads and I’m only a year in. Why is that? The first time I began to doubt what I wanted to do was in the very beginning of this class. One of the first, if not the first, things you had us do in the class was free write about what we thought sci-fi was. By the end of my definition, I wrote something along the lines of “Seriously reflecting on sci-fi has made me reconsider what I want to do with my life. An engineers philosophy is ‘If it can be fixed, I’ll do it.’” I want to fix things and I want to develop technology that makes the world easier to exist in. The problem is that most sci-fi that reflects those intentions while also saying “Well, because you wanted to fix the world, you messed it up. Good job.”

No readings have made me feel that way more so than The Machine Stops and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?(A Freudian slip caused me to put Blade Runner instead). And because of my renewed interest in the genre I decided to watch more sci-fi too. Stuff like Ex-Machina(a movie I’ve already seen and loved) and Black Mirror. I feel like it’s important that I properly explain what Black Mirror is for those who may not know so we’re going to start a brand new paragraph just for it.

Black Mirror is the 21st century equivalent of The Twilight Zone. If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will. It’s an anthology series that aired on BBC and now, beginning with the fantastic third season that just premiered, Netflix. No two episodes are directly connected and have completely different casts; The only through-line is the idea of exploring the impact of technology on our society. It’s popularly referred to as speculative fiction that posits the viewers in our world “in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” I’ll just give you the premises of two of my favorite episodes to give you a good idea of what you’re getting into.

“The Entire History of You” follows a few days in the life of a man named Liam Foxwell. In this world, people can choose to have an implant placed in their head colloquially know as a “grain”. This “grain” is a database that uses your eyes and your ears to record everything they see and hear, then let you rewatch them, otherwise known as a re-do. After a night out with his wife and some old friends, he begins to use the grain to find out what’s really going on. Can’t give away the whole plot. In “Shut Up and Dance”, a high-schooler by the name of Kenny installs a malware remover on to his laptop, an action that unknowingly gives access to his camera to a hacker. Kenny does what a lot of teenage boys do when they’re alone and on the internet and these hackers leverage footage of it over him. This is only the first ten minutes of one of the most brutal, intense episodes of television I’ve ever seen.

The Point of all of This:

I think this is the most relevant show in the world right now. It’s an honest, shocking and necessary look at how the very things we make can affect us profoundly and we might not even realize it. But it isn’t just technology, but the applications on it. Literally. There’s an episode about a rating system that goes too far; where likes and five star ratings dictate actual social standings or whether or not you can get into your office building. It’s a show that makes you think about where we stand and where we want to go more than anything I’ve seen before it. I know that just watching the first season made me never want to set foot in an engineering lecture again. Some of these worlds are due to the “overcorrection”, the process of trying to correct or fix something but going too far, a real danger engineers face everyday. We are the architects of tomorrow and there’s great pride in that but also great responsibility and danger. I want to explore this feeling. The worlds of sci-fi constantly feature this in subtle ways. Just look at Blade Runner or the book that inspired it. In order to help lead a life of comfort, people made androids. Then they made them sentient and still kept them in virtual slavery. That’s engineering going too far. I want to explore what’s too far and how to prevent crossing the line while still pushing humanity forward by closely watching Black Mirror, a show that once again is “ in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” Besides that, I’d like to preach the gospel of this show and, perhaps selfishly, need a really good reason to watch this fantastic show again. Of course, I’m willing to branch out; there’s more than enough speculative fiction in the world to read/see. I’d like to place the emphasis on see, though. There’s power behind any good image and if we can see what’s wrong or right, we can have a better idea of where we need to go or where not to.

CLass Notes 11/1

Announcements

  • Reflection Piece due Thursday 11/3 at the beginning of class. NO submitting on time and showing late or it’s invalidated.
  • Archive Project worth 20%
  • Review questions handed out in class especially questions 5, 6, and 7.
  • Midterm grades coming next week; Essays coming 11/3
  • Second Essay is up on the website.
    • Same format as last essay and due two weeks from today (Due 11/15)
  • Extra credit groups email Prof.

Sidenote: Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia means fear of short words ironically.

Blade Runner:

  • Adaptation- based on the story but not a direct translation(important to keep in mind), usually considered to be a better but that doesn’t always pan out
  • Sci-fi- biggest area of adaptation
  • Philip K. Dick- Minority Report, Total Recall, Man in the High Castle etc.
  • Final Cut, true final cut Ridley Scott had full creative control over, gets rid of voiceover, includes full Unicorn dream sequence, etc.
  • Professor made joke about “the cyber” – good one
  • Big questions concerning adaptations is “How adaptations reimagine the source text?”

Discussion on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner

  • This is the point where we began to look at different cover arts for the book.
  • Focus of this was to point out the idea of how imagery, especially the first imagery you see, can help guide the narrative.
  • Most of the covers were “obsessed” with the marriage of the authentic and ersatz, specifically the physical aspect of the two.
  • “Start to think of the choices made.”- concerning adaptations and what they purposefully include or exclude.

Class’ Thoughts on Blade Runner

  1. Joselin- Liked Roy, thought that the movie did more with the character to make him human
  2. Rino- Roy has different motivations in the movie, driven by desire to live longer.
  3. Ruben- The importance of memories, authentic or implanted
  4. Alex- The world felt more lively and populated in Blade Runner, dispels the post-apocalyptic notion of the text
  5. Emmanuel- Found Tyrell to be a stronger presence in the movie, more ambitious or challenging
  6. Shiaja- Clearer reason for hunting replicants
  7. Duron- Bothered by the nomenclature “replicants” Android is better, suggests they are actually trying to blend in because of the etymology of the word. Skinjob name is disgusting.
  8. Daniel- Screen lady stood out (Bonus points to you because this also stood out to me but I neglected to mention it)
  9. Danny- Felt the movie was too linear, no flexibility in andy characters. Pointed out the scene of Roy saving Rick.
  10. Johny- City as a  character(lighting played a huge role in this), Asian aesthetic made setting familiar but foreign( Kind of like Firefly even though it’s set in space)
  11. Tajay- Androids had really distinct personalities.
    1. Rachael, seductive and caring
    2. Roy- bluish, cold, uncaring
    3. Pris- playful, black eyes to denote something wrong(very similar to double of Maria in Metropolis)
  12. Cody- noted that the replicants were also combat models
  13. Me(Moises)- sleeker visual  of the city than the book

Differences

  • Mercerism is absent
    • Religious function
    • Motivated empathy in society
    • Way to connect people
    • Hope
    • integral to expose plot twist
  • Voight-Kampff test was present, empathy box was absent though
  • Animals played a smaller role
  • Iran is absent in the movie.
  • NO BUSTER(appears in a different form; remember it’s an adaptation)
  • No mention of World War Terminus
  • Garland side story with fake police is gone in the movie
  • Isidore becomes J.F Sebastian, “special” but not explicitly stated, bonds with replicants because of similar degenerative issue
  • No mood organ
  • Rachael/Rick relationship ends in a much different place
  • Ricks motivations are entirely different.

Additions in FIlm

  • Gaff w/ origimai figures
  • Unicron scene(plays into above point)
  • Obsession with reproduction and longevity; question “Where do people come from in this world?”
  • Sebastians toys
  • Scene where  Deckard warps the image to find Zhora, meta moment about film
  • Replicants highly sexualized, possible exhibiting of more human behavior
  • Rosen became Tyrell
  • Toy scene shows hierarchy among replicants
  • “Do we just see them[replicants] as toys?”

That’s all folks. Sorry for being late on notes, I had some technical difficulties the last few days.

Yesterday

I figured why not title a reflective piece the name of my favorite Beatles song pertaining to nostalgia and the past.  Now, I’m here to chew bubblegum and reflect, and I’m all out of bubblegum(and it’s disgusting!)

P.S I’m having technical difficulties right now. This was typed up on a borrowed laptop. I promise my class notes will be up before class tomorrow.

 

Man, these reflections always trip me up. It’s not that I don’t have the answers, they’re probably buried deep down in my subconscious. The thing is that writing is just so natural to me that practices and methods that I’m being taught usually don’t manifest themselves in my writing unless forcefully. I’ve been writing in very much the same way for a few years now and you can thank my English teacher in senior year for that. Yes Professor, I could go for a more formal method of writing but it’s not my style. I feel like what stands out about my writing is authenticity: I don’t phone it in. I’m unabashedly me and that’s not something I will apologize for nor correct until that becomes harmful. That being said I’ve noticed some slight differences.

For one I actually read the text. That’s not me being smart and saying that I never read, though I have been going through a drought until this course provided me with interesting texts to read. Plus I’m reading things I haven’t already read; when I was in eleventh grade I was assigned The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, one of my favorite books that I had already read in the seventh grade. But I digress.

One of the definite changes I’ve noticed in my reading is that I’m closely reading the texts I get assigned. It sounds silly but I never looked into the meaning behind the words in the millions of stories I’ve probably read throughout my whole life. I always read to entertain myself, not to analyze. But it’s astounding what you can gleam from a single paragraph of a book let alone a page. As a writer, it gives me a newfound appreciation into the writing process. Writing words isn’t as simple as typing them in on a keyboard and calling it quits like I am doing right now. It’s a process; an art form I’ve yet to discover but so desperately want to be in on. I look at back on this series of paragraphs and compare it to some of the stuff I’ve read In The Road or even in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and I cry fake tears at the realization that I may never be that good. But I guess that’s what you’re here for: to make me a better reader so that I can have a better understanding of how to get to where my favorite authors are in the hopes that I’ll develop my technique and maybe reach their heights. Or maybe that’s a lot to pin primarily on you and I need to own up to the fact that a lot of my growth as a reader and writer will hopefully happen outside of this classroom and long after our association has come to an end.

I appreciate how much this class has forced me to think. I’m still not the most fluent speaker so you rarely actually hear what I think, which is unfortunate. That’s why I need to blog more. Perhaps the text that has kept me on my toes the most is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Believe it or not for as much sci-fi as I love and consume, I’d never really read or seen a good story about androids. The argument I constantly level against sci-fi(especially books)  is that a lot of it is absolute drivel. Most of it is inconsequential and does nothing but try to thrill and land horribly; walk into the sci-fi/fantasy section of your local Barnes and Noble and bear witness to the biggest allocation of crap in one place. The reason being that most of it does not challenge what we know. *Enter Philip K. Dick, the king of getting his work adapted to the screen.* It’s so easy to say androids want to take over the world and feel superior to their overlords, us. It’s harder to write about a society based around empathy and understanding and speak to how hypocritical that society is and thus make a statement about our current time and place. It’s even harder to question whether or not we belong at the top of the hierarchy and ponder what’s real or not in a world designed to readily accept both? The real kicker for me at least: he does this in like 200 pages. It’s an excellent example of how you don’t need to endlessly expound on your thoughts to come across smarter. Sometimes being concise and getting straight to your point pays off even better. It’s magnificent how by just reading, really reading with your eyes and your brain working at the speed of light, you can take away all the thematic questions he raised and be able to learn a thing or two about writing, like I did. That’s what I feel I’ve learned in this semester so far and I didn’t even know until I put it onto this page. Funny how that works, huh?

My hope is that I’m not done here though. I don’t know what else I can learn. I feel like what I did take away was so simple that it literally hid right under my nose. So maybe it won’t be that I necessarily learn something new in the back half of the semester, but that you’ll help me realize that the tools I needed to succeed, especially as a writer, are well within grasp and something that’s almost inherently a part of me. I feel like that’s the makings of a good teacher anyway, which is what I genuinely believe you are. It’s easy to tell someone what to do, it’s harder to make someone realize they didn’t need you to. So work your magic, eh? You’ve been doing a great job so far and I can only imagine what else you’ve got in store for us.

The One Where I Realize Everything Really Late

Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat.

  • I did NOT like Blade Runner.
  • It was super slow. And this is coming from a guy who enjoys slow burns.
  • Cut out everything that made Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? interesting.
  • But aesthetically, an interesting film. It’s setting and how well it’s realized is easily the highlight of the film.
  • I appreciate that they gave Roy more to do. Didn’t really appreciate exactly what he did with that time.
  • Sebastians creepy toys are…well creepy as hell.
  • Pris’ death is a straight up nightmare sequence.
  • Yes, Deckard’s probably a replicant. Unlike the book, Deckard never takes the Voight-Kampff test to prove his authenticity. So unless Deckard became a completely different person in some cut scenes and talked to Gaff about his dream, that unicorn scene is for sure a confirmation that Deckard is a replicant.
  • I won’t happily do so but I’ll give the film another shot to impress me but upon first viewing, my mind is usually made up. Maybe I’m missing some of the finer points.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way lets get into this thing.

Blade Runner is an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that is lacking. Probably because it’s an adaptation, these things usually don’t go that well. Now Professor I know you didn’t want us to explore the differences between the book and the movie but this is a glaring difference that is begging to be brought to light by moi, and it would be a disservice to America to not address this: What the hell happened to to the andys in this movie?

Not literally. They died. Again Pris’ death is a nightmare. Arguably the greatest thing about the book is the fact that it takes no particular stance on who’s greater human or andy. Countless points in the text show that andys are perfectly capable of acting like a human and humans are perfectly capable of acting like andys. Blade Runner completely throws that out the window except for a subtle nod at the beginning. At the end of the opening crawl(the text, not the whole first act), you see block that says:

“This was not called execution. It was called retirement.”

This is of course in reference to the act of killing an andy. But the text makes sure to remind you that these aren’t humans otherwise it would be an execution. Instead to justify a barbaric thing(read:murder), the humans turn the act of killing into a service and thus a Blade Runner is born. This was a perfect nod at the fact that their classifications in the book meant nothing & that they were frequently in reversed roles, a concept the movie ditched in favor of layering on just how evil replicants can be. I just wish it hadn’t been a nod and been an actual idea explored in the film. In Ridley Scott’s defense, I appreciate the fact that it is their selfishness and their desire to live longer that motivates them to act how they do. I just wish he had made them capable of being more humane, a characteristic that the worst andy in the book, Rachael, shows tremendously in Blade Runner.

It’s a weird film. It includes animals, many in reference to plot points in the book but doesn’t even broach the topic of Mercerism. There’s no real classifications outside of human and andy, which robs the film of some of the texts greater exploration of the ever shifting dynamic of their hierarchy. THERE’S NO DAMN BUSTER FRIENDLY, which ruins the twist in the book that levels the playing field. Oh wait, I have another point.

Blade Runner plays out like a noir film. One of the core ideas of a noir film is usually the moral implications of the protagonists actions and how they weigh on them. This does not exist in Blade Runner.  Deckard is a fairly bland character with very little dialogue, weak motivations, and virtually no conscience. He’s also a good shot but awful in close quarters. Everywhere he goes, replicants die. But this never really does much to him. Outside of being rattled by two particular encounters, he’s the same character whereas Deckard in the book undergoes a dramatic change. The further and further he gets into the hunt, the  more physically, mentally and emotionally drained he becomes. He seemingly falls out of love with his wife, falls in love with an andy, questions his own authenticity and questions whether what he’s doing is really morally sound.

Holy sh…

Wow ok, good job. I get it. Yep, he’s a replicant. Role reversal indeed. Bravo.

Regardless of how I feel, this is a dope shot.

Regardless of how I feel, this is a dope shot.

I’ll watch it again.

#WhyIWrite

Well that’s easy. Because it’s fun. Writing has been all time favorite activity for me, so it’s a little sad to admit I don’t write quite as often as I’d like to. I used to write short stories or at least brainstorm ideas for stories. Nowadays, I guess I write for a grade but that hasn’t taken away any of the fun I’ve had writing.

Professor this is around the time I thank you. I haven’t enjoyed writing as much as I have in your class. So yay to you for teaching such interesting subject matter that I feel at home with.

Besides the fun of it, I also write because it’s therapeutic. When i was just discovering how awful of a person Donald Trump was, I also had a paper where I had to examine to presidential candidates. Lord knows just how much I trashed him in that paper and though it may not have gotten the best grade ever, I felt good by the end of it. Very few things in my personal experience feel as cathartic as expressing yourself without restraint. And that kind of leads to my next point which forgive me but it might get personal.

Writing is the way I express myself the most. I’m not a violent person or strong so I don’t punch things(typically). I write instead, no matter the location. When hundreds of people were gunned down in the Pulse nightclub, I wrote. That essay is still in my phone. So is the one where I call my brother a dick for being a dick to me and his girlfriend. And also threatening me with actual violence, not a play fight, for calling him out on it. So is the essay I wrote when my grandfather passed away this April and I couldn’t comfort my father. So is the essay I wrote telling my best friend I’m in love with her. And that one time I nearly ended it all, I instead came home and wrote about how horrible it would’ve been to not meet my nephew, the most important person in the world to me. I didn’t feel tremendously better but I was safe and had released what I had pent up and that was more than enough to motivate me to keep going. And that’s why I write: to keep me going. It may not be the best writing ever but evidently it keeps me happy and alive and that’s just fine for me.

Sturdy Like a Wall

Hey, I feel like this is an especially *warm* way to welcome me back to the world of blogging. Sorry for the lack of posts people this will all be remedied soon.

Nelly would *love* this house.

So where to start? Clearly this is a post-apocalyptic tale. How far removed from the end of the days, we don’t quite know. An interesting little tidbit was the part where the house recognized the once plump dog even when it withered away which leads me to believe it hasn’t been too long since the end of the days. Another interesting tidbit (I’m really digging that word tonight) was the constant announcement of the time. It was neat at the beginning but deeply unsettling the more and more you realized no one was coming to respond to it. And when it finally got to the end you realized it was a countdown and those are only good twice a year…

Yes it was a countdown to the house’s apocalypse; the end of the remains of the perceived end. There’s something beautiful and poetic in there somewhere but I’m the wrong guy to try and put that into words. Maybe something to do with our indelible mark on what we call home. Even in the end, we’ve built a legacy that will long outlive us. Maybe my favorite thing about August 2026 is that it doesn’t paint us in any particularly bad picture (nuclear annihilation aside of course). A family was enjoying a day out tending to chores and playing games when death came calling for them. It’s another smart sci-fi text that paints us as our own villain. Technology is what we make of it and ultimately we will be the undoing of ourselves according to the story. But that doesn’t incapacitate our ability to do something right.

I’d just like to highlight the house before I wrap this up because it kind of has to do with one of the points swirling around in my head. It’s not evil. After reading The Machine Stops, it was very easy for me to walk into this text, see the house was sentient and assume the worst. But the key word for me there is sentient. It’s alive. It calls out, it helps, it tends but like a loving grandmother. It never hindered anyone’s ability to do anything, as evidenced by the imprint of the family on the outside of the house. This is a good thing. In a barren world we were able to build something sturdy and good. Even in the end, it refuses to go out.

 

« Older posts