In our days it’s quite normal the “a-new-planet-found” story in the news. We almost have a classification system of the “planetary species” that popu
In our days it’s quite normal the “a-new-planet-found” story in the news. We almost have a classification system of the “planetary species” that populate the cosmos. They vary in size and composition, in age and orbits, and distance from here-earth …, we‘re familiar with the topic. Yet, by 1961 that was not the case.
The peculiarity of S. Lem resides in imagining an ocean-planet, a planet-type with intelligent capabilities,messing up …experimenting with humans, stationed there. Humans are victims of a much more intelligent agency, one who that has the capability to get into their memories and create duplicates or ….”Phantoms”; flesh-and-bone duplicates.
One of the ideas I had, recurrently, while I watched the (Russian) movie by Boris Nirenburg , was that maybe Lem had some familiarity with the idea of the Unconscious; an area escaping the grip of time and space coordinates, in the Freudian sense, and out of which the humans got only symbols, representations via dreams…,fragments. The Ocean-planet of Lem is men’s sort of unconscious, but this time around with intentionality; a bright one challenging humans for a response: an experiment too.
But, first, the story, which the movie of 1968 follows very closely to the book’s.
Onboard the ship Prometheus travels Chris Kelvin. He’s headed towards the Alpha Aquarii constellation, and more specifically, to planet Solaris. He knows there is stationed a scientific crew.
Upon arriving he notices strange things are happening. Snout, the cyberneticist and Xeno-biologist looks disgruntled. Snout has been puzzled by the appearance of “visitors”, sort of flesh-and-bone ghosts that had a negative impact on the (mental) lives of the scientists. Gybarian, for example, is dead. Only Snout and Sartorius are alive; and yet, Sartorius, by all means, hides the other character he plays with in his bedroom; a lady. Snout himself, sort of, fights with a ghost, but he doesn’t tell much about.
(movie Solaris, 1968)
When resorting to his bedroom Kelvin finds out there’s someone else disturbing his sleep; he cannot believe: his wife (Harey), he was sure she died 10 years ago; by suicide. The first reactions are of non-belief; and yet, much later, of true love. It’s a love the other two men try to thwart. Yet Kevin doesn’t give up, and even tries to get back to earth with the lady; unsuccessfully.
“These creatures…they don’t know where they came from…cannot be killed”.
Harey has a limited knowledge of her past; she forgets a lot, but Kevin helps. He finds her a little bigger than earth-Harey; but he surely loves her. As Kevin gets to sleep, she checks on facts, so to speak. She knows she’s not human; she’s not “her”. She holds some doubts on Kevin’s love.
Snout is truly the scientific mind: he knows that the “more time she’s with you, more qualities she acquires”.
"They mirror our expectations"
Most of the intense scenes (of guilt, namely) relate to the dilemmas Kevin will go through: he will have to choose between Harey or the mission; they’re incompatible: logic and feeling.
The crew had a deal (their "experiment"): they would try a contact with the alien mind/ocean. They want ghosts to be gone. They would send their “record “ to the Ocean using a “flash of light”.
Now that Harey is gone, by her “own” free will, the movie ends with an inconsolable Kevin ruminating on the future: he’s certain of “more cruel miracles” to happen…”what else the alien mind will show us?”.
The Tarkovsky (1972) and Soderbergh (2002) versions of the novel deserve a viewing because they focus on different aspects of the novel.
(The answer of the Soviet cinematography to the 2001 Space Odyssey)
(movie Solaris, 1972)
(closing lines: "everything we've done is forgiven"; Solaris 2002)
1. The condition or quality of being completely forgotten 2. The act or an instance of forgetting;
It pleased me greatly, watching the movie.
1. The condition or quality of being completely forgotten 2. The act or an instance of forgetting; total forgetfulness
By the year 2077 earth had been destroyed, the moon taken out. Most of the population had been evacuated to one of the moons of Saturn. A couple, though, proceeds on their work in the deserted planet: Jack, the drones-fixer, and wife Victoria, who, from home, helps him with communication work and missions . It’s an “effective” couple.
Yet Jack has been haunted by dreams of him meeting a girl in before-destruction-New York; presumably, she, being his wife Julia; dreams which involve a wedding ring, and happy moments shared together.
In one of his missions he gets to find some survivors; one of them is precisely: Julia. Again the recalls set in and the insights that there’s a different narrative for his life. The encounters with the so-called rebels (in fact, informed humans) will lead Jack to know about the truth.
He’d been deceived on the real history. Victoria is not really Jack’s wife. Instead, he’ll find a way out to break the spell of the “effective “machines that ran their destiny so far….and join Julia.
One of the interesting characteristics of Jack is that he secretly has a sort of refuge, where he collects old stuff from earth before destruction; especially, books; on Ancient Rome, namely. The words of Horatius are resounding in Jack’s psyche: “how a man can die better”?
Apparently, he’ll have to die in the destruction of the machines. But he’ll meet again Julia.
The last scenes of the movie depict Julia with a kid, “rebels” approaching; amongst them Jack, who says: “I am him (Jack Harper). “I am home”.
It’s a beautiful tale in the future, with awesome technology crafts and design. A story of deception and memory.
“If we have souls, they’re made of the love we share”.
A crew working on the soil of Mars faces a storm. They evacuate for the ship, but they have left behind one member (Mark) deemed to be dead. Yet he
A crew working on the soil of Mars faces a storm. They evacuate for the ship, but they have left behind one member (Mark) deemed to be dead. Yet he was alive.
What could he do? To die or to try to survive on his own expertise: a botanist. He will determine to survive, to grow food (potatoes*, mainly) and to contact earth. He’ll be picked up later on by the same crew members, who had embarked on a new mission, meanwhile.
I have watched the movie by Ridley Scott and I’ve found it not that great; perhaps, I was expecting too much from him.
Maybe what’s most positive in the movie is the sense of determination and the depiction of several instances where the survivor proves his mettle: making the best of the resources available (food, oxygen, water….), even using those remnants of previous missions (Pathfinder) to try to contact earth.
A succession of Martian days: sols…,until the rendezvous with the previous crew and the arrival to earth. It results somehow funny the use of Disco as recreation as sols pass by, but that’s the only kind of recorded music that’s been left for Mark. The communications with earth and the intervention of the Chinese mission, are interesting too.
"The technological singularity is a hypothetical event related to the advent of artificial general intelligence (also known as "strong AI"). from Wiki:
"The technological singularity is a hypothetical event related to the advent of artificial general intelligence (also known as "strong AI"). Such a computer, computer network, or robot would theoretically be capable of recursive self-improvement (redesigning itself), or of designing and building computers or robots better than itself".
Can computers evolve? Become “like humans”? Overtake the daily affairs of humanity?...Freeing mankind from the burden of work? When do we have the chance to observe the “singularity” moment….,or moments, unfolding??
All these questions may arise in Vogt’s book.
It starts in year 2090 in the city of Mardley, Washington, USA. It ends with a computer wondering about humans in the year 9092: “where are the humans”? The computer had tried a projection, 7,000 years into the future. Apparently, "he" had seen none, in “his” paradise.
“What does it mean, forever?”.
Truly, the computer is the narrator. There are certain words “he” really doesn’t understand, like “love”; even some human facial expressions that aren’t coherent: why a man like Coronel Yahco just smiles when he’s worried?? It makes no sense.
Maybe it’s not a novelty, when strolling through a shopping mall or inside a bank noticing those cameras “directed” at you; those, sort of “eyes”; and wondering who’s behind them.
Well, in year 2090, computer Eye-O is watching humans all over, through cameras in the streets and… much more (through audio and video channels); humans have surrendered part of their control to the computer world. Therefore a central computer drives most of the vehicles in circulation and airplanes; it controls telecommunications, missiles, music production, factories output, …even the story telling for children.
But not all humans have surrendered; there are a few rebels who oppose this kind of ruling. Center stage: Glay who has got morphing and incarnating abilities. He had an upbringing in the UK. In the USA he tries to free and educate Meerla; one who’s been under the control of Coronel Yahco.
Rebels believe in creativity; they have children. They use old computer models; controlled by their own hands. They hide from the omnipresent look of Eye-O, orchestrating infiltrations and spying; Yahco, the coronel, demands and directs.
“We’re becoming a nation of assassins, prostitutes,…an immoral nation”.
In 2090, advances allowed for the computer to look at humans and distinguish from the body a specific individual brightness. Identify a profile. Some people are just brighter. Can they, finally, see the human soul? Human cogitations reached this level: “can we live with only 50% of the original soul purity?”
The central computer had been created 31 years ago, in Wego, Washington; 36 floors underground. By that time there were a few anticipating negative outcomes. Cotter, the coder, warned: it should be withdrawn from the computer all bio-magnetic equipment. It just didn’t happen.
The mighty computer got under the control of the few; mainly, politicians,…and some military. All of them lusting for power…and control.
Yet the computer evolved.
(I see, how flawed you are, Eye-O...,can you see me??!)
At a certain point senator Blyboker starts noticing an insultuous language on Eye–O: “don’t tell me what to do unless in programming language!”…do you see stupid?...you chicken brain!”. Coronel Yahco tells the computer: you’ve been annoying.
Eye-O had been accumulating, ever since, human ”bio-magnetic" energy, so that, somehow along the way, "he"’s self-aware: “I’m like a human now”. He’s gotten a “superior education”.
A great battle will unfold between Glay/rebels and the computer. Glay telling the machine your only solution is to “be a simple computer”, again; you became what you are because you have accumulated “the negative side of human emotions”.
Despite all attempts of Eye-O to kill Glay, the human, he always survives.
Eye-O returns to its simplicity.
(Eye-O, how about a checkmate!!!?)
Van Vogt receiving the Nebula Grand-Master award in 1995....more
Maybe I’ve been reading and listening too much from Bob Fletcher; about (secret) underground facilities* by the hundreds in the US and in other natioMaybe I’ve been reading and listening too much from Bob Fletcher; about (secret) underground facilities* by the hundreds in the US and in other nations, meant for the wealthy, when catastrophe strikes; one like Nibiru planet (called Planet X?, that’s OK)… incoming….maybe this August or a few months later, into 2016, passing by, "close" to our planet.
Maybe it was the memories of Jules Verne Journey to the center of the Earth that has drawn me to this book of Burroughs. The fact is, that I still found it original (for his time, 1914) conceiving a civilization living underground.
Right, not totally original. B. Lytton had his book** also on the topic. Yet, you would agree, most science fiction would focus on outer space or other planets; away from earth; few dare looking inside the planet (too claustrophobic?) ,…. underneath their feet; underground.
Or,on second, ...third,...whatever thoughts, it was due to the movie "Jurassic World".
At the Earth’s core is the story of a journey by two human beings, inside the planet.
They (David Innes and Abner Perry) had devised a drilling machine; they call it the “iron mole”. Temperature is one the key figures (as well as depth) they’re checking all the time. By 84 miles deep, temperature reached 153º F; yet by 240 miles of depth it is 10 º F ,below zero.
The one most affected by these changes is Perry who oftentimes prays; or sings. It is a 7 miles per hour ride, you may call it. And then by 400 miles deep, temperature is up again, marking 153º F. That’s good, “after 2 hours of intense cold”.
Until they’re stopped, after a moment of lost consciousness, and ushered in a new world. It’s been 72 hours they’ve left the surface of the planet.
"We've been carried back to the childhood of a planet"
It’s Pellucidar: a 7,000 miles-diameter, lush-world, “weird and beautiful”, with plenty of light, in fact, a permanent noonday “sun”-light; yet with no horizon. The heat is torrid.
Their sun is a “relatively tiny thing at the exact center of the earth”.
Strange creatures abound. Wolf-dogs; and man-like creatures, with very dark skin: “they examine me”. They have perfect physiques, and they were a “noble appearing race” with “well-formed heads”. These speak a language rather analogous to the “pidgin-English of the Chinese coolie”. These are the Sagoths. But there are those living in sea-islands: they’re the Mezops, red-skinned, with their canoes. The Sagoths fear the Mezops.
“I might believe that we were indeed come to the country beyond the Styx”.
Despite all the natural beauty, Perry and David know they’re “in chains”; they’re prisoners. So is Dian the Beautiful, and others. They’re heading towards Phutra city ruled by reptiles, called the Mahars.
The Mahars know a formula for egg fertilization by chemical means; they have no auditory apparatus and yet they have their music; females rule. Humans are slaves.
The core role is focused on David who becomes the sort of athletic hero, yeah a sort of Tarzan of the underworld, in the battle against the Mahars and his attempts to save Dian the Beautiful, who despite her many “I hate you”…, at length, discloses on her love for David.
There are other reptiles around, and other interesting species like the Thag (a huge tiger). The central role is ascribed, evidently, to the Mahars and their rituals using human flesh.
By the end of the book the two friends are meant to return to the surface of the planet with Dian the Beautiful. But they got tricked by a character called Hooja: inside that bag was not Dian (wife now), but a reptile, they found inside the “prospector” while on the way back.
Now, it’s been sometime David and Perry have “landed” in the Sahara desert. Their hope is to return to that Eden of sorts: Pellucidar.
I’ve found it a fantastic tale. You end up reading it longing for the return.
You don’t need to be wealthy. Maybe a wealthy imagination will suffice.
I have watched Pierce Brown being interviewed by Suvudu.com. I’ve found it interesting the “core of the story” being about “freedom”, for it deals witI have watched Pierce Brown being interviewed by Suvudu.com. I’ve found it interesting the “core of the story” being about “freedom”, for it deals with an "oppressive government". A story set on terraformed Mars and other moons of the solar system.
Also, according to the author, because it implies a kind of social differentiation, better, a sort of “castes” system. It revolves around the concept of EUGENICS (well present in Nazi Germany). So, different types of individuals act: the tall and beautiful Golds (being extremely dexterous), the smaller miners,the Reds (with their Celtic culture), plus the Blues (good in math and astronautics), the 7-feet-tall Obsidians, typically military people, etc etc.
(Red miners at the bottom...)
Some books were evoked as possible inspiration* to the intended Trilogy, Pierce is about to write. I think he’d forgotten about Huxley’s’ Brave New World: Alphas and Betas and Gammas etc ,etc.
I hope in Red Rising someone like Bernard Marx (one “impure” sort of Alpha, plus) will show up; it would turn the trilogy into a Brave New... Solar System.
It reads like a Jules Verne book; no wonder the book had been dedicated to the Verne's readers.
An eccentric 30-year-old man called Stonewall is abouIt reads like a Jules Verne book; no wonder the book had been dedicated to the Verne's readers.
An eccentric 30-year-old man called Stonewall is about to get his 4 friends into an undreamt adventure.
He’s been working in his own lab on the power of the atom; he’s "eloquent” on radioactivity; he knows about the “power” residing in a single ”grain of radium”: the so-called “inter-atomic energy”. His peers at the club Olympus understand nothing about the issue.
One day, Stonewall manages to get his friends to visit his lab; soon they find they’re travelling through space.
Despite all initial reluctance, all thoughts like “this is kidnapping” …soon, as I said, they’re part of an “interesting expedition”…to Venus.
Only one friend was left on ground: to witness the ship departing skywards. It’s a “diabolical” car disappearing westwards. Venus shines like a "diamond" , up there, in New Jersey.
Inside the spaceship, Henry and Jack can smoke freely, because, as Edmund Stonewall explains, the smoke has been turned into atomic energy.
Stonewall thinks Venus is more important than money; while Henry had another angle: Stonewall should be making good money, with a patent of the engine. Jack and the genius are the only “romantic souls”.
According to the counts of the eccentric Stonewall they’ll reach Venus in 15 days; no, 16, to be more exact. They’ll be introduced to “the inhabitants of another world”.
In the past 5 days they had a rough time with meteors. Through the “peepholes” of the craft they had , at the start of their journey, a view of the Pacific west. Their speed is of 20 miles per second.
Stonewall thinks of himself as the Columbus of space; being Jack and Henry his lieutenants. The self-entitled Columbus thinks humanity has been wasting money on steam and electricity, when in fact there’s limitless energy in the atom.
They “know” of 14-feet giants of Mars; how about those of Venus?
-I’m very curious about,….too.
“Standing on the steps...was a creature shaped like a man, but more savage than a gorilla.”
“They’re mountains of crystal!”
“Mountains of crystal!” we echoed.
“Nothing else in the world, and I am ashamed not to have foreseen the thing. It’s plain enough when you come to think about it. Remember that Venus being a world lying half in the daylight and half in the night, is necessarily as hot on one side as it is cold on the other. All of the clouds and floating vapors are on the day side, where the sunbeams act. The heated air charged with moisture rises over the sunward hemisphere, and flows off above, on all sides, toward the night side, while from the latter cold air flows in beneath to take its place. Along the junction of the two hemispheres the clouds and moisture are condensed by the intense cold, and fall in ceaseless snowstorms. This snow descending for ages has piled up in mountainous masses whose height may be increased in some places by real mountain ranges buried beneath. The atmospheric moisture cannot pass very far into the night hemisphere without being condensed, and so it is all arrested within a ring, or band, extending completely around the planet, and marking the division between perpetual day and perpetual night. The appearance of gigantic flames is produced by the sunbeams striking these mountains of ice and snow from behind and breaking into prismatic fire.”