As a sequel to perhaps the greatest science-fiction film of all time, “Blade Runner 2049” has a lot to live up to. And, surprisingly, it does, in one of the year’s best films. Ryan Gosling plays Agent K, a replicant blade runner who is assigned to track down and kill Deckard (Harrison Ford, returning from the original). He soon discovers that, through Deckard, he may hold the key to a secret that could change history forever.
This film cost $150 million and looks it. Society on Earth is barely surviving an environmental onslaught, but it is still recognizably a “Blade Runner” world. There is a big Sony presence in the future, and a gigantic hologram of a naked woman (which must look great in 3D). The line between human and androids has further blurred.
Harrison Ford is much better in this film than he was in the first one, exuding warmth, humanity, and purpose. I also really liked Jared Leto as the sinister, blind android manufacturer, and Robin Wright as K’s understanding superior. Besides being excellent science fiction, the film is also a mystery and a film noir. As with the first one, the ending is surprisingly moving and provides a real emotional catharsis. Hans Zimmer’s score (with an assist from Vangelis) is his best in years.
If I have a complaint, it is that the film, photographed by Roger Deakins, is not as aesthetically pleasing as the original. That’s a small gripe, though, for a film that accomplishes so much. “Blade Runner 2049” is a must-see.
Robert A. Heinlein’s masterpiece the Sixth Column, written in the 1950’s regards a future eerily similar to the reality of events in the world today. In the future the US and the rest of the free world has fallen to Pan-Asian Red Dawn style invasion. A corrupt regime based on graft and bribery takes over, and the population is enslaved to work camps. A few ex-military dudes are holed up in a mountainside. They develop new technologies – body armor force-fields and cutting edge laser weapons. They also develop an electronic halo, which they use for religious significance. They start calling the rebel leader Lord Mota. He has an Obi-Wan type quality to him.
Basically these guys use their technologies to convince many of the enslaved people to follow them. The Pan-Asian guards are bribed with gold. Also the guards do not report the strange technology because they don’t want to get in trouble with their bosses. So they always report every thing as status quo, so as not to draw attention to themselves. Meanwhile, the halo ex military dudes build up this giant following. It gets to where they are too big for the enemy government to really handle. The religious group is finally rounded up in a public park for execution. However, the rebel dudes depose the Prince using the technology. Finally, they impose their own military dictatorship based on reason and science. This is done under the premise of preserving the union , though in reality it is opposed to restoring the democratic republic.
“It seems obvious. We have here a unique opportunity to break with the stupidities of the past and substitute a truly scientific rule, headed by a man chosen for his intelligence and scientific training rather than for his skill in catering to the preferences of the mob.” (page 222)
Some of the strange things in this book I should mention are the author’s use of Mormons to effect the religious rebellion. The mention of a church massacre in Charleston, SC is a weird coincidence. Also the church strongholds in the story occur in Salt Lake City and Denver, often considered by conspiracy theorists to be centers of FBI and Illuminati, respectively. The use of a gigantic religious hologram by the rebels to cause rebellion also mirrors some newer technologies which we have discussed on the site before.
Another far out book from the 70’s that I found at a used book store recently is called The Girl Factory. “Any shape! Any size! The sexiest and deadliest agents in the world are made in…” yadda yadda yadda. What trips me out about it is that its basically about sexbot assassins. This book was way ahead of its time and was somewhat visionary, albeit very low brow and short attention spanned. Its 45 years since this book got published. Alas! Sexbot assassins are in the news, as experts think they could get hacked to do harm. http://nypost.com/2017/09/11/hackers-could-program-sex-robots-to-kill/
However, how about the scenario in the book, where one was created so close to human (from actual human DNA cloning) for that one could not tell the difference? And then (what if) the intelligence agencies were to use them for clandestine activities?
Here is the plot: A really hot Asian chick, named Sun-Lin, who was trained her whole life in the erotic arts (and stuff like that) gets her DNA cloned by an intelligence agency. The agent is some funny Hawaiian dude. Her clone gets targeted assassination assignments. What makes the book so unique is that Sun-Lin gets aroused while fighting her opponents, and often makes love to them in the middle of the fight, and then kills them inevitably at the climax. It gets really sleazy. She judges their manhood and so forth. Think Kill Bill crossed with Blood Rayne and Cherry 2000! One crazy part is where she applies a poison onto her vagina and then gets eaten out, which kills the target she is seducing.
The plot doesn’t progress a whole lot. Its mostly killing and lovemaking, with a few lesbo sexbot romps to fill any voids. There is also a women in prison component towards the end of the book, which is a nice touch. Some of the racial stuff is outdated by now. Who cares though. This remains a very intriguing and fast paced pocket sized novel that you can take on your lunch break, I highly recommend this futuristically retro and obscure book.