Recent Reads and Watches

I’m with Dave. I enjoyed both Don’t Look Up and The Matrix Resurrections

It took me a little while to get the time to what them, but enjoyed both. Don’t Look Up was some of the best social satire I’ve seen in a long while. In 20 years, if someone wanted to know what living through the last few years has been like in America, I think this movie will be a nice culture artifact capturing the impact of social media, post-truth media and the divide between real life and public fantasy. Plus, a nice depiction of religious belief with real sympathy. So rare in our media of public fantasy yet so pervasive in real life. It’s funny to me that the focus was so much on the climate change/comet metaphor. Maybe those who believe they influence are upset seeing how little power they actually have in the face of self-serving delusion.

As for the Matrix, I’ve been a fan and re-watched the trilogy before getting around to Resurrections. I’m glad I did because the movie did play to the fans and those knowledgeable of the cannon. I always thought the movies were about the concept of “Savior” with Neo being a Christ-like figure somehow born to be the savior and giving his life for humanity, or at least what was left of it. The new movie is the logical second coming of the savior. I’ve read other metaphorical readings of the movies, but on rewatching I was struck once more with my previous interpretation.

I finished William Gibson’s Agency this afternoon. Unfortunately, in this case I didn’t go back and read The Peripheral, so there was the usual lost context that I gradually pieced back together from the first book of some years ago. A lesson I’ve learned and apparently forgotten- don’t start trilogies until they’re completed or at least nearly so. Hopefully when I get around to the final Expanse book, Leviathan Falls I’ll still remember enough since the last book came out almost 3 years ago. When the 3rd book in Gibson’s series comes out, maybe I’ll reread the first two as warmup.

Gibson has created a unique approach in Science Fiction where he places stories in the present but, in these last two books, simultaneously portrays a future. Since these are branching timelines, to get around time travel paradoxes of course, it’s really like present and future as fantasy. But, maybe like Don’t Look Up it provides a more direct way to reflect on our times and where we may be going. Within the first pages of the book, we meet an AI arising from an interesting technology, much closer to the way I would see AI agency coming about than the spontaneous awakening stories or the mind upload yarns, none of which I find remotely plausible.