Saturday, July 07, 2007

Arrival and a doubt

The Arrival (1996) is a fast paced alien invasion movie.
It does not have presidents preaching patriotic feelgood early in the morning, no laser beams causing widespread mayhem, no tentacled monsters.
It does have conspiracy, complete with men in black (actually gray overalls), black speakers going bdddrrrrrp in an observatory, huge radio antenna arrays, a geeky astronomer not afraid to follow his instincts and a satisfying ending.

It is midway between two extremes.

What would I personally like an alien invasion movie to be like? Quiet
real terror mixed with the paranoia of Philip K Dick novels, real hard-sf technology - no blinking-lights-ray-guns, and a potent dose of wonder, all splashed on a canvas of a start studded night sky. A galaxy spanning plot.

Zane Zaminski (played by Charlie Sheen) has this uncanny resemblance to Dr. Freeman of the famed game Half-Life, but the situations don't really match much.

A thought on the aliens' structure. They are humanoid, but their knees bend the other way. Like kangaroos. Like all quadrupeds. The hind legs of a kangaroo or a cheetah are extremely powerful. For running, while catching prey or while avoiding being caught as one. That's how they have evolved. Which brings me to my question. Let's forget about the scientific validity of the movie for a moment. Would any naturally evolved beings develop such hind legs and still be bipeds? and vice versa? Or am I missing something here?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Books I bought over the weekend

A brand new copy of The Algebraist - Iain M Banks - I was seduced by reading the back cover blurb.
The Third Culture - John Brockman
The Shockwave Rider - John Brunner (at last! and just 20 bucks! AND hardcover! at the Sunday Book Market at Abids - where else?). Update - 06 Jul 2007 - Just discovered it's the first edition. Hm!
Centuries - A A Attanasio
Fire upon the Earth - The Story of the Christian Church - Norman A Langford - bought this on a whim
The West End Horror - Nicholas Meyer
A Light in the Attic - Shel Silverstein - this has been apparently banned from some libraries because it 'encourages bad behaviour' in children.
A well worn copy of Atlas Shrugged.
Dayworld - Philip Jose Farmer
The Dark Beyond the Stars - Frank M Robinson
The Seeds of Time - John Wyndham
Heavy Weather - Bruce Sterling - this looks to be as good as Distraction.
and some pulp.

Apart from this, bought a 4 DVD pack of Rajinikanth movies - I was looking for Baasha - a movie I had watched a long time back in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, when I had gone there with my dad. I quite enjoyed it at that time, and it was the same yesterday. Thanks to Satya for the tip on where to get the DVD.

Finishing A Good Old Fashioned Future (Bruce Sterling) right now. Enjoyable, except for 'Big Jelly'.