What if we lost the war in WWII? What if, in 1947, allied forces surrendered to the axis powers after an atomic bomb was dropped on Washington D.C. and the world saw a violent leap towards a dangerous new empire? This is the alternative history Phillip K. Dick envisioned in The Man in the High Castle. Our leaders and resistance fighters kowtowed to oppressors and years later, life in America is partitioned into the Pacific Japanese States and the Greater American Reich. Life goes on but liberty is dead.
In the Amazon adapted TV series of the same name, rule by fear is the name of the game. Citizens are expected to obey, commit themselves to the greater good, and avoid the path to moral decay. The repercussion for failing this is torture and death. This is when you start to see that the war was really won not when the allies laid down their weapons or even when they submitted to a powerful enemy, but when people accepted defeat and the new world they were given.
Read the full feature at the link below:
'The Man in the High Castle': How the Post-war Speculative Fiction Still Rings True
The latest magical fantasy to be picked up by Netflix is The Witcher. The titular character invented by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, pits a monster hunter-for-hire against beasts no mere mortal can conquer. Judging from the the source material, producers have a big world to play with and plenty of episodic tales to keep us enthralled.
Why many look forward to the show has everything to do with timing. A whole host of TV series made today are steeped in realism. They take place in gritty, dark worlds where swords cut deeper, armies fight harder, and beasts become more and more formidable. These are the things that may yet shape the story that will reach our screens.
Read the full feature article here: Why 'The Witcher' is Perfectly Primed for a Small Screen Adaption
One epic fantasy that will forever be considered a classic of both literature and the big screen is The Lord of the Rings. Although not a direct adaption of the key sources, the new Amazon TV series will start by taking us back to the Middle Earth of the Third Age at a time when a young Aragorn explores the lands of his forebearers as one of the ranger folk of the north. From what we’ve seen with the success of Game of Thrones adaptions, this production is one of the most exciting medieval adventures promising not another lackluster trilogy, but seasons full of the rich lore laid down by J.R.R Tolkien.
Though there’s a great deal of speculation as to what adventures will finally reach our screens, looking back into the appendices and references included by the author may give us a clue as to what shape the stories will take. Read the full opinion piece here: Why You Should Be Hyped for the New Lord of the Rings TV Series
Some of the best movies have come from contemporary fantasy, including The Golden Compass (based on the first novel in Phillip Pullman’s trilogy Dark Materials) and the Harry Potter franchise from the J.K. Rowling series of the same name. Next up: The Witcher, based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s collections of stories about a monster hunter named Geralt of Rivia, coming to Netflix in 2020.
Altered Carbon, Death Note, and Disenchantment: you can see Netflix is trying to win through its bold programming choices. Yet these did not have the challenge of adapting a 13th Century, Euro-Polish-Scandinavian-style land known as The Continent, populated by Fiends, Drowners, Katakans, and other vicious monsters. It'll be interesting to see how it develops!
Read more at ComingSoon: What We Know About Netflix's The Witcher Series
If there is a new Australian sci-fi TV series that everyone must watch, its Cleverman. The first episode, “First Contact,” is filled with an undercurrent of dislocation, anger, and loss. Through the vehicle of social science fiction, the series tackles things that make for sometimes uncomfortable viewing, simply because these are relevant issues that come from a real place of pain and subjugation.
But far from the silver streaming screen, the reality of many black people is dire. For the Aboriginal people in Australia, I can’t help feel that their struggle is beset with even more challenges: alienation, misunderstood mentality, double identities. These are a people that have endured a systematic genocide during colonial invasion that's on the scale of the Rape of Nangking in WWII. With this in mind, it adds significant emotional weight when you watch Cleverman.
For the full feature, including how Yidinji sovereign nation leader, Murrumu Walubara, is changing the notion of 'tribal' identify and 'modern statehood', visit LLF: 'Cleverman', indigenous futurism and the Empowerment of a Lost Culture
For eons we have philosophized on the nature of the afterlife. Scholars have debated the existence of spiritual and dimensional realms and where we go after death. But what if you could live forever, the only fall back being you have to trade in your old body for a new one? In Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, anyone with wealth, power or connections can enter ‘sleeves’ and implant memory-imprinted ‘stacks’ that contain their digitally recorded consciousness. As long as someone has access to these, they could outlive entire civilizations and historical periods of innovation.
But would our collective extended lives prove fruitful grounds of progressive deliberation or become an existential parody? Would living that long really change our understanding of the universe or would it create more doubt?
Full feature available at LLF: Altered Carbon and the Future of the Biological Condition
Recently, the developers behind the Battlefield series announced their newest upcoming title, Battlefield V. It comes almost two years after its highly successful Battlefield 1 shooter which thrilled gamers with a highly stylized return to the battlegrounds of WW1. But game developer, EA DICE, is in the news for an entirely different reason. With the announcement of Battlefield V, they received a lot of flack for including playable female characters. Their response? Their products have always been about fun and not historical accuracy. It was then that I realized the immersive storytelling power of videogames that can change our perception of warfare and how many important and pivotal moments of history are edited out for the sake of adventure.
To read the full feature, head to LFF: Is the Simulated Battlefield Changing Our Perception of History?
Ever since George Lucas’ decision to hand over the creative reigns of his massively popular space adventure, we’ve had three Star Wars films. Force Awakens introduced us to a new generation of characters, Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren, while Last Jedi saw the return of Luke Skywalker. In the first stand-alone movie the pre-Episode IV Rogue One, we saw Jyn Erso and Diego Luna fight against Orson Krennic and the Empire. We’ve also seen a host of threaded storylines appear in the animated series, Star Wars Rebels, while Star Wars Battlefront II introduced us to a post-ROJ tale starring the imperial commander, Iden Versio. Yet it’s Han Solo’s storied rise of a smuggler that gives us the best adventure since the rebellion days of the original trilogy.
For the full review, head over to Cream magazine @ Solo: A Star Wars Story
The Pervading Myths and Truths About Our Non-Terrestrial Encounters
Ancient medieval woodcuts recorded a war in the heavens. Armenian scholar, Zecharia Sitchin, explored evidence of an alien progenitor race that created mankind. Controversial researcher and speaker, David Icke, plays with the notion that the moon might be an artificial construct. And finally, Dr Steven Greer uncovers a shroud of secrecy surrounding our visitation by extraterrestrial civilizations.
But is it true? Have we been seeded by and monitored by our 'interplanetary cousins'? What would the unveiling of this truth mean for us? The Vatican itself issued a statement on what could be the greatest disclosure in human history:
“Extraterrestrial life is going to be discovered much sooner than anybody previously expected. And for this reason, the time has now arrived for the beginning of a very serious discussion about the philosophical and theological questions that are posed to our human family by the discovery of extraterrestrial life.”
View the full feature on LLF @: Unacknowledged: The Pervading Myths and Truths About Our Non-Terrestrial Encounters
The lasting power of science fiction is in its futurespeak. It’s laden with ‘what if’ prophecies. We’ve seen countless versions of this in productions like The Discovery, Ex Machina, Selfless, and Altered Carbon. But I’m not just talking about cool action movies filled with the spectacle and tech of later humans. I’m concerned with the social ramifications. We live in a time where the hypothetical is no longer ridiculed because we’ve witnessed so many incredible innovations come to life. Maybe this is why the British sci-fi thriller-drama anthology series, Black Mirror, resonates so strongly with us.
Read the full feature here: The Disturbing Resonance of Black Mirror.
Indie Publisher and author of Fiction, J.K.A. Short also writes on music, games, and other creative entertainment