2140, KSR, and Time Travel

There are any number of films and books about humans colonising Mars, but the best of them, in me ‘umble opinion, is Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy,  Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. (the best film to date, also ‘umbly opinionated, is The Martian)

Like all his books they’re not for the faint of heart. They are dense, deeply researched, heartbreakingly human, and unfathomably optimistic. (an optimism which admittedly has to be dug out of the quagmire of fallibility)

From the time I came across Red Mars not long after it was released, (heavens to murgatriod, 1993 – how time flies!) I’ve read every novel he’s written since then. The latest offering being 2140, set in a flooded Manhattan, New York, where rising sea levels have produced a new kind of New York state of mind.

Lets just take a moment to admire this gorgeous cover art by Stephan Martiniere

I want to have cover art this gorgeous – le sigh

I want to have cover art this gorgeous – le sigh

I got my copy from our local library and like most of their books it was the hardcover version, and weighed a ton. I had to make myself a stand from some little boxes and cushions to read the damn thing, but it was worth it.

By 2140, I’ll be one hundred and eighty-one years old.

Wouldn’t it be something, to live that long, healthily?

To witness all the changes that we’ll have to go through as our anthropocene epoch runs its course.

Is it possible with today’s level of medical/technology? Probably not, but I don’t have to get all the way to 2140 from here in 2017. All I have to do is get to where it can be done, 10 years, 20, 50 years from now. Each decade becoming a boost up to the next one.

Wouldn’t that be something!

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The Piano Man himself and the original New York State of mind.

 

And for a little mellower version, this is Babs doing what she does best …

 

Movies and a Book

Because I spent most of Summer either planning or going on our trip (the photo extravaganza is over there in the ‘2015 Road Trip’ – Topics) I missed a few of ‘blockbusters’. I’ve been catching up. This list doesn’t include all those wonderful movies that don’t fit in the ‘Summer Blockbuster’ box. I’m taking my time getting to see those.

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Some spoilers ahead

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Antman – Not surprisingly OK, with the usual tie-ins to the Marvel Universe of movies and TV shows.

I may or may not have fangirl squeed at the beginning when Agent Carter, with a ‘distinguished’ lock of white hair showed up with her usual flair. Which was a nice touch because that’s how Hollywood of Peggy’s era depicted women ‘of a certain age’ when played by younger actresses.

Avengers Age of Ultron – What would the Summer be without at least one more Marvel movie? I’m so glad the DVD release didn’t include that scene with Thor Helmsworth thrashing about in a hot tub. Nice eye candy if you’re into blokes though.

I read somewhere there was a bit of a tempest at Natasha considering herself a monster, when commiserating with Hulk, because she’d been sterilised and couldn’t have kids. Taken in context with the whole scene I thought it she was referring to the entirety of her training, which produced the monster.

San Andreas – Surprisingly OK – if you like disaster porn, which I freely admit, I do. Dwayne can act, albeit in a muscle-y way, but he ain’t half bad. And it’s always nice to see the west coast of California acting it’s little heart out too.

I wonder if some clever Californian will petition the courts (or whatever the practice is down there) to convey ‘personhood’ on the state, (like they did with corporations) so royalties can be collected.

Furious 7 – Snakes on a plane! … I mean, cars on a plane! Paul Walker’s death coloured my impressions, just like Heath Ledger’s did for that Batman movie. But I enjoyed it’s ridiculousness, so there is that.

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation – Light on the techno-gimikry, which I’m ambivalent about, and more of Ethan Cruise being an action hero, (which he does well, case in point the under-appreciated, Edge of Tomorrow) but takes away from the smart (rather than muscular) tone that the Impossible Missions are supposed to be about.

Kingsman The Secret Service – Only just above average. Seeing as it came out in February, I can’t call it a Summer movie, but I didn’t see it until recently so it counts.

Colin Firth kicks butt and dies halfway through the movie. Now, that was a surprise. The Aging Mentor isn’t supposed to die until the end of the movie where his death is the final spur for the young Hero to finally reduce his adversary to a bloody quivering heap of overacting.

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Still to be seen:

The Martian – Seeing it this weekend. Can’t wait.

Ex Machina – Sexbot. I’m trying not to prejudge, but, sexbot.

Minions – Heh, heh, heh.

Tomorrowland – Maybe, maybe not.

Jurassic World – Where’s Laura Dern when you need her? “Dinosaurs eat Man… Woman inherits the earth.”

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Book

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson:  You either love how KSR writes, or not. (a bit like Chuck Wendig and ‘Aftermath’) I happen to love it, having been hooked by his Mars trilogy. Aurora takes us beyond Mars and into stellar space on board a generation ship. I think that KSR’s genius lays in his ability to create ordinariness within grand space opera themes.

My takeaway from the story was that I think we humans will probably have FTL (Faster Than Light) before we have generation ships, simply because we’re too selfish to be content with our several-times-removed descendents walking on a new planet, we want to be doing it ourselves. I know I would.

Every so often though, KSR can dwell in the ‘ordinariness’ a bit too long for my taste. The epilogue to Aurora is wonderfully written, where the heroine experiences that ‘ordinariness’, and it goes on for pages and pages, and pages.

Never-the-less, it was a glorious read.

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Now that Autumn is here (it’s raining in the Lower Mainland, how surprising!) and our holiday is well and truly done, it’s time to get back to writing!