One of the goofy things about the most popular modern sci-fi is that there’s not a whole lot of “science” going on.

Oh, there are lasers! There are space ships! There might be power armor, maybe! But science? You mean doing tests and having controls and then doing the tests again and then asking somebody else to do a similar test without telling them what your tests concluded?

Yeah, that. Well, now that I think about it, it’s not really *THAT* goofy. Lasers, space ships, and power armor are pretty cool. Two eggheads sitting around and talking about how p seems to be greater than .05, maybe we should do more tests to be sure, well, that’s a recipe for a montage that ends up with something like one of them nodding and saying “okay, so we’ve not falsified the hypothesis.”

Why wouldn’t you see a movie with lasers instead of that one?

That said, from time to time, it’s nice to see that there are movies out there that explore some of the problems that we are very likely to have between here and our inevitable lasers/space ships/power armor future.

Which brings me to The Arrival. What’s it about?

Arrival Trailer (2016) – Paramount Pictures

There you go.

So, let’s say, the aliens arrive. You know what language they’re going to speak? That’s right! Their own. So how are we going to communicate with them?

And let’s make a movie about *THAT*.

Oh, and we can put some criticism of modern society in there too.

It’s the best sci-fi that gets you to notice “hey, that thing that we do every day? Without even thinking about it? That’s pretty cool, huh!”

So, what are you reading and/or watching?

(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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13 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. Still not up for much more than my CW shows. Legends of Tomorrow continues to be deeply delightful, and Supergirl has come back out of the woods. Arrow is hard, The Flash is fun, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is wacky, I’m well behind on Frequency and No Tomorrows, but once I catch on them I’m actually pretty intrigued by Vixen (animated version).

    Reading mostly picture books and some fluffy over-the-top time travel and a mystery novel with horror elements. Today I am back to spending time with the letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf.


  2. Hmm. Not a lot of TV or vid worth mentioning apart from the two “Walking Dead” series., Been working 12 hr nights, 3-on 4 off for a bit.

    Read Andrew Weil’s “Natural Mind’ and “From Chocolate to Morphine” dealing with alteration of consciousness and substances of use and abuse. “Drive yourself Sane” by Susan Presby Kodish,
    an intro to using General Semantics. “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore – hilarious take on a man who finds himself suddenly an angel of death.


  3. Let’s see….some dude/gal on a space station orbiting Titan is doing lab work. Maybe even suiting up and doing some field work, only to go back into the lab again. RIVETING PLOT!!!

    Now maybe if it was an attractive female in her underwear I could get though 30 minutes.

    That’s why the fiction is with the science. Science is boring. Frickin lazer beams and blowing stuff up is cool.


      • I’m interested in how this Mars show starting tonight on National Geographic works out. It seems like the format is like one of those true crime investigation discovery 48hrs dateline shows. People talking to the camera in an interview with cutaways of actors recreating the events they’re talking about. Except this time the events are in the future, not in the past.


  4. Saw Arrival over the weekend. Fantastic movie, a worthy story told well, with strong performances by Amy Adams and Forrest Whittaker. (Jeremy Renner wasn’t bad, either.) Not at all what I thought it would be, and if you haven’t seen it yet pay close attention to the dialogue at the end. It turns out this isn’t the movie you thought it was all along.


  5. Speaking of SF, BBC America apparently has managed to produce a series treatment of Douglas Adams’ “Doctor Who” episode turned novel “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” and then aggressively keep it a secret from anyone who might potentially be interested. Largely through scheduling reminiscent of when NBC were contractually obligated to broadcast “Star Trek” but were more interested in pissing off Gene Roddenberry than increasing shareholder value.
    From the one episode I have managed to record, it apparently shares exactly as much with the source material as you’d expect: there is a character named “Dirk Gently”, detecting is done (in a “holistic” manner, no less), and most of the characters are British (which is particularly interesting since it’s set in America – apparently “Running Man” rules for inexplicably foreign characters are in effect).


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