M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

A brief rant about Netflix: No, that’s NOT what “original” means

August 6, 2019
MThomas

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This is not a complaint about Netflix in general (well, not necessarily, but anyway). Without Netflix, I might have gone, shall we say, a little…

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…this past winter. I’ve been working temporarily in Montréal, several thousands miles of miles apart from my family, and being able to watch movies and older TV shows has been a great escape from the depressing monotony of single life.

But I feel the need to tell Netflix that I do not appreciate their use of the word “original.” Continue Reading

The Trappist Family of Planets has a hard core!

August 2, 2019
MThomas

Trappists

In February of 2017, a team of European astronomers announced the discovery
of a seven-planet system orbiting the nearby star TRAPPIST-1. Aside from
the fact that all seven planets were rocky, there was the added bonus of
three of them orbiting within TRAPPIST-1’s habitable zone. Since that time,
multiple studies have been conducted to determine whether or not any of
these planets could be habitable.

What’s up with the boring names?

I propose we call them Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl. The most habitable is Kurt, because he’s so magnetic.

But the star, of course, is Maria.

Buh-DUM-dum.

Trappist-1
— Read on www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2018/5/5/one-of-the-trappist-1-planets-has-an-iron-core

Er Ist Weider Da. Look Who’s Back, on Netflix

February 24, 2019
MThomas

look_whos_back_constantinfilmAlthough the book Er Ist Weider Da (Translated into English as “Look Who’s Back,” although literally it should be “He’s here again”) was published in 2012, the German language movie released in 2015, Netflix picked it up in early 2016, I just now stumbled across this movie over the weekend. Probably an algorithmic thing (don’t ask).

Normally, I blog about either family history or science/science fiction. But in this case, let’s just call it science fictiony-historical satire with a dark edge.

It’s good. Scarily good. Hysterically funny in parts. Deeply, darkly disturbing in many others.

And completely misunderstood by most reviewers. Especially the ones writing only in English. Continue Reading

Watchmen at 10: As a movie, anyway

February 23, 2019
MThomas

Ten years ago, Alan Moore (and Dave Gibbons)’s Watchmen finally made it out of development hell and onto the big screen.

Only it wasn’t Alan Moore’s Watchmen, but Zack Snyder’s. Well, some of it. Maybe. Continue Reading

“Feel-bad Seventies Sci-Fi” — The influence on and by changing societies

December 10, 2018
MThomas

logansrun.pngI love ’70s sci-fi movies. Partly it’s because the early ’80s was the advent of the VHS/VCR and cable TV, and in late elementary school I was introduce to these movies for the first time.

Don’t even get me started about late ’70s / early ’80s sci-fi TV shows. Buck Rogers and the original Battlestar Galactica. Gil Gerard and Lorne Greene. My childhood heroes. Yikes. Continue Reading

Wandering Earth and the future of SciFi — the China syndrome?

December 8, 2018
MThomas

foldingbeijingChinese science fiction has been up and coming for a while now. The work of Liu Cixin, for example, earned the author (or translator, not sure which) a Hugo Award. (I reviewed and found the Three-Body Solution to be full of interesting ideas but bogged down with poorly written dialogue, unexpected shifts in voice and style, stereotypes, and two-dimensional characters.)

And, of course, China is about to (re)discover itself as a major player on the world stage. Complete with the “only our civilization can save humanity” trope, a.k.a., just like the US.

So it was just a matter before Chinese cinema followed suit. Continue Reading

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