morbane: pohutukawa blossom and leaves (Default)
[personal profile] morbane
[every time I think of posting I think of something else I need to do, like more of a beta job. And then I dream of writing a really sprawling interconnected post. It gets out of hand. Sorry.]

Just came back from film #3 this year of Film Festival picks - Joel's suggestion: Midnight Special. It was an enjoyable experience: a classic plot, treated deftly and confidently. Strong acting all around. Beautifully shot. Earned its lens flares, I think. ^!^

And I came out of it thinking "[personal profile] cahn and [ profile] scribble_myname would get a lot out of this" - because although I don't talk much about reading Zenna Henderson, because I haven't for years and feel rusty and uncertain, this felt very, very, very much in the vein of her works. There might be some applicable spoilers; ask if you want further details.

A short list of what's going on for me lately: house hunting, an evening class in short story writing, LARP catering, Pokémon ALMOST-Go, beta reading.

Also, for a while I've wanted to talk about this 1998 sci-fi story because I found it really influential and then it was referenced in 'Cat Pictures Please' and I had somewhat indignant feelings about that. But mostly I want to talk about the story, which means a lot to me.

Date: 2016-08-08 03:54 am (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
ha! -- I just read your comment above about how the positive aspects struck you on first reading, and the negative on second, and fairly obviously that's happening to me too -- I think because the negative aspects become more obvious near the end of the story.

I actually love that there's that negative side, that question of passivity and the abrogration of responsibility. (I also love that last image of Tsuyoshi just waiting to be freed -- that really undeerscores that passivity.) I don't have a lot to say about it right now, because I'm still chewing on it, but I do find it an integral part of what makes the story so fascinating. (One of my major criticisms of CPP is that it's too cheerful, that it doesn't admit to the dark side of what the AI is doing. And there is definitely a dark side.)

This is a really human-centred story, and it's not wholly positive or negative, because both those choices are available.

Yes! Because humans (and things created by humans) are that way! I think that's almost a prerequisite for what I consider a really good story. (Zenna Henderson, heh, might come the closest to an author I love who does tip the balance -- but she did not in fact deny the darkness of the human spirit, even if she chose to concentrate more on the positives.)

I love that the message for the guy who needed the coffee can be translated as you have always been surrounded by friends. That moment of the person you don't know is actually your friend is, well.

Ahhhhhh yes! And also the idea of: you are known. You are known and you are cared about. (This actually makes me think of FFA -- speaking of things that are positive and negative tangled up together! and even though I haven't actually been back there lately -- there is a lot of malice there, and there are also these amazing moments where people just connect to or support these other completely anonymous people!) It's just, like you say, so powerful. (I'm stealing your words because when I tried to think of my own I just started flailing about.)

(And also, interestingly, there is the part where what actually knows you is a networked machine-learning intelligence. And yet that doesn't take away the power of that scene.)


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