Why are nearly all sci-fi movies anti-science and/or dystopia?

“When science had no shame. Part 1: Why are nearly all sci-fi movies anti-science dystopia?” (mild plot-spoilers).

The article is welcome but starts off ranty, with pictures that look rather kooky at first glance. In combination, that’ll be enough to cause 80% of casual readers to click away, before they even scroll down. But if you do scroll down, you find there’s a moderately good tabulated list of sci-fi movies ranked for their optimism and pro-science stances. The author struggles to find any really optimistic pro-science movie, of course.

BBC’s Civilization II series – yes, it’s as leftist as you’d expect

More confirmation, if any were needed, of the BBC’s innate tendency to swing easily toward nihilistic leftist stances

“The BBC plans to ‘question the very concept of civilisation’ in a new and lavish TV series.” … “inspired by Kenneth Clark’s seminal [Civilization] documentary series, but in many ways the opposite of the original.”

And they wonder why Douglas Carswell’s idea of a mass boycott of the BBC’s noxious licence fee is getting traction. Personally I have no TV, and haven’t had one for decades now, and so I don’t pay the licence fee. But I’d certainly help with the boycott.

Adam Smith: the documentary

For some reason it’s always been impossible to find a good radio or TV documentary on Adam Smith (1723-1790) and his famous work The Wealth of Nations. But now Johan Norberg has completed a fine one, first broadcast in spring 2016. Part one is The Real Adam Smith: Morality and Markets in which Norberg outlines Smith’s life, historical context and the wider role his ideas played in his own era. Part two is The Real Adam Smith: Ideas That Changed The World – 250 years of progress and this explores how Smith’s ideas have influenced “the very things we see going on today”.

adam-smith-glasgowPicture: My Photoshop composite of two Wikipedia pictures, since I couldn’t find any I liked. A bust of Smith in the theatre at Kirkaldy, and an engraving of the Glasgow skyline and cathedral of the 1690s. Feel free to use it freely for your pro-Smith content.

Together the two programmes make a quality and up-to-date 100-minute documentary, both on YouTube. If you like what you see, you can buy a HD copy from The Real Adam Smith website. The film’s website also has background content such as a timeline and more.

Sadly a search of Google News and its archive suggests a complete indifference to The Real Adam Smith on the part of the mainstream media. A search there for “Real Adam Smith” yields only a single press release, from March 2016. Although the CATO website suggests that the documentary did quietly have a screening on PBS in America (the U.S. equivalent to the BBC) in early August.

What of our BBC? Predictably a search on the BBC for “Adam Smith” economics in programmes yields socialist Labour M.P. Tristram Hunt on “The Free Market” (45 minutes, “unavailable”); some link-bait titled “Adam Smith – Secret Socialist?”; and a discussion from the (historically very far-left) sociologist Laurie Taylor as part of his “Thinking Allowed” (“content cannot be played”). Such is the BBC left-think that we have to put up with here in the UK. There is one exception, though it doesn’t appear on the search results. It’s the BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time” on The Wealth of Nations an excellent 45-minute round-table format that is usually mostly free of leftist slantings.

Thanks goodness for the Internet.

Red Mars – bound for TV

The hard sci-fi colonisation epic Red Mars is to be adapted as a TV series. The news that a TV adaptation of the novels was being written has been around for a while now, but apparently the filming has now been approved (or ‘green lit’, as they say in the industry) for filming in 2016. It looks very promising, given the veteran team they have on board.

Asking the writer of the superb Babylon 5 (story-arc viewing/skipping order) to adapt seems like the perfect choice. The team on Mars suggests that they will stick close to the can-do ethos of the novels, and a tight ten episodes should ensure there’s no padding out the series with disposable ‘problem-of-the-week’ episodes.

“Author Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy is heading to television, under the title of its first novel Red Mars. American network Spike TV has confirmed a ten-episode season set to premiere in January 2017. Game of Thrones producer Vince Gerardis is attached as executive producer. Sci-fi veteran and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski will write. Robinson himself will oversee as a consultant on the show.”

Blu-ray of Tomorrowland – released

The movie Tomorrowland is officially released tomorrow, 13th October 2015. It’s released as a Blu-ray and as a Disney Movies Anywhere download with extra deleted scenes.

“The production design is glorious … a triumph of digital world-building.” — Time Out.

“This was the best movie of the decade … My conservative allies who panned this film got the whole point entirely backward.” — bestselling SF author and Nebula Award finalist John C. Wright.

Tomorrowland is a critical and cultural Rorschach test – tell me what you think of it, and your aesthetics are laid bare.” — cultural critic and art historian James Abbott.

“… enormous fun as it hurtles through space, time, and other dimensions” — The Guardian.

“… a critique of our cultural obsession with destruction and despair … an accessibly compelling philosophical discussion about the nature of self-fulfilling prophecies” — The Scotsman.

“… does something very few big studio summer movies do – it steps out there and says something.” — Sight on Sound.

“… a movie that dares to inspire” — The Verge.

“It’s been so long since I saw a film so lacking in cynicism, to the point that I’d forgotten what it felt like.” — The Register.

“There is no doubt that in years to come, audiences will revisit and claim it to be a cult classic … rarely is cinema this forward-thinking, immersive and immediate.” — HeyUGuys.

John C. Wright on Tomorrowland

SF author and Nebula Award finalist John C. Wright has a strongly positive review of the optimistic movie Tomorrowland today, from the perspective of the rational right…

“Never trust reviewers. Never. … This was the best movie of the decade … My conservative allies who panned this film got the whole point entirely backward.”

Yup! I agree. There’s more in his review, with some very perceptive insights into Nix and the Monitor that I’ve not seen before in reviews.