Science, story and myth (with ZdoggMD)

I sat down for an EPIC chat with Dr. Zubin Damania AKA ZdoggMD to talkover how story, myth and scifi have shaped our responses to Covid, and a whole lot more about the healing power of story. Watch the full interview on YouTube: Catch up with my recent thinking on story, myth and scifi onContinue reading “Science, story and myth (with ZdoggMD)”

Can Apple’s Foundation be salvaged?

The worst thing any adaptation of a science fiction classic can do is be less intelligent than the original. Apple’s FOUNDATION is dumbed down so far that readers of Isaac Asimov’s original novels can barely recognise it. But can rewrites, reshoots and some smart recasting help Apple recoup some of the $500M the show is reported to have cost?

00:00 Apple’s Foundation is dumbed down
03:48 The Science Fiction podcast with Damien Walter
05:09 $500 million is a lot of money
08:15 The most expensive flop in tv history
09:21 Could Foundation be salvaged?
10:42 Get rid of David S Goyer
11:52 The central character of Foundation is…Foundation.
14:11 Foundation is SOCIAL science fiction
16:16 The Empire is a technocracy
18:19 Hari Seldon – a prophet of science
19:34 Cast Lee Pace as Salvor Hardin
22:52 Hire science fiction writers
25:25 Culture is the intelligence of human civilisation
27:02 We are in a Seldon crisis

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Why do we like the Roys?

Succession season 3 reveals the thematic heart of HBOs hit show. We don’t love to hate the Roys. We like the Roys. Because the Roys are like us. “There is no line. Everything everywhere is always moving, forever. Get used to it.” HBO’s hit show Succession reveals its thematic heart with this line from LoganContinue reading “Why do we like the Roys?”

Stephen Wolfram’s challenge to science fiction

The great project of science fiction has been the translation of science and its discoveries into our shared understanding as human beings. But what happens to science fiction if and when the science itself…changes? We’re in the midst of a paradigm shift in the understanding of physics driven by computation. And at the cutting edge of this new kind of science is Stephen Wolfram. In a recent podcast interview with Lex Friedman, Wolfram wondered if science fiction was the way to understand what it would be like to be a ‘cellular automata’. Is science fiction ready to answer the challenge?

Listen to the full Lex Fridman podcast with Stephen Wolfram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-SGpEInX_c

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I’m glad they didn’t turn Paul Atreides into a girl

It’s notable looking at the beautiful Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya side by side at Dune photocalls that they are near identical in height and build…and beauty. “We all admire toxic masculinity when it’s being played out by a young woman” It would have been all too easy to gender-flip their roles. Have Zendaya knife trainingContinue reading “I’m glad they didn’t turn Paul Atreides into a girl”

Blade Runner is a test of empathy to see if you are human

Rick Deckard is a Replicant. And Rick Deckard is also not the hero of Blade Runner…but is the villain. But the obvious questions about Blade Runner are also the least interesting. Empathy is the core of the Blade Runner story. Why we feel it, who we feel it for, and who we choose to exclude from our empathy. Blade Runner is an empathy test…for the audience…to see if you and I are human. All too often, we fail the test.

Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qWpLcC7QaSA

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The Green Knight wants you to die

It’s interesting to realise that audiences today for The Green Knight, director David Lowery’s adaptation of the medieval poem, struggle to understand a story that would have been clear and obvious to audiences seven centuries ago. For all our knowledge and science – or perhaps because of them – the epic poem created by an unknown author as a kind of Arthurian fanfic now seems cryptically mysterious to us. But the deep meaning of The Green Knight is exactly why the movie has become a surprise hit. More than ever modern audiences are hungry for the gift of The Green Knight – death.

Follow the full course in Writing the 21st Century Myth : https://damiengwalter.com

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The failure of Foundation is a lost opportunity for Apple

Stories that last through the ages aren’t just great storytelling, they also serve the power structures of their time. Powerful people have always patronised great stories. The epic poem Beowulf, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, the plays of William Shakespeare, were all supported by powerful patrons. Now the most powerful corporation in the world has decided to patronise a $500 billion production of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation saga, a story that represents the values of our technocratic elite better than any other.

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Savior Stories – workshop 7 from Writing the 21st Century Myth

Savior stories are at the core of many of the most powerful science fiction and fantasy. Neo in the Matrix. John Connor in the Terminator. Superman in all his manifestations. And of course Paul Atreides in DUNE.

The seventh workshop in Writing The 21st Century Myth explores how scifi saviors all have their origin in the original Savior to save them all, the central character of Christian mythology – Jesus of Nazareth. And how scifi stories can be shaped around the stages of transformation, to take audiences on their own personal journeys of Salvation.

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Thoughts after watching Denis Villeneuve’s DUNE (2021)

If science fiction is a gateway to the psychedelic, then DUNE is a portal to…awakening. Frank Herbert’s seminal novel and David Lynch’s baroquely weird movie are both powerful works of art on the theme of human awakening. Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation is a masterpiece of worldbuilding. But is it a kick in the third eye for would be seekers of truth? If the 13 year old me could see this Dune afresh, would the sleeper awaken?

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Relax – The Matrix Resurrections is going to be great

Phew. Matrix Resurrections is going to be great.

This is the shot in the trailer where I knew it. There’s so much that works here. Not swapping out your 54 year old leading actress for a younger model, is just a start. This is a gang of older, wiser creatives than the bunch who got rushed into the early sequels. Everything in this trailer says self-reflective, smart, a clever play on the original…with upgraded CGI.

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