Midnight Skull Sessions – Episode 5

Midnight Skull Sessions episode five is up on iTunes. Last I checked, all the show descriptions had disappeared. So here’s a list of the books we discussed this time around:

John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova, Kitty Steals The Show by Carrie Vaughn, The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro, and Kiln People and Existence by David Brin.

The podcast ends with a very spoilery discussion of the time travel paradoxes in the film Looper. It has since been explained to me that while the movie may not be satisfying as hard science fiction, it does use time travel to effectively communicate a theme. That’s fine. It still pissed me off.

I just got my new Kindle and a copy of the sequel to The Passage, so book reviews should be coming soon. But probably not before I catch up with the season premiere of American Horror Story.

(Edit: It appears that all podcast descriptions have vanished from iTunes. Phew! I thought I was the one who had done something wrong. Also, this season of American Horror Story has alien abductions. I love you, American Horror Story!)

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1 Comment

  1. Great post, and great blog. Look forward to checking out the podcast.

    Just saw Looper, and indeed, there were many paradoxes that did not bear much scrutiny, but I think that’s part of a larger problem in the story.

    There just was a general laziness in the way the world in the story was constructed…
    For example, is there any special reason why we’re not even given a clue about how the time travel technology works? Is it Tachyons, or what? I mean, they didn’t even TRY. Part of the problem is the underlying cornucopian assumption that technology is, essentially, like magic and will eventually be able do anything. That leaves me really cold, and has nothing to do with the physical universe as I am observing it. It’s the same kind of thinking that assumes that someday, we will develop a reasonably efficient way of exploiting the shale oil in the Bakken formation. You know what? If we had technology that efficient, we wouldn’t NEED the oil in Bakken.

    I don’t like to see that kind of thinking reinforced in pop culture. I like it when pop culture is more subversive. Of course, that’s just my politics, and just one guy’s opinion.

    But okay, let’s say that time travel technology exists– or let’s pretend the screenwriters bothered to try to make me believe that it could. Why is this tech only in the hands of criminal syndicates? That just makes no sense. Criminal syndicates may have nukes, but they’re not the only organizations that have them, and they don’t have the most powerful ones. Criminal syndicates have submarines, but they’re pretty shitty submarines. Any weapon or technology a criminal has? There’s a government, military, or industrial organization that has a better, more efficient version.

    And so, what… we’re supposed to believe that the military, and the government, is so responsible and benevolent that they decline to use this technology? That’s just insane. When has that ever happened? Is there any technology that is banned because it’s too dangerous? Maybe using nuclear rockets for space exploration. That’s the only example I can think of.

    Post modern critics will wag their finger at me and say that’s not the point– a friend who works in special effects was taking me to task for this about Prometheus. It’s not supposed to matter, for example, in that film, that a huge multinational corporation would fund an expedition to another planet just because they had a burning desire to know the origin of humanity. (Again, that weird creation theme you talked about.) We’re supposed to just drop into this imaginary world, accept its rules, and burn up our little synapses figuring out every plot twist, what makes sense and what doesn’t.

    Well, you know what? I’m too tired to do that. I spend so much of my days filling out forms and following byzantine and gratuitous procedures… If someone is asking me to do something complicated, anything– whether it’s navigating a website, learning some new software, or following the plot in a movie– it has MEAN something. Sort of. Or something.

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