Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams REVIEW (NO SPOILERS)

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams has arrived on Amazon Prime and I’m ready to dive into the cyberpunk techno sci-fi fun of it. I’ve been waiting for this ever since it was originally announced. The reviews have been better than current seasons of Black Mirror (that’s not hard to beat these days) so here we go:

Real Life (Episode 1)

Real Life starts out with a female cop in the future (Anna Paquin – X-men). She’s a lesbian with a flying car and some cool tech gadgets. She escaped a tragic event and her guilt is eating her up. So her girlfriend offers to let her try a new device that her company is working on. This device will make it seem like you have a completely different life. When she goes into this new life, within her head, she’s back in 2012 and she’s a billionaire male (Terrence Howard – Empire). His company is working on a device that interacts with the mind and gives the user the ability to have second life also. Our main character then becomes confused between 2 different worlds and can’t figure out which world, is the real world, and which life, is the real life.

It’s an intriguing story and filled with some really good actors. The premse brings up some good questions about determining what is real and what is just a very vivid dream (which we have all had, but we get to wake up), when it comes to mind altering technology that really doesn’t seem very far fetched these days.

Autofac (Episode 2)

Autofac is a factory that can make anything. After a massive war plunges the world into a post apocalyptic setting, the AI of the autofac continues to produce supplies, unneeded by the last remaining population that is walled off by exclusion zones and left in a small area surrounded by pollution from the factory. The humans come up with a plan to get into the factory and detonate nuclear bombs within so that they can finally be free of it. Little do they know, their existence is linked to the autofac in ways they could never imagine.

As with the first episode, this one draws you in and makes you want to find out just what is going on. Again, there is a twist to it, as so many anthology shows now do. I found myself looking for the twist while watching, and it did turn out to be what I suspected, though it also had an interesting monologue between the factory AI and the main female protagonist which I did feel, made the ending work and feel like a completed story.

Human Is (Episode 3)

Human Is stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Essie Davis (The Babadook) as a top level couple for the state on are far flung future of Terra (Earth). The air has been poisoned and the people live in the rock of a cliff and bio-domes that protect them from the harsh air. In order to keep the air from being 100% poisonous, they must mine a purification trait from other planets. In this case, they are stealing from an inhabited planet. When Cranston’s character comes back from an excursion from this planet changed, we are faced with the question of, “What is to be human?”

This episode is much more sci-fi than cyberpunk in the setting and the fact that it deals with alien lifeforms. I’m not sure if there is supposed to be a twist or not, even so, it doesn’t need nor rely on that plot device for this story. At 3 episodes into Electric Dreams, this has been my favorite episode so far. The acting and the visuals were above par and the “feel” of this world, from the maze beneath the city to different camera angles, all added to the interesting and enrapturing atmosphere.

Crazy Diamond (Episode 4)

Crazy Diamond stars Steve Buscemi and frankly… I didn’t get this one. The humans are either “Jacks” or “Jills” and inhabited by a synthetic soul (or something). Their habitats are constantly falling into the sea and there is a gate guard that is a “pig lady,” a chimera of a human and a pig. The story is confusing to say the least. Also… the main people are dress in a 70’s future way while these rogues who want the “synthetic souls” are like 80’s future Flock of Seagulls style.

This one really seems to be more concept over story.

The Hood Maker (Episode 5)

The Hood Maker stars Richard Madden (Rob Stark – Game of Thrones) as a detective in a post apocalyptic world that seems to have shunned technology (back to typewriters), while mutant telepaths called Teeps have become a species that is not trusted by the normals. Someone is making a mask that blocks the Teeps from reading minds and the level of trust between Teeps and normals in tenuous.

This one is good but depressing. Normals distrust Teeps because they can read minds, so normals treat Teeps badly. Teeps want to rise up and destroy the normals and if they do, then it vindicates how the normals feel. In the end, as far as I’m concerned, neither side was “good” or right.

Safe and Sound (Episode 6)

I just completed Safe and Sound (writing these as I complete each one) and as of now, this is my favorite story in Electric Dreams. It’s about technology and government control. It’s about controlling people by limiting freedom and making people think “safe spaces” like schools are a good thing. It’s basically, what happens on this ultra PC, snowflake, easily offended trip we are currently on in reality. So yeah, this one is a MUST SEE.

A mother and daughter move across “the rift” from a bubble city (the people think that those in the bubbles cities are terrorists when they are actually for privacy and freedom), only for the daughter to be manipulated by the government, through technology, to get to the outcome needed. The propaganda that is “safe spaces,” plays a big part in this story and it’s nice to see that someone out there created this story to highlight how bad it is as a propaganda tool. WATCH THIS EPISODE!!!

The Father Thing (Episode 7)

This episode is a straight up, good old fashion “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” show, with maybe a little Stranger Things thrown in. It’s a good episode even though it is pretty straight forward and nothing that hasn’t been done before. Still interesting to watch.

Impossible Planet (Episode 8)

Impossible Planet is the story of a space cruise. An old lady wants to see Earth, long since de-populated, so she hires a cruise there. The 2 people taking her there, instead decide to take her money and take her to a planet they can pass off as Earth. The ending is bittersweet but the episode is really good. This is also a universe that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of. It seemed like an interesting place.

The Commuter (Episode 9)

The Commuter is about a time that never was and a woman who can take people’s pain away. This one really doesn’t have anything to do with technology but it is a deeply involving story where you really feel for the lead character played by Timothy Spall (Harry Potter – Wormtail), whose pain come from a son who is on a road to nowhere. I was surprised to see Tuppence Middleton (Sense8 – Riley Blue) as the character of Linda. I could barely tell it was her with the long dark brown hair since I’m used to her in Sense8 with the shorter blonde hair. It’s a good episode even if it feels more Twilight Zone and less technical.

Kill All Others (Episode 10)

Kill All Others is really the hell of a liberal utopia if it should come to pass. Mob rule and state ran control at all levels. Then you have your added “Google-like” advertising to keep people docile. Those who ask questions are the “others” to be dealt with. It was an excellence episode to cap off the first season of Electric Dreams.

Overall, I enjoyed Electric Dreams more than Black Mirror. It’s not quite as dark and morbid as Black Mirror but still tells you interesting stories, some with twist, and some fairly straight forward. It’s definitely an anthology to check out.

Streamline (Steam of Thought) 1/13/18

Facebook is putting Friends and Family First

I like this move. It’s past time for marketers and brands to be knocked down a notch. Marketers make ambulance chasing lawyers look like swell people these days. Basically, here’s what they algorithm jockeys did. They not only fill the web and every social site with ads but they post the smallest thing as “news” or “breaking” just so they can try to get a click through, which then shows you more ads on their site. The goal is to get you to click through to their site to display ads. This is why news media from actual news to tech to pop culture rush to be first with anything… even if it is unverified (as it almost always is now). If we can post a sensational post, we can get a click through.

If a marketer or brand loses some ad money over this, I’m 100% okay with that. They’ve really gamed the system enough. Really… I’d like to go back to the 90’s when branding meant sell out, and it was looked down upon. At least then we wouldn’t be making these fake stars out of phony people and brands.

The strange thing about this… I normally click the news feed and change to “Most Recent” over “Top Stories” so I get a more chronological view. All of sudden though, this is showing EVERY post from “friends or family” who are going on posting sprees. When I go back to “Top Stories” now, I see more interesting content. Maybe the Top Stories algorithm is really working better with this change. Afterall, brands spamming or people spamming can both be an issue. Time will tell.

Star Wars Theme by Paper Scratched Equation goes Viral

A few days ago, a video was put up on Youtube of someone doing equations and making the Star Wars theme via the sound of the pencil on the paper. This went viral. Over 2 million views. The site was just put up for this video. This had to have some sort of market manipulation or humans really are evolutionary idiots… (NO, I will NOT link such idiocy).

Cyberpunk 2077 comes to life… sort of…

Everyone in gaming has been waiting for Cyberpunk 2077 to “be.” We’ve been waiting a long time. Yesterday, the official Twitter account issued a tweet. The first tweet since December 5th 2013… It simply said *beep*

This was enough for the internet to go wild with speculation that maybe… just maybe… this game will come out or have new information released, or something. Whatever it may be, it was the winning tweet on Twitter yesterday.

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon Prime)

I’m 5 episodes in so far. It’s pretty good. Overall, I like it better than Black Mirror (I feel BM jumped the shark last season). The Steve Buscemi episode made no sense but outside of that, my only real gripe is the lack of testosterone. I’m all for the heroine kicking ass but come one… a little diversity here. The men in every episode so far have been fairly week. It’s a far cry from Rick Deckard in BladeRunner, but I digress. I’m doing a little summary for each in another blog post, so I’ll save most commentary on this, for that.

Twitter is still a mess…

I looked in on Twitter this morning for about 60 seconds and STILL saw “shithole” posts. So I logged off again. Regardless of being said or not, it’s not racist, nor it is not true, however… I’m so over both sides being snarky about it. It’s a word. It’s a statement about how places that for the most parts are shitholes. That’s why people want to come here. You have an issue with it? Embrace your inner snowflake and go find a corner to cry in you easily offended fool.

That’s the Streamline for today!!! Catch you next time.

-JF

Streamline (Stream of Thought) 1/12/18

Dumpster Fire of the Day:

I opened Twitter for a moment today and saw just about every Tweet using the term “shithole” in reference to something that the president may or may not have said. So I instantly closed Twitter because it is in effect, a shithole. There’s a reason I deleted all of of my tweets yesterday. I’m sick of the negative echo chamber that is Twitter. It pulls you in with negativity and creates a narrative to incite you.

Hang it up:

Likewise, I saw some convo on Hangouts where I’m in a few different groups. Oh hey look!!! I already posted about that… 2 DAYS ago. Yet now someone is posting up the same links I already posted, as if they were new. That’s my big thing right now, if I’m taking the time to relay certain info, and you can’t acknowledge it, then why am I posting it??? That’s pretty much everything now… Ergo… this blog being my journal of it all.

I’ve been withdrawing more and more from social media things and the more I think about it, the more I think it is the right decision.

Altered Carbon is coming!!!

The new Altered Carbon trailer is awesome. I need more Cyberpunk in my life and so far, from the trailers, it is doing the book justice. I’m also rereading the book right now and I’m thoroughly enjoying it even more on the reread. 2/2/18 is the big day it hits Netflix. Can’t wait!!!

Alt 105.7 FM in Atlanta

I just happened to have this station on this morning when I pulled out of the garage to go to work. Normally I listen to WSB for the weather and the news but I had this station on from the drive home last night. The morning talk show here was refreshing. They steered clear of politics which was VERY nice. A morning show that doesn’t let itself get politicized? Can it be? Apparently it is, and that is exactly what I am looking for!!!

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

It’s finally here!!! The entire first season is up and streaming on Amazon Prime today!!! Reviews have said that this is better than Black Mirror even. It’s also a cyberpunk show so I’m totally down with that.

The NY Times Noticed that Wearables are DEAD

They ran an article today asking if the fad was dead because wearables are MIA at CES. I said over a year ago that wearables were dead. As a matter fact, before I ever bought a Pebble Steel, I stated that wearables were nothing but a fad or electronic toy for adults and that they would be a flash in the pan. I was right. Sure, people still wear their Apple Watches and Fitbits but the majority of people have tried the fad and dismissed it already. I’m still calling the second coming of VR a second fad also. I hold out more confidence for AR but VR is a Pebble Time 2 away from the history books once again.

Upgrade your Cybernetics and Bionics

Speaking of current tech and fads… How we do things now has totally ruined a future where bionics and cybernetics are a generalized thing. I mean, are you going to buy a cybernetic eye that will only get 2 years of updates? After 2 years, some snot nosed 14 year old hacker will be sitting in his parents basement hacking the shit out of your eye. The same goes for legs or arms or etc… Never mind that to subsidize the cost, you may be forced to watch a commercial via that eye every hour… We are on this tech trend where a new version of tech comes out yearly and the old version gets updates for X many years. Having a cybernetic body that is prone to planned obsolescence would really not be a good thing. I guess those cybernetics will join the jetpack in the the list of cool things that will probably never be.

That’s the Streamline for today… Catch you next time.

-JF