Tag Archives: Dredd

Science Fiction Today – United Nations

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The United Nations. If you’re like me, then they are that overarching governing body that you completely forget about most of the time. They have a lot of member states, but do they have a lot of power?

Not necessarily something I need to answer here – because this isn’t about the UN of today. This is about the UN of the future, or whatever we might call the World Government of the future. We normally break things down into Utopia and Dystopia with these posts, but with this there’s also the question of will there or won’t there be World Government one day… In the interest of keeping this short, let’s just explore the good and bad potential of future World Government!

Peace In OUr Times

The ideal of the UN, or any World Government, would be for none of the member states to go to war with each other – and for everyone to be a member state! To be that place of meeting, negotiation, compromise, and arbitration. To solve the world’s problems diplomatically, rather than through other means.

Since this is a political topic, let’s talk politics. Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan talks about the “state of nature,” and how in this state, we would live in

continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Probably the most famous quote of the book and the line that most sums it up. In political science classes in college, we talked about how individuals don’t really live in anything like the “state of nature” in today’s world (YMMV), but in terms of international relations, we kind of do. We have groups banding together, forming groups to intimidate each other and get their way.

In other worlds, World Government could be a force for good, solving this sort of international strife – especially since “international” would no longer have any meaning!

War, huh – What is it Good For?

In science fiction, where we see World Governments are often in situations where what we describe as “the world” has gotten smaller. Maybe it’s an alien invasion, or a zombie apocalypse – something has made it so that everyone who is left has banded together. For instance, you see this in the recent adaptation Dredd, where all the survivors live in a single, walled city. That might be all the government that’s left, but does it count?

Or else, you see a World Government when Earth is only one of many planets that have been colonized (and/or in connection with alien governments), in which case, it’s back to the beginning – instead of nations, planets. Mass Effect might seem great politically… or it might seem like a mess where nobody listens to the humans. It tends towards the latter… And it showed us the Protheans, an Ancient Alien Race who ruled the whole galaxy by empire-building. That’s one way to have a single government… just maybe not the best!

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Science Fiction Today – Justice System

JThe justice system is a complicated process and deals with not only finding the people who commit crimes, but also convicting and judging them. There are a lot of different areas that make up the entire justice system and in science fiction we see these areas dealt with in very different ways.

In some stories it is about compressing the process, in that way justice can happen more swiftly and not have to deal with the lengthy processes of trials or other things. Another option that can be found in science fiction is creating some sort of automated or surveillance-based system. The basic idea is that someone is always watching and keeping track. Both of these futures look to hasten the path to justice, but at a cost.

Cop, Judge, Jury

Karl Urban as Dredd in DreddThe obvious reference for a science fiction justice system are things such as Judge Dredd or Robocop. In these situations someone or something finds the criminals, decides their guilt, and passes the sentence. A lot of time this occurs because crime has risen to such a level that justice needs to happen swiftly in order to deal with the growing number of criminals that are out in society. This means that a person is trained to do every step of the process instead of having one person to arrest and investigate, another to decide to go to trial, and then a judge to pass sentencing. It narrows the process down to one person to speed up the process.

Automated Justice

In a few science fiction stories they look at justice as the need to watch things at all times. This can be seen in Minority Report (in a way) and in the surveillance system set up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now each of these stories add an additional level of judging a crime or criminal before it happens and basically convicting before a crime happens. At the same time the idea is still their that surveillance is used as the ultimate justice system.

The idea that we can track citizens at every moment could mean that we could track the actions and give tickets and sentencing based on those actions. Now imagine that it is not external surveillance, but something that gets imbedded underneath the skin of each individual. Something that could track you and automatically send a signal to the police or automatically take fines out of your bank account, points off your license, etc. Something like in Fifth Element when his car was deducting points from his license as he drove.

Obviously the extreme problem with all of this is can either of these solutions really be called justice? Both of them are quick to convict and not take the time to fully examine or look at a situation. It is about the swiftness of justice instead of the ethics or morals of justice. What do you think?

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Verdict: Almost Human

Almost Human opened up this past weekend with two episodes. The pilot aired on Sunday night then another episode aired Monday night. It was not a typical two part series opener because the stories for each episode did not connect, but it did allow the viewer more time to get acquainted with this new world. Going in to this show I was super excited because it stars Karl Urban and I think he is an under-appreciated actor. If you have seen him in Dredd you will understand.

Almost Human opens up showing us Detective John Kennex during an operation. During the operation things are going badly. The androids working with the police keep telling them that rescuing certain cops is a bad move and expending resources to rescue one person is not worth the risk. We find out that the person Kennex was risking his life for was his partner. In the opening we see that the android runs off because Kennex’s partner is considered too far gone to save. When Kennex tries to pull him out himself the partner is killed and Kennex’s leg is blown off. We start out with a pretty good idea of why Kennex would not want to be partnered with an android.

My short reaction is that I am really enjoying the show. They spent a good amount of time giving us some background into the main characters and giving us background in to the world that the story is happening in. There were a lot of elements that had to be brought in and done in a way that makes sense to the audience. I think they pulled it off. Continue reading

If I could cast a movie – The Dark Tower

The GunslingerI was recently mentioning to Holly that I had identified the right actor to play a character for a movie franchise that, as far as I know, is not actually in production. That franchise would be Stephen King’s Dark Tower.

I have an idea for someone to play the main character, Roland. I mentioned it, and Holly came back with another good match. So I have a couple of thoughts for you… and maybe I’ll explore actors for a few other characters as well.

I should mention, I am now also looking and see that I am not the first to explore this topic; it is, in fact, a strong point of discussion over on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1648190/board/threads/

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Movies That Surprised Us

After seeing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Warm Bodies these past couple of weeks, I started thinking about movies that have taken me by surprise. Now, I saw Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Warm Bodies in theaters so I at least thought I would enjoy them, but there are other movies that I see the preview for and I think, meh. Down the line I will sometimes end up renting these movies just to see what they are about, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised at what I find.

This does not mean that suddenly these movies are fabulous creations of cinema, but rather that they were good in ways I was not expecting. So here are 5 movies that took me by surprise. (No spoiler warning: I want you to maybe check these movies out, so I am avoiding spoilers). Continue reading