Sunday, 2 June 2013

SF on YouTube

Just a few things that caught my attention recently: there is some rather good SF on YouTube. First, Крепость (Fortress) aka Ten years from the beginning of the last war: a Russian animation. It has rather the style of 1950s SF: hardware that's  modernised Cold War style rather than an extrapolation of the present day. But the story still works.

You can get brief English captioning if you click the leftmost of the icons at the lower right of the video, but it's not necessary to the understanding of the animation. I see the Russian commenters to the video know their literature: one has quoted the Russian translation of  Sara Teasdale's There Will Come Soft Rains.

And then there's Tears of Steel, the fourth movie from the Blender Foundation, which develops high-quality animations based on crowdsourcing work with open source software (I previously featured the very moving Sintel).

Spoiler (mouseover whited-out paragraph to read):
If you didn't get this, it starts with a couple who split up on a bridge in Amsterdam because the man is bothered by the woman's robot arm. 40 years later, it appears that bitterness over the split caused the woman - Celia - to turn to the dark side of robotics, leading to a post-apocalyptic world dominated by killer robots. A team of scientists has obtained Celia's brain, the prototype for the robots' programming, and is running a simulation with Celia's now middle-aged ex, to try to find an approach that will placate the robots. The story ends in a ruined Amsterdam, with the outcome uncertain: the plan has been successful with one robot, but it's unclear what the others are going to do.

And thirdly, there's Total Recall 2070.See the trailer:

This is a Canadian SF series first broadcast in 1999 (see Wikipedia) that's more or less a cross between the worlds of Total Recall and Blade Runner. It's an eclectic mix of SF tropes from these and many other sources: impetuous film noir detective with geeky oddball partner (who turns out to be an android); sinister corporations; alien DNA; computer viruses; androids wanting to be more human; androids seeking their maker; murder by genetically-engineered diseases; virtual reality technology; and so on. But despite its being derivative in so many ways, it's very watchable, and the whole series is available on YouTube: see the YouTube channel TotalRecall2070.

- Ray

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