The official website of Brandon Black.

Archive for May, 2014

“Winter” in Florida

Well of course I know there’s such a thing as winter. Just not in Florida.

Everyone knows Florida is a forlorn, steamy jungle, overrun with dinosaurs, sabertooth tigers and other megafauna, a place filled with vine-overgrown ziggurats and ancient stone temples, where crocodiles pad silently across the ancient cobblestone streets and large breasted amazon warriors capture the daring but foolish archaeologists who brave this antithesis of civilization seeking the tombs of ancient warrior kings and the necropoli of long-dead wizards.

Florida is a place overrun with man-eating megaflora and vile serpent-man cults that have survived since prehistoric times. It is a place where the spirits of winter hold no sway and not a single flake of snow would ever dare to touch the ground.

When the lost Ice Children of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts decide they have finally had enough of this realm and must at last return to Faerie, it is to Florida they go in which to find a place to die.

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What is a “Book?”

The “book” was a non-computer analogue of the standard data pad. Books used pigment to stain words and symbols upon data recording devices called “pages,” which were composed of tightly pressed cellulose.

Books were largely phased out by the end of the 21st century and banned by the end of the 22nd, in which Earth became a member of the Arcturan Hegemony, a political body largely dominated by plant sentients.


Joe Haldeman’s Robot Jox

Just finished re-watching an old scifi movie, Robot Jox. Apparently, the script was written by Joe Haldeman. It’s always fascinating to go back and look at older science fiction to see what people got right and what people got wrong in their guesses about the future. For example, Robot Jox has people wearing masks because of pollution, something that’s occured in China, Japan and elsewhere I’d guess but despite envisioning flying cars with remote controls and giant robots battling in space, still has land line telephones.

What I really noticed was that despite all this technology, Joe pictured a world that still had racism and sexism. I can hear someone saying right now “well that’s just realistic” but I don’t think it’s realistic as depicted in the film. Tex calls Matsumodo a “Jap.” Now, unless there’s been a second war in the Pacific between the United States — excuse me, the Market — and Japan, using a term like “Jap” just seems like a horrible anachronism. But then, so does having the chief engineer of the giant robot be Japanese in the first place. I can only assume that Matsumodo is in fact Japanese and not a Japanese-American because otherwise, it would make calling him a “Jap” even more inexplicable.

The sexism is even more noticeable. The naturally bred robot jocks are being phased out in favor of genetically engineered combatants, one of whom is female. When the possibility — the possibility mind you, of the lone female candidate being chosen to actually fight is brought up, Tex says she has no chance of being selected. When she succeeds in the trials and outperforms her brothers and is chosen to fight, it’s mentioned that she’s the first woman in history to fight as a robot jock. This despite the fact that the whole robot jock thing is based off of the astronaut/cosmonaut US/Russia Space Race rivalry and the communists had NO problem putting women into space long before the Americans. The communists are called the Confederation now.

Both comments come from Tex and so I suppose the argument could be made that he’s just an asshole but no one corrects him or comments. It’s 2014 and we don’t have flying remote controlled cars or flying battle robots and I think someone publicly making comments like that would be noticed and it would be commented on. But then, we’ve got cellphones too.

Now that I think of it, the whole Space Race thing is a bit of an anachronism too — I mean, he deliberately models the future off of how things were done in the past. This is a movie from the eighties after all. Why use the Space Race as your model at all?