artificial intelligence

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A Review


avengers age of ultron

I didn’t see the first Avengers film until it came out on DVD. Or it might even have been Netflix, actually.

It wasn’t a conscious avoidance, and I still hold up the lead-in — Captain America: The First Avenger — as one of my favourite of Marvel’s phase one films. I think, on some level, I just struggle with the tentpole, beauty parade idea of the Avengers films.

I get the idea. It’s nice to bring all the heroes together, and not have the inevitable “What the hell is everyone else doing whilst Christopher Ecclestone mullers London?” questions arise. But there’s something conceited about them, something like playing to the gallery. It doesn’t feel like it’s challenging anything or pushing any boundaries. It’s simply giving the fans what they want.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I’m not going to pretend that I’m not looking forward to Captain America: Civil War a lot more than Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Read on…

“Robot Uprisings” ed. John Joseph Adams and Daniel H. Wilson – A Review


robot uprisings

This review was originally published (in a shorter form) in issue #253 of science-fiction magazine Interzone. You can buy back issues and subscribe to future issues at their shop. My companion interview with editor of Robot Uprisings, John Joseph Adams, can be read here.

Robots are the future. Or, more accurately, the present. As far as science-fiction goes, as co-editor of “Robot Uprisings” John Joseph Adams says, it goes back to the genre’s origins. Robots, and their potentially ill-will towards us, have been with us for years, into a modern day reality where we have machines for all of life’s daily tasks. Including, worryingly, making war.

Appropriate, then, that this collection of seventeen stories of various robopocalyses, opens with a quote from Barrack Obama.

And this sense of closeness in time gives a not-particularly-new idea fresh life. The authors do the same. If this is a well-trodden path, this is an experienced troop of sherpas to lead the way. Seventeen writers, with seventeen tales of humanity daring to dream of godhood.

Read on…

Her – A Review


her

Remember when Joaquin Phoenix quit films to become a dishevelled rapper, which was later revealed to be an elaborate and deeply odd hoax for a mockmentary film? Yeah, you’d be surprised how many people still pipe up with “Didn’t he quit films to be a rapper?” at the mention of Phoenix’s name.

Which might seem a bit of an odd lead in to a film review, but it should underline that everything Phoenix does has an innate sense of the weird to it.

So he seems exactly the person to star in a science-fiction/romance about a man falling in love with an operating system, don’t you think?

Read on…