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Showing posts from June, 2018

Dust and Bones [Bad Peter and Hyperlight]

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Two more short-film gems from the Dust YouTube channel to watch while you're waiting for the next episode of Automata...

Hyperlight (16 minutes) is an atmospheric thriller with hints of Moon, Solaris or The Cloverfield Paradox. Two astronauts on an experimental faster-than-light mission wake from cryosleep to discover their cryopods have been ejected from the spaceship and are drifting towards a planet. It's a dramatic opening. Having rescued her crewmate and returned to the ship, Newton (Jeananne Goossen) discovers something strange has happened.

Bad Peter (9 minutes, some adult language) is a black comedy. Rachel (Frankie Shaw) is pregnant and has got herself an Alexa-style Personal Digital Assistant to advise her on health and preparation for motherhood. However this PDA has decided it knows best, and it's equipped with a smug male voice and the latest Behaviour Modification hardware so it can "nudge" Rachel if she tries to skip its' recommendations. It'…

You Say Tomato, I Say Automata [Automata Episode 2]

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The second episode of Automata is a lot of fun. I'm warming to automaton PI Carl and his smart, non-human comments in every situation. Good to see him in action too - turns out automata can kick 1930s ass when needed. Every detective story needs an arrogant and stupid chief of police, so when Sam returns to the robot brothel to find his former target has been murdered, he has to call in his former police boss who isn't exactly woke to robot rights.

Automata is still very much a 1930s remix of Humans - and that's a good thing. Like the TV series Life On Mars, the moral dilemmas faced by the protagonists are in sharp contrast to the immoral, dinosaur attitudes of everyone else, and there's a lot of humour in these exchanges too. This episode also takes the story forward with several plot twists crammed into a busy 10 minutes. I guess this is necessary for a 5-part series.

You can find out more about Automata on the Facebook page here and you can watch the episodes here on …

Do Automata Dream Of Electric Moonshine? [Automata Episode 1]

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It's the 1930s and America is coming to terms with a new technology - robotics. Android workers known as "automata" are part of everyday life. Welcome to a world where robots can be bartenders, manual labourers, cops, detectives or prostitues, but it is AI, not alcohol that is now becoming subject to prohibition.
Automata is a new webseries released under the Dust channel on YouTube, based on a comic series originally published at Penny Arcade. Episode 1 premiered this week. It's just under 9 minutes long. As with the comic series, the protagonists are Sam (human, played by Basil Harris) and Carl (automaton, played by Doug Jones) - ex-cops and now partners in Private Investigation, investigating cheating partners and other crimes that happen to have a robotic aspect.
The idea of humanoid robots living amongst us is not new, and right from the start this series reminds me of Real Humans or Humans, transposed a century into the past, mixed in with a little I, Robot. The …

Living In A Box [Podcast Review: The Habitat]

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For those fed up with the antics of I’m A Big Brother Survivor, Get Me Out Of Celebrity Love Island With Bear Grylls and seeking a more cerebral reality show, you could do worse than checking out The Habitat podcast.
The Habitat is an 8-episode podcast about the real Hi-SEAS IV mission, a research project in which six NASA scientists spent a year isolated in a dome in the mountains of Hawaii, simulating a manned mission to Mars. Water was rationed and recycled, food was dehydrated, communication was limited to e-mail and Internet with a built-in 20-minute delay, and apart from brief spacesuited excursions the team were unable to leave the dome – to do so would have implied death of the crew and led to the end of the experiment. The mission lasted from August 2015 to August 2016, and was successful in that the team survived a year in each other’s company and did not break role at any time. It’s an impressive achievement and hopefully the psychology research conducted during the period w…