Sunday, February 28, 2010

TVOD: Caprica gets hardcore

Some fans have been complaining that Caprica was taking too long with the exposition. Not any more. With the plotlines set up and the characters in place (it scares me how believable they are to me) we start to see how this world works and where it's going. We see how powerful the allure of virtual reality and transhumanism are in the face of tragedy, and exactly why these technologies are such a mortal threat to religious authority. They make it obsolete.

Some might see a Matrix ripoff in all of this, but old school Cyberpunks will recognize that it's actually stealing from the source- William Gibson's Matrix. Non-US viewers try here.


  1. " . . . and exactly why these technologies are such a mortal threat to religious authority. They make it obsolete."

    Chris, I both agree and disagree on two different levels, with this statement.

    Yes, these technologies are a threat to current authority paradigms, and not only religious, but all others as well. Just the same as the printing press was.

    But if anything, these 'technologies' only opens up whole new vistas for human control and new modes of authority.

    As you surely must know, that is exactly what it's all about.

  2. Chris,

    I'm quite enjoying Caprica too. I started watching it based on your recommendation here.

    However, is it really fair to describe it as 'stealing' from Gibson? Cyberpunk has been an entire wide genre of science fiction for a very long time now and there have been relatively few references to it in any television show to date.

    Other than the fact that I don't find any of the characters on the show particularly 'likable' I am enjoying the story arc.


  3. Joe- I wasn't speaking in generalities I was referring to a specific scene in the episode. Give it a watch and you'll see what I mean. But generally, I agree with you.

    John- I mean stealing in the best sense!

  4. It seems to me that the whole cyberpunk idea of virtual reality is dated and off the mark. "Reality" IS becoming virtual, but in the opposite way of how Gibson & others predicted. Virtual reality isn't somewhere you go when you put on a headset, it's already here-- we're surrounded by it.

    Technology/media is creating it as we speak. That's what makes it so scary-- you can't take off the headset and go "phew, nice to be back in reality!" Reality & virtual reality are indistinguishable.

  5. Virtual 'reality' in weapon systems almost made the world obsolete. Russia still has an 'obsolete' dr. strangelove system called 'dead' hand that will launch all of Russia's nukes against perceived enemy's if it thinks it is attacked.
    Looking back over the last 25 years, when 'wargames' style mainframes thought flocks of birds or weather satellite launches were threats well, -we are lucky to still be here. Not even going towards 'ufo' style blips on the radar.
    Where William Gibson always got interesting was in how A.I. or Voudun style 'loa' virtual gods would play out, as these 'non-human' entity's realized they existed, in a reality, as a creation. It brings to mind Phil K. Dick and his 'insane' orbiting computer thinking it is god concept. There is an ongoing experiment that is trying to figure out if all of the created universe is a hologram a copy, naturally this deals with bubbles in gravity and space time. All of this has happened before...

  6. The character Cairo( fat cat guy in white suit) reminded me of the character Kaspar Gutman in Maltese Falcon, in which Peter Lorre played the scheming henchman Cairo.

  7. I loved "New'Bust A'CapCity"!! The darker more sinister CapricaCity!! This is what Robert'StoryStructure'McKee calls 'the negation of the negation' and of course he uses a screening of CASABLANCA in his seminars... speaking of which~ when I was thinking of a move to Worcester last month I was jazzed by the proximity of Maxwell Siverman's Entertainment Complex, which features 'Lucky Luciano's Cotton Club', 'Al Capone's Cafe', and 'John Dillinger's Grille'! I've got the wardrobe, but found out at the last minute that the mysteriously cheap art-deco condo-complex down the street contained some crackhouse units! Whoa that's the holoband you can't remove, gangstawise~ so I'm stayin' onCape. I did a Gibson-parody comicstrip for Marvel's 2099 UNLIMITED#3 in '93 which I shortly after had the pleasure of having autographed by the Neuromancer himself at an Ellen Datlow gathering... I'm jazzed to see it all back in style.

  8. Hi Chris,

    I wanted to say a big thanks for recommending Firefly and Serenity. I got my hands on the DVDs, then borrowed the projector from work for full cinematic effect. Initially, i was going to watch a couple every day, but my boyfriend and i became fast addicted and couldn't stop. We watched the series and the film in 2 days...
    Yes, we did eat in between, and took the dog for walks...

    But now i'm angry that they killed the series just as it was getting interesting. WTF??

  9. Hi Chris,

    The mystery behind the source of the STO or monotheism is still just as hidden in Caprica as it is in our world.

    Other than the insinuation that the school teacher (who seems to have influenced/used Zoe with monotheism) gets "high" and communes with "unseen strangers"; there is no legitimate reason in the storyline for monotheism. Who is the benefactor of the power/control of the STO?

    This makes me see monotheism in Caprica as not a "mystery religion" but as a tool of manipulation, which is true not only in our world, but in any reality.

    Thanks, Chris!

  10. Aonoy800- We're not quite there yet, but it's certainly on the horizon. The media wash is a warmup.

    Anony1134- Well, Jack Sarfatti just published a book in which he argue that the Universe is a hologram generated by a massive computer. Funny how ahead of the curve the Gnostics were, no?

    77M- Yeah- Sidney Greenstreet gone sci-fi!

    Ned- I also got a major Dark City vibe off of it as well...

    Suki- Right on! Glad to be of service. On the plus side, the show never outwore its welcome- left you wanting more. Serenity w/ the Reavers origin- man, talk about hardcore...

    Soapie- Well, they can't give away the whole story yet! I'd get nervous if they did, since that would mean the show is in trouble. The monotheism angle seems clear to me- that need for Oneness always arises out of a confusing multiplicity. I appreciate the STO things since it reminds me of all the religious terrorism in the Roman era that's been mostly scrubbed from the record in order to make the authorities look like a big bunch of meanies. You hit the nail on the head with the manipulation angle...

  11. Sci-Fi since FRANKENSTEIN has always been an accretion, a selfreferential mold-culture of what's be speculated upon previously... much like the recyclecasting of actors on SyFy with a nod to their previous roles... the teacher is played by Polly Walker. Took me a minute to recognize her from HBO's ROME~ where IIRC she played Brutus' Polly-theistic mom...

  12. These technologies* offer a simulation in which participants ultimately fool themselves into believing specific modes of religion ( odd how so many see it as a kind of psychological utility and nothing more!) are obsolete.

    *They don't exist! Probably never will...

  13. Hey Chris,

    Dunno if you you've read him, but mathematician, primaeval chaos magician and very funny guy Ramsey Dukes (Lionel Snell) published a book about reality as a computer simulation in 1988 - Words Made Flesh. Highly recommended, as is all Dukes oeuvre. I'm sure his work exerted some influence on works like Grant Morrison's The Invisibles (Dukes was a strong influence on chaos magick in the early days)and either directly or indirectly (via the Invisibles)on the Matrix movies.

    The titles of Dukes' books are something else - Sex Secrets of the Black magicians Exposed*, Thudersqueak and (my personal favourite) BLAST Your Way to Megabucks with my Secret Sex Power Formula. All readily available.



    * the secret is revealed at the very end of the book - in latin.

  14. Caprica-Paprika; it's Spicy, it's Stylish and rather beautifully done.
    I like the 12 worlds,(Zodiac) of which we have Caprica, Saggitaria, Scorpia, Geminon, and WHAT NEXT? Canceriton? You know, the ole Zodiac reference in this series may allude to 'Cosmic Man', for when you absorb (Assimilate)all the aspects of the different signs, then that's what you become: Whole; Complete; The perfect/divine being sort-a-thing.
    Tho' of course it could be Frankinstein's Monster!(dual-ity)

    Thanks Chris for directing us non Americanos to Graboid Video, for I can now join in watching the series. I have only seen up to part 3 tonight, but it is so absorbing and I love the clever way it put's you 'into the shoes' of this piece of engineering, a sentient robot. Lot's and Lot's of food for thought,.... all about consciousness and matter and containmentf, and .....


  15. Is Jesus coming to the galaxy of Caprica?

    Seems like the stage is set, ruling powers believe in multiple deities, like Rome, while the Taurans are ostracized for their worship of one, omniscient god, like the Jews....

    With Amanda Greystone as Mary, and Daniel G as Joseph, while "God," unseen, is sacrificing his child to show his love for us?