Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.
Critics who've said that Altered Carbon, the 10-part series I just binged on Netflix (based on the 2002 novel by Richard K. Morgan, which I haven't read) is not as good as Bladerunner, which it strives to be, are myopic — or to put it bluntly, completely wrong. That's because Altered Carbon is at least as good if not better than the two Bladerunner movies (certainly the second), which it not only exceeds in scope and variety, but plain-out doesn't resemble in crucial ways.
Review of 'Chronological Order'
Chronological Order, the 2010 feature-length movie I recently saw on Amazon Prime, certainly deserves an award, which would be for the most unlikely time-travel device I've ever come across on page or screen. That would be a door that our protagonist, a guy by the name of Guy, finds floating in the ocean. He and we soon learn that when he stands it up and walks through it, he walks a little or longer into the past.
Review of 'An Angel for May'
An Angel for May just showed up on Amazon Prime. I just saw it, and think of it as a YA (young adult) Outlander. Significantly—or not—the Melvin Burgess novel on which the 2002 movie is based was published in 1992, or just a year after Diana Gabaldon published her first Outlander novel. I have no idea if Burgess read and was inspired by Outlander, but the two stories have a lot common. Time travel in An Angel for May happens when the hero, young Tom, walks through a broken stone facade of an old building. Both stories have a foot in the Second World War—the point of departure for Claire in Outlander, the terminus for Tom. Both are UK-based. And both are, in significant part, about the time traveler trying to change history.
The Discovery (2017, Netflix) is a strange, edgy, powerfully soft-spoken movie about a scientific attempt to find, map, and understand the afterlife. As such, it bears some resemblance to Kiefer Sutherland's 1990 Flatliners (coincidentally remade in 2017, but I haven't yet seen it). The Discovery sports Robert Redford in a quite central role, with Jason Segel, Rooney Mara (House of Cards), Jesse Plemons (Friday Night Lights), and Riley Keough (first season of The Girlfriend Experience) in leading and strong supporting roles.
Review of 'The Time We're In'
Stopping time is a highly effective but not often used technique in the time-travel genre, rich in possibilities for mischief as well as the most profound changes in human life. Nicholson Baker's masterpiece, The Fermata, is an example mostly of the mischief variety—erotic mischief, to be more exact—in which the hero stops time to undress women (see my brief review here). Likely because Baker is not seen as a science fiction writer, The Fermata is not usually considered to be science fiction or time travel, though Neil Gaiman and Robert Zemeckis are reportedly working on a screenplay.
Review of 'Jacob's Paradox'
I figured I would expand my reviews of time-travel feature movies and TV series on Netflix to time-travel shorts on Amazon Prime (Netflix doesn't have many if any time-travel shorts). First up is Jacob's Paradox from 2015, a 36-minute narrative, written, directed, and starring Michael Peake (this is a common configuration in shorts—Jay Kensinger wrote, directed, and starred in The Chronology Protection Case, based on my novelette of the same name).
Review of 'Counterpart' 1.2
Counterpart was back last night with episode 1.2—on Amazon Prime, for me, because Starz is no longer on Cablevision in my area, which I suspect is not Starz's fault, at least in this reality. As for the episode, it was quite good, and moved the story forward in at least one big way.
Review of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Well, Tina and I finally got around seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi—in a very comfortable new iPic theater right next to a new, delicious restaurant—City Perch, in Dobbs Ferry. The movie had birds and was very enjoyable, too.
'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.10 Kill All Others
The tenth and last episode of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams — which I've been reviewing here episode-by-episode (because each one is standalone), and which I hope will be the first ten of very many — is "Kill All Others." Although each story is different, they're deeply connected and intertwined by the central, galvanizing themes of all of Dick's work: it is real or an illusion, with the struggle to decide which is which always laced with paranoia.