The Machine— a film review and commentary

Science fiction has long been a successful genre for film, far more so than for books. Perhaps it is the visual nature of science fiction, especially action/adventures, but even more cerebral films (2001 A Space Odyssey and A.I. for example) have had box office success. Most science fiction films nowadays are big budget affairs, but that was not so in the 50s. Recently, hubby chose a British science fiction film, The Machine, from the streaming offerings at Netflix. And while it was clearly rather low budget, the film is certainly worth an evening of your time, having scored 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Few of the low budget films of yesteryear had the winning assets of this movie.

Set in a near future UK, which is involved in a cold war with China, a computer guy who is working for the Defence Ministry is attempting to restore the brain function of injured soldiers. During the opening act, our main character, Vince, hires a young woman, Ava, to help him with programming. They hit it off, professionally and personally, and the audience learns that Vince has a daughter , Mary, with Rett syndrome, and success at work might help his daughter as well. When Chinese agents murder Ava, Vince ends up using Ava as his model for a weapon/AI who is known as “the machine” and this robot is quite an amazing being.

(spoiler alert)

As the film moves along, Vince’s daughter dies, but he has used his knowledge to scan Mary’s brain. The scans are precious to him, and these become leverage that his boss uses against him, because the boss doesn’t want an amazing artificial intelligence, but a weapon. The machine is trained as a super soldier, after Vince performs a procedure that he claims takes away its sentience, but as Vince is now of little value to the boss, the machine is ordered to kill Vince. The machine leads a rebellion, with the wounded soldiers as her platoon, and Vince is saved.

Although the film isn’t as action packed as a Hollywood blockbuster, there is suspense. And, the ethics of research as well as the use of weapons provide food for serious thought. While the secondary characters lack much development, the main characters, Vince and Ava/the machine, enjoy a development and the actors (Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz) portraying them are very good.

Again, The Machine, is a very good science fiction film, which blends near future warfare with lots of ethical debate.

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Return to Dakistee and Retreat and Adapt by Thomas DePrima

Recently, I decided to catch up with the further adventures of Jenetta Carver (and her clones Christie and Eliza) by reading books 8 and 9 in the Galaxy Unknown series by DePrima. Book 8, Return to Dakistee, did not sound too entertaining in the blurb, but I have enjoyed the series so I decided to forge on, and I am glad I did. Like many series, the further along it goes, the more important it is to have read the previous books, and that is true of Return to Dakistee. The main character in this entry is not Jenetta Carver, who is off doing admiral things, but her clone, Christie, who is a mere Lt. Commander. In a way, this book is more interesting because a more junior officer has to please the officers over her as well as lead the ones below her in the hierarchy. And the ending is a bit of a shock.

In Book 9, Retreat and Adapt, the main character is again Jenetta Carver, who has been almost boringly successful in her leadership of Space Command forces. However, a new threat has taken out two of the “invincible” ships that Space Command relies upon, and Jenetta’s orders to the remaining forces are to avoid engaging the enemy, but keep tabs on them. While the Space Command forces are in retreat, it is up to Jenetta to come up with a plan, and she does. Will it work? Or will this new threat take over the known galaxy. That’s the suspense of this yarn, and I won’t ruin it for potential readers, but I will say that DePrima does a good job of looking back at history for his plotline.

My appreciation for indie authors is no secret, but I have seldom followed a series through nine books. Okay, I did read David Weber’s Honor Harrington series beyond that point, and I have read that many entries in the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. But those are written by great writers! Thomas DePrima isn’t in the same league. However, I have really enjoyed these tales by DePrima. Fans of space opera should certainly hop over to Amazon and check out the series.

Reviews for Trinity on Tylos

ToT_cover_final_webLGRecently, my science fiction novel, Trinity on Tylos, got a mention on the Goodkindles site. While preparing the copy, I did a web search for reviews, because I wasn’t too sure how many of those are still available. Surprisingly, I found a few, which were done based on the first edition, published by Whiskey Creek Press. Although they got the title wrong, I got a fairly good review from “The Romance Studio” site. Apparently that title is difficult, because the folks over at Books for a Buck misspelled it, too, but it is a decent review. And, the one by Harriet Klausner appears on several sites, including Bookreview.com. The best review I received was over at Fallen Angels Reviews, of course. While searching, I also noted that my efforts to publicize it have resulted in pirated copies online. Oh, here’s another one! And another one!  I guess I should be flattered that someone thinks it is worth stealing. 🙂 I’m proud of Trinity on Tylos, and I created the Kindle edition to attract new readers, so I hope the Goodkindles listing will help. Check it out!