Posts Tagged ‘scifi’

The Expanse Has Concluded

Posted: February 4, 2022 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , ,

J. Giambrone

The Expanse on Amazon: cancelled? season six? (release date) - canceled +  renewed TV shows - TV Series Finale

(at Amazon Video)

At Season One I was hesitant. It did have a different aesthetic than later. The Blade Runner stylings annoyed me (even Blade Runner had moved on), but it left a cliffhanger. That cliff was pretty high.

So, the sci-fi people already will have seen it, but civilians I cannot say. This is a hell of a ride. At this point, I think it should be on a short list of the best stuff on TV, along with Westworld.

Story dragged slightly in the middle but then came on like big-screen blitzes. Wow. And emotional to boot. This is a 5 S-star series.

The Expanse Season 6 Implies Drummer & Naomi's True History

The world has been meticulously thought out, the physics and design of future crafts and living situations. Also the politics is quite advanced for the sheeptato crowd.

What more do you want to know?

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Don't Look Up Trailer Reveals Dark Comedy With Leo DiCaprio, Timothee  Chalamet

This disjointed experience (experiment) is tonally inconsistent and jumpy. But the part I had trouble with was the politics underlying it. There seemed a battle of wills for control of the narrative, and the film suffered because of it.

They tried to tell three different movies in this thing, and two of them I’m fine with. The third was cheesy and frankly dishonest.

In the good columns we have a disaster movie, a truly satirical apocalypse tale. We also have a family drama and stardom, relationships and the strains beneath the media spotlight. Then we have the third movie: Orange Man Bad and everything is because of Trump–excuse me–Meryl Streep.

The crass dishonesty of painting one party as the problem and the other as the “science” brigade is a whopper. Since both parties are fully responsible for the global warming issue and metaphor that sparked DiCaprio in the first place. When both parties are doing it, you can’t just make it one party’s blame because that’s glaringly dishonest. People can see through that.

Let’s bring it back to facts right now:

The Biden administration said its drilling-lease spree in the Gulf was court-ordered. It wasn’t.

I think we all also remember that Biden’s son Hunter was fracking gas in Ukraine… for some reason.

In what way is this fossil-fuel industry simply the Republican party? When filmmakers refuse to even look at the depredations of their own team–oh wait–that’s the central plot of this film!

And now we’ve achieved some staggering hypocrisy. I do believe political hacks from the blue team were involved in shaping the story and making it partisan. Perhaps Adam McKay, or perhaps David Sirota, or perhaps the people with the large budget for filming this thing.

But, of course, I love Jennifer Lawrence and so all sins are forgotten, almost. DiCaprio was very good as well. It’s a mixed-up-bag.

How Peter Sellers Lost His Fourth Role in 'Dr. Strangelove' - Metaflix

I could have used more dark humor. We had a Strangelove event but no Kubrick. No Kubrick.

Dune & the Empire

Posted: August 23, 2021 in -
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Or that the imperial bad guys in the film, complete with their noble houses, obscene material wealth and military might, are symbolic of their own governments, corporate powers and armed forces?

The Myth of Empire and the Real Message of Dune

When Westerners (see: Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Brits, Australians) see Dune this fall, I wonder if any of them will have any idea that Arrakis is a perfect symbol for Afghanistan (or even Iraq, or Bolivia, etc.). Or that the much coveted and fought over “spice” is code for opium (or oil, or lithium, or whatever the Empire and its imperial houses demand or wish to control).

Anyone interested in hard scifi has to watch Westworld. It’s the biggest production that exists, as far as I know. They have now spanned the world and brought the future, and it’s one of the few actual mind-blowing projects.

The theme is freedom, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, and the struggle that is both real and vividly imagined, how they cross over. The term they used was “algorithmic determinism.”

My love has been professed for Evan Rachel Wood, and I just learned she’s a black belt in tae kwon do. Of course she is.

The show shot in Singapore, Spain, the west, and thirty years in the future. It’s bigger than life, and the story crackles because of Jonathan Nolan, Christopher’s brother who obsesses over the Inception mutli-threaded strings of plots. It quickly grows more complicated. It’s not like easy to follow linear stories. They are constantly asking the big questions.

It starts off slow-burn and building in complexity. By the end of the season, it’s massive in scale. I really don’t think that anyone who ended up here needs any more convincing.

2137-mars1 copy.jpg


This short story is literally MacBeth set on Mars. It’s based on my screenplay.





New cover for my 2013 story of the Apocalypse.

TRANSFIXION has a bunch of 5-Star Reviews.


Here is my favorite review:

Fast-paced, thought-provoking and at times moving




Get Transfixion

That’s a hell of a bargain.

If you haven’t seen Kieran Kelly’s review of the novel, check it out here.


Man in Phone #shortfilm

Posted: August 11, 2017 in -
Tags: , ,





Wrecking Balls

a comedy novel



A little corny, a little dumbed-down.

Transfixion-99-cents-4 copy

Only 99¢ Right Now


Repost of Kieran Kelly’s Review of Transfixion:


Fast-paced, thought-provoking and at times moving.

by K.R. Kelly

COVER-FINAL-texture - -3 copy.jpgTransfixion
is in the speculative fiction genre that has really come to dominate in the young adult market, and it is a good example of why the genre is popular.

Author J. Giambrone hits the ground running. The reader is not left with much time to draw breath as action piles on action. The pace never flags throughout the book which transitions from a place of surrealism and suspense through watershed moments of growing clarity. In time it reaches a climax in which concrete reality has been recovered – though only through the brave efforts of a protagonist who refuses to let go of her humanity when the entire world has turned dangerously insane.

Transfixion mines some of the same veins of disquiet that have fueled the success of the Hunger Games trilogy, but where Suzanne Collins aims for emotional effect and pathos Giambrone aims for something more elusive – a moral understanding of violent conflict. The result is a bit like what might have happened if Frantz Fanon had got hold of the script of 28 Days Later and insisted that denying the humanity of the zombies would only cause the normal people to become zombies: “There had to be a solution to win without becoming just like them.”

But the “dupes” in this book aren’t zombies – they are anti-zombies. Zombies have stood for many things in political allegory, but they almost always embody the epitome of the enemy “other”. They are implacably violent; they are usually mindless or, if not, they are utterly deranged; they are always incurable. In short, they are unquestionably legitimate targets for violence who are to be killed without compunction. In films zombies are killed for self-defence, but there is also a common tendency, first established in Dawn of the Dead, for protagonists to prolifically splatter zombie brains just in order to perform banal tasks like going from place to place.There is no reason too trivial to be worth taking the “life” of a zombie.

In short zombies are the human-shaped essence of life undeserving of life. Transfixion‘s “dupes” turn this notion on its head. These are every bit as implacably violent as any crazed zombie, but even more deadly for their ruthless and calculating rationality. For those embattled few survivors of the shock and awe of the initial onslaught of violence, the dupes are zombies. You kill them and you don’t think about it, or at least pretend not to. The dupes could literally be their brothers and sisters, but the shared humanity is forgotten by both and lost in both. One side is driven mad by a brain-altering signal, and the other side simply follows suit in many respects.

Young Kaylee Colton resists this amnesia and the disjuncture which creates a rift in humanity. In a brutal world she struggles to recreate a sense that she herself is a real person: “She was not herself, and she wasn’t sure which version of herself she wasn’t.” But, she never quite loses sight of the personhood of the other – even the knife-wielding maniac who will kill her without compunction. And she is right.

The reader is taken inside the mind of a dupe and find not the haze of hatred, but a different sense of reality. Now we are in the territory of Philip K. Dick – the science fiction author for whom reality was fragile and fungible not just in epistemological terms but in political, psychological and social terms. Under the guise of “out there” explorations of drugs and virtual reality, Dick made many astute political and social observations. He explored the significance of what academics would now refer to as a “subject position” decades before the term was coined. To put it another way, Dick’s writing and Transfixion have more in common with Battlestar Galactica than with The Matrix.

And that is the problem of the dupes. They are not different in nature. They are not inhuman. It is the mental landscape they inhabit that is different. That is not to say that their reality is somehow valid. The world they inhabit is not only ultimately senseless, it is extremely limited. The filters through which they see everything turn these human beings into remorseless killers who act like mindless zombies without the mindlessness. For this, Giambrone gleefully indicts the medium of television – the carrier signal of their derangement: “The sign on the door said “Editing,” and a sickly blue glow throbbed out from inside the dark chamber.”

Any young adult who has read this review this far should probably read Transfixion. The novel is a lot more accessible than my review and I really haven’t given any major spoilers. Despite all that I have written, it is still basically action driven and all of the political and philosophical considerations are delivered as subtext.

For adults the above also applies, but if you are thinking of acquiring it for a young person to read I have just one caution. Transfixion is very much in the soft science-fiction/speculative fiction allegorical idiom. The sense of suspense and mystery may lead more literally minded youngsters to think that the resolution will involve the standard denouement where the villain is unmasked and vanquished. This does not happen. Some will definitely find that unsatisfying, but then maybe it might cause them to reflect on the nature of such conventions.

TRANSFIXION e-book is available for 99¢ through Amazon, but this offer expires midnight on Friday 3/25.