Jaws Is the Perfect Blockbuster – The Ringer

2020s summer blockbuster season has been put on hold because of the pandemic, but that doesnt mean we cant celebrate the movies from the past that we flocked out of the sun and into air conditioning for. Welcome to The Ringers Return to Summer Blockbuster Season, where well feature different summer classics each week.

Twenty-four hours is like three weeks! Thats the complaint of a local woman (for no reason at all, lets call her Karen) at a town meeting after she learns that the nicely gentrified beach community of Amity will be closed by the mayors office following grisly evidence of a shark attack; its a shrill, high-frequency whine that cuts through the scenes bustling, multitracked sound design like an air-raid siren.

For those of us whove seen Jaws more than a few times, even the films throwaway dialogue has been etched into our cerebral cortexes. For every one of the scripts enduring catchphrasesthink Youre gonna need a bigger boat or Smile, you son of a bitchtheres an exchange beloved by diehards: the idiot, bass-mouthed fisherman unable to comprehend that his friends latest trophy is a tiger shark (A whaaat?); the long-haired hipster searching in vain for his lost (and long since devoured) black Lab (Pippit. Pippit!); the old lady complaining to Roy Scheider that the disenfranchised residents of a local childrens martial arts class have been karate-ing the picket fences. But the line about keeping the beaches closed resonates the most, and not just in our current claustrophobic context. Its a whine that clarifies whats really at stake in Steven Spielbergs industry game changer: the possibility, scarier and more voracious than any great white, of a lost summer.

Summer in Jaws is a character all on its own, even if the bare trees lining the streets betray the films late-fall production dates. (The continuity error was fixed by CGI on DVD, a less obtrusive bit of meddling than turning guns into flashlights in E.T., but revisionist history nevertheless.) There had been iconic movie scenes set on beaches before: Think of the lovers rolling around in the surf in From Here to Eternity, or all the wholesome mid-60s teenyboppers playing Beach Blanket Bingo. But Jaws hunger for exposed, all-American flesh went beyond adolescent titillation or seasonal nostalgia. Spielbergs vision of scantily clad revelers taking their chances in troubled waters was and remains definitive, escapism mixed with anthropology. Jaws is a thriller rather than a coming-of-age fable, but it feels like there are whole, sun-dappled short stories embedded in its recurring images of tanned middle schoolers lounging in dinky sailboats, or parents toweling off their sand-covered kids while standing ankle-deep in the surf. Relaxingbarelyin a beach chair during an off-duty afternoon, police chief Martin Brody observes the panorama from a far, paranoid distance. You dont go in the water at all, do ya? hes admonished by a constituent; his aquaphobia will soon be revealed to be simple common sense, even as it stands in opposition to the bottom line.

Amity is a summer town. ... We need summer dollars, declares Amitys mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), a comically dishonest figure styled by Jaws and its witty team of screenwriters (Carl Gottlieb, Howard Sackler, and Peter Benchley, the author of the original source novel) after the parade of criminal bureaucrats on display during the Watergate scandal. (Hamilton was a master of playing guys who were slow on the take: Hes the bourgie fool cuckolded by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.) In an essay published in March in The New Republic, Alex Shephard analyzed how Jaws barely submerged political allegorya bumbling cover-up designed to save Amitys economy in the face of a new, predatory threatworks both in the context of the movies 1975 release date and in a year where our collective, primal fears have been exploited from all sides, with no reliable protector in sight. Ignored by politicians, [Jaws heroes] face off against an unseen enemy on a much too fragile, much too small boat, writes Shephard. Theyre on their owna feeling that is all too familiar.

Spielbergs trio of shark hunters comprises a cross-section of male types, with Robert Shaws Ahab-ish Quint holding things down for old-school machismo and Richard Dreyfusss monied ichthyologist Matt Hooper embodying well-heeled technocratic geekery (Youve been counting money all your life, Quint says to his new frenemy, and hes not wrong). Somewhere between them resides Brody, a recent big-city transplant whose investment in Amitys survival as a tourist trap is strictly professional. What makes it personal, eventually, is a close encounter between the shark and Brodys preteen son Michael (Chris Rebello), which steeps his hero-cop act in a protective, paternal empathy distinct from dead-eyed 70s supercops like Dirty Harry or Popeye Doyle. (Brodys more like Frank Serpico minus the beard, a straight arrow battling corruption in the system from within.) For Quint and Hooper, the quest into deeper waters aboard the Orca is similarly self-involved: Theyre risking their lives not for civic pride but for a set of private obsessions. Quint survived the shark-infested wreck of the USS Indianapolis, and the hunt is a chance to assuage his survivors guilt and hook his own private Moby Dick; Hooper is in it for scientific progress, but hes also a glib go-getter whose Cassandra act is accuratelyif dismissivelysized up by the mayor as a stab at publicity: Love to prove that, wouldnt you? Get your name into the National Geographic.

As a horror movie released at the apex of the genres studio-subsidized rebirth in the 1970s, Jaws reroutes the trajectories and themes of classics like Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacrecautionary tales in which outsiders venturing into the Old Weird America get whats coming to them via human monsters whod be better left undisturbed. In Spielbergs film, the great white is the outsider, constituting a threat thats at once thoroughly existential and a matter of nickel-and-dime economics. What the shark and Amitys ruling class have in common is the need for a steady food supply: The visitors who swarm into town on ferries, slathered in sunscreen with fanny packs full of disposable income, are just chum in the water.

These are ruthless ideas, but Jaws is, lest we forget, a pretty ruthless movie: Spielbergs filmmaking style on his first big-budget production is carnivorous. By offing a pretty, naked blonde and that aforementioned Labrador retriever in the first 20 minutes, the director definitely establishes that hes not fucking around, PG rating be damned. He also smartly imbues the staging and dialogue with just enough shell-shocked ambivalence to make audiences wonder what, if anything, all that bloody, unsentimental carnage is really about. Is the nubile, guileless hippie chick getting dragged underwater in lieu of a stoned bonfire hookup a symbolic figure, an emblem of the death of the 60s? Did the little boy have it coming as punishment for his moms negligence? Did the dog get it because Steven Spielberg is a cat person?

Combine its not-quite-world-beating heroes with its faux-utopian coastal milieu and putatively metaphorical monsterwhose fakeness when finally glimpsed full-on actually enhances its horrific presence, an accidental Brechtian effect lost to the onset of CGIand Jaws would seem to have plenty going on under the surface. In addition to all the things that it does brilliantlyits efficiency as a scare machine; its effectiveness as a directorial showcase; its evocation of eccentricity filtered through a virtuoso populism closer to The Wizard of Oz; the killer performances of its leads, especially Shaw, who doesnt so much chew the scenery as swallow it wholethe film unfolds as a ripe bicentennial satire, a snapshot of a country at once on guard and susceptible to a semi-hidden enemy. In his new book, Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan, J. Hoberman perceptively pairs Jaws with one of its Best Picture rivals, Robert Altmans Nashville, persuasively painting the two movies as structural and thematic twins, all-American epics in which mass patriotic gatherings are tinged with the threat of bloody violence.

Released in the fall of 1975 and riding a tidal wave of critical adulation via the one-woman hype machine of Pauline Kaelwho watched an early cut and deemed it an epochal masterpieceNashville, for all its down-and-dirty comedy, was a prestige picture. Even if Altman usually managed to be artful and unpretentious at his bestand many consider Nashville to be his masterpiecehe was still the proverbial filmmaker for grown-ups who thrived in a moment when Hollywood was, according to a seductive and still enduring myth, more hospitable to adult cinema. Jaws, by contrast, was seen as embodying the tip of a very dangerous spearthe onset of the high-concept blockbuster, no less potent an emissary of encroaching populism than The Godfather, but even more accessible. Where Altman and Francis Ford Coppola were seen as thoughtfully critiquing American greed and spectacle, Jaws surfaced in the popular consciousness as a pure Hollywood by-producta perfect engine, as Hooper describes its namesake, driven solely by its parent studios motives for profit.

A case can be made that Jaws ostensible single-mindednessits swift, gliding sense of momentum, which renders a two-hour running time almost subliminally quickis still the best expression of its directors skill set: that for all his later forays into history, morality, and future-shock social commentary, Spielbergs best incarnation is as an orchestrator of believably visceral carnage, of the fantastic intruding roughly and entertainingly on the present day. And yet, while its true that Jaws is one lean, mean entertainment machine, it also contains multitudes in a way thats as quintessentially 70s as Nashville, with all those stray, memorable little one-liners and beautifully managed detours into character development, like the game of peekaboo between Brody and his toddler Sean (Jay Mello) that seamlessly embroiders the films reckoning with masculinity. The still-bracing aggressiveness of Spielbergs scare tacticsthose bobbing, mobile underwater perspectives; that lurking, omnipresent John Williams scorebelies how consistently Jaws finds room for exchanges that deepen the psychologies of its protagonists and elevate the supporting characters around them into plausibly weird, funny bystanders. This sense of humanity gives heft to the scripts parable of a town tryingand failing, and trying againto put its best interests over cold hard cash.

The double-edged tension of Jaws plot versus its larger offscreen narrative is fascinating and funny. In the story, the sharks appetite is such that only canceling the Fourth of July will suffice as a public safety measure; in the real world, Jaws ended up drawing crowds to multiplexes in unprecedented numbers. Theres much to say about the sublimated anxieties and (literally) projected fears that drove Jaws popularitythe shark, like George Romeros zombies, can be transformed into a symbol of anything youd likebut blaming the film for the blockbusterization of Hollywood cinema, which happens often enough to be a clich, is unfairly reductive.

The biggest difference between Jaws and Star Wars, which almost instantly toppled Jaws from its all-time box office perch two years later, is not one of style or genre but of ancillary possibilities. Star Wars was aggressively marketed across a variety of products and platforms, creating a template for the high-yield, posthuman studio properties of the 80s. But with Jaws, a nice, cute Bruce plushie was not part of the equation. One way to look at E.T. is as Jaws more benign twin, a film with a big heart as well as myriad opportunities for merchandising and product placement (the only things that gets eaten by its namesake are Reeses Pieces).

But if Jaws is closer to The Godfather than to Star Warsa film that awakened the inner child of an entire society, with arguably catastrophic consequencesits also a more self-contained movie than either. Many would argue that The Godfather: Part II and The Empire Strikes Back represent vitaland superiorextensions of their predecessors, while the desultory Jaws 2, rushed into production without Spielbergs participation, anticipated the mostly diminishing returns of the sequel generation. (Jaws 2 peaks with its taglineJust when you thought it was safe to go back in the waterand is all downhill from there.) Even if you dont think that Jaws has much to say about anything, it says it eloquently enough the first time around that nobody asked for clarification; one reason the films final shot is so beautiful is because it shows Brody and Hooper reaching shore, a foregone conclusion removed of even a sliver of narrative ambiguity. And yet, depending on how you look at it, their safe return can represent either a heartwarming triumph of good over evil or else a cynically capitalist coda: Amity is once again open for business.

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Jaws Is the Perfect Blockbuster - The Ringer

The Vocoder’s Cyborg Flights in Electronic Music and Hip-Hop – Reverb News

The first time the legendary jazz bandleader Herbie Hancock streaked his voice across one of his albums, he threaded it through a vocoder first. Hancock's 1978 album Sunlight prominently features the Sennheiser Vocoder VSM201, a newly manufactured device that thinned and buffed his voice to a futuristic shine on the album's disco-inflected A-side. On songs like "I Thought It Was You" and "Come Running To Me," Hancock's heavily processed voice pitches higher than its natural range, its guttural qualities swapped out for an airy computerized whine. It's a voice that matches its partly synthesized, partly acoustic instrumentation, a tone caught between worldsnot quite human and not quite machine, but a third, cyborgian presence.

First developed in the early 20th century and used during World War II to encrypt telephone conversations between world leaders, the vocoder sneaked its way into popular music in the early '70s by way of the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's 1971 science fiction movie, A Clockwork Orange. (The generic term "vocoder," a portmanteau of "voice" and "encoder," has since been applied to many different vocal-manipulation devices.) Wendy Carlos, whose 1968 album, Switched-On Bach, was largely responsible for popularizing the Moog synthesizer, signed on to write and perform a score fitting the movie's dystopian ambiance. The film's protagonist loves Beethoven, and Carlos and her primary collaborator Rachel Elkind had already begun work on a synth adaptation of the Ninth Symphony with its famous choral setting "Ode to Joy."

Hancock introduces the vocoder to a live audience in this 1979 performance of "I Thought It Was You."

They had tried before, with little success, to get the Moog to "sing," but found it could not convincingly enunciate consonants. Rather than conjure up a voice fully from inside the machine, Carlos opted to filter Elkind's singing voice through a vocoder, a technology she had first encountered at the Bell Labs Pavilion during the New York World's Fair of 196465. The result fit the sound of the Moog perfectly: This cyborg voice retained enough human qualities to be decipherable, even as it was plated over with pristine computer tones. Early listeners were skeptical of the new sound. "The first reactions were unanimous: Everyone hated it!" Carlos wrote on her website decades later. "A playing synth was bad enough, but a 'singing' synth? Too much, turn it off!"

Not long after Carlos and Elkind first applied the vocoder to music, it began reverberating across national borders, from the United States to Germany and Japan and back again. With each iteration, it accumulated new meaning and potential. In the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange, the vocoder's cyborg presence deepened the movie's considerations of what it might mean to "program" a person against his willto empty him of self-determination and turn him into something more like a computer. Across the Atlantic in Dsseldorf a few years later, the groundbreaking electronic band Kraftwerk began deploying the vocoder in their own explorations of personhood and technology.

Not long after Carlos and Elkind first applied the vocoder to music, it began reverberating across national borders, from the United States to Germany and Japan and back again. With each iteration, it accumulated new meaning and potential. In the soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange, the vocoder's cyborg presence deepened the movie's considerations of what it might mean to "program" a person against his willto empty him of self-determination and turn him into something more like a computer. Across the Atlantic in Dsseldorf a few years later, the groundbreaking electronic band Kraftwerk began deploying the vocoder in their own explorations of personhood and technology.

On albums like 1977's Trans-Europe Express, 1978's The Man-Machine, and 1981's Computer World, Kraftwerk sought to locate the role of the human in an increasingly surveilled and automated modern world. They declared themselves robots, speak-singing in dry, modulated tones over impossibly tight drum machine beats and synthesized arpeggios. Singing into machines, they professed their love for computers, serenading not the person on the other end of the line but the cold, impartial screens of the connective devices themselves. Though Kraftwerk's music was future-oriented (and certainly prescient), they rarely incubated a sense of cynicism or dystopia in their work. Their melodies slant upwards, more innocent than all-knowing; they sound helpless and in awe of technology rather than terrified of it.

The open ambivalence toward technology that Kraftwerk maintained throughout their seminal work in the '70s and early '80s made their music and its techniques easy to reinterpret. Their use of the vocoder radiated into Herbie Hancock's work (he used the Sennheiser on 1979's Feets Don't Fail Me Now as well as Sunlight), populated Italo-disco producer Giorgio Moroder's 1977 album, From Here to Eternity, and found its way into the albums of the Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra. Beginning in the early '80s, the vocoder would begin to make a natural home in the new, Bronx-based genre of hip-hopa form of music that, like Kraftwerk, challenged conventional narratives about the relationships between human beings and novel technology.

If a genre can be said to originate from a single moment in time, then hip-hop's starting point is well-documented. It sprang from a high school party at the end of the summer of 1973, hosted by a teenage DJ Kool Herc and his sister, Cindy Campbell. Herc spun records for his friends on his parents' soundsystem in the rec room of their apartment building, opting for songs with long instrumental breakdowns that inspired the crowd to dance. His friend, Coke La Rock, started shouting out the names of his friends over these vocal-free segments, a musical style derived from Jamaican toasting that would later become rap. Word of the music at the party spread through the Bronx, and as Herc got hired at more and more gigs, he began extending the drum breakdowns of the soul and funk records he played, spinning two copies of the same record simultaneously and resetting the needle so that the break went on indefinitely. He dubbed this technique "the merry-go-round."

In this way, from its beginning, hip-hop consciously reinscribed the potential meaning of the consumer technology on which it depended. A turntable, as a product, came pre-loaded with a specific model of music consumption: It was meant to play a record from beginning to end, to serve as a delivery device for prerecorded music. It was never intended to be an instrument in itself, just an intermediary between record company and listener. Hip-hop, along with its Manhattan cousin disco, positioned the listener as an artist in her own rightsomeone who could take consumer products designed for passive consumption and flip them around into active, dynamic tools.

In an interview with Mark Dery for his 1993 book, Flame Wars, science-fiction author Samuel R. Delany noted the challenge that hip-hop posed to the technological tools in its arsenal. "To look at any of these black cultural youth movements as an easy and happy development blossoming uncritically from the overwhelmingly white world of high-tech production that, yes, makes that culture possible is, I suspect, thoroughly to misread the fiercely oppositional nature of this art: scratch and sampling begin, in particular, as a specific miss-use and conscientious desecration of the artifacts of technology and the entertainment media," he said.

Jonzun Crew play "Pack Jam" on German TV, 1983.

The vocoder, another technology misapplied toward musical purposes, fit neatly into this schema, and by 1982 had found its place in hip-hop.

The subgenre known as electro-boogie bloomed that year, when the Boston-based rap group Jonzun Crew, the Bronx DJ and rapper Afrika Bambaataa, and the Bronx hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five all released pivotal vocoder-based singles. Jonzun Crew's "Pack Man (Look Out For The OVC)" drew references to Sun Ra's jazz Afrofuturism into a hip-hop context ("OVC" stands for "Outerspace Visual Communicator," a video synthesizer played by its creator, Bill Sebastian, at Sun Ra concerts in the late '70s). Amid detuned arpeggios, sparse percussion, and minor key motifs in the style of Kraftwerk, a deeply corroded voice rasps, chants, and laughs. The song's title can be made out, and the name of the Outerspace Visual Communicator, and little else. The song plays like a garbled transmission from a distant planet; its central voice, engulfed in immeasurable space, holds a certain authority, as if it were calling out from a world more advanced than our own, and unintelligible in its advancement.

"Jonzun Crew broke out of their own constraining present with instruments that gestured toward a post-human landscape, a place where the line between human and machine blurred away."

Jonzun Crew's 1983 debut album, Lost in Space, introduced more concrete pop elements to the group's futuristic sound, all while highlighting the vocoder as a primary tool. It once again pointed to Sun Ra as an ancestor with the song "Space is the Place," a reinterpretation of the Afrofuturist visionary's iconic 1973 track. If Sun Ra deployed the tools of jazz toward an expansive, utopian future, Jonzun Crew broke out of their own constraining present with instruments that gestured toward a post-human landscape, a place where the line between human and machine blurred away. The group readily transformed themselves into cyborgs with the vocoder, but their work's finer details retained a sense of human embodiment.

Toward the end of "Space is the Place," Jonzun Crew stage a call-and-response coda, a technique with deep roots in Black gospel. "You must follow me," speaks one voice, and a chorus of voices answers: "We will follow you." "You must follow me to space," clarifies the first voice, and as the vocals fade out, the sound of heavy breathing replaces them. By its nature, the vocoder irons out non-utterances like breathing. The song concludes not with the sound of robots blasting off into the heavens, but with the sound of a panicked, disoriented human being taking stock of an alien environment.

The year 1982 also saw the release of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "Scorpio," an electro single from the album The Message that similarly deployed the vocoder toward thinning and granulating the human voice to the point of near-unrecognizability. That same year, Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force's landmark single "Planet Rock" interpolated two Kraftwerk songs"Trans Europe Express," from which it gets its beat and synth motif, and "Numbers," from which it takes a vocoder sampletoward its own vision of post-industrial humankind. Bambaataa also processed his own voice on the track, using a vocoder and a Lexicon PCM42 digital delay to lend his raps a gleaming metallic edge. While "Pack Man" and "Scorpio" both carried an air of future menace in their refusal to yield the voice and their insistence on an enigmatic cyborgian presence, "Planet Rock" focused more on how technology could bolster, rather than disappear, the human. Bambaataa's calls and responses sound more as though he's speaking to a real, live crowd, rather than a congregation of robots. His sparing use of voice processing technologies line the song with futuristic potentials without drowning it in them. Technology is the starting point, but people are the end goal.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - "Scorpio"

In Flame Wars, Mark Dery asks hip-hop scholar Tricia Rose how the use of consumer technology squares with the Black musical tradition. "Can one be funky and mechanical?" he queries. "No question; that's what hip-hop is!" she replies. "If we understand the machine as a product of human creativity whose parameters are always suggesting what's beyond them, then we can read hip-hop as the response of urban people of color to the postindustrial landscape... What Afrika Bambaataa and hip-hoppers like him saw in Kraftwerks use of the robot was an understanding of themselves as already having been robots. Adopting the robot reflected a response to an existing condition: namely, that they were labor for capitalism, that they had very little value as people in this society. By taking on the robotic stance, one is playing with the robot. Its like wearing body armor that identifies you as an alien: if its always on anyway, in some symbolic sense, perhaps you could master the wearing of this guise in order to use it against your interpolation."

Vocoders on Reverb

The idea of anticapitalist body armor appeared not just in electro-boogie's sound but also its costumes. Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force wore flowing lame robes in the Afrofuturist tradition of Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic for the "Planet Rock" video, while Jonzun Crew donned motorcycle helmets and sparkling military jackets for "Pack Jam." These outfits obscured the performers without fully roboticizing them, much as the vocoder did to their voices. If, in the 1980s, white society was content to file Black people away as cheap labor with no further value, Black artists responded by transforming themselves into cyborgs. Shut out from the full sphere of the human, but not content to be machines, either, they employed the vocoder as a mutating tool, an escape hatch from an impossible dichotomy. Bambaataa, Flash, and Jonzun Crew fashioned themselves a third entity, and found a way out.

In the 21st century, following the success of Cher's 1998 single, "Believe," the pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune has largely replaced vocoder as the voice processing method du jour, used to great effect by artists like T-Pain and Charli XCX. One notable holdout from the '90s is Daft Punk, the French duo who siphoned techniques from house and electro-boogie to massive popularity and acclaim. Their robot voices derive from Black American uses of vocoder, in addition to Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, and like many European mimics they have greatly outsold their influences. Singles like "Technologic" and "Harder Better Faster Stronger" loop vocoded phrases that vaguely gesture toward their capitalist environments through breezy, easily digestible pop structures, largely defanging the modes of resistance that have coursed through much of the vocoder's history.

In the 21st century, following the success of Cher's 1998 single, "Believe," the pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune has largely replaced vocoder as the voice processing method du jour, used to great effect by artists like T-Pain and Charli XCX. One notable holdout from the '90s is Daft Punk, the French duo who siphoned techniques from house and electro-boogie to massive popularity and acclaim. Their robot voices derive from Black American uses of vocoder, in addition to Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, and like many European mimics they have greatly outsold their influences. Singles like "Technologic" and "Harder Better Faster Stronger" loop vocoded phrases that vaguely gesture toward their capitalist environments through breezy, easily digestible pop structures, largely defanging the modes of resistance that have coursed through much of the vocoder's history.

The chirpy, French-accented vocals of "Harder Better Faster Stronger" were rerouted into hip-hop in 2007, when Kanye West sampled the song on his single "Stronger." If Daft Punk's original track cheerily gargled words that could have been taken from a manual on worker optimization, West's take funneled the same phrases into a biting tale of survival at any cost. The song's video borrows posthuman imagery from the 1988 anime Akira, casting West as Tetsuo, a biologically engineered teenager who has broken out of his captors' control. He replaces the original's busy house beat with a darker and more pummeling drum pattern that lets its hi-hat linger, and raps seethingly over Daft Punk's vocoder. The phrase he loops the most from "Harder Better Faster Stronger" is the one that dips into a startlingly low register on the last two words: "Our work is never over." Taken into West's hands, the phrase bleeds menace. It's no longer merely a description of capitalism and the place of the human being within it, a source of eternal labor. Instead, it rings defiantly, the cyborg voice clanging against a cyborg beat, seeking escape and beginning the long, hard task of building the world to come.

About the author: Sasha Geffen is the author of Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary, out now from the University of Texas Press. Their writing also appears in Rolling Stone, Artforum, The Nation, Pitchfork, and elsewhere. They live in Colorado.

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The Vocoder's Cyborg Flights in Electronic Music and Hip-Hop - Reverb News

Article Posthuman cyborg love? The adaptation of the human body into machine-based offers in the sexual domain submitted, ..to be published…

I have just submitted my article Posthuman cyborg love? The adaptation of the human body into machine-based offers in the sexual domain which is going to be published (in German:Posthumane Cyborgliebe? Die Anpassung des menschlichen Krpers an maschinelle Angebote im sexuellen Bereich) in: Bendel, Oliver (ed.): Maschinenliebe. Liebespuppen und Sexroboter aus technischer, psychologischer und philosophischer Perspektive. Springer Verlag.

Posthuman cyborg love? The adaptation of the human body into machine-based offers in the sexual domain (Melike ahinol)Abstract

In this article, human-machine relationship of the specific kind, namely that of cyborg love/sex, is discussed from a sociological perspective. The main focus is to show how the human body adapts into machine-based offers in the sexual domain. The focus is on technically mediated and transmitted practice of love with teledildonic machines. Therefore, the questions are relevant whether the respective adaptation is a symbiotic relationship between human and machine and whether or when the relationship can be called cyborg love. For even if this still seems futuristic, the wide range and further development of love- or sexuality-related offers reveals posthumanist tendencies that seem to pull the ground away from the romantic love on which the concept of the nuclear family as the central institution of society is built. In the posthuman age, love, according to the main argument, does not represent a mere social relationship, but a socio-technical one especially when it is a matter of love for and with machines.

Already looking forward to the anthology Machine Love edited by Oliver Bendel!

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Article Posthuman cyborg love? The adaptation of the human body into machine-based offers in the sexual domain submitted, ..to be published...

These Are the Must-See TV Shows Premiering in April – HYPEBEAST

Well, as many already know, there arent any movies premiering in theaters this month. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many films have pushed back their release dates some even a full year ahead of schedule. This has led many recently released movies to debut on Digital or VOD early, such as Bad Boys for Life, Sonic the Hedgehog and Birds of Prey.

Although there will be a list of the must-see films on Digital or VOD in the future, there are for now still must-see television shows arriving to streaming services this month as usual on platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Now and more. Read on for our picks of the best TV shows to arrive on those platforms, with more to come on how you can keep up with the latest movies.

After being imprisoned by the Pykes, Ahsoka Tano and the Martez sisters manage a daring escape of their stronghold. Together they flee through the city to their ship, desperate to evade the Pyke forces in pursuit.

Why its worth your time:This is probably the best series launching from the lackluster slate of new content Disney+ is offering. Whats more, this final season looks to be wrapping up a few loose ends in Ronin Jedi Ahsoka Tano before her live-action debut inThe Mandalorian season 2. If you plan to catch everything thats happening when the show comes back in October (well, if it comes back), youre going to want to know about Anakins former Padawan.

Harley Quinn has taken down the Joker and Gotham City is finally hers for the taking following the huge earthquake caused by the collapse of Jokers tower in season one. Penguin, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler and Two-Face join forces to form the Injustice League, who now stands in the way of Harley and her crew from taking sole control of Gotham as the top villains of the city.

Why its worth your time:Shazam, Aquaman and Harley Quinn have singlehandedly kept whats left of the DC extended universe afloat. The best ofHarley Quinn may not be her spot-on live-action counterpart in Margot Robbie, but her animated form in this series. It currently hold 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and is heralded as one of the biggest selling points of the entire DC Universe. Its got a lot to say about the superhero industry far more than the big-budget adaptations.

Its 1996, and second-year high school students Haruo Yaguchi, Akira Oono and Koharu Hidaka live their lives as passionately about video games as they did five years ago. Brought together by arcade games, what began as a healthy rivalry and friendship has now turned into something more.

Why its worth your time:The first season took us by surprise. Not only is it a sweet tale full of typical anime charm, but it also pays deep respect to the fighting arcade game scene throughout the 90s. Theyve got a pretty interesting love triangle too that seemed to be ramping up in the season one finale.

Season four sees the return of Insecures core characters, Issa, Molly and Lawrence as they navigate the aftermath of the previous season. We also see some characters grow up a bit more, particularly Tiffany whose new baby changes her friendships.

Why its worth your time:This show has found its niche in its fourth season and remains one of the best long-running series on HBO. Issa Rae continues to put the main focus on the current generation of black women, but also shines a light on the plight of contemporary black men through fan-favorite characters like Lawrence.

Ruby Richardson walks away from her ordinary life in the suburbs to revisit her past with her college boyfriend, Billy Johnson. The two made a pact 17 years earlier: If either one of them texted the word RUN and the other replied with the same, they would drop everything and meet in Grand Central Station and travel across America together.

Why its worth your time:This comedy looks like itll turn into more of a touching dramedy come the season finale. Its also an HBO joint, and the platform has been on fire with its recent releases. Although most of those shows have been limited series, were hoping the streak of excellence continues in their upcoming ongoing shows.

Inspired by Kenya Barris irreverent, highly flawed, unbelievably real-life marriage and approach to parenting, race, and culture, this new show stars Barris himself alongside Rashida Jones.

Why its worth your time:The show boasts that its looking to revamp the traditional family sitcom. Its a bold claim, especially when Barris other show Black-ish looked to achieve a similar goal initially though it fell flat in later seasons. Were hoping the restrains are lifted by partnering with a streaming service this time around, alongside getting more star-studded faces like Jones and several noticeable stars of color make cameos throughout the trailer above. Fingers crossed.

A space caster traverses trippy worlds inside his universe simulator, exploring existential questions about life, death and everything in between.

Why its worth your time:We all have our favorite reccurringJoe Rogan Experience guests, and one of ours is this shows creator Duncan Trussell. If the series is anywhere near as psychedelic as his appearances on JRE or even his own podcast, then were sure The Midnight Gospel will be a hit among its April 20 demographic. Well be tuning in.

The series takes place in the year 2045 following Stand Alone Complex and after an event called Synchronized Global Default has provoked an economic disaster in the world. AI technology has now become so advanced that its sparked a conflict called the Sustainable War and a new dangerous posthuman species.

Why its worth your time:Okay we know anime fans are sick of Netflix using CG animation in every single product they deliver. But this isGhost in the Shell, they got Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki to direct. Motoko Kusanagi and Public Security Section 9 are back. But we dont think Yoko Kanno is returning to give us another stellar opening intro, sorry guys.

The limited drama series unfolds around a shocking crime that rocks a small Massachusetts town and one family in particular, forcing an assistant district attorney to choose between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son.

Why its worth your time:The series marks Chris Evans first leading role post-Marveland reveals one of Apple TV+s biggest scores in terms of star power. Evans now joins Hollywood heavy-hitters likeStephen Speilberg and Tom Hankswho have signed on to produce upcoming content for the platform.

After a grisly murder, Detective Tiago Vegan and his partner, Lewis Michener, become embroiled in an investigation that reflects the history of Los Angeles.

Why its worth your time:We are suckers for good stories about the Devil, and this season is set to portray a conflict between those who worship the Santa Muerte and Satan himself. The season is set 40 years after the original series, during the Golden Age of Hollywood and will explore LA, but also the deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore. It all sounds intriguing, and Game of Thrones alum Natalie Dormer looks electric in the trailer. We just hope the series is able to handle this many nuanced themes.

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These Are the Must-See TV Shows Premiering in April - HYPEBEAST

The Atmospheric Indie Exploration Title In Other Waters Has Been Released! – Happy Gamer

Indie games make the world go around, especially nowadays with everyone being forced to spend so much time indoors. Indie games are typically cheaper, but their quality is no lower than non-independent games, making them a perpetually great choice. Of course, you also have the legendary indie releases, likeUndertale.

The latest indie game to be released in search of reaching that acclaim just hit stores across multiple platforms. Players that want to dive into the waters of another world can playIn Other Waters on Nintendo Switch or Steam.

In Other Waters is a unique title where you explore the oceans of an extraterrestrial planet without ever seeing them. Rather than playing as the explorer, you play as the explorers AI in their suit. Helping navigate for xenobiologist Ellery Vas, youll scan the environment to keep her up to date on any incoming threats or changes as you explore the planet together.

If youve heard ofIn Other Waters before, its likely from the accolades the indie title has acquired. Back in 2019, the title became an awardee at the Indie Cade International Festival of Independent Games, and gaming journalism outlet Rock, Paper, Shotgun also gave it their Bestest Bests award recently. Both titles applaud the unique gameplay and entrancing nature of the game as great draws.

Guide Ellery and keep her safe as you dive deeper and explore an underwater alien landscape, The description reads. The planets unique life, and its dark history, are yours to uncover and the bond between you and Ellery will be tested by the secrets you learn.

Players wont just be passively scanning. You take the role of the AI within her malfunctioning dive suit, but you arent some pre-programmed force for all good. As the story continues through a shifting narrative, youll discuss your discoveries with Ellery Vas as she tries to decide whether she can trust you to do the job she needs to do. Building your relationship with the xenobiologist is absolutely vital to the game.

Through this shifting narrative,In Other Watersasks questions about the nature of natural and artificial life, and investigates what it means to be a human in an epoch of extreme environmental destruction.

As the title states, for life to continue, it must change.In Other Waters is a fantastically posthuman romp that makes up for its lack of graphical spark with an intriguing story, strategic gameplay, and addicting progression.

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The Atmospheric Indie Exploration Title In Other Waters Has Been Released! - Happy Gamer

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu – Locus Online

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga 978-1-9821-3403-7, $26.00, 432pp, hc) February 2020.

In his introduction to The Hidden Girl and Other Stories, Ken Lius much-anticipated second collection, Liu tells us that selecting the stories was easier, since he no longer felt the pressure to present, but rather decided to stick with stories that most pleased myself. In fact, more than half of the 18 stories (plus an excerpt from the forthcoming third volume of his Dandelion Dynasty novels) are old enough that they might have been included in The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories back in 2016; the oldest date to 2011. This is one reason that second or third story collections are often more revealing than first collections; rather than showing us this is what I can do, they show this is what Im interested in. In no sense do any of the stories here feel like leftovers from that first collection, although a couple seem a bit fragmentary, like the Borgesian parable Cutting in which a group of monks annually cut out more words from their holy book as offerings to the gods, a kind of clever inversion of Clarkes The Nine Billion Names of God. What most of the stories reveal, however, is what Liu seems to be thinking about the past few years and a few clear themes emerge. One, which isnt too surprising given Lius background in computers, is the notion of the digital singularity, the now-familiar SF trope of uploading consciousness. But if that suggests the hard-SF side of Lius imagination, what emerges as an abiding concern of his humanist side is even more interesting: the problems, pitfalls, and rewards of child-parent relationships, which figure in fully half the stories here, as they did in his most celebrated story, The Paper Menagerie. Those same relationships often reveal a third theme: balancing dual identities, such as a British-educated student returning to his Chinese family in Hong Kong, or a parent who is also a distributed web intelligence, or a child learning to be a parent to a mother suffer ing dementia.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these themes converge in a number of stories, which together form a kind of meta-narrative of the singularity, which Liu treats as a mass migration into cyberspace. Lius singularity has some draconian rules: in order to upload, the living brain has to be scanned, but the procedure leaves the brain a bloody, pulpy mess. In other words, and not unlike in many religious beliefs, the geek rapture (to borrow a term already masticated into baby bird food) only works if your body dies, or at least your brain. In Lius more or less consistent chronology, one of the first to undergo such a procedure is a brilliant computer scientist in The Gods Will Not Be Chained, one of three connected stories originally published in John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howies Apocalypse Triptych anthologies. The narrator of the story is his daughter Maddie, who discovers a mysterious web presence speaking entirely in emojis that helps her deal with online bullying. The story maintains a fine balance between the account of a grieving and unhappy girl coming to terms with her parents and the cyber-thriller of what really happened to her father and why. The immediate sequel, The Gods Will Not be Slain, retains Maddies appealing narrative voice but moves into Colossus/Terminator territory as her dad battles against other uploaded consciousnesses, or gods, who have concluded that helping humanity destroy itself by taking control of weapons systems would be a dandy payback. By the third installment, The Gods Have Not Died in Vain, Maddies home life is more focused on dealing with her overworked mom, but now she meets a virtual sister she names Mist a native of the uploaded world, created by her father and the two of them form a bond even as Mist raises the argument that a post-scarcity paradise can be achieved only as people are willing to give up their physical bodies to enter the now rapidly growing cybercommunity. None of these arguments are particularly original with Liu, nor is the assumption that gender identities and family relationships will somehow persist in a nonbiological environment, but the sympathetic focus on Maddie, as she comes to terms with radical changes in her life and future, keeps the tale from turning into programmatic spec-fic.

By the time of Staying Behind, the rapture term left behind is invoked to describe those who resist uploading, even as the physical world grows depopulated and increasingly primitive and violent. The parents here cynically refer to the uploaded as the dead and have convinced their kids that the singularity is a false promise, but when the mother begins dying from a long illness, the desperate father has her uploaded against her fervent wishes, leaving the children to face a dilemma when the mother emails them that I was wrong and claims the digital world leaves her ecstatic another loaded quasi-religious term. Still later, in Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer (interestingly, a title taken from the same Auden poem that gave us Catherynne Valentes Silently and Very Fast), most kids are virtual-world natives, living in multidimensional constructs. The mother of the narrator, one of the few remaining ancients who lived part of her life in flesh, worries that humanity has turned inward and become complacent, as she tries to persuade her daughter to join her in exploring the physical universe by having herself beamed to a robot sent to a distant planet. The timescale shifts more radically in Seven Birthdays, a kind of formal experiment in which Liu forces himself into ever more remote futures by the simple trick of having each of the birthdays a multiple by seven of the previous one so that it begins with the young-girl narrators seventh birthday, then jumps to 49, to 343, and so on until were well past a million years in the future. Its the sort of device used before in stories like Jonathan Lethems Five Fucks or Sean Williamss All the Wrong Places, but as usual Liu casts it as a family drama: the overworked mom nearly misses Mias seventh birthday, and by the time Mia turns 49, she herself is so busy working on the problem of scanning brains that the roles are reversed, with the now elderly mother suffering from dementia. By her 343rd birthday, the focus shifts to Mias relations with her own daughter, both now living in virtuality. The parental problems move to the background a bit in subsequent jumps into deep time, but the tale ends with a somewhat contrived but nonetheless moving full-circle conclusion.

Family dynamics arent confined to Lius singularity tales, however. Other familiar SF tropes are also invoked in service of exploring parent/child relations. A mother given only two years to live realizes that the time dilation of repeated space journeys will enable her to see her daughter grow up and even grow old in the brief but elegant Memories of My Mother, while an enigmatic alien structure on a distant planet brings together an alienated father and daughter in The Message, a story which in many ways inverts and critiques Godwins The Cold Equations, though its nearly as front-loaded as that chestnut. One of the most complex and provocative tales is the lead story, Ghost Days, in which an ancient Chinese spade-shaped bubi coin passes from a British-educated Chinese student in 1905 Hong Kong who is facing cultural tensions with his father, to a Chinese-American student confronting racism in Reagan-era Connecticut, and finally to a genetically engineered posthuman student on a remote planet in the 24th century. Each is confronted with the conundrum of living in two worlds, symbolized by the bubi, and Lius ingeniously layered structure only adds to the resonance between the different time frames. The question of dual identity is made even more explicit in the one story involving aliens, The Reborn, depicting a problematical kind of symbiosis that in some ways reflects the debate over embodiment vs. uploading in those other stories.

As should be evident by now, Liu is fond of narrative packets tales whose segments jump forward or backward in time or shift viewpointscovering thousands of millennia in the case of Seven Birthdays and this can be equally effective when the time frames are more intimate as in Maxwells Demon. The collections most direct indictment of racism, it describes the fate of a young Japanese American physicist interned at the Tule Lake concentration camp in 1943, first classified as a no-no girl, then sent as a scientific spy to Japan. Because of her apparent affinity with spirits, she finds herself attached to a paranormal research unit which assigns her to train the spirits to act as a literal Maxwells demon in order to create a superweapon. Despite its odd mix of supernaturalism and classic physics, the storys bitterly ironic ending, which moves forward to 1945, is powerful. Equally powerful, but in a very different and disturbing way, is Thoughts and Prayers, which shifts among the viewpoints of family members of a young woman killed in a mass shooting, as they helplessly watch internet trolls cruelly manipulate images from her memorial video into porn videos. The memorial video itself is produced using algorithms which feature much more prominently in Real Artists, a rather slight satirical piece about the film industrys growing obsession with audience research.

As those last two stories suggest, an abiding concern of Lius is how technologies that are already with us may be used or misused in the near future. Byzantine Empathy is not only the most provocative story Ive read concerning the possible uses of blockchain technology, but one of the clearest explanations of blockchain itself (not surprising that it originally appeared in the MIT anthology Twelve Tomorrows). After opening with a genuinely disturbing VR scene of Myanmar refugees being brutalized by soldiers, though, it develops into what amounts to a policy debate between two former college roommates over the relative benefits of a new VR-based blockchain called Empathium which radically decentralizes fundraising for worthy causes compared to more traditional charity organizations. (The title comes from a parable about Byzantine generals needing secure communications lines.) Despite the sympathetic portraits of its two main characters, the story cant help but turn into a fairly abstruse debate about resource allocation. By contrast, Lius treatment of another hot-button issue, global warming, is given the unwieldy title Dispatches from the Cradle: The Hermit Forty-Eight Hours in the Sea of Massachusetts and is set in a more distant 27th century, when (somewhat as in Kim Stanley Robinsons 2312) terraforming efforts are underway to make Earth once again habitable. Much of the action is set in a sunken Boston, hauntingly evoked in a way which recalls Robinsons Venice Drowned.

Given Lius success with his epic Dandelion Dynasty fantasy novels, its interesting that only three of the selections here approach fantasy, and one of those is a brief preview of The Veiled Throne, the forthcoming third volume in that series (which is fun, but Ill refrain from commenting until the novel shows up). Each of the two other fantasy tales seems ready to open up into broader narratives. The title story, The Hidden Girl, is set in Tang Dynasty China, where a young girl is abducted by a bhikkhuni, or Buddhist nun, who trains her as an acrobatically skilled assassin. But on her first assignment, her encounter with the targeted warlord and his son causes her to re-evaluate her training, placing her at odds with her sister assassins and setting her on her own course to protect the innocent and guard the timid. Its basically a superhero origin story, and its not surprising that Hollywood optioned it a few years ago. Grey Rabbit, Crimson Mare, Coal Leopard, the only story original to the collection, also concludes with a suggestion of further adventures. In a repressive sort of steampunk dystopia, Ava works as a miner sifting through the middens of an ancient technological civilization destroyed by an apocalyptic Plague. One of the few avenues for the repressed miners to gain social status is to partake of Revelation wine, a magical potion which allowed its drinkers to reshape their body into a second form, a form that displayed their latent talents and hidden abilities. Avas transformation simply turns her into a rabbit. Those rabbit skills prove useful in unexpected ways as she rescues a mare (the revealed shape of another woman) and the two of them join forces with a poacher who takes the form of the coal leopard. With the three women learning how their individual powers can work together, the story seems to set the stage for an epic revolution yet to come. Perhaps this sort of adventure which, as we know from the Dandelion Dynasty, Liu can write with the best of them liberates him from the conscientiousness and tech-savvy explanations that sometimes clog the movement of his SF tales, even while deepening their power. Lius fantasies may be more freewheeling than his SF, but The Hidden Girl and Other Stories leaves us wanting a lot more of both.

Gary K. Wolfe is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Roosevelt University and a reviewer for Locus magazine since 1991. His reviews have been collected in Soundings (BSFA Award 2006; Hugo nominee), Bearings (Hugo nominee 2011), and Sightings (2011), and his Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature (Wesleyan) received the Locus Award in 2012. Earlier books include The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (Eaton Award, 1981), Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever (with Ellen Weil, 2002), and David Lindsay (1982). For the Library of America, he edited American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s in 2012, with a similar set for the 1960s forthcoming. He has received the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association, the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and a Special World Fantasy Award for criticism. His 24-lecture series How Great Science Fiction Works appeared from The Great Courses in 2016. He has received six Hugo nominations, two for his reviews collections and four for The Coode Street Podcast, which he has co-hosted with Jonathan Strahan for more than 300 episodes. He lives in Chicago.

This review and more like it in the February 2020 issue of Locus.

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu - Locus Online

Posthuman Saga is the post apocalyptic board game youve been waiting for – Big Boss Battle

Designer Gordon Calleja and publisher Mighty Boards have doubled down on their radiation-soaked epic, Posthuman Saga which has recently hit the shelves following a successful Kickstarter. Can this gorgeous looking production capture the post-apocalyptic theme without outstaying its welcome?

Remember Fallout: The Board Game and its relatively dull expansion New California? No? Me neither, even though I reviewed them both. Unfortunately, despite their experience and the strength of the IP, even Fantasy Flight Games couldnt make the most of Bethesdas legendary series when it came to converting it into a tabletop experience.

Mighty Boards has taken a very different approach, thankfully, despite capturing most of the same mechanical features. Posthuman Saga is still a game in which the players explore a wasteland, forage for food, scavenge suppliers and equipment, whilst levelling up their skills by fighting increasingly challenging foes.

A number of story beats run through the structure of the game, dished out through any combination of objective cards, landmark markers, random events and specific missions, whilst a full complement of companions can also be recruited. All of this unfolds over about two hours usually, although Posthuman Saga is easily capable of lasting for more like three with a couple of inexperienced players involved.

There are also several modes to play in, including a standard competitive mode, a team versus and a solo mode the standard mode is where I spent most of my time. In this default state, Posthuman Saga wisely veers away from player versus player combat, instead allowing each of the four players to forge their own path on a segregated quadrant of the map.

It seemed odd to me at first that the players were effectively involved in their own separate adventures, but since the theme is based on each one being an explorer sent from the same enclave, it makes sense that each would forge out on their own. With this in mind and thanks to clever use of objective cards and landmark tokens as well as seeded event tokens across the sixteen rounds of play, each player will see completely unique events.

From a confrontational perspective, this means that the players will never face off in combat, but what Posthuman Saga does ingeniously well is introducing some very unexpected eurogame elements that drive competition for points. After all, what good game isnt won by the player who scores the most points?

This next bit will be hard to explain, but Im going to have to try. Simply put, each objective that players compete will convert to points (usually just one or two) and so will things like defeated bosses and reserved XP. So far, so simple. However, where Posthuman Saga differentiates is in the way that it asks players to compete in a race to complete their different objectives and how they actually do so.

Each main objective has a first and a second half that will be completed by exploring the board and placing down the relevant map tiles, then visiting them in sequence. With the first half complete, a side mission will be unlocked which, if completed, will score a further two points. As they explore their personal section of the board, players will also place down recon tokens that show resources of four kinds that have been located in that sector, chaining these together in an orthogonal sequence will unlock recon objectives, also worth points.

As I said, its hard to explain and no doubt hard to visualise, but because players have some control over which tiles and recon tokens they take, and where to put them, the usual randomness in exploration games is completely removed without losing any of the excitement. Chaining the recon tokens together feels thematically detached at first, but when you think about it and realise that each new tile is a full day of exploration, its equivalent to searching a whole area and marking resources on your map and then relaying back the coordinates.

As more and more objectives are concluded, not only are points scored but so too do the missions become more and more interesting. You may see the same actual base objectives from game to game as there are only about ten, but its unlikely youll see them combined with the same recon objectives and the same landmarks every time. Random events and combat introduce further variety, as does the simple need to stay alive to eat, to rest, to recuperate.

I now realise of course that I havent mentioned how the game flows and how some of these things happen. On a turn, a player simply has four actions to choose from and will do so by playing a card. Players can rest, forage, scour or trek, each of which is fairly straightforward conceptually, but with nuances that make the timing of when to do one or the other quite important to the overall gameplay.

Resting simply allows the player to place the camp token on the board, allowing them to refresh broadcast tokens (which Ill explain in a moment) and to recover fatigue, whilst not having to spend food on the next morning. Foraging allows the player to take the resource for the current tile they are on without question, whilst also allowing them to test their mindset skill in order to try and gain a bonus resource.

Scouting is where broadcast tokens come into play, with the player who calls a scout action being able to open the bidding on one of the four available location tiles. Trekking, fairly clearly, allows the player to move from one space to an adjacent one (orthogonally) which can result in any of a number of things, including both hostile and non-hostile encounters.

When combat occurs, which it inevitably will, or in fact when certain kinds of tests come about, the player will use a deck of challenge cards to try and overcome them. Some of these have ranged or melee attacks, whilst others show successes for non-combat situations. Depending on the enemy, the players may be shot at before reaching melee range, or if they end up in melee combat with a mutant enemy, they may even pick up mutations of their own that bestow (generally) negative effects.

It can be tempting to regard the whole experience as multiplayer solitaire at first and to a certain extent, that is undeniable. Each player lives out their own story and in doing so, the other players will occasionally just need to wait for them. Its a mistake to think that Posthuman Saga is not a competitive game however, and because the scoring is generally quite low, every extra point for being first to achieve one objective or another counts.

I dont know whether lessons were learned specifically from the Fallout games, but I can say that where the FFG game and its expansion could bog down and simply break because one player did a certain thing, Posthuman Saga simply cant do that. What is lost in exploring a shared wasteland is made up for by the reliability and competitiveness of the gameplay, which remains fair and balanced throughout, with each player able to compete on equal footing.

Even though the base game presents a relatively stiff challenge thanks to the dangerous enemies and progressive increase in difficulty, Ive also had the chance to play a couple of games of the day one expansion, The Resistance, which adds two new playable characters, a whole third tier of enemies and a new slave train mechanic for players to score.

The Resistance, frankly, is an expert-level expansion to an already challenging game and therefore its a nice to have rather than a must-buy for many players, but I really enjoyed the slave train mechanic because it gave the players a common target to go after that again doesnt break the game or damage the fundamental elements of the turn structure. The new enemies are hard as nails, however!

Overall, I find Posthuman Saga a very interesting and enjoyable experience that is as unique as anything I could name. Its a heady mix of combat, hand and resource management, tile placement and racing and I think its virtually impossible to classify alongside other games. It does have the issue of being overly long and complex for some players (especially during the first few games) but the gameplay itself isnt that heavy once the sheer number of things going on has been understood.

Id recommend Posthuman Saga to fans of post-apocalyptic games who enjoy smart combat, crunchy mechanics and who have the stomach for longer games. This isnt a dice chucker or a miniatures game, and its demanding enough of your time that you need to put aside an entire evening for a single game, more often than not. Because I cant think of another game like it, I think its a keeper for sure.

You can pre-order Posthuman Saga on Thirsty Meeples.

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Posthuman Saga is the post apocalyptic board game youve been waiting for - Big Boss Battle

WIRE Buzz: Stoned Kevin Smith weeps to Onward; The Willoughbys trailer; more – SYFY WIRE

A coronavirus quarantine has affected many in the entertainment business differently, with some making more of their isolated time than others. Kevin Smith, nerd extraordinaire and director of films like Dogma, decided it was the perfect time to catch up on the latest offering from Pixar: Onward. The only twist when it came to his consumption of the Chris Pratt and Tom Holland team-up? The accompanying consumption of marijuana.

Bad idea to wake and bake and watch ONWARD the filmmaker wrote on Facebook before livestreaming 14 minutes of solid tears during his rental of the animated film.

The Dan Scanlon-directed movie about two elf brothers on a quest to meet their late father was always going to be sad, but due to its theatrical absence in the wake of pandemic cancellations, its now available for home viewing much quicker than normal big-budget films distributions. Thats allowed those like Smith, who perhaps want a more intimate viewing experience, the ability to get some privacy for those ugly tears.

Take a look:

This is worse than every theater when it screened Up for the first time. Smith continued speaking during the video of his deep dives during his home stay, as well as what particularly affected him about Onward. Watch Onward...oh f***... Get a whole box of this s***, he said, waving some tissues.

Onward is out on Digital now.

Next, theres nothing like a bit of murder to start off your animated childrens movie, right? Thats the premise behind The Willoughbys...in so many words. The Netflix film from directors Kris Pearn and Cory Evans, based on Lois Lowrys book of the same name, is all about four siblings trying to rid themselves of their terrible parents - with one very dangerous plan.

The kids voiced by Will Forte, Alessia Cara, and Vincent Tong (voicing twins) want to send their mom (Jane Krakowski) and dad (Martin Short) on a vacation. A deadly vacation, as a matter of fact.

Check it out:

One candy factory, nanny, and encounter with sinister family services later, and the Willoughbys are on the run. But not because theyre wanted for attempted murder, somehow. Its too sweet a film for that, it seems. Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, and Ricky Gervais also star.

The Willoughbys begin their plot on April 22.

Finally, the next iteration of an iconic manga finally has a premiere date. The final trailer for Netflixs CG animated Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 reveals that Major Motoko Kusanagi will bring her Public Security Section 9 crew back to fight crimes on April 23.

The show, from Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama, takes place in 2045 and features the return of returning Ghost in the Shell SAC cast members Atsushi Nakanaka (the Major), Akio Takatsuka (Bato), and Hirota Takaji (Togusa).

Fans can learn a bit more in the latest tease for the show:

The sustainable war has brought about a new dominant species called posthuman, the shows intertitles read. This partially explains the man the Major has a fistfight with during the trailer and why her cybernetic body is struggling to defeat him.

Fans can find out more about this new threat, and see the rest of the new art style in action, when Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 hits Netflix on April 23.


WIRE Buzz: Stoned Kevin Smith weeps to Onward; The Willoughbys trailer; more - SYFY WIRE

Best of 2019: Harm’s Way Pick 5 Favorite Albums of Year – Revolver Magazine

2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For their part, industrialized hardcore outfitHarm's Wayreleased the remix EPPSTHMN, which reimagined cuts off their excellent2018 album, Posthuman, and toured relentlessly in support of both. When we we asked vocalist James Pligge to share some his favorite music from the year, he came back with a group effort."Because we are always in a van together we usually all consume music as a band, I decided to get a collaborative list of all Harm's Way's favorite albums of 2019," the vocalist responded."This list is in no particular order and is just some records we really enjoyed at home and on the road in 2019."

Probably one of the biggest records to come from the hardcore and metal world this year was A Different Shade of Blue. This record is very catchy and heavy and offers a combination of Nineties hardcore and modern metalcore. I think it has created a movement in which many people from different musical backgrounds can get behind. Its impact on heavy music and well-constructed metallic hardcore makes it one of the best heavy records of 2019.

I have always been a fan of Division of Mind from Richmond and this LP is no different. This record is just a perfect combination of truly angry music with d-beat and mosh parts. It reminds me of a heavier Left for Dead or the Swarm. One thing that always resonates with me is vocalists that are able to convey their hatred or anger through the vocals of a record, and I think this record is able to do that very well.

This record reminds me of some of the early 2000s Western Massachusetts bands like Think I Care. As a person who got really into hardcore in the early 2000s, this record is almost nostalgic-like to me. I just really enjoy the combination of well-done fast parts and heavily distorted breakdowns, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs live night in and night out on our tour together in August.

I came across this from a fellow Hate Force member. Finding death metal that is new and interesting can sometimes be a challenge, but Vomit Forth was able to keep my attention. In my opinion, this album sounds like a combination of old Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Devourment, but less technical. At times it also remind me of Internal Bleeding, especially with the heavier breakdowns mixed with the traditional death-metal parts. Lucky for them, that style of deathmetal is one of my favorites, and this record really stands apart from a lot of the monotony that is out there.

If you offered me a million dollars to pronounce this band's name correctly, I would most definitely fail. I really enjoy slow, Neanderthal-like deathmetal, and this band does this extremely well. Although this record is only four songs, I think it's truly one of the best death-metal records I have heard in a long time. If you like slower death metal with d-beat parts and sludgy breakdowns like Disma, you should most certainly check this record out on Bandcamp.

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Best of 2019: Harm's Way Pick 5 Favorite Albums of Year - Revolver Magazine

Moscows Garage Museum Starts Pioneering Online Art Venueand Its More Than a Museum on the Internet – ARTnews

As artists experiment with the internet and digital media with increasing frequency, museums of all kinds are aiming to crack the code of how to display such art online to a wide audience. Now the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow is entering the field with an ambitious new effort.

Garage, which was founded by art collector Dasha Zhukova and her then-husband, billionaire Roman Abramovich, is starting a multi-pronged new initiative, Garage Digital, which will allow its curators to commission new digital artworks and offer historical context for old ones.

Part of the platforms role will be to support programming within the museums walls, and right now, in connection with The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 20302100, its survey exhibition about contemporary art and environmentalism, Garage Digital is hosting new works by artists Posthuman Studies Lab, Sascha Pohflepp with Matthew Lutz and Alessia Nigretti, Gints Gabrns, and James Ferraro and Ezra Miller.

Katya Inozemtseva, the senior curator of the Garage Museum and a member of Garage Digitals workgroup, said that the program is intended to shift the publics understanding of how art and technology interact. We arrived at the idea of sort of non-space, a digital limbo, where the new art could exist and be seen, she told ARTnews in an email. It lives on the logic of a feed and under the legislation of general experience of everyone who uses a smartphone with internet connection. Garage doesnt intend to create a digital ghetto or a museum on the internet. Were reacting to the transformed relationships between physical and digital realities.

The New Museums 2002 acquisition of the New York art-and-technology organization Rhizome serves as a precedent for Garages moves, but Garage Digital comes amid quick-moving changes in the field. Numerous shows about the internet have arrived at global art museums over the past few years, the Serpentine Galleries in London has started an augmented-reality program, and museum director Daniel Birnbaum left the Moderna Museet in Sweden to lead a company focused on virtual-reality works by artists.

Russia presents a particularly unique home for the project, given the countrys unique history with digital art. During the 1990s, many of the most important works from the net.art movement were being produced by Russian artists like Olia Lialina and Alexei Shulgin, who used digital interfaces to ponder the exchange of visual and political information online.

Inozemtseva said that Garage Digital will contextualize works by such pioneersand also aim to create new groundbreaking works through a grant program. Importantly, she said, the texts hosted on Garage Digitals site will appear in both English and Russian, in an attempt to stimulate researchers and scholars of younger generation to move forward, to use the optics and approaches of posthuman theory in order to invent/see/analyze various phenomena in our reality.

Among the initiatives Garage Digital has already started is one dedicated specifically to gaming. According to Inozemtseva, the divide between the digital sphere and everyday life is growing thinner, and games are offering new ways of immersing oneself in technological environments. With that in mind, the museum plans to commission works making use of video games and computer simulations.

But the political climate in Russia could be an obstacle for some of the programming Garage Digital has planned. In November, Russian politicians unveiled a plan to create a sovereign internet, effectively starting a network thats walled off from international countries. Experts have raised questions about whether the new plan could lead to increased censorship online in a way similar to Chinas Great Firewall. Inozemtseva did not seem worried, however.

We think that its more an ideological construct and political tool than a reality, she said of the sovereign internet plan. It definitely does not influence our programming and is not able to. Any regulation of this kind immediately appears absurd, and might be only used as a trigger for artistic production.

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Moscows Garage Museum Starts Pioneering Online Art Venueand Its More Than a Museum on the Internet - ARTnews

‘The Expanse’ Season 4 Review: Hard science, biological conflicts laced with emotions and action makes space d – MEAWW

This spoiler-free review is based on the six episodes provided to MEAWW

'The Expanse' has always prided itself on ensuring attention to detail and a thorough narrative. This explains why 'New Terra' takes its time in dedicating its entire runtime to get the audience up to speed after Syfy's cancellation last May. The major chunk of the series is a slow burner. It revolves around the character acclimatizing to a new environment. The crew of the Rocinante is back. Captain James Holden (Steven Strait), first officer Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper), engineer Amos Burton (Wes Chatham), and pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar) take up ample screentime, and their latest work starts off when they touchdown on an alien planet, Ilus.

This season is an adaptation of Cibola Burn, book number four of the 'Expanse' series and continues exploring the themes it tried explaining in its pilot season - the acute knowledge of space, stellar elements and the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman. Ilus, aka New Terra, brings all these factors in one place. Also present are a group of Belters who try and make a living out of mining Lithium. There are enough encounters between them and the Royal Charter Energy (RCE).

And while there's enough story to go, the following episodes take its time to establish each layer. For 'The Expanse's staunch followers, this may be a delight. The face-off between the two parties is a thrilling showdown. It is also clear that the series has focused its energy on character development this time. Tipper as Naomi owns the screen in each of her appearances and is one of the bright spots of the latest installment. She also manages to translate the fact that she literally carries the burden of being Rocinante's only Belter.

The sentiments are out there and the series encapsulates some heartfelt moments, again, with Tipper playing a pivotal role in making these moments memorable. For a person who's spent a lifetime in the vastness of space, every little movement comes as an effort one that she manages to convey seamlessly. The laughs come in the form of Chatham's Amos and his sexual banter with Salgueiro's Wei (Murtrys second-in-command). The duo's relationship isn't exactly a smooth ride, but it does form a great plot point to go with.

For those familiar with Cibola Burn, the story has enough zing making it a worthwhile read, and the season makes an honest attempt in explaining the story. There are hard sciences and biological conflicts that are coupled with specks of emotions and actions. Eventually, it is shown that the atmospheric effects impact the RCE and the Belters forcing them to team up. And while there is a hint of predictability, the show justifies this by a lengthy, but a definitely-needed explanation. Ilus is a visual delight. And up until the massive blast that dents the planet's surface, there is breathtaking imagery.

'The Expanse' could have probably looked at giving more meaty roles to its cast. With the enormous focus on science, it's easy to notice the strength and story of these characters fade away at times. This edition of 'The Expanse' justifies the need for season 4 and is convincing enough for a watch after what could rightfully be called a zigzaggy start.

'The Expanse' Season 4 premieres on December 13 on Amazon Prime Video.

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'The Expanse' Season 4 Review: Hard science, biological conflicts laced with emotions and action makes space d - MEAWW

X-Men #1 is Already Better Than All of HoXPoX [X-ual Healing 10-16-19] – Bleeding Cool News

HoXPoX is over and the Dawn of X is upon us which means its time for the X-books to deliver on the promise of a bright new future. Did that happen in X-Men #1? Read on to find out.

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.

X-MEN #1 DXAUG190845(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Leinil Francis YuDAWN OF X!The X-Men find themselves in a whole new world of possibility and things have never been better! Jonathan Hickman (HOUSE OF X, POWERS OF X, SECRET WARS) and superstar artist Leinil Yu (NEW AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA) reveal the saga of Cyclops and his hand-picked squad of mutant powerhouses!Rated T+In Shops: Oct 16, 2019SRP: $4.99

X-Men #1 opens with s scene of Professor Xavier first giving Scott Summers his ruby quartz glasses before jumping right into the post-HoXPoX action, as Cyclops and Storm invade an O.R.C.H.I.S. facility to put a stop to their mutant-murdering ways. As the forces retreat into the compound, Magneto and Polaris arrive for backup. Base leader Dr. Mars declares that their research not go to waste, so they inject themselves with a serum that turns them into apes. Magneto takes care of them as the other three X-Men descend further into the compound and find a bunch of mutants held in stasis tubes, along with one posthuman subject. She teleports away though, and the X-Men bring the freed mutants back to Krakoa, delivering them to Dr. Cecelia Reyes.

Storm stays with Dr. Reyes to help keep an eye on the mutants in case anything goes wrong, while Magneto basks in the adulation of the local crowds, which Polaris finds embarrassing. After a conversation about what Krakoa means to him with Polaris, Cyclops heads back to his house on the moon, where the whole Summers clan lives, to meet his dad and the Starjammers for dinner.

We get an interlude at the ORCHIS Forge, where Director Devo and Omega Sentinal Karima Shapandar discuss the previous disaster when the X-Men invaded the Forge and tossed the Mother Mold into the sun. Devo takes responsibility for the failure.

At the Summer House, Scott chills with Corsair while Wolverine watches Vulcan grill some steaks, with Vulcan waxing poetic about the inferno inside himself as he cooks. Kid Cable asks his mom, Jean Grey, if he can trade guns with Raza of the Starjammers, while Rachel Grey bonds with Hepzibah over being badass women. Before dinner, Alex Summers gifts his dad with a Krokoa flower to plant on the Starjammer and form a portal to Krakoa. An infographic shows us the living quarters, including connecting doors between Wolverine, Jean, and Scotts rooms, which has been the subject of much salacious internet gossip. Scott and Corsair share another conversation after dinner where Corsair worries about how dangerous what Scott is doing is, though Scott assures him that he understands the danger but is focusing on enjoying the people he loves.

In a final scene at the ORCHIS Forge, Dr. Gregor tells Director Devo that she has a way to bring back her husband, who died in the X-Men attack during HoXPoX.

As HoXPoX ended last week, I weighed the pros and cons of the story and whether it justified relaunching the X-Men. Ultimately, while I found a lot of issues with the story itself, I felt that the interest the series sparked in the X-Men with existing comic fans was at least a good start in reinvigorating the franchise, though wed be relying on the Dawn of X books to capitalize on that momentum.

Interesting to learn, however, in an interview last week at AiPT with Cullen Bunn, that Marvel had been planning this relaunch since at least 2015, and even more interestingly, that the X-Books seemed to be in a purposeful holding pattern because of it, with Bunn saying the creative teams were very limited with where we could go with the story because the plans for House of Xthose were already in play. Hickman descended on the X-books like the savior that would lead them out of a dark time of mediocrity but was his coming the source of that alleged mediocrity in the first place?

All of that said, while HoXPoX offered big ideas, it suffered from a lack of personality, with hardly any insight into what was making the characters in the story tick beyond Moira and maybe Xavier, and many of the X-Men acting completely out of character. For the most part, X-Men #1 is the opposite of that, with a focus on families, mainly the Summers family, though some nice interactions between Polaris and Magneto as well. There was warmth here that was missing throughout the twelve issues of HoXPoX, and its a relief to see, because its the found family aspect of the X-Men that makes it special as much as stories about time travel and mutations and the epic war with humanity.

That being said, theres still some stuff to be explained. The Wolverine/Jean/Scott room thing is cheeky, but will it be explored, or serve as just an inside joke that distracts from the story rather than adding to it, like Vulcans cooking? Theres a lot to be explained about the motivations of various characters for going along with the Krakoa plan as well, though this issue did a lot for explaining it when it comes to Scott Summers, even if he was probably the mutant least in need of an explanation.

Either way, its nice to see a moment of personal downtime for the X-Men after HoXPoX, and Im looking forward to the launch of the rest of the books breaking up the monotony of Hickmanism, even though it looks like we can expect the damn infographics to remain pervasive throughout the line.

Now that HoXPoX is over and well be getting more X-books, its time to bring back the Wolverines Weiner X-Pick of the week, awarded to the comic that provides the most satisfying X-Men experience, like grilled meat on a hot summer day. It seems we may still get single-X-book weeks for the foreseeable future, and on those weeks, if the one X-book sucked, then no one will get the Wolverines Weiner X-Pick of the Week. This week, however, X-Men #1 was satisfying enough to earn the award.

Congratulations to the creative team.

Ill also be keeping track of Wolverines Weiner Winners, so

Next week, weve got Marauders #1. See you then!

Read moreX-ual Healinghere:

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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X-Men #1 is Already Better Than All of HoXPoX [X-ual Healing 10-16-19] - Bleeding Cool News

HiX-Men Moment of the Week: Mutants are finally treating Magneto like the god he (thinks he) is – Comics Beat

HOX/POX may be done, but Jonathan Hickmans time with the X-Men is just beginning. In X-Men #1, illustrated by Lenil Francis Yu and colored by Sunny Gho, Cyclops leads a team to combat the mutant-hating Orchis remaining presence on Earth. An adventure-filled issue, Hickmans premiere on the core X-Men title is significantly lighter than any of his mutant material so far, but that doesnt mean there arent some weighty topics to explore.

The Summers family and the Logan-Jean-Scott (polyamory-friendly) conjoined bedrooms certainly make up the meat of the issue, but the Master of Magnetism has a huge presence as the X-Men attach the Orchis base. As one of Krakoas co-founders and a heavy-hitter on the X-Men he volunteered to take on an army of PH.D. wielding gorillas single-handedly (comics are incredible, people) Magneto has an esteemed position in mutant society. More than just a valued member of the Quiet Council, his prominence has resulted in him being revered as an almost heavenly force, someone who is willing to fight and sacrifice himself for the wellbeing of all mutants.

Upon the teams return to Krakoa, Magneto is immediately greeted by hordes of young, adoring fans. Cyclops, Storm and the rest of the X-Men dont receive any cheers, but kids scream out MAGENTO or MAGNETOS BACK, signifying just how remarkable the villain-turned-mutant-protectors image is to Krakoan citizens. This level of reverence shown towards Magneto is in line with his comments way back in House of X #1, when he tells a United Nations delegation that they have new gods now, and his behavior as a benevolent yet vengeful protector of his fellow mutants certainly falls in line with that image. In response to a young mutant who wants to join Magneto on the field during their next mission, Magneto strongly asserts himself as a force of nature, something to be reckoned with a sentiment that only encourages more loyalty and attachment to the headstrong individual.

Even though Magneto is an Omega Level Mutant while Cyclops is not, its clear that the Master of Magnetism respects the team leader and has no problem following his directives on the field. On Scotts command, Magneto tears through the roof and strikes at Orchis gathered forces. Similarly, rather than mock Scott for his inability to blast through a Vibranium door, he reassuringly places his hand on his former enemys shoulder and makes himself useful to the team.

Instead of ensuring that its he who discovers the kidnapped Children of the Vault, or causing a fuss after Cyclops insists that the team finish their mission instead of following the escaped posthuman, Magneto is content to stand back and let the team operate as it must. Yes, it seems his ego is on the rise once again, as seen by his reiteration in this issue that mutants are the only gods on this planet, but that doesnt mean Magneto is back to valuing himself and his own abilities over those of others.

As Polaris the only one of Eriks children to be physically included in Hickmans narrative so far points out to Scott, Eriks new righteous goals and the admiration shown him from his fellow mutants has him acting like hes a young man again. Even his bold proclamation, Let man run from me, shows that he is reinvigorated and eager to take on anyone who may disagree with his new nation. Magneto has always been a proud individual, someone who puts stock in his own accomplishments, but this is the first time in a while readers have seen him act so courageously. The main difference is, while before he put faith in himself and his own raw power, now its clear that Magneto truly believes in Krakoas peaceful mission and wants to see it succeed for more than just as a complement to his ego.

In a lot of ways, Magnetos presence and symbolic positioning in this issue feels like the inevitable conclusion to his decades-long journey. Yes, hes still capable of instilling fear in his enemies during battle, but hes morphed into a caring, empathetic individual. As a young man, Erik was thrust into chaos during the Holocaust and has been fighting ever since. Now that hes older and still overcoming his personal traumas, Erik doesnt want the new youth to confront similar pain. All of his fighting the tough stances he took was always the name of creating some type of mutant paradise, and now its a reality.

Magneto is only present during X-Men #1s first act, but the emphasis placed on children and the Summers family throughout the remainder of the story makes it hard not to think about whats missing from Eriks life. Sure, he seems at peace with his new existence and enjoys his relationship with Lorna, but Pietro and Wanda still havent been fully integrated into the story. I imagine that Magneto has a big, personal conflict coming that will throw his newfound sense of peace and security into question.

How will he react when/if his (former) daughter Wanda shows up seeking refuge on Krakoa despite the fact that she is considered one of the species largest ever opponents after the events of House of M? Will his image as a sacred protector of his people be tarnished if he accepts her, or will he be able to convince others that she acted compulsively due to her poor mental health? Only time will tell, but its clear that Hickman is slowly developing a big, emotional storyline for Magneto that will examine and potentially challenge his symbolic role in this new mutant paradise.

What did you all think of X-Men #1 and are you excited to follow the Dawn of X into all of the other series starting next week? Sound off below and make sure to check out last weeks column about Moira MacTaggert and Powers of Xs closing chapter.


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HiX-Men Moment of the Week: Mutants are finally treating Magneto like the god he (thinks he) is - Comics Beat

How Far Away Is Immortality? – Science 2.0

It was quite unlike any other acceptance speech of the UEFA Presidents award. In a rather philosophical address before the Champions League draw in Monaco, former football player and actor Eric Cantona claimed: Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of the cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state, and so we become eternal.

But what was he actually talking about and does it hold up? In the context, the statement seemed out of place, perhaps even slightly mad. Theres pathos in seeing aged sportsmen too once sublime athletes now reduced to a snails pace and going grey. And this gets to the heart of the human condition it is defined by limitations, most notably ageing and death. Cantona though, wears his age gracefully if unconventionally, much like he played the game.

But there was more than madness in Cantonas words. The point he is making is important. As a species, we are on the cusp of creating technologies that may fundamentally alter our capacities, promising radical potentialities and perhaps even immortality.

The emerging technologies that make this thinkable include nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC). Transhumanism is the faith in these converging technologies to give rise to human enhancement.

There is indeed work going on to reverse ageing with some believing we may be able to halt it altogether. And increasingly potent artificial intelligence (AI) may aid this process. In his book Superintelligence, philosopher Nick Bostrom suggests AI may soon exceed human-level intelligence resulting in an intelligence explosion. Such a scenario makes anything thinkable, and he believes it could happen in a few decades.

We have seen great strides in science and technology over the past century, some of which have resulted in increased global average life expectancies. At the same time, there are increasing numbers of existential threats, such as nuclear weapons and climate change. This points to a limitation of human reason that does not elude Cantona: Only accidents, crimes, wars, will still kill us. But unfortunately, crimes, wars, will multiply.

The problem is a duality to human reason. We can interrogate the world with the scientific method that enables us to create technologies which empower us instrumental reason. How to use these advances remains a problem, a question of moral reason.

Indeed Cantonas suggestion that wars and crimes will multiply emphasizes that instrumental reason can progress while moral reason regresses. Technical progress does not ensure moral progress, as was powerfully demonstrated by the two world wars of the 20th century and the many ensuing conflicts since. The climate crisis and our current political malaise also illustrate this.

Cantonas speech opened with a quote from Shakespeares King Lear: As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,/ They kill us for their sport. The quote is also prescient. Much transhumanist literature is dedicated to the idea of humans becoming gods. But what kind of gods?

The current gods of transhumanist progress are defense agencies and tech giants. As AI guru Ben Goertzel points out: AI is currently used for selling, spying, killing and gambling. We may therefore be set to become inhuman, not posthuman gods.

A telling part of Cantonas speech is the reaction to it. The word most commonly used to describe it is bizarre. What makes it bizarre is not the content, as much as the context. In such a scenario ex-players are expected to offer up platitudes rather than philosophies of human existence.

So, as we are developing such powerful technologies, what is the context? It is advanced capitalism, and it does involve selling, spying, killing and gambling. Such is the all-encompassing nature of this system that we barely recognize it as a context at all it is a given.

Capitalism also embraces instrumental rationality it fulfills its demand for palpable progress and growth. It does not have much time for questions of morality. Markets bypass moral questions by asking is there a buyer, is there a seller and what is the price.

Mathematics and science are the formalized methodologies of instrumental rationality. It is no surprise then that humans themselves are increasingly subject to this process of quantification. Surveillance provides data, the new oil that boosts information capitalism. Humans are now the mines. This is the bizarre world of transhumanist development in the context of advanced capitalism.

In its most hubristic and unquestioning form, bolstered by unapologetic and brash advanced capitalist logics, transhumanism poses myriad threats: from automation unemployment to the end of democracy, to the risk that humans will branch into different species, making questions of inequality infinitely more urgent. Even if immortality arrives it will be accompanied by crimes, wars and accidents as Cantona states.

But there are alternative ways to think about the future. Posthumanism also deals with our uncertain future, but focuses especially on moral questions. It aims to think ethically beyond the human, emphasising a responsibility towards the wider nature of which we are a part. Posthumanists are bonded by the compassionate acknowledgement of their interdependence with multiple, human and non-human others.

It is time we asked ourselves what aspects of being human we most value. For me, compassion, kindness, appreciation of nature, art and humor are paramount those aspects most strongly connected with the moral aspect of human reason. Instrumental reason will continue at pace, and perhaps to the cost of these human idiosyncrasies imperfect, inexact, unquantifiable.

As a Liverpool fan (sorry Eric), I was happy with the Champions League draw and Van Dijks award, but in the grand scheme of things Cantonas speech was the most important moment of the event. It reminds us that a radically different future looks to be on the way, and our current social systems and cultural beliefs mean that we are in no position to take advantage of it.

Cantona finished with simply Thank you. I love football. To that, I can only say, thank you, Eric. I love football too.

By Alexander Thomas, PhD Candidate, University of East London. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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How Far Away Is Immortality? - Science 2.0

Producers are losing millions in royalties every year here’s what you can do about it – DJ Mag


Setlists and analogous data only tell a small part of the story, and can be easily gamed though PRS stress that this is fraud, and that they and other PROs do and will prosecute. MRT is only in a very small number of venues, or isnt used at all. Cloud DJing will go somewhat towards solving the issue, but its a long way off being widely adopted or adopted at all and when it is, it relies on accurate metadata. So, what can be done, right now, to make sure you and others get paid accurately? Established artists employ teams to ensure theyre being paid, especially if they crossover with mainstream radio play, but its in the underground clubs where the newest, unsigned music is played.

PROs may be right when they assume your provincial discotheque is playing the Top 40, but youre less likely to hear the same tracks every night in an underground club, something that PRS confirms. The takeaway from the data from those [underground] venues is that theres definitely less repetition, which means we need to monitor more of them. These new methods give us a highly accurate picture of the music played in those venues.

The number one thing any electronic music producer can do now is to register with a PRO. If youre not registered, or your tracks arent registered, you will get nothing thats the one constant here. As mentioned above, the most recent figures from AFEM suggest that, at any given time, 40% of the Beatport Top 100 is not eligible to get royalties. Another huge own goal. If youre a DJ, submit your setlists. If you dont get a form, you can do it retrospectively online, for free (go to prsformusic.com for more information) for up to 12 months after a gig. And if you dont remember everything, thats fine.

My advice to people is that you fill in a representative setlist of a period of time. The very minimum you should be doing is once a year, but ideally every three months. Just put the [tracks] youre playing most of the time, Howard explains. If you cant remember what you played or when you played it, your rekordbox histories are your friend. Plug in your USB, select histories from the dropdown menu, and you can revisit every setlist that USB was used for. You can also share it to your Public KUVO profile.

DJ, producer and label owner Posthuman whose recent tweets sparked an awareness drive around submitting setlists and DJ/producer royalties summed it up as so: Many small artists write tracks that are big in the clubs and festivals, but they sell so little copies that theres next to no profit for them. It could really make a difference, and it would cost DJs nothing to do except a little time and effort. Its a question of ethics and effort to get this cash to the artists [to whom] its due.

Whether you think the current system is broken or simply a product of a complex and somewhat dated necessity, the fact remains that, at a time when revenue streams for DIY and independent music producers are extremely narrow, the money theyre due is not making its way to their pockets. No one disputes that, but how much of it ends up in the wrong place is up to the industry as a whole.

No one body, group or organisation is to blame, and where theres money at stake, therell always be gatekeepers trying to retain the status quo that benefits them, or wholl point the finger to avoid culpability. PRS is trying to solve the problem, but without data, it cant take a case study to its board to change policy to help do so. That data comes from DJs, especially those playing the underground circuit.

If thats you, and youre jaded by PROs, or feel theyre weighted in favour of the majors, youre condemning the situation to remain stagnant. Not submitting a setlist because you feel PRS is stacked towards the majors, means PRS will continue to be stacked towards the majors, says Mark Lawrence. Thats the point that hurts the industry the most. Where Ill share some cynicism with cynics is, PRS are getting the money anyway, and [if] people choose not to report setlists and choose not to be accurate, that money will be distributed anyway. Its up to us to make it accurate.

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Producers are losing millions in royalties every year here's what you can do about it - DJ Mag

Ex Machina Now on Digital HD + Blu-Ray

A futuristic shocker.

Totally hot, bracingly cold,

powerfully sovereign and posthuman.

Necessary and unforgettable.

A visionary sci-fi

thriller is born

Sizzlingly smart,

gorgeous, and astute.

Skin-bristlingly intense.

This is bewitchingly smart

science fiction.

An intricate, enigmatic,

twisty tale.

An instant


Alex Garland upgrades

to full auteur status.

Erotically charged

and intensely involving

Alex Garland's

remarkable directorial debut

is easily one of the best

films of the year.

You've never seen anything like it.

A mesmerizing spellbinder

that will haunt you for a long time.

Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller, EX MACHINA.

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company's brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test-charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan's latest experiment in artificial intelligence.

That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated and more deceptive than the two men could have imagined.







Produced by

Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich


Ex Machina Now on Digital HD + Blu-Ray

Posthuman – SCP Foundation

Clef didnt miss his face. Initially the loss had been painful. It wasnt just his physical face the creature had taken. For years hed wandered with a hole in his existence, one that could not be filled no matter how much achievement or memories or fellowship he built up. They all simply fell away, refusing to attach themselves to him. He may have acquired them, briefly, but they had never been his. Never been him.

So he weaved himself a mask. An idea, a facade that he could wear like clothing to cover the torn skin. One that thrived on its impermanence, its malleability, its ambiguity. That clutched at the questions like a babe to a teat and drunk itself fat. He could no longer have a self. So he became a story.

And of course, there were benefits to not having an identity. Like being able to walk into Site 2000 unquestioned. All you have to do is tweak the tale a bit. Yes, of course he should be here. No, it wasnt strange that a notoriously volatile researcher was strolling into the most heavily guarded object on the planet. Continue your workdays. Everything is going as intended.

He strolled down the sterile hallways of complex, whistling to himself and flipping his badge between his fingers. There were no guides on the wall to indicate direction. Everyone working here was expected to fully memorize their daily routes (and nothing else) before arriving at the station. It didnt bother Clef. He knew exactly where he was going.


He stopped to look at the source of the voice. Cute. Blonde. A bit too scrawny for him. He smiled. Yes?

No ones scheduled to be in this hall at the moment. Where are you going?

His eyes moved from her stern expression, to the way she held her hands on her hips, to the gun at her waist. Ah. One of those, then. He smiled. Theres been a small malfunction in the 2Z-31 anchor. Trying to patch it up before it gets too serious.

There arent any repairs on the schedule.

It just popped up. Try not to let these things linger for too long, you know?

She glanced at a PDA. We update on a minute-to-minute schedule. Nothings showing up. Her hand rested on the gun at her waist. Clef was impressed. He hadnt even seen her switch position. Anyone else might have let her get the drop on him. So again, what are you doing here?

His arm shot forward, snatching her wrist. Before she could get a grip the gun, he jerked back. There was a crunching noise as her ulna cracked. She screamed, but he already had his hand over her mouth, covering the noise. He worked the rest of his arm around her neck. She slammed against him, jabbed her elbows toward his side, but he rotated his body. All her strikes bounced harmlessly at her side. Soon, she stilled. He lowered her unconscious body to the floor.

No alarms sounded. But now he had a time limit. He sprinted down the hallway, taking turns on instinct, trusting his memorization of the building to take him where he wanted to go. He darted up three flights of stairs, slammed open a door, breezed past the three researches chatting about takyon fields. He ran, unthinking, until he arrived at an unmarked, unassuming door.

The central hub.

Select few people had access to this. Most people wouldnt even notice it under the memetic defenses. Even the people who worked at the site didnt realize what the place was truly for. They thought a secret within a secret was all there was to it. But Clef knew. Hed known even before the Watchers told him. Hed known ever since they found the note on his dead corpse, when the pieces of every puzzle fell into place and showed him the true nature of the game. Even his comrades probably didnt realize the full magnitude of this place. He glanced around, saw that nobody was watching, and opened the door. And prayed for forgiveness.

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Posthuman - SCP Foundation

How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics …

The title of this scholarly yet remarkably accessible slice of contemporary cultural history has a whiff of paradox about it: what can it mean, exactly, to say that we humans have become something other than human? The answer, Katherine Hayles explains, lies not in ourselves but in our tools. Ever since the invention of electronic computers five decades ago, these powerful new machines have inspired a shift in how we define ourselves both as individuals and as a species.

Hayles tracks this shift across the history of avant-garde computer theory, starting with Norbert Weiner and other early "cyberneticists," who were the first to systematically explore the similarities between living and computing systems. Hayles's study ends with artificial-life specialists, many of whom no longer even bother to distinguish between life forms and computers. Along the way she shows these thinkers struggling to reconcile their traditional, Western notions of human identity with the unsettling, cyborg directions in which their own work seems to be leading humanity.

This is more than just the story of a geek elite, however. Hayles looks at cybernetically inspired science fiction by the likes of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Neal Stephenson to show how the larger culture grapples with the same issues that dog the technologists. She also draws lucidly on her own broad grasp of contemporary philosophy both to contextualize those issues and to contend with them herself. The result is a fascinating introduction--and a valuable addition--to one of the most important currents in recent intellectual history. --Julian Dibbell

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How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics ...

Posthuman: Sanctuary on Steam

Only when she turns slowly to face you do you notice that her head is much too large, grotesquely misshapen. Your hand tightens on the pipe.

You need to decide what to do ... and the others are watching."

Posthuman: Sanctuary is a digital game set in the world of the successful Posthuman and Posthuman Saga board games. In Posthuman: Sanctuary you are a survivor in a near-future Europe that has collapsed under the weight of its own political errors, in the chilling wake of a bloody class war fueled by genetic modifications and radical technology. If you can only reach the sanctuary of the Fortress, you may learn more - and ensure your own survival. But to forge across a crumbled land where resources are spare and mutants roam the ruined mansions and markets alike, youll need a team behind you.

Carefully balancing risk and reward, you and your team quest into the unknown, gradually unveiling a map of terrain and encounters that you shape to your liking every time you play. In classic turn-based encounters, aggressors who have lost their humanity to mutations - or lost their good sense to the terror - will challenge you to make the most of your group's skills and to use your best judgment about their safety.

And you're in danger, too - some wounds might cause you to take on mutations of your own. If you mutate, your followers may begin to fear and distrust you, but the world of Posthuman: Sanctuary just might offer you paths and powers that just arent available to mere humans.

The game draws on elements from tabletop games and blends them into a unique single-player RPG with a strong narrative focus. It's about surviving the end of the world - and keeping your humanity. Posthuman: Sanctuary is part rogue-lite, with combat, team management and exploration elements, and part interactive fiction, where the choices you make will weigh on your chances and shape your experience.

With branching narrative encounters and a rich network of weather, health, location and other conditions affecting them, Posthuman: Sanctuary exists to be discovered and rediscovered. And just when you think you know it all, more mysteries rustle in the shadows at the world's edges.

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Posthuman: Sanctuary on Steam

Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance | Utrecht Summer School


Organizing institution

Utrecht University - Faculty of Humanities


20 August 2018 - 24 August 2018 ( 1 week )

Course location(s)

Utrecht, The Netherlands


2.0 ECTS credits

Course code


Course fee (excl. housing)



Advanced Master

Summer school application period is now closed

The intensive course Posthuman ethics, pain and endurance offers an overview of the contemporary debates about the ethical implications of posthumanism and the so-called posthuman turn as well as Rosi Braidottis brand of critical posthuman theory. The focus of the course this year will be on the relationship between the posthuman and the neo-materialist, vital ethics of affirmation, with special emphasis on how they deal with the cluster of issues around the lived experience of pain.

The intensive course Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance offers an overview of the contemporary debates about the ethical implications of posthumanism and the so-called posthuman turn as well as Rosi Braidottis brand of critical feminist posthuman theory. The focus of the course this year will be on the relationship between the posthuman and the neo-materialist, vital ethics of affirmation, with special emphasis on how they deal with the complex issues around the lived experiences of pain, resistance, suffering and dying. Deleuze famously describes ethics as the aspiration to live an anti-fascist life. What does this mean for posthuman subjects situated between the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction? In the brutal context of the Anthropocene and climate change, of rising populism, growing poverty and inequality, how does posthuman ethics help us to deal affirmatively with these challenges?

These issues will be outlined, explored and assessed by addressing the following questions: How does a vision of the posthuman subject as a transversal an affirmative process of interaction between human, non-human and inhuman forces, help us cope with the complex and often painful challenges of the contemporary world? How does it affect the feminist quest for social justice, as well as environmental sustainability? How does it intersect with indigenous epistemologies and anti-racist politics? How does the neo-Spinozist notion of endurance foster the project of constructing an affirmative ethics for posthuman subjects? How does the idea of endurance connect to the philosophical tradition of neo-stoicism, and to Foucaults re-reading of it? How does a posthuman ethics of affirmation help us practically to confront the lived reality of pain, death and dying?


The basic textbook for the course is The Posthuman Glossary (Bloomsbury Academic 2018), edited by Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova, which all participants are expected to buy.


Please note that all participants are expected to have read Rosi Braidottis book The Posthuman (Polity Press 2013), and for an introduction to brutalism, the special issue of e-flux, co-edited by Rosi Braidotti, Timotheus Vermeulen et alia, which can be found here: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/83/

Prof. dr. Rosi Braidotti

Prof. Dr. Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht University)

Dr. Rick Dolphijn (Utrecht University)

Lucas van der Velden (Sonic Acts)

Simone Bignall (Flinders, University of South Australia)

This summer school course is meant for advanced MA students and up (so advanced MA students, PhD students, postdocs, professors, independent researchers, artists, ... are thus more than welcome).


Housing 200.00 , through Utrecht Summer School

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:Motivation Letter, Reference Letter, C.V., Transcript of Grades

Application deadline: 16 July 2018

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Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance | Utrecht Summer School