Cloud(ed) Atlas

“Everything is connected.” That’s the theme behind the new film by Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, and Andy Wachowski, Cloud Atlas. Based on the novel by David Mitchell, the movie follows the interrelated lives of several figures across time and space–from the letters of a young lawyer in the 19th century Pacific, to the far-flung future “After the Fall.” The Wachowskis and Tykwer do their best to bring a complex literary story to life on the big screen; how close they came to hitting the mark however is debatable.

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Black People on Mars: Race and Ray Bradbury

Prolific science fiction writer Ray Bradbury died this week, at the age of 91. I read my first Bradbury book in middle school–The Illustrated Man— and it *blew my mind.* It wasn’t my first speculative fiction book by any means. I’d long torn through Middle Earth, traveled Narnia, tesseracted across space and time with Meg and Charles Wallace and tried my hand at inventing with Danny Dunn. (Yeah, let those memories sink in). But the stories in The Illustrated Man were on another level–it was like everything I loved about the old Rod Serling hostedTwilight Zone episodes my mother got me into, but on paper…and with words! From the creepy virtual reality nursery story “The Veldt” to the hauntingly sad “The Exiles” (we made Santa cry!) to every-kid’s-revenge story “Zero Hour,” I knew I’d never look at sci-fi the same way again. Most startling of all was a story by Bradbury called “The Other Foot”–startling to my young PoC eyes, because the main characters were something I’d hardly seen before. They were black.

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