A month after its release, Naughty Dog
's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us
is being hailed as one of the best games of all time
, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics
Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth
, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps
), leaving behind lush wastelands
of elegant decay
teeming with monsters
and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies.
Into this bleak vision of desperate violence
journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future.
Boasting tense, immersive gameplay
, compelling performances
from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score
from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla
, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men
to Cormac McCarthy's The Road
, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite
and Half-Life 2
as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements
. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages
And don't miss the 84-minute documentary
exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 14, 2013 -
She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Sitting seemed to produce the usual serenity, put everything in perspective. Her hand did not tremble as she applied her make-up; tranquil features looked back at her from the mirror. She was mildly surprised, in fact, at just how calm she was, until she got out of the hotel elevator at the garage level and the mugger made his play. She killed him instead of disabling him. Which was obviously not a measured, balanced action--the official fuss and paperwork could make her late. Annoyed at herself, she stuffed the corpse under a shiny new Westinghouse roadable whose owner she knew to be in Luna, and continued on to her own car. This would have to be squared later, and it would cost. No help for it--she fought to regain at least the semblance of tranquillity as her car emerged from the garage and turned north. Nothing must interfere with this meeting, or with her role in it. "Melancholy Elephants,"
an enthralling, Hugo Award-winning short story by Spider Robinson about a disciplined operative, a powerful senator, and a crucial mission to preserve humanity's most precious resource. (some spoilers inside) [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 27, 2012 -
Each morning at 9am for the next two weeks, (Mefi's Own) scifi and fantasy author John Scalzi
will be chatting with musician Jonathan Coulton
about one of his science fiction songs -- a different song each morning, -- in a daily podcast over at Tor.com called Journey to Planet JoCo
. Series index
. On May 29th, they'll be premiering a brand new, previously unheard Coulton song.
posted by zarq
on May 17, 2012 -
Day at Night
was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury
, actress Myrna Loy
, medical researcher Jonas Salk
, singer Cab Calloway
, writer Christopher Isherwood
, nuclear scientist Edward Teller
, comedian Victor Borge
, tennis player Billie Jean King
, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky
, composer Aaron Copland
, actor Vincent Price
and boxer Muhammad Ali
posted by Kattullus
on Jan 16, 2012 -
is a hip hop EP inspired by Duncan Jones' fine science fiction film Moon. The beats, which heavily sample Clint Mansell's score for the movie, were created by Max Tannone, best known for mashup album Jaydiohead, Doublecheck Your Head and Mos Dub/Dub Kweli. The MC is Brooklyn rapper Richard Rich.
posted by Kattullus
on Feb 23, 2011 -
"Welcome to the Zion Archive. You have selected Historical File #12-1: The Second Renaissance.
So begins the short film of the same name by Mahiro Maeda [Flash: 1 2 - QuickTime: 1 2]
-- a devastating yet beautiful work of animation.
Originally produced to explain the backstory behind the Matrix
trilogy, Maeda's project ended up telling a story far darker and more affecting than any blockbuster.
Using a blend of faux documentary footage
and visual metaphor
, his serene Instructor relates in biblical tones the saga of Man and Machine, how age-old cruelty and hatred birthed a horrifying, apocalyptic struggle that consumed the world.
Packed with striking imagery and historical allusions
galore, this dark allegory easily transcends the films it was made for.
But while "The Second Renaissance" is arguably the best work to come from the Matrix
franchise, it's hardly alone -- it's just one of the projects made for The Animatrix
, a collection of nine superb anime films
in a wide variety of styles
designed to explore the universe and broaden its scope beyond the usual sci-fi action of the movies.
Click inside for a guide to these films with links to where they can be watched online, along with a look at The Matrix Comics
, a free series of comics, art, and short fiction created for the same purpose by some
of the best talent in the business. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Feb 14, 2011 -
"Having vaulted from the fringes of pop culture into the mainstream after a newly atomic America became obsessed with films about mutants and aliens, SF literature matured and flowered throughout the '60s and beyond, just as rock 'n' roll did the same. It was inevitable that the two would mix.
posted by gman
on Jun 23, 2010 -
Leon Sergeivitch Termen
, born in Russia and later a US resident, is best known as the inventor of The Theremin
, the first real electronic instrument. The Theremin is played by standing and wavings one's hands
. It was used to give a futuristic sound to classic sci-fi films
and still looks plenty sci-fi when played
[quicktime clip] and the music it produces is strange and beautiful
himself ended up getting kidnapped by Soviet agents and sent to a Siberian prison camp. After his release, he continued to work for the KGB, creating one of the first "bugs" -- then used to eavesdrop on the American Embassy. He was mostly unaware of the fate of his eponymous instrument. Meanwhile, his former lover, Clara Rockmore
, went on to try and change the thermin from novelty to serious instrument, she even had her own unique playing style
(heard in the real player clip above). Want to play? build your own
, or download your own
, and join the whole odd subculture
posted by malphigian
on Aug 11, 2002 -