Masters of Science Fiction 18 Aug (spoilers)

Well, tonight’s episode was alot better than the last two. I like how the producers didn’t take everything too seriously. “So help you God, Goddess, Allah,…, Great Turtle That Holds Up the Universe”. So did Jerry really become a man at the end? :wink: And who’s smarter, Nappy or her husband?

I thought Jerry was a chimpanzee, and I thought he died in the end…

Amen. Much better than the first two. Very tongue-in-cheek, too.

I’m watching it now - and I just had a thought - wouldn’t it be great to see an updated version of A Logic Named Joe… hearing the name just triggered memories of that story.

I laughed out loud at the line about the turtle. :smiley:

Well, the acting was a lot better than in the first two, that was for sure. The courtroom scene was not too bad. I thought originally that Jerry was patting the other Joe on the back for luck, which would show empathy. However, the way they did it worked.

I liked the list of deities also - but they kind of blew it with the divine spark shite.

Off to reread the original story. BTW, the next episode looks decent almost.

In the original story he was. Given when it was written, 1947, there was a civil rights overtone which didn’t come through tonight. I suspect that one reason for the change was that they used their sfx budget for the elephant, which was a good job. The sexual aspect wouldn’t be there with a chimp - or I hope not. :eek:

This was the best of the three so far Of course, considering the quality of the first two, that’s not saying much. I understand that they didn’t have the sfx budget to use the Martian character from the original story, which is a shame (I would have loved to have seen the courtroom scene with him), but why did they have to “dumb down” Jerry to the point where he was incapable of doing anything but the job he was “built” for? In the story Jerry was able and willing to do any work he was given, but was scheduled for “disposal” because his eyesight was bad.

I also wasn’t thrilled that they established Jerry’s humanity by showing that he was willing to lie for a cigarette and had sent another joe to die in order to save his own life. Although the fact that this future society where the most efficient way to clear mine fields is to have someone shuffling over them and be blown up says something about humanity, too.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at the anti-cigarette comment when Jerry first asked for a cigarette (I’m a non-smoker, btw, before anyone jumps on me for that).

Very amusing. I’m curious about the original story now.
So, next ep. is the season finale, eh? That must be one of the shortest TV seasons ever.

So Jerry was originally a blind monkey? So how is this an adaptation of that?

I thought this was awful. Even worse than last week. I seriously started nodding off during one of Malcolm McDowell’s looong speeches. And I had a nap earlier in the afternoon. The whole thing just dragged on intolerably.

This story may have been ground-breaking in 1947, but the subject of the humanity of artificial life-forms has been beaten to death since then. Isn’t there some more cutting edge science fiction that needs adapting to film? Or even old stuff that hasn’t been over-done.

The only chuckle I got was the scene at the end where it shows that the only thing the elephant can write is “I love you.” I thought this was a much better way to make the point that humans project their humanity onto non-humans. They should have just left it at that, cut the humanoid character, Jerry, out entirely and made it a solid half-hour show.

I thought this was the best screen adaption of a Heinlein story ever. When I read RAH, I get this quaint feeling I get from Verne and Wells, i.e. we’ve caught up with the future they described and it certainly doesn’t look the way they thought it would look.
That doesn’t diminish the quality of the stories told and I think this looked and felt very much the way Heinlein intended it, 60 years ago. He thought the future would be myuch more trippy than it turned out to be.

Dude, I don’t know what future you’re living in - but in my future, I’m a perpetually broke law student who can still afford a machine, about the size of a modest textbook, that puts a large chunk of the sum of human knowledge right at my fingertips. And lets me place a video-call to someone on the other side of the world, whenever I wish.

Modern computing has creating an exceedingly trippy world, brother, even if it has been a few decades since we bothered with the Moon.

Reading the original story again, I’m a bit more impressed by the writing of this episode. The beginning is almost exactly like the Heinlein story, including the club, the kept husband (not quite as dumb as the Brownie on TV) and the motivation for going to the genetic company for a Pegasus - and in fact, the reason one wasn’t possible. In the story the husband gets kicked out of the house because he calls the company to get them to take Jerry away, and the wife catches him.

The biggest difference is in the courtroom scene. In the story, Martians are more advanced at genetic manipulation than we are. The chief Martian geneticist testifies that as far as he is concerned, he can’t see much difference between the apes and the humans, both being inferior to him. Jerry also refuses to lie about the fingers (he got coached) showing he could take the oath. So, the justification for his humanity is kind of the opposite in the story.

In 1947 Heinlein could assume there were Martians. No longer, so I think their absence is not an sfx issue. Given that, I think the reworked courtroom scene worked, up to the divine spark crap, that is.

Why was it so hard for Martha to buy him? :confused: If she’s the 7th richest woman on the planet she could easily pay alot more for Jerry than the dog food company.

Good question. What did he weigh, maybe 180 lbs.? The most he could possibly be worth was a couple of hundred cans of dog food.

The one with flying cars, Luna City, Tycho under, Mars Colonies, Asteroid Belt Mining and slipsticks.
And I still think this hits the spot at about SiaSL better than any other screen adaption. This is one of the futures Heinlein envisioned. It didn’t turn out that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.

One of these things is not like the other… A slipstick is a slide rule. One of the few things that Heinlein was completely wrong about was his vision of computing in the future. Along with many other science fiction authors, he completely failed to predict the microcomputer revolution. So he’s got people flying around the galaxy using slide rules and tables of logarithms to navigate their spaceships with, and simple computers that can do orbital equations are described as being hulking multi-ton monsters. Heinlein described the drafting machine of the future as being a mechanical device like a typewriter which the operator used by pressing keys in various sequences to draw lines.

Yes, we missed out on the space part of the predictions of the future, but in terms of computing, communications, and entertainment, we beat most of them by a mile. A modern cell phone with video, games, internet connections, and global coverage, all in a device that fits in your pocket, would have astounded most golden age science fiction authors, even as late as 20 years ago.

I thought the point of that bit was to show that the couple was conned; they were told that the elephant was intelligent and could communicate, so that it was expressing real emotion when it wrote that in the office. But it was simply writing the only thing it had been trained to write.

And the elephant was still far superior to Jerry in every way. It was cute as hell.

Again, I think the message of the show was lacking in any sort of depth or originality. These shows, every one of them, could have come out of Amazing Stories, and that’s not a compliment considering it’s 2007.

I have here in my hand the May 1951 issue of Astounding, with Galactic Gadgeteers by Harry Stine on the cover, illustrated by a bunch of tubes and a large slide rule. The story involves creating a perfect square wave.

Do you mean technology 20 years ago would have amazed golden agers, or the golden age extended to 20 years ago? 20 years ago there were plenty of portable computing devices better than what we have now in sf. 60 years ago, not so much.

Make it 30. You’re right, the portable computing/communications curve had started to ramp up by then, so people were predicting pretty cool things. Go back to 1975, and closest thing we had was CB radio and the newfangled 4 function calculators. Did anyone accurately predict that we might be where we are today a mere 30 years later?