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By ucblockhead (Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 07:07:00 AM EST) (all tags)
Charlie Stross' Glasshouse. Mike Judge's Idiocracy.


Glasshouse has been billed as a sequel to Accelerando, but it really isn't. Set long after the singularity that Accelerando describes, it is in many ways a more mundane book. The protagonist elects to become part of an experiment to attempt to recreate the world of the late-twentieth, early twenty-first century. One of the conceits is that because of DRM and data lost to obsolete formats, much knowledge of the time has been lost. I'm not convinced by that argument, but it was easy enough to suspend disbelief and go with it.

But the book is also a suspense/action novel, and in many ways it is when the book leaves satire that it breaks down. (Though the action scenes are all compelling enough to keep you reading.) The trouble is that this book suffers from both the stupid villain problem and the lucky coincidence problem.

For instance, Robin/Reeve is just too lucky, just happening to match up with his love interest, just happening to get a job where the baddies keep the secret stuff, and where his spy cohort works.

The stupid villain stuff is worse. Even if you accept the villains' refusal to use post 20th century tech, you still have to wonder why they didn't bother to put trip alarms on certain doors, something that would have completely stopped the protagonist. And why put advanced goodies in a back room of a library where you're leaving experimental subjects alone with nothing to do for long periods? Why not put biometric controls on the A-Gate thingy in the basement? Hell, they are supposed to be running this thing for 200 years, why not just brainwash everyone from the get go?


Idiocracy, Mike Judge's most recent movie, was killed by the studios. It was shown in exactly two theaters in the US, and had no marketing whatsoever. Usually this happens when the studio knows a movie sucks. This movie does not suck. It's an extremely pointed satire on American society. Luke Wilson plays the hero, who is utterly average in all ways with an exact average IQ of 100. A freezing experiment gone awry brings him to the year 2505 where he finds himself the smartest man alive. The conceit, stolen straight from Cyril Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" is that stupid people outbreed smart ones and therefore evolution has bred the human race for stupidity.

It's fully as funny as Office Space. Like that movie, the plot is relatively unimportant, just a framework to hang set pieces on. Much of the fun is the site gags.

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Idiocracy by fluffy (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 08:52:09 AM EST
One of the things I appreciate about Idiocracy (which I haven't seen but I really want to get around to) is the level of graphic design/typography humor.
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yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 12:55:53 PM EST
I plan to watch the movie again just to look for more visual jokes. The art design should seriously win an award.
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Cool by cam (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Mar 25, 2007 at 11:10:20 AM EST
Will have to get it. Did not know about Idiocracy before seeing this.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

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