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Utopia Talk / Politics / Altered carbon
Seb
Member
Mon Mar 12 19:26:10
Got to episode 7.


Spoilers


As predicted, merging Quell and Vivian Vidura fucked everything up.

Quells Unsettlement movement on Harlan's World in the novel and her philosophy is much better than the "end immortality" crap of the TV.

Quellism was a sort of anarcho-feminist socialdemocracy with a pragmatic bent, that was quite happy with the perfectly realistic idea that immortality would be fine if people weren't dicks.

Quell in the TV series is attacking the symptom, not the problem - capitalism, corruption and people being bastards.


Further, the envoys in the novel are protectorate special forces. It makes no sense for Quell to be able to create that kind of a force and her movement doesn't really need it.

It also makes takeshis character development all over the place. He starts off as protectorate special forces, becomes disillusioned due to the violence and atrocities, which is where his hard bitten misanthropic anti authority attitude comes from and why he ends up being a quell sympathiser.

Finally, the fucking writers lost the plot in the TV series.

Takeshis figures out his sister betrays the revolution because she has no memory of the shuttle being shot down, meaning she was backed up prior. He confronts her on this point. And asks her why. And then she then immediately says "that's what quell told me, I told her they gave me life" conveniently confirming the flash back we see of her telling Quell this seconds before the shuttle is blown up.

Err, really? The whole point is you have no memory of that love because you were blown up and you now is a copy taken prior to those events...

Ffs.

Hope they manage to improve this. They've already made the third novel basically impossible.


hood
Member
Mon Mar 12 19:30:50
"Err, really? The whole point is you have no memory of that love because you were blown up and you now is a copy taken prior to those events.."

The backup happened after they got on the shuttle but before the final explosion. She remembers getting on it, just not exploding.
Seb
Member
Tue Mar 13 02:34:05
Hood:

Check the flashback scene.

The last thing that happens before the shuttle explodes is Rei and quell fighting. Quell pins Rei and says why. Rei says "they gave me life", and then presses some button on some device in her hand and the laser blasts through the shuttle.

The backup should have no memory of saying that to Quell.

Alternatively the backup happens about a fraction of a second before the laser hits. But then it's much faster than the backup cycle we see happening previously.
jergul
large member
Tue Mar 13 05:51:35
Seb
It could be a clipping accident too. The internal logic lost to digital slices on the proverbial floor.
hood
Member
Tue Mar 13 07:25:04
"then presses some button on some device in her hand and the laser blasts through the shuttle."

Wait. What do you think that device did? It's impossible for it to have been a "back me up, and here we are" device, it could only be a "here we are" device?
Seb
Member
Tue Mar 13 09:44:06
So earlier in the episode (or one previous) we see the guy that Leung (Ghostwalker) takes Dimitri the twin to meet. We see that sleeve udnergo a backup, it takes a few seconds during which he has a spasm.

That sleeve is the face we see when Takeshi goes into the low res construct. It's also one of the sleeves on ice he finds right before he confronts his sister.

So we can assume it was her getting backed up.

It's also implied previously that getting backed up takes a short but finite period of time (e.g. discussion on hacking bankrofts backup in the first episode).

Pragmatically, she left it a fraction of a second from getting killed if it was a backup. Further, given how the protectorate screwed over Takeshi over her being placed with a family, I would assume Rei would want very strong assurance she was backed up prior to engaging on this suicidal mission rather than trusting the protectorate not to simply kill her.

I would guess the device she is using is intended to be the trigger for the attack.

Also then, I personally thought (at the time) the point was she couldn't bluff for fear of not remembering crucial details that would expose her as lying.

I think it is rather dubious to say she has no memory of Quell's death - the memory she would be lacking is literally a fraction of a second between backup and the explosion itself. So she would be able to say "we boarded the shuttlecraft, and as we flew over such and such a position we were blasted".


Also, on the subject of backups and multi-sleeving, they've kind of fucked this aspect up. In the novels, not only is it super illegal, one reason it's not more common is that they are much more materialist about it. The stack is, essentially, your seat of consciousness in this universe. Backing up is a last ditch precaution rather than something you rely on because you are not your copy. Further, multi-sleeving is generally a bad idea because in such a world this creates big problems (which copy has entitlement to the estate and property? Which is the origional?). Pretty much everything is set up to disincentivise copys from working collaboratively together: one or both will be erased if caught, only one or the other is able to own stuff, and in any case they rapidly diverge due to differeing experience.

IIRC, the only people who do copy people are actually those that want to have access to services, and they don't let them know they are copies.

It's kinda annoying me as I think there are certain choices the show runner is making here that she probably didn't need to make that substantially detract from the world building.

There are other differencces that definitely improve things. I felt the books didn't really address things like - what does parentage mean in a world where bodies are transitory - and yet nuclear families remain a norm?

They've also greatly uprated the role of the hotel which is highly entertaining.

jergul:

Maybe




Seb
Member
Tue Mar 13 09:55:00
jergul:

The biggie in my mind is merging the Vivian Vidura and the Envoys with Quell and the Unsettlement.

I suppose thinking about it, I'm not sure Takeshi was ever involved in that in the books. It may actually all have happened before Takeshi was active.

Rather, as a sort of social democrat confucious who comes from the same planet as Takeshi, in the first book she's often being quoted to him by everyone he meets (like "oh hey, that's the only interesting thing I know about that backwater you are from"). That or in his inner monologue as either the author or takeshi making a counterpoint to the hypercapitalist cyberpunk distopia that Bankroft inhabits).

Quell, basically, for at least two of the books largely exists as a series of brutally sarcastic and funny aphorisms and quotes representing the authors political philosophy as a juxtaposition to the world he's built for the story. Obviously, he gives himself the best lines.

"The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." etc.

So maybe they needed a way to bring Quell into the plot more - but in many many ways they change the whole nature of Quellism and being an Envoy and Takeshi's character so much it goes beyond "condensing and making more filmable" to changing the nature of the show to the point where I wonder if they understand the novel as being anything more than a setting and a plot.

As if we were not awash with cybperpunk noire.

Seb
Member
Tue Mar 13 19:00:06
Oh my god, this shit with his sister.

And the bankroft storyline wrapped up as an incidental.

Two episodes left to land this.

Overall, improved world building, but plot and and characters very much worse than the novel. Plus new (so far trending to inferior) plot is allowed to break established logic of world rules when needed, which is poor form.

The original was better plotted.

The only character better realised than in the book is bankroft. That actor is stealing the show.


Seb
Member
Tue Mar 13 19:00:07
Oh my god, this shit with his sister.

And the bankroft storyline wrapped up as an incidental.

Two episodes left to land this.

Overall, improved world building, but plot and and characters very much worse than the novel. Plus new (so far trending to inferior) plot is allowed to break established logic of world rules when needed, which is poor form.

The original was better plotted.

The only character better realised than in the book is bankroft. That actor is stealing the show.


hood
Member
Tue Mar 13 21:42:00
"The only character better realised than in the book is bankroft. That actor is stealing the show."

James Purefoy is great.
russian
Member
Wed Mar 14 09:03:50
Actually i liked the plot in the show better then the book.

Seb; In regards to your point about backups;

"Pragmatically, she left it a fraction of a second from getting killed if it was a backup. "

On earth and in the books backups are sent to a satellite. But in Harlan's world according to the book satellites cant operate because of martian orbitals which tend to blast things out of the sky automatically (unless its small like a shuttle maybe). So if the backup was to somewhere closer like a mobile backup unit the download could be much faster.

"I would guess the device she is using is intended to be the trigger for the attack. "

could be an emergency backup that is pressed in case person is about to die. This also reveals their location and tells the protectorate that their asset is out of action prompting them to launch the strike. They could have planned to capture Quell alive as she is the designer of the brain chip.

*i need a life*
CrownRoyal
Member
Wed Mar 14 09:30:53
I did not read the book, but I can say that this was a good series, worthy of watching. James Purefoy could have retired after playing Mark Anthony in Rome, would be enough for me to always speak fondly of his acting skills.
Seb
Member
Wed Mar 14 10:13:20
Russian:

Yeah, without giving anything away, I assume they have ditched the orbitals stuff entirely given it's lack of mention. In the books, Quell was on a shuttle shot down by the orbitals as she tried to escape.

Orbitals shot anything bigger than a bird. They mention that an alternative to fireworks, the Harlan family would let off lots of baloons etc. to gnerate an impromptu laser show.

I hope they pull it out of the bag.

Going back to the particular issue of Rei - I don't think your explanation really works:

1. why on earth would the protectorate follow through? They stiffed Takeshi. They could simply just ditch the HDF. If Rei is getting backed up as part of the operation, rather than having that all confirmed before hand, she is making a heck of gamble here. Rei would want to know the clones and backups were in place.

2. If it is the case she has a device that triggers the attack and backs her up, then surely she can answer questions about how Quell died. The only bit of the story missing is not experiencing her actual death - which she wouldn't have experienced if her cover story was true "we were on the shuttle, there was an explosion".

Overall, it's a good show - one of the better sci-fi offerings, but I feel the addition of family drama and the compression of Quell/Vidura Unsettlement/Envoys is probably unnecessary and breaks things.

It seems to have the effect of making Takeshi less of an outsider, hard bitten bad ass with authority issues into a much weaker figure. At the moment, Rei appears to be the ultimate bad ass here.

Still, I suppose I should reserve judgement until the last two episodes have played out.



hood
Member
Wed Mar 14 10:26:27
Rei is indeed a badass. Both the current time character (I found flashback rei to be a bit whiny) and the actress playing her.

Altered Carbon just seemed to have a pretty strong cast in general. The brief inclusion of Tahmoh Penikett was strong, as I felt they gave him the appropriate amount of screen time before allowing others to replace him as Dimi. Higareda did well in her role, as did Bryon Mann as hardened badass Kovacs from the opening scene. Of course, James Purefoy is great and plays the right amount of smug and honesty in Bancroft. Tanaka and Abboud were both well placed in the police force. The actress who played Quell was a bit one dimensional, but she did portray that one dimension convincingly.

I want to see season 2 with Byron Mann playing Kovacs.
Seb
Member
Wed Mar 14 18:26:13
Ok, so it wraps up ok.

But I think Rei was a huge diversion and a completely hyperbolic psychotic evil that doesn't really fit with the banal but pervasive and systemic evil. The villain is supposed to be the system and the incentives, not a cackling demented lunatic.

I think in a way that's a mistake. Living as we are in the wake of the financial crisis still, with inequality, a billionaire as "leader of the free world" etc. etc. why not run with the original theme as a searing criticism of corporate dystopia and capitalism run riot?

And we end up with Takeshi as being *waaay* more moral, idealistic etc. "waah my sister, my mum, my dead girlfriend and my living girlfriend".

I suppose they need a slightly more sympathetic character on screen.

Seb
Member
Wed Mar 14 18:28:26
In the novel, while Takeshi does act somewhat sympathetically and rights some wrongs, it's when it costs him very little to do it in the end and he could weave it into his plans.

As far as I recall, he really is the disillusioned killing machine super solider who absolutely does not give a single fuck.



KreeL
Special Member
Wed Mar 14 20:49:42
Seb - I gotta ask...wtf is a solider?
hood
Member
Thu Mar 15 08:02:05
"As far as I recall, he really is the disillusioned killing machine super solider who absolutely does not give a single fuck."

In the older thread I mentioned how I didn't like just how neat everything ended up. I sort of agree with you here, they kinda played down the level of violence one was taught to expect in their resolution of everything.

However, I can see why they made that change when they decided to make Rei the antagonist. Striking Kovacs that close to home could potentially hit a little humanity into him, cause him to value a few things he might not have before realizing he was losing his sister. If it was just some generic bad guy, I don't think Kovacs reaches the same end point, I think he is a little more reckless with regards to others.
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