Almost Human: episodes 1 + 2


So the plot of this show, taking place in 2048 is essentially the plot of Dredd, which also starred Karl Urban. Which is fine, I like Dredd, Drugs have taken over schools and streets and cops are given robot reinforcements to help fight drug lords and violent gangs.

Karl Urban is there, as detective John Kennex with his robot back-up who he is arguing with because his robot does not understand the value of human life, he only understands odds, statistics. He does everything he can to save his partner but in the end they are blown to bits by the criminals they were pursuing. 

He’s getting some controversial treatments after being through the trauma and then a 17 month coma.

John gets called in to investigate following an armed robbery. His leg got blown off and he has a mechanical leg. 785 has been assigned to him. He wants a human partner but he is told by Lisa from Six Feet Under that robot partners are mandatory. She shows him the robbery video and points out why she thinks it’s connected to Syndicate. 

Richard, a fellow officer, blames John for getting his partner killed in the raid. He disobeyed instructions… blah blah.

While at the crime scene he has a flashback to the day his partner was killed. The MX says he thinks John had a seizure and he’s going to report what he saw. John says there’s nothing to report (which there is and isn’t) and it goes on from there until John pushes the bot out of the speeding car.

Saying his MX bust have experienced a software malfunction, he goes to get a new one (one who isn’t accusing him of getting black market medical treatment) and they give him a robot that got scrapped, one that was closer to human.

Dorian was decommissioned 4 years ago. “I express most data conversationally, man.” 

Richard calls the new team 2 from the scrap heap. 

Criminals in the same masks as in the robbery kidnap an detective Vogel and destroy his MX and John questions a suspect who was injured in the robbery. He shot himself to get away from the Syndicate. John threatens to throw Dorian out of the car. 

The suspect makes himself vomit and pulls a small explosive out of his stomach and sticks it on the back of the toilet.

They go to find Vogel and Dorian disobeys the MX models. Finding an elaborate trip wire and set up John knows they’ve been tricked. The tries to call in to Patel who is transporting the suspect. 

They gas Vogel right in front of him.

the suspect escapes.

MX units are made to feel nothing, Dorian wasn’t created that way. He read the file where John blamed the MX for leaving his partner behind to save others. 

Vogel was a test, the gas is designed to target cops. John heads to his doctor to undergo more treatment to remember what he needs to know about Syndicate to stop them from targetting police. While in the chamber, he recovers a memory, his girlfriend who disappeared while he was comatose was there. She was a member of Syndicate. Dorian busts in and gives him a shock to the heart. Saves his life.

Over noodles in the rain Dorian says he really did it for himself. If John were dead, he would be back to the scrap heap. John’s just lucky that he wants to be a cop so badly.

They discuss the differences in programming between MXs and Dorian’s type. John decides that they should recover the memory from Vogel’s MX’s memory and give it to Dorian because he can make the connection. Which he does, and they find that Syndicate is planning to hit the police evidence locker TONIGHT. 

Syndicate drops the MXs but Dorian, who runs on a different frequency, stays up. Evidence files get destroyed but John and Dorian save the lives of the human officers and apprehend a man high up in Syndicate.

Thanks to John and his DRN bot, lives are saved and Richard (and other haters) have no choice but to acknowledge this.


A “bang bot” or a female robot designed specifically for sexual purposes is having tests performed on her while she flirts with a man. They are being watched and someone becomes concerned when they see she is not being used for her intended purposes. After he cuts a piece of her hair, 2 Albanian men bust in and kill the man performing the tests then they explode a DNA bomb so that there will be no traces of evidence that are not tainted. 

The man killed was an inventor, Sebastian Johns. He invented the first “sex robot” (used some of the same tech from the DRN models to make them more empathetic to the need and wishes of their partners. 

John and Dorian are showing off how cool they are to kids. Dorian shows them his glowing electrical veins under his skin… John stabs himself in his synthetic leg… the kids freak. Shocker.

They investigate the murder. The men’s faces show up as flashes of light on the security cameras, the girl shows up, the test for DNA wherever she touches on the footage and she is leaving behind traces of DNA from a 25 year old woman who was abducted from a parking garage. There have been 3 other cases that follow this pattern. The latest one was witnessed by the woman’s young child. 

John decides to show off that he can be good with kids, he gives a miniature giraffe that moves like a real giraffe to the boy, Victor, and tells him that he trusts him to take care of it, but that he needs him to be brave and tell him what he remembers with his mom. He remembers a big silver car- they find the car on security cameras with stolen plates. But atleast now they have a lead.

Sebastian Johns was being sued by his former business partner. John and Dorian go to see him. The company went bankrupt because their largest investor- Albanian business men- backed out. They said they could “cut out the middle man” but he finds it hard to believe anyone could make a bot as realistic as theirs. Of the Albanians he says, “They were good clients and they always paid on time,” that’s all he’s willing to say. 

Dorian hacks in and they find the connection. Then they head to the club and test the bots for human DNA. John is approached and asked if they want a bot. Special rate for cops.

The others have tracked the sedan to a warehouse and Detective Kennex and Dorian are dispatched. 

Dorian, noticing that John is attracted to the female robots, creates a profile for John on a dating website (his testicles were at maximum capacity). John describes what he wants in a woman and pretty much describes detective Stahl. who, speaking of, calls to say they’ve found the suspect’s vehicle. They get on the scene and find Vanessa, a sex robot who tests positive for human DNA, a woman named Lorraine who was abducted from a parking garage. Dorian is visibly upset because he knows that Vanessa is illegal and that she also has emotions the way Dorian does.

They attempt to question her for information but that doesn’t work out, so they access her data and find she was first activated in Kingston Heights. They raid Kingston Heights and find 2 of the 3 recently abducted women (including Victor’s mom) alive.

Dorian learns that Vanessa has to be deactivated but chooses to go and comfort her as it happens. John confronts his past and goes to see his former partner’s widow and son. 

There’s a ton going on here in the first two episodes, I’m glad we got further away from the “war on drugs” plotline from the first episode. I like Dorian, he’s caring, brave, determined to be a cop… but also missing many social cues while being tuned in meticulously on other levels. The idea of robots with empathy isn’t totally unique, but I think it’s really interesting that the police force was largely more comfortable with the MX models as opposed to the DRN, more inclined to use the models that played the odds, those that they don’t have to care about or feel anything for. That distance between the “authority” and other humans. It’s also very telling that the DRN models were decommissioned because they “snapped.” As robots given agency and empathy they process complex emotions but are still treated as “things” and not as people, those they risked their lives for and connected with considered them “less than.” Dorian was very concerned about who will remember him when he is gone while still worrying that he will end up back in the heap again and then witnessing Vanessa, a robot programmed to form connections, meet a cruel fate. 

Book Review #27- The Darwin Elevator by Jason M Hough

This is the kind of book that would do well enough as a movie is directors had the good sense not to ruin it by giving the role to Tom Cruise (thankfully, he’d be too old for it) or Keanu Reeves (yeesh)…

THE PLOT (snagged from goodreads):

In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura.
Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity

I glanced at the goodreads reviews (for the record: I don’t especially care for goodreads, in general, no offense) some people didn’t like it because the characters weren’t “strong enough” which is fine…

And honestly I can relate. At first I was thinking, “dammit, Skyler, why are you so damn wishy washy?”

Skyler recently became captain, after the former captain of the Melville, Skadz, suddenly abandoned everyone. He’s not particularly good at it. He flew into Darwin with Skadz when humans started going apeshit and eating each other, which is where the rest of the crew got together: Samantha and Angus and Jake. So Skadz leaves and Skyler takes over because the Melville is his. He doesn’t know how to lead, he was a grunt in the Dutch Air Force and was happy not making the tough calls. The people of Darwin have small farms in orbit that supply food and some roof top gardens but they are horribly over populated and depend on scavenger crews ransacking the rest of the earth that is infested with subhumans. The wrong call could get his crew killed or lead to shortages of vital resources… Skyler is caving under the pressure.

“He didn’t want to be special. Or sought after. Truth be told he’d rather be back in the Netherlands, flying mundane patrols for the air force, living a good life. But that was a long time ago, in a different world.”

So, Skyler Luiken hasn’t really gotten over the world ending or his friend freaking out and leaving and doesn’t have the ambition or aptitude for leadership. That’s the point. I know all of you think you would get over your glaring personality flaws and be the Big Damn Hero if it ever came down to it. Reality Check: not everyone is built for it.

Skyler does step up over the course of the book, for the reason straight men do. No, no, not money, not “because it’s the right thing”, not fame, not for adventure, or excitement… for a beautiful woman.

There’s actually a really cute part where he goes to rescue her: not even sure if she’ll remember him, “Hey, it’s Skyler, from Hawaii?”

So if you want to smack him for not being able to make a decision: he will, don’t worry.

In the “women who don’t really need rescuing” category: For the “tough chicks” Kelly Adelaide and Samantha. For the “smart chicks”: Tania Sharma and Natalie.

The story doesn’t follow them around as much (for the record, more time spent with Kelly and Sam would have been optimal)

The world building is good. There’s enough for the general idea of how everything got this way and why every one is going so damn crazy.


Just kidding, no it’s not. The problem is not really the aliens (or the zombies). It’s plain old human greed. Hidden plans, secret plots, power grabs, revenge, monopolies on resources, money, power, respect. Russel and Alex want to control orbit (where the money lives), tired of being dependent on lesser of two evils Neil Platz. Platz, for the record is hiding too many secrets to name, including the Mother Of All Secrets. And he gets mighty rich off his MOAS. Russel and Alex… and, you know, humanity are right to be resentful.

“The aura is everything.”

This book wraps up a major issue, but leaves the fate of some characters (and earth overall) up in the air. I’m very interested in starting book 2 to see what happens to everybody and how their discovery changes their world! There were also some things that never get fully explained that I hope do in the next book. Like why the “zombies” were changing.

And for the record, if this were made into a movie…. I would pick Michael WeatherlyImage

Even though he is both too old and too tall for it.

PS- It actually reminded me of Outlaw Star, and Gene Starwind who wants to go into space but is terrified. He’s a tough guy and a gunslinger and an all around rad dude, but nothing above and beyond. The first time he’s on a spaceship he passes out, he has to drink to keep his cool. But he ends up inheriting a ship and joining an intergalactic treasure hunt.

4 Data Cubes!

Movie Review #7- Elysium

The year is 2154. Earth ran out of natural resources, people on Earth are living on top of each other high rises added onto, Limited food and water, abundance of illness, poverty and crime. The wealthy move to the space to preserve their way of life. They build an outerspace habitat, where they can live in the style they have become accustomed to, create their own resources and heal any diseases by recalibrating the body. I think you already figure, they don’t want to share.


Those on Earth have been left behind to fend for themselves, struggling against illness, droid police, automated parole officers, constant surveillance, corrupt employers, limited resources. Their are some who try to make it to Elysium via illegal shuttles that Spider has set up, but Jodie Foster’s character makes no exceptions. Every one who goes up illegally gets shot down. The story follows Max de Costa, former car thief, trying to make it on the straight and narrow but, as a known felon and ex-con, he’s not left with many options.

His arm gets broken by a police robot and he meets up with a woman he knew as a child, Fray, who is trying to make the best life she can for herself despite the odds. She’s become a nurse, but her daughter is sick. Max’s pay gets docked for having a broken arm. When a machine gets jammed his boss orders him in, he tries to refuse but his boss says “alright then, I’ll find someone who will, go clean out your locker.” Like I said, no choices. He goes in and receives a lethal dose of radiation, catastrophic organ failure will occur within 5 days. Unless he can get to Elysium.

Of course, he’s not the only one. And he ends up in a race to save the world.

He gets a freaky exoskeleton drilled into him to keep his radiation riddled body moving around (and kicking ass). He goes to Fray for help but when she tells him about her daughter Max says he can’t help her daughter get to Elysium (yeah, right, you know you’re going to help her, Matt… I mean, Max).


This movie was visually amazing. The grittiness of urban overpopulation, graffiti on everything, dirt and blood and guts. Versus the beauty of Elysium, a giant starwheel with mansions and manicured lawns, bright whites. 

The action scenes are fun and exciting. The plot is good, fast paced, enough humanity shown to invest the viewer in the plot advancement. There are many different angles, many different reasons why characters are trying to get to Elysium and what it means for them. Spider wants everyone to have what they have in Elysium (do poor people not deserve healthcare? not deserve quality of life for circumstances they were born into?), Kruger… well, much more self serving but still a nice slap in the face for the powers that be, Max starts out just wanting to save his own life, Fray would risk anything for her daughter, Delacourt wants to keep Elysium preserved for her WASPy family and keep what THEY created for THEM. It’s a good story.

What I will say though, is it’s pretty heavy handed. “Oh, the people from Earth struggling to get to Elysium, it’s like illegal immigrants coming to America” derrrrrrrrrrr The people from Earth were all speaking English and Spanish interchangeably… Which makes enough sense, but the people in Elysium were all speaking English and French. French? What? Because people think French is high society? I was trying to talk about this during the movie (worst person to see movies with, right here) Spain is in Europe, it’s near France. The Latin American countries that are “developing countries” are probably what we were supposed to be thinking of, I would just like to put out there that there are former French colonies in Africa that are not dissimilar in terms of development. Here’s a map:


Like I said, I think it’s heavy handed and assuming that Americans are dumb dumbs. But maybe we are, if we don’t think too much, we think of Mexicans and French Canadians. Did Canada build Elysium? Maybe I’m thinking about that too much.

Also, the rich people on their magical habitat: why can you only build one? Build two, dumb dumbs. There is actually a point to their arguement that is people on Earth did not have illness there would be EVEN MORE PEOPLE in a place that has TOO MANY PEOPLE. This is the most unpopular truth. But it is the truth. If there’s not enough resources for the population and then mortality rate decreases there’s more people. And since we also frown on limiting breeding and what not here in this particular location, I don’t know how that works. It’s more complicated than they made it. If Elysium lets people in, they’ll run out too (unless they build another one, which no one addressed). But Jodie Foster’s Delacourt was presented as a cold hard villain that no one could possibly feel sorry for. It could have had more nuance.

Also, I would have liked it if Max had a little time to be a selfish anti-hero before getting set on a mission to save… well… everyone. If having your boss demand that you go into a dangerous machine that doses you with radiation that’s going to give you catastrophic organ failure within 5 days isn’t an excuse to go on a batshit crazy rampage… I just don’t know what it is.


Disclaimer: This is a sci-fi dystopian starring Matt Damon. There was no way for me to not love this and not fangirl at it. I frigging love Matt Damon. I do. When did he even do a sci-fi movie? Titan AE? That’s all I could think of. And he said after he finished the Bourne movies that he was out of the action game. But he did an excellent job (and is still ridiculously good looking). 

Also, I know I just complained a whole bunch about societal implications but that’s kinda my thang… Are you new here? You should subscribe or follow me on twitter. And it was a really awesome movie. And *the only* block buster movie that wasn’t part of a series or a sequel or something. It looks great, it’s fun, it’s gross and tough and gritty and badass, and it’s smart enough. And the droid cops are frightening.

The lengths that those in Elysium go to to keep people out (including tattooed IDs that mesh with your DNA) the elite in Elysium being concerned about their legacy (their children and children’s children) rather than… well, everyone else, that they hide data in people’s brains, that they would employ rapists to keep what they have really drives home how ugly things can get.

And for team Earth: Max getting a robotic skeleton screwed into his body is just the beginning of how far he will go to save himself and do what’s right. That’s awesome.

4.5/5 Stars!

Pack you iodine pills, kids.

Feature and Follow Friday #7

The Rules: Want to participate? Follow hosts Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Follow this week’s features are Girl in the Woods Reviews and Wonderland’s Reader! There’s a linky with everyone participating. Link your post. Look around, say hi, make friends! follow back people who show you some love. And if you like meee you can follow on bloglovin’, twitter or here on wordpress! 

The week’s activity: Create a Reading list for an imaginary English Lit class.

The only mandatory readings:



and then any choice of dystopian novels (like these)







The real focus wouldn’t be on what was actually read, but rather discussing how common dystopian elements a presented through out literature. From government control, population control, media control, war, how “outsiders” are regarded, etc. 

If that sounds pretentious, I must explain: I hate being forced to read something. I hated everything I read in high school with the exception of Brave New World, which is crazy. I love reading! But what you read is not as important as being able to discuss, analyze and appreciate what ever you ARE reading. Critical thinking is far more important (says the girl who’s a sucker for any story were a saucy young girl meet a werewolf) than being told that something is a “classic” and if you don’t understand it, too bad. Read what you want and then think about it. 

Book of the Week?

Hmmm… now that I’m getting a respectable number of followers (Hi new friends!) I think I’m going to try to let you know what reviews are coming soon around here. And maybe you’ll want to pick up the books and read a long with me. We can discuss. It’s cool. Or you can warn me if I’m about to read something foolish.

Obviously more reading is going on in the middle of this, what with my $1 ebook buying compulsion and lots of free time. I’m trying to see what all the fuss is about with some popular and/or classic fare.

Okay so 
July 6-12: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. It’s about werewolves and skinwalkers. Female protagonist. First in the Mercy Thompson series. Urban fantasy fun times.

July 13-19: Wool by Hugh Howey. I already reviewed the first chapter/story and got my hands on the omnibus. And I can’t wait to read it (but I actually will, because I’m still reading Game of Thrones)!

July 20-26: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Synopsis: In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don’t put out fires–they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury’s vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal–a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, “Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs…. Don’t give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.” I was probably supposed to read this book and never did. It got a 1 star review on amazon who said, “Horrible, unrealistic concept. A book for hipsters to read so they can feel important. I have one word for you Bradbury: Kindles.” Ummm.. it was published in 1953…

Have you read or are you reading any of these goodies? 

Reviews will be posted on the Friday

Book Review #16- Born by Tara Brown

I bought this book on a 99 cent ebook buying binge a short while ago and completely forgot what it was or what it was even remotely about, but I started reading and then I got to a bit about the serenity of a farmhouse being ruined by the streak of blood of the infected wiped on the outside. 

And I was PUMPED.

Zombies: I like that shit.

That’s no secret. And it’s no secret that if there is anything I like more than zombies; it’s kick ass female characters. And this book is chock full. 



An infection was unleashed on the population some 10 years people (population control, people were supposed to die, unfortunately some of them lived with the infection but got brain damaged and inhuman). Emma, who’s dad was a “survivalist” prepared her well for the end of the world. (After the zombie apocalypse, the victorious will be the severely nerdy) Emma has been on her own since she was nine, and she did the coolest thing ever and made BFFs with a timber wolf. 

Everything changes when Anna shows up banging on her door one night. Anna’s brother, Jake, fell in a hole and hurt his leg and she needs help. Emma, against her better judgement goes out and helps him. And they make friends (And more than friends). Jake has incredibly poor survival instincts. Anna, on the other hand kicks some serious ass. Emma is impressed by her survival skills. And I said Oh my gosh she’s not instantly jealous and competitive for no reason?!?! Hooray! In fact, in her travels she meets many wonderful girls and women (and kisses one).

One of the places she makes friends is a commune where they have bonfires and play guitar and share everything. And people there have children. On purpose. Emma is HORRIFIED. Thank you, Emma. One of my biggest beefs with both Deviants and the Hunger Games was that someone was talking about getting married and having children. With a teenager. While everyone’s surviving off of rodents. AND the government is killing people. Because seriously, this is no place for child rearing.

One of the other places she makes friends is.. a breeding farm. That’s right. Because the infected are a problem. But they aren’t THAT big of a problem. If you’ve survived 10 years, you can probably handle a few shamblers. The zombies here aren’t out to infect or find humans, they’ll attack whatever moves, including a bush in the wind. They aren’t that smart. But the government rebuilding the population wants healthy women, or specifically healthy WHITE women. Everyone else is getting shipped off in slaves ships or raped and murdered. Not Caucasian? Diabetic? Over thirty? Smoker? raped. killed. enslaved. Not that it turns out better for the girls forced into breeding.The government is the real enemy. 

Emma’s badass, since she was alone from ages 9-19, seeing her make friends is funny. She gets most of her social skills from books. Specifically cheesy paperbacks her grandmother read. She falls for Jake, no surprise, even though he’s goofy and not awesome at surviving the post-apocalypse. She also falls for Will, which I won’t ruin for you.

She acts immature about it, but hey, it’s her first time. 

I loved the plot. I loved the characters. There are people who would sell each other out for a dollar, people selling their own children for cigarettes, parents driven to madness trying to keep children safe, there are rapists and perverts. People are hungry. Worrying about the  infected is secondary. It’s very very good.

But: This could be edited better. A few words and commas here and there make no sense. I know, that’s nitpicky. Some of the dialogue appears with no clue for who’s talking for a few lines.

But this:

They say that the world is built for two, but in the silence of the old cellar, two feels like a long lost dream. It’s an ice cream cone on a boardwalk with the sun above and the sea below. It’s the wind rolling around you gently, trying to persuade in all the directions at once and mixing sand over your feet as your toes dig in. It’s a perfect place none of us tries to remember.”

was the opening paragraph. and I hate it. It’s supposed to be poetic, but it doesn’t fit the rest of the narration. Also it’s a rip off of this:

It was wildly unnecessary. And I am picking at it, because this book was good enough that it deserves a little extra attention to detail. 

That being said; 4.5 wooden arrows!