“What is human emotion? Love, anger, fear – violence?”
What does it mean to be human?
Over the decades I’ve read hundreds of Science Fiction stories and so far there’s nothing new about Humans – Channel 4, Sunday June 14th, 9pm. That doesn’t mean it’s not good, I’m not sure about that yet – though if my arm was twisted then I’d say it was watchable but not great – not yet.
Anyway, I don’t do television reviews and this piece of writing is supposed to be about me shooting from the hip and writing whatever comes into my mind about what happened today. (Truthfully – there’s no way I could ever write ‘whatever’ came into my mind, because it would take forever – so this piece will inevitably have a theme, a focus, and will only represent a very tiny glimpse of what came into my mind – look, this could go on until hell is a snowball . . . .)
So, today, was/is a Sunday in June. What happened?
Here’s a list:
Gluten Free vegan cakes – I ate a lot of gluten-free vegan cakes today, which is unusual since I rarely eat cake of any kind but when I do, they’re always vegan and sometimes gluten-free.
Watched television – including the aforementioned ‘Humans’ and ‘The Road to Coronation Street’ – a repeat of a drama on some Freeview channel called, I think, the Drama Channel. Quite touching in a strange way, perhaps because it reminded me of my Grandmother who lived for a time in the small parlour of the small house I grew up in and who was a Coronation Street addict. She used to shuffle into the living room, reeking of the germolene she used to slather on an open wound on her leg, three times a week or whatever it was then.
She was lovely, my Gran, but always quiet and mysterious. I think she was illegitimate and became an orphan early on after her mother fell down the stairs. There was a German Captain Voss in her mix of ancestors but I’m not sure exactly where he fitted in and the uncle who did know is dead. Gran married a bricklayer by the name of John Brennan whose father came from Ireland so they say. He died when I was very young of TB – she carried on for a while in our parlour, her and the stench of germolene.
Chilli plants – We visited the Riverside Market, where I got the Gluten-Free vegan cakes from and where Chris Fowler, who works in the library service with my wife, was selling chilli plants. We got one – a special white one – because of the library connection I guess.
We acquired the gluten-free cake from two sources. From Fran, who makes vegetarian and vegan pasties, pies and cakes, especially welshcakes, and who used to supply the shop Pulse Wholefoods that we used to run, and from Andy on the Naturally Kind stall, who sells all vegan cakes and raw cashew cream cheese-type cakes.
While I was talking to Fran one of the Super Furry Animals and the ex First Minister of Wales came to the stall and made purchases. Later, another of the Super Furry Animals drifted past, and Chris Fowler, the chilli man, stopped to talk to him (Chris’s brother Pete Fowler is the guy who does the artwork for the Super Furry Animals’ album covers).
There’s a lot more I/we should/could have done and in fact did plan to do – like go to the allotment, sort the curtains out in the back bedroom, finish tidying the middle/dining room, take a drive to the seaside or down the M4 to visit mothers; plus I’m supposed to be working on putting together the book of short stories for the Welsh Short Story Network, but it was/is a Sunday and I have a deep conditioning to chill on such a day.
Anyway – this is turning out to be a bit of a ramble and probably pointless at that, so I’ll go back to ‘Humans’. I had an idea when watching it that I would write a review so I made notes.
Here they are:
There’s nothing new in Humans so far, nothing I didn’t read decades ago in one Science Fiction story or another. (I used to consume them as regularly as I check Facebook nowadays)
Who are the real humans? What does it mean to be human?
What makes us human? Being human is a very special, unique thing.
You are ‘chosen’ if you’re human, unlike, say, a rat, or a pig, fit only for for killing or eating or both.
Purpose of life.
Value of a human life – all that jazz.
Importance of memory -> identity
gradually unfolds that some of the Synths are conscious (machine life)
“these freaks are the singularity”
ROBOT STARING AT THE MOON
if you didn’t get it they spelt it out at the end
“What is human emotion?”
How do you teach a computer to forget?
In the end, at the end of the first episode, we have now got used to the world the writer and the production team have constructed – from now on it’s just an ordinary drama with all the usual human tropes