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Please begin with an informative title:

Naiome Harris is hot as "Eve" in "SkyFall"

The latest 007 movie, SkyFall, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond and Dame Judi Dench as "M," is an awesome contribution to the Bond franchise. It's also following a couple of interesting Science Fiction trends that have "gone mainstream." Say "Cyberpunk" or "Steampunk" to folks who don't regularly read SF/F, and you'll likely get a blank stare. But they're all over the place, and are very prominent in Skyfall.

(continued below the squiggly with minor Skyfall spoilers)


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Authors such as Bruce Bethke and William Gibson postulated the development of "the matrix," or "the grid," as a "consensual hallucination" by which humans interfaced with the Internet via a direct neural connection. Gibson's "cyber-jocks" wore electrode-headsets to access the matrix; others carried the concept a step further, giving their characters data jacks in their heads they'd use to connect fibre-optic cables to, then Internet-surf.

We don't have data-jacks yet, but we do have Bluetooth, which enables an even-older SF concept: Loot. Uhura's earpiece. This is Zoë Saldaña, who played the part made legendary by Nichelle Nicholls.

Bond films have never shied away from technology, particularly computers, but Skyfall moves the franchise truly into the cyberpunk world. In the 1980s, we played a very-enjoyable RPG called Shadowrun. Instead of AD&D "adventures," players went on "runs," to accomplish tasks in a future dystopia. The players on the "run" would often be supported by a "decker," a computer-matrix user working in cyberspace, passing instructions to the players. One would think that Bond and Eve are on a "run" from this RPG, based on Skyfall's opening sequence. The two are in contact with a cyber-team back at MI6 HQ, who use all the resources of the internet at their disposal. It's no surprise that Eve would be wired back to the office, but even Bond does the earpiece-thing in this film.

The use of cyberpunk is not limited to feature films; TV shows such as NCIS:LA and Person of Inteorest also employ the "decker-runner" relationship.

Then there's Steampunk, a genre of Science Fiction usually set in the Victorian period of the 19th Century. Instead of advanced electronics, the cutting edge of technology of that time employs a mix of steam power, gas lighting, and electricity in small amounts. Skyfall dabbles a bit in the world of Steampunk when the ultra-modern MI6 headquarters drops into the tunnels below London. The contrast between brick-and-mortar with modern glass walls and doors, flat-panel monitors, and the transparent isolation chamber is stark. Bond running through the tunnels of the Underground harken back to the days of Sherlock Holmes. The contrast works and is entertaining. It's not the first time Bond has taken a step back in time, of course; the canals below Istanbul in From Russia with Love come to mind immediately. Still, Steampunk is something quite Victorian and English, so running under London connects Bond to fans of the genre.

There's criticism online concerning Skyfall's treatment of female characters. I'll hit that in a later post in detail, but I was OK with how things develop.

Thanks, Shadowrun, for predicting the future!

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