A Hard Reboot of The ‘Terminator’ Franchise

by Shelt Garner

There are a number of scifi franchises that have been so strip mined over the years that they just need to be left alone for a little while. But the time will come when they can finally be hard rebooted for a new generation.

Here’s an idea for how to do it with the Terminator.

The movie ostensibly is simply a near shot-for-shot remake of the original, but with a far bigger budget. Maybe get someone like Jason Momoa to be the new Terminator.

But there would be a trick ending — Sarah Conner dies at the end of the second act!

The remainder of the film would be an exploration into an error on the part of the people who sent Kyle Reese back in time. They thought they were sending him back to the same timeline as their own, when, in fact, by definition, time travel causes a new timeline to be spawned the moment you appear in the past.

This is a way to bring new life into a very old and beat up franchise. I think Gen Z would really dig the use of the multiverse concept.

An Interesting Hard First Contact Movie Concept

by Shelt Garner

While we’re rushing towards Hollywood being “moneyballed” by the AI revolution, I do continue to dream up movie ideas. I only share this one because I’m too preoccupied by my first novel to do anything with it. And, besides, I’m so fucking old that by the time I go around to doing anything with it, AI will have taken over.

Anyway, someone write a screenplay about the finer points of the after effects of hard First Contact by, say, some sort of “Galactic Empire.” What if the entire planet was run as a vassal state of that empire? Who would run it? How would it be administered? What would its capital be?

The current idea I have is something like this — we have hard First Contact and our “Governor General” for the empire is some sort of huge insect-like creature who puts earth’s new capitol somewhere in the tropics because it needs the damp and warmth to lay its eggs in.

I find the idea of Luang Prabang in Laos being earth’s capitol as rather amusing and interesting. The specifics of how that might happen are very intriguing. Then there is the issue of what happens if our new colonial rulers totally ignore the political boundaries that our “tribe nations” have agreed upon?

There is a lot to explore. It would be an interesting novel, yes, but an even more interesting movie because of the visual element of seeing 6-foot-tall insect aliens walking around, telling humans what to do.

Anyway. Lulz. Nothing matters.

The Potential Implications Of Google’s Gemini LLM For Hollywood

by Shelt Garner

Apparently, Google is coming out with a next-generation LLM called Gemini later this year, in December. It’s allegedly going to be four times as powerful as OpenAI’s ChatGTP4.

The thing I’m interested in is the implications for Hollywood. It’s well within the realm of possible that the two strikes that Hollywood is experiencing at the moment will still be going on. If Gemini turns out to be as powerful as Google claims, I wonder if it’s possible that Hollywood suits might begin to turn to Gemini to make the strikes…moot.

Or, put another way, it could be that all my “hysterical doom shit” about the future of Hollywood could happen a lot sooner than we might think. It could be that the Hollywood suits will simply sit on their hands until Gemini is up and running. Then, this spring, they will start to spit out the first AI-generated movies.

Or not. I don’t know enough about what’s possible. But the point remains — things are moving very quickly with LLMs and I think we have to begin to understand that Hollywood is about to go through a massive technological shift in ways that we can barely begin to understand.

AI Is About To Transform Hollywood

by Shelt Garner

I’m old enough to remember the dawn of the Internet. And, but for how my brain is wired, I probably would be on a yacht today snorting cocaine off the asshole of a “yacht girl.”

I just can not, for the life of me, process how to code. So, 30 years ago, I could understand the implications of the looming Internet revolution, but there was squat I could do on a practical basis to benefit from it. And even when I did benefit from it, I found myself wanting to be a writer.

Go figure.

Anyway, the point is — all signs point towards AI totally and completely revolutionizing recorded media of any sort, be it TV, movies or even — gulp — novels. There is going to be some serious futureshock at some point in the next 18 months as we lurch into a future where there are two types of people involved in entertainment — plutocrat suits and software programmers.

There will be no other humans involved.

And I say this being well aware of the fact that the courts have recently decided that you can’t copyright AI-generated art. Given the billions of dollars on the line, the suits will figure out some way to work around this particular problem soon enough.

We need to adjust our expectations as to what Hollywood will look like in a few years. Our only hope at the moment, it seems, is after the novelty wears off, that people will begin to seek out “artisanal art” that they know was created by the hand of Man.

That’s just a sliver, but that’s all we got at this point.

Mulling A Scifi Screenplay Concept

by Shelt Garner

I’m officially at an age where I am constantly reminded of how precious my remaining days of life are. I wasted way too many years grieving over the demise of ROKon Magazine and now, here I am, at 50, troubled by all the doors that have closed behind me for good.

And, yet, I continue to be consumed by delusion to the point that I still have hope that somehow, someway, I will “blow up with my DJ money” and pull of a third hattrick — this time for a national / international audience.

As such, I continue to chung away at a mystery-thriller novel that I hope will be the cornerstone of a six novel project. What’s more, despite all the mental energy devoted to such an endeavor, I still find myself dreaming up other story concepts.

That sort of thing just happened to me today when I returned to a time-travel story that has been rolling around in my mind for some time. I like it because it deals with multiverse concept while also addressing some major issues of the day.

The more I’ve thought about the idea, the more I’ve come to realize it has the storytelling dynamic of a screenplay rather than a novel. The thing about screenplays is you can get away with a lot of things that you simply can’t with a novel.

I have long wanted to write a screenplay, but I fear I’ve just waited too long. Or, to put it another way, a screenplay would be something I might be able to pull off once I blow up with my DJ money. I’m delusional, yes, but I am still connected to reality enough that I’m not prepared to spend all that much time on a screenplay when I’m both too old and live in the wrong place for it to ever be produced.

But I just don’t know. I really like this scifi concept enough — and I do continue to have a lingering interest in writing a screenplay — that I might just dabble in writing such a screenplay to get it out of my system.

The Hollywood Strikes May Last So Long They’re Moot

by Shelt Garner

As I keep saying, I can’t predict the future. So, it’s possible that as many people have predicted, the current creative strikes taking place in Hollywood will wrap up sometime in mid-September.

That definitely seems to be a viable possibility.

And, yet, I worry. I worry that Hollywood suits know that if they just wait long enough that the whole thing will be moot. AI will advance just enough that they can realistically produce the usual formulaic drek they always do and they can go about their merry business without any regard to the either writers or actors.

I could totally see suits looking at it this way — all they have to do is endure some pain upfront long enough that, say, 18 months from now, they can atomize things to the point that there are only two types of survivors in the new age of AI: suits and programmers.

Because that definitely seems to be the future we’re careening towards. The vast majority of recorded entertainment will be AI generated and it will be just good enough that the average person won’t even notice. Nearly all of what Hollywood currently generates is extremely bland and forumlatic. It follows a well-worn, well-established beat structure to the point that AI could easily follow it once technology is up to it.

There might be .1% of recorded entertainment that will be grandfathered in that will be human-generated, but, in the end, if you want your entertainment manmade, you’re going to have to go to live theatre.

Again, I am wrong all the time. So, it’s very possible that this will be yet another instance of that. Everything will be wrapped up in mid-September and we’ll punt all my concerns down the road a few more years.

But I worry. I worry a lot.

Well, Women Will Either Love or Despise My Heroine

by Shelt Garner

I’m definitely taking a risk with this new direction for my heroine. She’s a far more interesting and complex character, but because I’m doing all of this in a vacuum — I just don’t know.

I don’t know what the reaction will be. The idea of my heroine having a very Barry-like sharp dichotomy to her life is, on its face, really interesting and provocative. And, yet, the case could be made that, by definition, a smelly CIS white male creating such a character is exploitive in such a way as to give female readers “the ick.”

In my defense, the whole point of this new direct for the character is to keep people distracted while I build up to something actually happening. The first roughly 30 scenes are just an effort to lay out the groundwork for what is about to happen to these characters.

My hope is that by the time the Inciting Incident rolls around, the audience — especially women — will be invested enough in the story that they will care enough to finish the novel. That’s the hope. That’s the goal.

I imagine my heroine looks like a younger version of Nicole Scherzinger.

But I *am* a smell CIS white male — and a drunk loser middle aged one at that. So, the anger over having my heroine own a strip club pretty much writes itself.

And, yet, I’ve really been struggling for a way to make my heroine really, really interesting and unique and this seems to be as about as good as I’m going to get, all things considered. And, I think, if I am very careful and self-conscious about the dangers involved that I might — just might — manage to pull this particular situation off.

Of course, I’m not getting any younger. It definitely seems that even if I stick the landing that I’m going to be in my mid-50s before I get anywhere near having this novel on bookshelves. And that doesn’t even begin to address the rise of AI which may make all forms of human-produced creativity quite moot.

But, I create because I have to, not because I want to.

AI-Generated Celebrity Images Are Getting Good Enough That We May Soon Seen A Deluge Of AI Celebrity Porn

by Shelt Garner

They say that every new technological advancement is always used to make porn first and I think we’re careening towards a moment when we’re going to be flooded by AI-generated celebrity porn. We aren’t quite there yet — AI still can’t handle fingers — but I would say in about 18 months AI-generated celebrity porn will be every fucking where.

It is interesting that Emma Watson seems to be someone that all the horny nerds want to see with realistic, yet exaggerated proportions. In fact, to date, that has been one way I have been able to tell for sure that celebrity porn is fake — they all look like what some fucking horny nerd would like this or that female celebrity to look like.

A lot of female celebrities are popular because of their personality, just as much as they are for the size of of their bosom. And, yet, I keep seeing image after image on Twitter of Gal Gadot far more voluptuous than she is in real life. It will be interesting to see if, in 18 months when there is an obscene amount of AI-generated celebrity porn online, if the people generating it even try to stick to the actual dimensions of the women they so admire.

I have my doubts. Horny nerds can’t be stopped.

Of course, at some point in the near future, the law is going to step in. It seems clear that what to do about AI-generated celebrity porn is going to be one of the biggest tests of the courts. It definitely seems as though we’re careening towards a Petite Singularity just as The Fourth Turning is about to happen to us as well.

Good luck.

A Hot Take On ‘Barbie’

by Shelt Garner

I was quite pleased with the Barbie movie for a number of reasons. It was pretty much the political sweetspot of what I generally believe about gender politics. I can see why conservatives might consider the movie “woke,” but, in general, it seemed like just a a good movie that told a good story.

That is what struck me about the nature of the movie — it was really good. I was impressed with Greta Gerwig’s storytelling ability. I have been a fan of hers since “Frances Ha” and I knew going into the movie that it was probably going to tell a silly story in an interesting way.

As an aside, I do think that the success of Barbie may — possibly — suggest that we’re about to have something to the mythical “vibe shift” that everyone was talking about in the recent past. It’s just a short jaunt to a more gritty mainstream movie. Though, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I just don’t think our society is at a point for the legendary type of movies of the early 70s to come back.

But it is at least possible that superhero movies are on their way out. We’ve had them dominate the box office for about 20 years and so it’s inevitable that something will replace them at some point. But what? And when? I just don’t know the answer to that question.

I still think it’s at least possible that AI is going to make all these musings moot when at some point — probably after we sort things out in a Fourth Turning — the very notion of “mass media” will seem rather quaint. We’ll just sit down in front of our TVs, have our faces scanned and out will pop a movie or TV show directly tailored to how we’re feeling at that specific moment.

That seems nearly an immutable force of history and technology at this point.

But back to Barbie — the movie, in my opinion, did what a good movie is supposed to do — tell an interesting story in a way that left you mulling what you’ve just seen once it was over. How the movie dealt with the issue of “the patriarchy” was really amusing to me and, what’s more, it was presented in such a way that young women might take heart.

Which, of course, is why that very element of the movie freaks conservative so much.

Does ‘Barbenheimer’ Portend Our Long-Awaited ‘Vibe Shift?’

by Shelt Garner

It definitely FEELS like we’ve reached the absolute end of one pop culture era and we’re waiting for a new one to arise from the ashes. And, yet, given that we may face a perfect storm of Petite Singularity and The Fourth Turning in late 2024, early 2025, these months leading up that era in time may be nothing more than wasted time.

We may just drift through cultural time without any sort of clear idea of where things stand until we make up our minds about if we’re going to continue to be a democracy or not. And, at the same time, we also have to decide if AI is going to completely and totally take over huge swaths of the human experience or not. I’m very weary about both of these events, given that they’re going to take place at the same time.

So, I don’t know. It could go either way. It could be that we just slide into autocracy and we let AI write and produce all our entertainment and we live in a permanent Black Mirror episode. Or, it could be that we have some sort of sharp, violent political event starting in late 2024, early 2025 and not until that’s settled we make any big decisions about AI.

It just seems like we’re lurching towards Something New in a rather abrupt manner and it will be interesting to see when exactly this happens. I suspect we may continue to be in something of a cultural vacuum for a few more months. We really haven’t reached a tipping point, I don’t think. It’s definitely one of those — you know it when you see it kind of things.

I look forward to what’s next, though. We’ve been suck in the post-911 cultural era for way, way too long.