So, what with this being a for-the-funs blog, I imagine the schedule will be fairly loose. I’m busy; you’re busy; we don’t need to meet for coffee every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and every other Sunday. What I will try to guarantee is at least one post a week, preferably two, on a variety of topics. One segment I think will become a regular thing is this: Hope for the Genre. Essentially, we’re talking 250-ish words about a film/novel/album/game/website/art exhibit/zoetrope/puppet show that does something new and interesting with speculative fiction, which as we know, is always in horrible danger of dying out. Recommendations welcome.

Genre: Science Fiction

Medium: Mockumentary

The premise: Ghosts with Shit Jobs is an indie mockumentary (appropriately monikered “lo-fi sci-fi” by its creators) set in Toronto. BoingBoing called it an econopalypse and it is–at least from a Western standpoint. In a Chinese-driven economy, North Americans (we won’t talk about what happened to Europe) become the cheap labor for the Asian empire, doing the jobs no one wants: robot baby doll assembly, digital copyright blurring, face-to-face spamming, and (of course) mutant spider silk collection. Funny, smart, different. The film also earned its touring budget via Kickstarter, which is pretty neat.

Why it’s awesome: What amazed me most about Ghosts with Shit Jobs wasn’t the clever concept or the incredibly low budget ($5000!). It was the characters. A film which relied solely on its tongue-in-cheek role reversal of contemporary Western society would no doubt become stale after the first twenty minutes–in fact, I worried it would. But then the movie delivered deeper insights into its protagonists’ lives. The complicated (yet somehow how workable) relationship of the Babymaker couple, Karen and Gary. The human spam’s blistering (and sometimes violent) defense of her work, funded by–for serious–a Nigerian scam syndicate. The digital janitor’s love of the digital world and earnest desire to do a good job. Not to mention the silk collectors, two young brothers who literally work for clean water. The writing and performances here rarely fell flat and that is what makes this a compelling piece.

Why it’s hopeful: It’s not just that folks can make good, thoughtful, character-driven near-futuristic sci-fi on for crazy little money. It’s also that, via crowd-sourcing/funding systems like Kickstarter, we can all support it. And I think that’s one way speculative fiction is finding its footing in the our digital culture.

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