First, this is the weirdest thing that I have ever read. It’s a science fiction novel from 1889. It’s badly-written. (I mean, it’s badly-written for 1889. For comparison, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was published around the same time.) The technological extrapolations are weird and wrong and barely affect the plot, which concerns bizarre machinations around the succession to the British Empire and some weird-ass scheme where the President of the United States is trying to marry off her daughter to the Emperor. It ends with Canada beating the U.S. in a war.
Anyway. Why did I read it? Well, besides insomnia most of the major characters women, and women who were not trying to impress a man. Plus the author went out of his way to point out all the awesome people in the book who just also happened to be Jewish. For something so old-fashioned, it was also strikingly modern.
Second, I finished watching Occupied on Netflix. I recommend it! The main scenario is improbable, but slightly significantly less so than before November 8th. An energy-independent U.S. has pulled out of NATO and established a valued relationship with the Russian Federation. In the midst of a massive surge in energy prices prompted by wars in the Middle East, a Green government in Norway decides to shut down the country’s oil and gas production in order to combat climate change. Panicky Europeans green-light a Russian seizure of the Norwegian fields to restart production. The Norwegian prime minister reluctantly allows this in order to avoid a war, but his county finds itself entrapped in a slow-motion conquest as the Russians slowly assume more-and-more authority.
It is quite well done. My only quibble? Well, whoever plays the American ambassador to Norway has a Canadian accent. You know, with that weird caught=cot sound you can hear from Justin Trudeau. Given that a pretty massive plurality of Canadians don’t have a recognizable Canadian accent, it’s an impressive bit of miscasting. (If somebody finds out that the actor who plays the ambassador is actually from Massachusetts, I will be embarrassed.)
The accent screw-up is all the more inexplicable considering how good British and Australian actors have gotten at mimicking spot-on American accents, even American regional accents.
But not Russell Crowe. See minute 1:12 in this clip from an otherwise great movie. Points to the person who guesses the word he screws up in the context of getting everything else right. The mess-up is all the more pronounced considering as he is in a scene with Denzel Washington, who has a perfect New York accent considering as that is how he naturally talks.
Actually, a television show about a Russian occupation of Norway might not be all that escapist these days, considering.