Saw it yesterday. Great stuff. Unusual take on the alien invasion theme: language is key. Can’t say much more than this, other than to say that when you base something on an award winning story in an actual book what you get is thought provoking instead of merely inane special effects and blazing guns. You will think about it afterward, and never forget the encounter of a grisly looking species which we expect to be as violent as we are…but which is so far advanced their science seems to be magic to us. If they wanted to kill us it would be no problem. All our political maneuvers, tanks, bombs…it would all be useless. Why are they here? That’s the question solved by the surprise ending. Based on a story by science fiction writer Ted Chiang, ARRIVAL is a movie that breaks the Hollywood mindset with great performances by Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. Ted Chiang is a celebrated author of numerous short stories, including “Exhalation,” which won the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Locus awards. He is also the author of the novellas The Lifecycle of Software Objects and The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate. Ted lives near Seattle. An odd thing, have you noticed that the spacecraft in Arrival resembles the vehicle in the PBS series COSMOS?
Went into a health food store looking for flour without added iron. The owner asked me why. I told her about the new book THE MINDSPAN DIET, which shows that the American diet is saturated with supplemental iron, and it is a leading cause of dementia. She started to lecture me about nutrition, saying that no one knows what causes Alzheimer’s. I told her it was a recent book with new science. She didn’t want to know the title or the author, or anything about it. Instead she repeated her contention that “no one knows,” and that studies are “first one way and then the other.” So I tried to explain that surveys were taken of the longest living people on Earth with the least dementia, and in all cases those areas showed the least amount of supplemental iron or red meat in the diet (red meat is high in iron.) She began to get angry. How dare I, a mere customer, suggest she might be wrong? Her identity was tied to her knowing what her customers do not, and, after all, so many of her products are fortified with iron, how could they all be wrong? I smiled, made my purchase (twice the cost of regular flour for one not “enriched”) and left. Then I went to my sister’s and found that she had purchased many prepackaged “nutrition” dinners and “healthy” snacks from Nutrisystem and Medifast. They all contained supplemental iron. Most cereals contain supplemental iron. Most breads and cakes. The author, a geneticist from Harvard, says that Americans already get 100 times the amount of iron we need, and no one needs added iron after grade school. The levels of iron Americans get can be toxic to people over 40, and cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. But the general public largely doesn’t know this yet. We still believe the labels. It sounds so good: “fortified with iron.” And apparently it is all a LIE. Just like Coke and Pepsi told us that HFCS was okay as a sugar substitute, or that artificial sweeteners are okay too. Except this is even worse. Alzheimer’s is now the #3 killer. Like diabetes, it is epidemic. And very costly. Why wouldn’t you want to know?
Unlike the health food store owner, to me it doesn’t matter who says something or what someone believes. My opinion doesn’t matter. Only the science matters. You go where the science goes. Convince me otherwise, and my opinion will change. As it should. How about you? Thoughts?
He pushed through the swinging back doors into the carrier station. People he’d seen every day for years were there, busy as usual. He walked past them. When he got to the big fan set up near the stairwell, he paused and stared into it. Taking off his sunglasses for a moment, he gazed into the polished and spinning surface of the fan’s convex center hub.
—It was like a circus mirror.
—His face appeared fat, and drenched with sweat. His bloodshot eyes stared back at him like a clown’s whose makeup had run. He turned to look back at the others, wondering if they saw too, but no one cared for sideshows.
—The stairwell’s doorknob beckoned. Gleaming. Seeing a tiny but headless reflection of his body mirrored in it, he reached out his hand in fascination. Then he gripped it. Suddenly, resolutely. Like a handshake. Finally, he opened the door and stepped inside.
—Once on the staircase, he began to climb methodically, one step at a time. Having come to return his postal carrier pack as he’d been instructed, he now opened the pack and withdrew the .45 automatic inside. When he arrived at the top of the stairs, he opened the door into the office hallway, and could hear the secretaries chatting together. —Laughing.
—It was cooler up here. Much cooler.
—He ran his hand across his matted hair, feeling for a moment the cold air streaming down from the vent nearest him. Then he lifted his gun, and started down the hallway. Walking past the offices, he fired as he went. When he got to the corner office, he found station manager Ollie Westover behind his mahogany desk, on the phone. A cup of black coffee was spilled across several papers.
—Ollie looked up and said, “No–don’t do it . . . Thompson, right?”
—“Right,” Thompson said. And fired.
—Afterward, he went to the window, and gazed down at the street fronting the postal station. As he waited, he felt the air conditioning coming from the vent above Ollie’s slowly cooling body. Then, in the distance, he heard the expected sirens approach. At last, several police cars and an unmarked white Cavalier arrived, screeching into the front lot, narrowly missing several patrons.
—He smiled sadly as he put the .45 to his own head.
—“Vaya con Dios,” he whispered.
(Excerpt from Postmarked for Death)