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Make / Let

I’m beginning to see a theme emerging in the various discussions taking place about the future – specifically, the changing nature of the interaction between individuals and organisations, be they commercial or social. Two TED talks I have watched in the last week both articulate the same thought, and bring the theme into sharp relief. Both are very worth your time. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud A brilliant, funny, inspiring mashup of history, science and pedagogy. “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen” Amanda Palmer: The art of asking I backed her Kickstarter, and although I remain agnostic in some respects, her contribution to the conversation is invaluable. Plus, crucially, her album kicks ass. “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is how do we make people pay for music. What if we started asking, how do we let people pay for...

Farscape: What TV Was Invented For

Written halfway through Season Three, this article was a Starburst cover feature, designed to alert people that Farscape was well worth tuning in for. I later wrote a whole book on Farscape. In an age when each autumn bombards us with new Sci-Fi shows clamouring for our attention it’s hard to know which ones are worth the time and effort. A common tactic is to watch all the pilots and only follow those shows whose opening effort demonstrates real originality, or a spark that seems to promise greater things. Of course some shows get off to a great start and then lose the plot – Star Trek Voyager springs gruesomely to mind – but at least that way you get to see the best and avoid the rest. No one really knew what to expect from the Farscape premiere. Puppets were supposed to be a big part of the show and that didn’t inspire confidence. Plus it was filmed in Australia, and who ever heard of a great Australian TV show, let alone Aussie Sci-Fi. The cast were all unknowns and the production company, Jim Henson productions, had only had one real success, The Muppets, which didn’t bode well for their ability to handle mature, adult drama. Perhaps most worrying of all, the show was devised by Rockne S. O’Bannon, the man responsible for Seaquest DSV, and we all know what a mess that turned out to be. As it transpired, we were presented with Buck Rogers redux. The main character, Crichton, was a square jawed all-American hero who seemed to promise self-sacrificing heroics, Kirk style seductions and Gil Gerard...