New Nightmares – tape 1510

Over to Channel 4 today, and a Without Walls documentary entitled Them! It’s a look at the horrors of overpopulation, and it immediately grabs the attention by having Kurt Vonnegut as an interview subject.

Also interviewed are Martin Amis

John Brunner

Judge Dredd writer Alan Grant

Michael Moorcock

Critic John Carey

No programme about overpopulation would be complete without Harry Harrison, who literally wrote the book on the subject. His Make Room! Make Room! was the basis of the film Soylent Green.

Here’s cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling, sporting a mullet he probably came to regret.

A rather surprising commentator is Ken Livingstone. He doesn’t mention Hitler by name, but he is there comparing Labour’s infamous Sheffield rally, on the eve of the 1992 election, to the Nuremburg rallies, so he’s basically there.

Here’s SF writer Thomas M Disch

Edward Said of Columbia University is particularly accurate in his assessments of how global geopolitics will move. He talks about using fear, to suggest ‘there are barbarians beating at the door’, the indiscriminate use of the word Terrorist, depersonalise the enemy, and the atmosphere of fear that immediately leads you to the ‘great white father’. Although he didn’t predict that America’s great white father would be orange.

He also talks about recent (then) events, with the end of the cold war, the rise in mentions in the American press of Islam, creating a new threat, a new narrative.

Here’s SF author Lisa Tuttle.

It’s a good documentary, if rather depressing.

After this, recording switches to Sky One, for an episode of The Simpsons. Bart and Milhouse go to see Spinal Tap in concert.

After this, the recording stops, and there’s an older recording underneath. It’s Popeye, a film which defies all logic. A live-action Disney musical, directed by indie maverick Robert Altman, with songs by Harry Nilsson. It didn’t set the world alight.

After this, recording continues for a bit with Red Empire on the rise of Stalin.

The tape ends during this programme.

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