On Stage with Michael Rooker

2017 New York Comic Con - Day 1

I was lucky enough during New York Comic Con to score a plumb seat: on Main Stage 1-D, in front of 500 or 500 screaming fans, interviewing Michael Rooker.

If you’ve never been to Comic Con before, let me tell you, it’s a madhouse. More than 200,000 went to the New York convention this year. For a first-timer, it is entirely overwhelming; it certainly was for me. There’s too much to see, to much to do, and the crowds are way, way too big to wade through. Getting from one end of the Javits Center to the other – the equivalent of about three city blocks – can take 30 minutes. It really is that crowded.

I’ve spoken in front of big audiences before, but I’m not sure I ever was in front of a crowd this big. Also, most of my public speaking has been related to bitcoin or markets. Bitcoiners are a passionate bunch, but not exactly rowdy. These Rookerholics, as some of his fans call themselves, are a different breed. This was a fired-up crowd before I even walked on the stage.

You can watch the whole thing for yourself here.

If you haven’t seen Rooker do one of these interviews before, understand that this is not in any way a normal interview. I was warned, specifically, beforehand: he likes to pick up his interviewers and turn them upside down. I do believe it was meant literally. Now, fortunately for me, I had seen Rooker before, at the Charlotte Walker Stalker convention. His talk ended up making it into chapter 10 of “Guts.” So I knew what I was getting into.

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‘Trekonomics,’ With Author Manu Saadia

IMG_1420This week I sat down with Manu Saadia, the author of “Trekonomics.” We had a great, wide-ranging talk, about Star Trek and the vision of the future laid out by Gene Roddenberry. We talked about the elements that contribute to the economics of the 23rd and 24th centuries, and we explored how many of those elements are either with us today, or exist in very nascent form.

It’s very surprising to find that nobody’s ever written a book about the economics of Star Trek before. You’d think somebody would have. What fascinating about it is that the path to the kind of world Roddenberry envisioned will have as much to do with economics and politics as technology.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Getting to a world where people work together, and racism and poverty is a thing of the past, may not be a question of technology, but rather politics. The tools will exist, the question is how will they be distributed. Ultimately, the question of whether our future looks like Star Trek or Terminator is less about the machines than it is about mankind. Have a listen. This was possibly my favorite podcast yet: Star Trek, economics, and even some bitcoin thrown in there, too.

By the way, that’s not exactly the bridge of the Enterprise in the picture up top, but it’s close. It’s from the exhibit at Star Trek: Mission, the convention at the Jacob Javits Center this past weekend. It was built by James Cawley and his team, a group that’s been making Star Trek fan films for about 15 years.

A Seven-Shows-in-One Epic Story

RickThis is going to be the best “very special episode of” ever.

Who doesn’t love a good crossover? You know, like Ray Romano showing up on King of Queens. The doctors from St. Regis having a drink at Cheers. Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies appearing on Mister Ed.

I guess that was on my mind lately. I was wondering – as many have – if there was any way to connect the cast of The Walking Dead with the spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead (I recap both shows for the WSJ, as you can see here and here, so I tend to think about them quite a bit.) The former is set in Georgia, and the latter in Los Angeles, and in case you don’t know, the trains aren’t running. So having these two groups of apocalypse survivors meet is pretty unlikely, but not impossible. Maybe it would have something to do with the cast of Z Nation? After all, they’re in the same zombie boat, and trying to get from the east coast to California.

Then it occurred to me that there are a bunch of shows I watch that could conceivably be crossed over. Besides the three zombie shows, I also like Mr. Robot, Orphan Black, and Humans. Could there be a way to write one story that combines characters from all those shows? Just for fun, as a sort of as a writer’s exercise, I tried to dream up a way to do it.

It all tumbled together quickly. Within an hour had the outline of one story that connects every show I follow on a regular basis. Essentially, it’s this: A hacker society knocks out power across the country, which releases deadly rats from a genetics lab that spread a zombie plague. The only way to stop it is for the scientists at the lab to get back the one man who is immune, but he’s clear across the country.

You can see where it’s going if you watch the shows. What’s more, it works out in a way that is actually pretty organic. It connects several completely separate shows (well, sort of completely separate) and doesn’t violate the internal logic of any of them, I think, taking only minor liberties.

I even figured out a way to get a Rick and Morty cameo in there.

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