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Logan's Run

Starring: Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Peter Ustinov, Richard Jordan;   Released: 1976

This Logan's Run review written by Mark Jeantheau, Grinning Planet.

DVD cover for Logan's Run In Logan's Run, the scene is set in the 23rd century, amidst an environmental catastrophe brought on by war, overpopulation, and pollution. The remaining human population is sequestered in a high-tech domed city, literally sealed off from the long-forgotten world outside. Technology has reached a point where citizens live in an apparent utopia, with physical labor minimized and pleasures of the body and mind in abundance. But there's a catch.

Because the amount of life the bio-dome can support is limited, the number of humans that can inhabit it was carefully calculated by its designers. To maintain the balance, births are totally controlled and citizens must end their idyllic lives at the age of 30. Once you've hit the big 3-0, you must report to The Carousel—a death machine/entertainment arena where the deathees have a slim chance to get their clocks reset.

Not everyone is copasetic with this arrangement, especially those who are 29.Refusniks do have one other choice, and that is to run. But run to where? Ah, there is the crux of the plot.

Logan, a "sandman"—that is, a guy who chases down runners and puts them into The Big Sleep with his trusty ray gun—is given a special assignment to ferret out the location of a colony of successful runners. Under the pretense of needing to go on the run himself, Logan enlists Jessica, a bleeding-heart malcontent whom he had earlier encountered on the "dating circuit." Logan and Jessica being their journey through the industrial underbelly of the domed world and, finally, to the outside world.

There are indeed some interesting ideas in this film along the lines of environment, energy, and progressivism:

  • that war, overpopulation, and pollution can all get so out of control that the planet becomes unlivable;
  • that even under the worst of circumstances, technology save us (or at least some of us)—an idea that is currently hotly contested in environment and energy circles;
  • that relinquishing one's personal freedoms for the sake of general survival, safety, and security can be a happy thing.

In the plot of Logan's Run, the first two concepts are a given—they're really only addressed in the marquis introduction. The third angle—Brave New World meets Big Brother—is where the movie spends its plot capital. Overall, it works quite well, with fast-paced action, intriguing adventure, and cool sci-fi sets, playing sort of like a top-grade episode of the original Star Trek series juxtaposed against Brave New World, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. Still, Logan's Run manages to explore its world in some unique ways, and it's well worth a couple of hours off your stopwatch.

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Liner notes for Logan's Run:
Taglines: (1) "Welcome to the 23rd Century: a perfect world of total pleasure, with just one catch... (2) The only thing you can't have in Logan's world is your 30th birthday. Unless you run away.   Categories: Sci-Fi, Environmental Catastrophe, Pollution.   Runtime: 120 min


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Rating: 3 of 5 - Good, worth a listen Uprising

Cancer—Environmental Factors and Genetics vs. Plain Ol' Bad Luck — A new study has found that 22 types of cancer are the result of sheer bad luck, blaming the cancers largely on random mistakes in tissue-specific stem cells and stating that the cancers arise in a manner unrelated to genetic or environmental factors. Julia Brody of the Silent Spring Institute offers a countering opinion, noting that a different team looked at exactly the same data and concluded that only 10% of cancers were attributable to random bad luck.
Go to page  |  Download/listen   12:28

GP comment:  This is a pretty tepid report, but the takeaway should be that the defenders of corporations' toxic products and processes now have a study to point to and say, "see, no problem" ... which no doubt was the intention of whoever funded that particular data analysis. As Mark Twain cautioned, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Original Show Pub Date: 07.Jan.2015 ~~ Original story title: The Science of Health: Silent Spring Inst. Cautions Against New Cancer Study


Rating: 4 of 5 - Very good Radio EcoShock

Catastrophic Failure of the Planet—Satire or SITREP? — Joseph D'Lacey writes eco-apocalyptic/horror fiction as a way of exploring the way in which the human condition is broken. Here he discusses his fictional post-apocalypse books, which include the Black Dawn series, which extrapolates from our real-life era when corporations are literally sucking the earth dry of its high quality resources; and Meat, where a combination of powerful corporations and organized religion completely control the food supply, with living standards for animal welfare and human rights falling by the wayside. ~~ Then Stanford's Mary Kang explains the data on leaking methane from abandoned gas wells. ~~ A clip from the fictional show "The Newsroom" has an EPA scientist going non-linear, predicting absolute climate doom, with no possibility of escape. Real-life climate scientist Michael Mann gives his take on our climate prospects.
Go to page  |  Download/listen   1:00:00

GP comment:  Given humans' demonstrated inability to elevate their actions above their parochial interests, I think the "we're screwed" conclusion of the fictional EPA official will prove more likely than the hopium-based "we can still take meaningful action" assertion expressed by Michael Mann. That said, Alex Smith does a nice job at the end mediating the two extremes and adding more scientific—and psychological—context.

Original Show Pub Date: 10.Dec.2014 ~~ Original story title: Eco Horror ... Is "The Newsroom" Climate Doom for Real?


Rating: 4 of 5 - Very good Resistance Radio

Has Capitalism Captured the Environmental Movement? — Tom Butler of the Northeast Wilderness Trust talks with Derrick Jensen about the problematic trend among mainstream environmental groups trying to steer capitalism in a better direction. The problem with that approach is that capitalists, when push comes to shove, will always prioritize corporate profits over natural preservation. Even more troubling is the shift in the framing of environmental issues, where the comfort, convenience, and continuation of modern life is a given, and any sacrifice along those lines to preserve species or protect the biosphere is not even up for discussion.
Download/listen   50:59

GP comment:  This is a good talk, though the general tack is that this problem is mostly one of evil corporatists, venal politicians, and a lackey media. There are those aspects, for sure, but the general populace has fully embraced the benefits of modern industrial society, regardless of the environmental costs, and the gains in comfort and convenience will not be given up willingly, no matter how right the goals.

Original Show Pub Date: 19.Oct.2014


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