Cecil Rhodes, the brutal racist and mining baron who founded the former apartheid state of Rhodesia in southern Africa, reportedly once looked up at the stars and mused to himself, "I would annex the planets if I could." He was an evil man expressing an odious sentiment, and a new sci-fi short called "Good Business" explores how humanity's first contact with an alien species would unfold if we kept thinking like Rhodes did.
The short film, which was directed by Ireland-based Ray Sullivan and based on a comic by Canadian artist Simon Roy, was released Monday on Vimeo. It's just about four minutes in length, and it's worth your time if you're a sucker for both minor distractions and science fiction that manages to surprise you, like I am.
In the short, we're dropped right in the middle of an arms deal between some human commandos and an alien race, apparently on a new planet. The aliens decide to buy all the guns, and one of the commandos lays out why they're selling guns to insectoid monsters in the first place: "This way, not only do we get a prime piece of real estate, but we set it up so the current residents kill each other off at no extra cost."
So, that's bad, but the humans get their comeuppance almost immediately as the aliens decide to blow the commandos up and, presumably, take the guns anyway.
This got me thinking, because I'm currently watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a series which goes to great lengths to spell out how humanity fucked up in the 20th and 21st centuries by prioritizing profit over life before making a hard left turn towards space communism. The future-humans of the Star Trek universe just can't understand how humanity let things get so bad, or why we turned our backs on the weakest and most vulnerable. The series is wonderful to watch, because it lets us imagine that one day the misery and coercion of modern capitalism will be scarcely a memory among the shining stars that humanity can now explore in peace.
"Good Business," instead, makes me think: Jesus, what if we never get over this bullshit?
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