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TOM FRANCIS
REGRETS THIS ALREADY

Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.

Theme

By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend

A Leftfield Solution To An XCOM Disaster

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

What Works And Why: Nonlinear Storytelling In Her Story

My Idea For An ‘Unconventional Weapon’ Game

From Gunpoint To Heat Signature: A Narrative Journey

The Cost Of Simplifying Conversations In Videogames

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX

What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point

What’s Your Fault?

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

One Desperate Battle In FTL

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection

Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

Arguing On The Internet

Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

The Suspicious Developments manifesto

GDC Talk: How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole

Listening To Your Sound Effects For Gunpoint

Understanding Your Brain

What Makes Games Good

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

A Different Way To Level Up

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood Money And Sex

A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

First Night, Second Life

SWAT 4: The Movie Script

Lost

Locke

Lost is almost inexplicably better than it sounds – a bunch of people stranded on a tropical island after a plane crash, brought together by FATE, each with SECRETS, which we find out about through FLASHBACKS. I should have known it wouldn’t be long before amnesia featured in the plot. JJ Abrams’ last series Alias was good, but it’s not any more and it was never this good. This is genuinely brilliant television, the kind you could just string together to make a great film.

If Alias was defined by its ridiculous cliff-hangers, Lost is defined by ridiculous mysteries. Since the start of the series twenty-five episodes ago, the following elements have cropped up and been developed to the extent detailed here:

  • The Monster: We don’t know anything about the monster. It might be big. It might not exist. It could also be robotic or organic, or ethereal, or none of these.
  • Jack’s Dad: Jack’s Dad appeared. We don’t know why or what was going on.
  • The Hatch: Locke discovered a hatch. We don’t know what it’s doing there or what’s inside, or what the thing is it’s built into. Since the hatch was discovered, virtually every episode has been about it. So far, we have discovered: nothing. Once the hatch lit up. We don’t know why.
  • The Numbers: Hurley won the lottery with some numbers. They might be cursed, or not cursed, or it might be fate. Or magic.
  • The Others: There might be others on the island, or there might not, or they might not be on the island, or they might not be others. If they are and they are we don’t know who they are or what they’re doing there or what they want.
  • The Kid: The kid knows something about the hatch. We don’t know how or what and now he’s gone forever.
  • The French Woman: There is a French woman on the island. Something killed the crew she was with. We don’t know what and now she’s gone mad.
  • The Polar Bear: A polar bear appeared. We don’t know why or where it came from or how it got there. It was killed and never mentioned again.
  • The Other Half Of The Plane: We don’t know where it is or what happened to the people on it. They might be still alive, or dead, or trapped sixteen years in the past with a magic time-traveling radio.
  • The Island: The island might have a will of its own, though it might not and if it does we don’t know what it is, why it has it, or how it works.

Whichever of these wildly vague concepts you might be hoping for clarification on, you’re perpetually disappointed. The appeal is that by failing to resolve any of these plot lines, they’re never cheapened by specifics. Their enigma gives them a lasting menace that only improves the tapestry of sinister threats mounting around the ever-diminishing survivors. All of them verge on the mystical without being scientifically inexplicable – given a degree of imaginative license. We still don’t even know what genre we’re working in – sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural or real-world.

But the writers seem content to leave that ambiguous too – they’ve got plenty of stories to tell in flashbacks to the castaways’ previous lives, and some of those have been extraordinary. The glimpses of the mysteries, too, have been expertly judged. The one ‘Other’ we’ve seen – despite being just some guy – is one of the most unsettling bad guys ever. Even small things like making sure you realise dynamite is dangerous – they have the dynamite expert annihilated by it when handling it as carefully as he can, and from then on you’re screaming at the characters to walk slower, don’t put the dynamite in their packs, don’t use flaming brands for torches.

Locke: Hugo, take these extra sticks back a couple hundred yards.
Hurley: Me? Oh, okay. Got it. ... Can I have a flashlight? 'Cause, er, the torch-near-the-dynamite thing's not making a whole lot of sense to me.

Which leads nicely into the other reason it’s great: Hurley. On paper he sounds awful – a fat comic relief character who just says “Dude,” “Yo,” or “That was messed up” at oppourtune times. But that fails to take into account the sheer brilliance in the timing of his Dudes, Yos and That-was-messed-ups, and also that he says them flatly, rather than in the Keanu Reaves surf-slang drawl. Essentially he’s just a guy who watches a lot of TV, in a TV series, saying the things you feel like saying yourself (as above).

The comments below assume you are up to date with the story as it’s being aired in the US – they may spoil things for you if you’re not.

Tom Francis: Ooh, it's now airing at 10pm on Wednesdays, C4, in the UK. Man, it'll be five months before the rest of England knows as little as I do about all these mysteries.

Mr Dan: I have to disagree with Hurley. For me Locke is the best thing in the series. He's the character you understand and empathise with the most, and as the series progresses he gets pretty crazy but you still understand him.

He knows the most about the island as well, or seems to. Whether this is because he's crazy or is genuinely in touch with the island never surfaces.

I've the feeling something will happen with Locke though. I don't know why but i think he will end up joining The Others.

The Others are a bit disappointing. They are just other people. I was hoping they'd be superhuman or something.

Pentadact: We don't know they're not - the ones on the boat looked human enough, but so did Ethan.



I like Locke too, but less so when he goes mystical. They're clearly setting him up to represent people's suspicions that there's magic on the island, and Jack as the proponent of a scientific explaination. It makes me wonder if they'll ever come down on one side or the other - they must risk losing fans in one or the other camp.

craigp: I agree: Locke is best. I think it has a lot to do with the casting, for me. Terry O'Quinn is a brilliant character actor. He really can handle that I-know-something vibe (see also: Millennium). I fully expect to see him show up in Deadwood (oh, so good) a "Mysterious Stranger". Of all the stories of Lost, Locke's, and Hurley's (and Walt's) are the most intriguing.

The Others: nah, I'm glad they're human. If ever Lost goes all "aliens from the Hell dimension" on us, it'll be sad day.

Craig: I hope you guys reply to this because I'm all giddy and stuff. I've just finished watching the first season and there is a lot on my mind. What sticks out the most however is that Locke and Sawyer are my two favourite characters. For Sawyer, it's because the writer's really treated his story brutally.

And for Locke, it's the end of episode 4 entirely. That last three minutes made me want to cry because it was so beautiful. It's a testament to the talent of the writers that something so trivial as a character taking a moment to full come to as he stares at his bare foot, can be turned into something so bloody profound it's unbelievable.

I also prey for the day I can watch a show with the wonderful Ian Somerhalder where he either doesn't die or get dragged off to some research facility. He's a brilliant young actor.

Tom Francis: That's a good point, actually, Sawyer is ace. The anti-hero is a hard thing to get right, particularly with me because I lose interest in a character once they do something unforgivable (Nate from Six Feet Under? Cheated on his pregnant wife - didn't give a damn when he died two episodes later). But Sawyer manages it - willfully repellant in every way except the important ones, and with a 'dark past' that's actually dark enough to work as a justification for how fucked up he is.



Agree about the Locke moment too - probably the point at which I realised the series was really something special, not merely great.

Craig: Locke is the one character I feel sorry for the most on Lost. Last week when I saw episode 4, I must have rewound the last four or five minutes a dozen times. And that isn't overstating it. My jaw practically dropped the moment the camera pulled back and revealed him in the wheelchair. It just turned everything on its head for me, and I was close to tears at his "Don't tell me what I can and can't do!" moment. I stupidly felt the writers had pulled their best moment yet with the character, only to discover where he got his scar towards the end. While the father episode didn't affect me as much as episode 4, it's that music and the scene of him in the car that nearly brought me to tears again. I have to echo what was mentioned upthread about Terry O'Quinn being a terrific actor. He stole all the scenes he was featured in Alias, and its the same with Lost.

Craig: Oh, and I WANTWANTWANT the Lost soundtrack. Michael Giacchino did some wonderful work - especially the aforementioned "Locke's Theme".

Tom EG: (Hello!) I agree with you on Hurley. What you're saying was best illustrated for me in an episode that ended on one of those poignant camera-sweeps-round-the-camp-as-music-plays moments. I had just that second thought, "Hrm, they've done this again," when the music stopped, and it was because Hurley's CD player batteries had run out. Made me smile.

Tom Francis: Ah yes. The one clip I really wanted of that, and it's one of the only two episodes I don't have an e-version of. I believe his line - after a perfectly judged pause - is "Son of a bitch!"

Zeno: Hmm. I'm not sure I'm quite "feeling" Lost. Which is a surprise, because, after reading your take here, I was amazingly well-disposed towards the whole idea. I sat there for the first four or five episodes just WANTING to like it so damn much that it took me a long time to realise that, actually, I was just being irritated by it.

I think my main problem is that, whilst it's fine to have mysteries, none of the ones in Lost seem to me to have any dramatic weight. I can't quite shake the feeling that there's no explanation at all and that moments like the polar bear incident are just inserted by the writers to give you a vertiginous sense of "whoah... weird" without there being any narrative machinery, in the end, to back them up. I think if a TV series (or a film, or any narrative) is going to do something outre and strange, and create a lot of ambiguity, it has to underwrite that ambiguity by making you feel one of two things: either that you're being led somewhere, and that the destination will make sense; or that the events themselves have their own integrity because they come freighted with the tangible dread or despair or wonder that, say, David Lynch is able to give scenes in films like Mulholland Drive. It's subjective, but I just don't have that with Lost. I can't shake the feeling that someone's just making this stuff up as they go along. Actually, Lynch is a good example, because I never felt impatient with Twin Peaks, even though a great deal of that made no sense whatsoever. Lynch was hunting for big game, and even though the imagery was surreal, the dread and the horror of loss were real. Twin Peaks was an imaginary garden with real toads in it. Lost is sound and fury, but signifies nothing.

But maybe it'll get better and I'll be back to eat my words...

Craig: It does appear as though much of the mystery is being made up as the writers go along. But part of the fun comes in the fact the writers WILL have to start giving us answers. They see the show running for 5 seasons if it proves continued success, and we're about to start the second season (which opens with a giant piece of the puzzle falling into place apparently).


Try and forget the mystery, though. It's not what makes the shows so good. It's the characters and their big reveals that alleviate the show to classic televsion.

Craig: So, er... Episode 1 of Season 2, anyone?

Mr Dan: Don't feel right talking about the new episode incase i spoil it for someone on here. There is a nice discussion / use of ideas in this thread though:

http://forum.pcgamer... ...8;start=60

Tom Francis: It's open season on spoilers all, thanks to an easy-to-miss little note I've appended to the main post. Who the hell is Desmond, right? Why was he being quarrantined - or was he quarantining the island from himself, a la Wonko The Sane in So Long And Thanks For All The Fish?



People are saying stuff like, he's controlling the whole island. He feels minor to me. I think he was hiding down there. He's well defended because he's scared of the Others getting in. It's a dangerous island. That's clearly a lab of some kind, or a live-in research place, but whether he worked in it originally or just found it, I don't think it's used for that anymore.

Craig: What a truly great opening to the season. It only took a couple seconds to sink in where we were, but it was still genuinely great to open with something like that.


I don't know if I should say this, but Damon Lindelof has said episode 3 of season 2 will drop an even bigger bombshell on us.


Now who bought season 1 on DVD! The commentaries are ace!

Dabs: I don't even know where to begin with the Holy Crap!s. Desmond. Walt, dripping wet in the jungle, whispering to Shannon (which, apparently, if you play what he says in reverse is, "where's the button? No button's there." The bed Desmond got up from was a bunk? Was Ethan Rom (anagram "Other Man") the other man on the lower bunk? So brilliantly typical of Lost - they answer the question of "what's down the hatch" and pose a hundred more new ones in the process. You have to love it.

And that intro was fantastic. I was watching it with a couple of friends and when one of them said "Oh My God, that's the hatch" after the explosion shook the room, I had to double-take. Who else thought we were just watching a flashback of another (new) character?

Tom Francis: Everyone, that was the genius. It's so domestic - apart from the injection, which looks like the start of a flashback-revealed secret - everything appears to be a pleasant morning in a health freak's distant past (my best guess was Locke because he's the oldest (that computer was old), but I also entertained Hurley for the sheer unlikeliness). The mundanity puts your thoughts so far from the island - certainly that night - and yet it's moments before the final scene of the last series, in virtually the same place.

Mr Dan: I don't think Desmond "found" the bunker. It just doesn't sit right. If he found it why would he seal himself in? Plus he seems far too comfortable to just be living there. Also isn't it very very coincidental that he and Jack have met before. We are left to think that Desmond was put on the island, and that Jack (and the others) have also been put on the island. Just Desmond knows more than them. For all we know Desmond woke up one day inside this bunker and is as ignorant as the rest of the islanders are about it all.

Craig: Anybody else notice that the person Jack's wife collided with and killed was Shannon's father? I read that on another forum but haven't checked it out yet.

Zeno: This is slightly off-subject (i.e, not specifically about the second series), but has anyone else come across a short story by pulp sci-fi maestro Gene Wolfe called "The Death of Doctor Island"? It appears in his (brilliantly named) collection "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories," published in the early 80s. There are lots of plot-similarities with Lost; castaways awake on an idyllic but eerily empty island, which they realise after a while is inhabited by an ambiguous "other" and presided over by a (probably malign) force of some sort. There are even mysterious hatches in the ground! After a while they begin to suspect that they're the subject of an experiment. There are big differences (there are only two castaways in the story, for instance) but I can't help wondering whether the rather bleak conclusion to the story might turn out to be the same as the solution to Lost. It's sufficiently obscure that the writers could be using it for inspiration without worrying about giving the game away.

I could be completely and utterly wrong though.

Graham: Lindelof claims the writers do know where the story is going - including how it ends - so hopefully this will stop the plot wandering off into mystery after twist after mystery, endlessly, till Mulder leaves.



Re: Polar Bear - Think: Walt.



As for season 2; good first episode. Really great beginning, really frustrating ending, and I can't wait to find out what the deal is with the Spine Healer, and the folks off on the boat.



Oh, and I know it's open season on spoilers, but can we stick to just Lost spoilers please? I really didn't expect to have Six Feet Under ruined for me.

Tom Francis: Neither did I!

Tom Francis: Dabs: it sounds more like "Don't press the button", repeated and cut up, to me. I can hear it as the other thing, but when I do, the voice doesn't sound like Walt's. It's not odd that it should be scrambled a bit, since it's already backwards, and pressing buttons just seems to fit better than trying to find them. Also, there's an element of urgency, rather than quizzicalness, to his voice. And Walt likes to warn against things.

Dabs: Well that would definately make more sense. For the reasons you say, plus Locke pretty much said the same thing to Jack just as he was about to press "Execute". And since Locke and Walt have an unspoken, common deep understanding (the only exception I can think of being their views on opening the hatch), it makes sense that Walt would be warning against the same thing that Locke does. I suppose we'll see what the deal is with that button in due time - yet another mystery to ponder over.

Frohman: I've just recently gotten into Lost. My wife and I rented the first disc of Season 1, and after watching those first four episodes, I just scampered right out and bought the entire set, which we spent last weekend watching, entranced. We're both hooked, big time, like we've never been hooker on a network show before.



It's a wonderfully constructed show so far. The characters are both appealing and revolting -- the writers really understand that flaws, not positive character traits, are what make memorable and compelling characters.



The Season 2 opener was fantastic. Instead of dodging the issue of what was in the hatch, as I thought they would, they crammed our faces in it and still managed to avoid answering any of our questions. Brilliantly done.



Locke, too, is my favorite character, and yet I worry about him. He's glimpsed something the others haven't really seen: a pattern to the things happening on the island. I think he's really only seen a part of the pattern, however, which is dangerous -- it's like trying to reconstruct an entire dinosaur with a few toe bones. I suspect he is in for a rude awakening.



I think it's been a remarkable show so far, and I hope it'll continue as such.

Tom Francis: Yeah, I can see that happening. Locke's been frustrated by the island before, when his stabby machine didn't break open the hatch. I like the idea that he could be half-right, that the island is intelligent but not benevolent - just fickle.



I can recommend never being a hooker on a network show.

Frohman: Stupid letters not spelling what I demand they spell!

Anyway. I've listened to Walt's message a bunch of times, played backwards, and it sounds to me like "Don't press the button. The button's bad." The "Don't" is not actually there, but it's there, sorta. You can't hear it, but it's there. Hard to explain.

Mr Dan: My predictions of Desmond just waking up one day to find himself in the bunker seem to be more and more likely after the current episode. Why he's there is a different matter though. Plus we are left to wonder what the timer on the wall is. Does it kill everyone on the island?

Pentadact: Agh! Spoiler! Oh, the poetic irony of my own liberalism somehow having consequences for me!



Actually that wasn't really a spoiler. I just haven't seen that episode yet.

Mr Dan: Next time i'll post a 500 word synopsis of the episode. Just to make sure i actually do spoil it for you.

Tom EG: You know, that song has a real grip on me now. Whenever I hear it I get tremendously excited.

Tom EG: Also (and this is real E2 territory here for those who haven't yet watched it. DO! DO NOW!). Actually it's so deeply E2 I feel uncomfortable writing it close to the spoiler warning so I'm going to bury the actual content within this longer paragraph as a means to disguise it from the casual glance of a weaker eye. Well, it's not deep - it's pretty superficial stuff actually, but I feel the need to be talking about Lost right now. This is probably far enough. Quarantine: I love the way it teases you. At first I thought "what is Desmond's basically just a survivalist?" when he asked about the outside world, but then the numbers played a role and it seemed to shoot that to bits? And the very last scene with the others is such an evil thing to do after this many episodes and right at the end of one too. How can they? Why are they? What's HAPPENING. And who is "him"?

Craig: Is it just me, or is there a shitload of credits at the start of episode 2?

Craig: SPOILEY'S!!!

Did anyone notice the insignia from the bunker and Desmond's clothes on the shark?

Tom Francis: Desmond's knowledge of the disease (which is what killed the French woman's crew, right?) and his uniform and stuff still make me think he's the last surviving member of a team. I think the typing in of the numbers has to be done to prove he's still alive to someone - perhaps it's even an automated system to purge/cleanse the lair when he dies, then open the hatch.

Mr Dan: He must be the last surviving member of a team. Just from the inside of the bunker. There's more than one bed for example, and a ton of guns. You can only use one gun at a time, and one bed at a time.

Although the bunker doesn't really look recent. It could have been there for a while with a team in that Desmond has replaced. "Him" could be Desmonds replacement.

The typing of the numbers could be nothing at all. Maybe it's just a test to see how long Desmond will do it before giving up hope.

I reckon there is no disease. Or if there is a disease, the disease is actually what they call it when you turn crazy and think the island is alive etc.

Tom Francis: Ooh, interesting. I bet you're right about who 'he' is. I just wonder what Desmond's job is, why they need one guy down there, sealed off, with that equipment. And indeed who 'they' are. My instinct is that he has nothing to do with The Others.



The only thing I find frustrating about Lost is that they never think to just circle the coast some time. There could be a resort just around the corner. It's hard to believe in Sayid's resourcefulness and Jack's leadership when neither of them have tried to do the one thing that would get them an idea of what the island's like, and what else is on it.

Mr Dan: Well they do have maps of the island (from the French chick) so they know that there isn't a resort around the corner.



Plus if you knew there was some killer monster(s), giant polar bears and crazy people on the island you wouldn't really been in a rush to walk around it.



I don't think Desmond has anything to do with The Others directly. As in, he doesn't know them or anything. But i do think he is connected to them. It makes no sense for all these people to be on the island and not be connected. Something connects them all, we just don't know what it is yet. It would be too coincidental for them all to be on the island for different reasons.



What Desmond is doing in the bunker is connected to what the others are doing and thats connected to why they crashed on the island i'm guessing.



Who are The Others anyway? Am i right in thinking they are the French womans research team?

Craig: The shark! The shark!


What do we know about the island since finding the insignia imprinted on its tail?

Tom Francis: When do we see that? It seems dumb to me. This is a Dharma brand shark? And what is it, a tattoo? A sticker?

Mr Dan: http://img.photobuck... ...rktail.jpg

Pentadact: Nuts. Did you ever see the face in the black smoke in the last series? It was kind of subliminal, but you could catch it quite clearly with a freeze frame. I don't know what the Black Smoke Monster will turn out to be, but I don't think it having a face is going to factor in. I also wouldn't be surprised if we're left hanging on the whole issue of why a shark got a corporate tattoo.

Craig: On the DVD, in the episode where Boone is tied up by Locke, if you listen to the audio commentary you hear the writers say "This is the most we've ever shown of the monster" when the tree is uprooted behind Boone and Shannon and they get chased.


I rewatched that bit several times and there is absolutely nothing there. One of the writers then says "Yeah, but you don't really see anything". Something tells me that's actually a large part of the monster's identity.


I definitely think it's subterranean.

Craig: Let's also not forget what Desmond asked Locke in the last episode:


"So the world's still out there?"


"As far as I know"

Mr Dan: My friend rogue_pigeon just noticed this little blooper when watching the 10th episode on Channel 4.

http://www.hatelife.... .../lost1.JPG
http://www.hatelife.... .../lost2.JPG

Notice how they've used almost the exact same set for the scenes but changes a few cosmetics.

Craig: Okay guys, I have an interesting fact I picked up about Episode 2 of this season. When Jin is running towards Sawyer and Michael he's screaming "Stay away! Stay away! Infection! Infection!"


Anyway, that's Episode 3 out of the way. Any thoughts?


I particularly liked Locke's father saying "You needed a father figure" rather than admitting he's Locke's dad. As for everything else... yeah, whatever. I'm just not sure where this is all going. Explaining it as some secret lab is fine. But I think we're being strung along again as to what this is all really about (the fact these guys were put on the island for a reason).

Craig: Also, here's Amazon's description of the book Desmond made reference to:


"The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers."

Mr Dan: We still have no idea what the "incident" was that was mentioned on the projection, and the whole electromagnetic anomoly hasn't been explained either.

Maybe they were tampering with something that shouldn't have been tampered with.

Maybe they found an alien spaceship under the island and somehow set it's self destruct off.

You've just got to love Locke more and more with every trackback of his story. He's just had such a crappy life and it seems like the island has given him some hope. I really liked the part when he was telling Jack that he needed help and that he couldn't do the job alone. I wonder what happened to his girlfriend as well, it must be connected to his paralysis.

Graham: Just wanted to point out Danger Island: http://www.imdb.com/... ...9/combined

NBC TV movie; was originally intended to be a TV show but the pilot never made it. Written by William Bleich, who also wrote Deadly Messages, which was directed by Jack Bender, and Jack Bender who is a Lost exec producer/director.

Mr Dan: "..cast upon a shore of mysterious island they discover dangerous creatures, exploding bananas..."

Ah yes. Must watch out for those exploding bananas.

Mr Dan: So...we still haven't met The Others yet and instead we've met a bunch of (angry) passengers. I find it interesting that a load of them have obviously died, added to the fact they live in a rundown bunker and Sayed suspects a nuclear meltdown i think they died of radiation poisoning.

Would explain the quarantine sign.



Or maybe you don't die of radiation poisoning, maybe you just mutate and become a super human "other." Who knows?



Glad to see it's back to character development. Also thought it was a nice poignant moment when we discovered Roses husband was alive.

Tom Francis: Yeah, The Others are Ethan and the dudes on the boat, I guess, whereas these guys are just assholes. By my count we've got five different groups of humans on the island now. I'm hoping the disease got the missing ones, because it's about time we found out something about that.



I have to say I'm with Jack on the button thing. In that situation I'd leave it. I wouldn't be in the bunker when the countdown ran out, sure, but I couldn't see it destroying the world if it doesn't get the number - why would you set up something like that? The video says because the last one went wrong - this would just be a new way for it do so. The only reason not to automate such a thing is if it's there to prove a human is present, which you'd want to do if you wanted to make sure they were there to do some other maintenance operation that can't be automated. They're not doing anything else, and nothing's blown up, so they should stop proving they're there.



Surprised Hurley was willing to type them in, too.



Things I'm interested in: The Monster, The Real Others, The Disease, What Happened To Locke. Things I'm not: The Other Survivors, The Bunker, Jack And Kate. Jack Or Kate, Really.

Mr Dan: I have to disagree, i think would press the buttons in his position. They've got nothing to lose by pressing the buttons, they've got plenty to lose if they don't press them though.


I don't see why they can't just make a computer program to do it though. I think the video said that there was an incident which meant they had to push the numbers in every 108 minutes. So basically something has become unstable and the numbers stabilise it, or the numbers keep something at bay.


I think a lot of the questions that have been answered in this series have took the show in a total different direction. It used to be that you could believe anything could happen in the show, but now it seems to be grounded in one place.

Craig: Can I please give a hearty FUCK OFF to Michelle Rodriguez? I'm tired of her playing the same tough bitch role in everything she's in now.

Peter: I agree with Craig! Michelle Rodriguez sucks, and so does her character! She deserves a smack as a reality check!

Tom Francis: Yeah, her character is just irritating in Lost. I don't think I know the actress from anything else, though. If you're referring to the actress, Peter, that's probably going to far. If you mean the character, though, that's not going far enough. Sawyer should kill her.

Fermata_Juice: Zeno - I had the same though - I found this page looking up "death of doctor island" +lost on Google.

Craig: I just got my PC back from the shop after it went bugfuck crazy on me. Can you guys help me by telling me what BitTorrent software yoy use to... erm... accrue episodes of LOST? I was using BitTornado but everytime I donloaded something my computer would never shut down when I turned it off. It would just stay on "Windows is now saving your settings..."


Email me at craiggilmore@gmail.com if it helps.

Mr Dan: http://azureus.sourc... ...forge.net/



Azureus is usually said to be the best.

Craig: Just downloaded and tried Azureus and it's doing the same thing :(

Jason L: It's probably due to bugfuck crazy, not Bittorrent per se. XP has a penchant for slowing down shutdowns, often without provocation and on the machines of the just (knowledgeable) and unjust (n00b) alike. Very few of the stories online seem to have happy endings. A coworker's machine had the same problem, and after a day of work I eventually had to resort to a reinstall of Windows. The only tip I can give is that the "freeze at 'saving settings'" seems to be fundamentally different from, and have more solutions than, the "freeze at 'shutting down'", so include that string in your Googling. Godspeed. Also, yes, Azureus really stands out from the pack.

Graham: http://www.utorrent.com/

Was using BitTornado till I found this a couple weeks ago. Includes pretty much all the useful features from Azureus, but gets rid of the clutter and uses only around 4MB of memory regardless of how many torrents you're running at once.

Graham: Somewhere, at some point, someone involved with Lost - Lindelof or JJ - said that the entire mystery could be explain with science.

I figure this has to be some sort of general concept which, when applied to the show, explains the philosophy behind certain events. I can't imagine that there is a specific scientific logic behind all of it, down to the fine details.

Thusly, I posit that the show is based around Newton's Third Law of Motion - 'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction' - and Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Bear with me. This is all fairly tenuous, probably.

Basically, there seems to be a correlation between a bunch of events in the show, where while one thing happens to one character, the opposite happens to another. Examples:

Claire looking to give up her unborn child, only to decide not to in the end.
Michael, in an eerily similar lawyer's office, fighting to keep his child, only to decide not to in the end.

Charlie not going to go through with conning someone out of their money, only to change his mind in the end and do it.
Sawyer going to go through with conning someone out of their money, only to change his mind in the end and NOT do it.


Shannon's dad being involved in a head-on collision with another driver, and being instantly killed. The woman involved in the collision was Jack's future wife, who would afterward mysteriously regain her ability to walk.
The man who first heard the numbers and used them to win a game at a county fair being involved in a head-on car crash only to survive without a scratch on him, while the woman involved - admittedly in the same car as him - losing her leg.

Locke mysteriously beginning to lose his ability to walk on the island again, only to regain it after Boone loses his ability to walk due to his leg being crushed (and then he eventually lost his life, admittedly).

Sayid saving the first woman he loved from a firing squad in Iraq.
The second woman Sayid loved, Shannon, getting shot in the chest mere moments after he told her he loved her.

Hurley winning the lottery and becoming rich.
Shannon losing all the money she had and becoming poor.

Charlie and Sayid getting Claire's baby back from the French Woman.
Walt being taken from Michael.

There are loads of others I'm sure I'm forgetting, but you get the picture.

As for the involvement of the Theory of Relativity: The theory was conceived in order to explain the fact that electromagnetic waves do not conform to the Newtonian laws of motion.

And what's in the island? A big as magnet.

Tenuous, but I can't help but feel there's too much here for it to be coincidence.

Perhaps entering the numbers balances things out. If the numbers do something good, then the machine when activated makes sure to cause something appropriately bad to balance things out. However, the events caused by the machine aren't in effect on the island itself.

So, for example, Locke losing his ability to walk (perhaps due to Jack's future wife regaining hers) might have been caused by the activation of the Numbers Machine. But now he's on the island, he can walk again.

Hurley's bad luck? Caused by the Numbers Machine, but now he's on the island he's experiencing bad luck considerably less frequently - and any bad luck you could say he has isn't directly centered around him, but everyone on the island.

Maybe there's more, I don't know. But this is my one big crazy obsessive theory, and I'm throwing it out there.

Graham: Argh! That lack of line breaks! Posting this again, and trusting that Tom shall delete the previous entry.



Somewhere, at some point, someone involved with Lost - Lindelof or JJ - said that the entire mystery could be explain with science.



I figure this has to be some sort of general concept which, when applied to the show, explains the philosophy behind certain events. I can't imagine that there is a specific scientific logic behind all of it, down to the fine details.



Thusly, I posit that the show is based around Newton's Third Law of Motion - 'Every action has an equal and opposite reaction' - and Einstein's Theory of Relativity.



Bear with me. This is all fairly tenuous, probably.



Basically, there seems to be a correlation between a bunch of events in the show, where while one thing happens to one character, the opposite happens to another. Examples:



Claire looking to give up her unborn child, only to decide not to in the end.

Michael, in an eerily similar lawyer's office, fighting to keep his child, only to decide not to in the end.



Charlie not going to go through with conning someone out of their money, only to change his mind in the end and do it.

Sawyer going to go through with conning someone out of their money, only to change his mind in the end and NOT do it.




Shannon's dad being involved in a head-on collision with another driver, and being instantly killed. The woman involved in the collision was Jack's future wife, who would afterward mysteriously regain her ability to walk.

The man who first heard the numbers and used them to win a game at a county fair being involved in a head-on car crash only to survive without a scratch on him, while the woman involved - admittedly in the same car as him - losing her leg.



Locke mysteriously beginning to lose his ability to walk on the island again, only to regain it after Boone loses his ability to walk due to his leg being crushed (and then he eventually lost his life, admittedly).



Sayid saving the first woman he loved from a firing squad in Iraq.

The second woman Sayid loved, Shannon, getting shot in the chest mere moments after he told her he loved her.



Hurley winning the lottery and becoming rich.

Shannon losing all the money she had and becoming poor.



Charlie and Sayid getting Claire's baby back from the French Woman.

Walt being taken from Michael.



There are loads of others I'm sure I'm forgetting, but you get the picture.



As for the involvement of the Theory of Relativity: The theory was conceived in order to explain the fact that electromagnetic waves do not conform to the Newtonian laws of motion.



And what's in the island? A big ass magnet.



Tenuous, but I can't help but feel there's too much here for it to be coincidence.



Perhaps entering the numbers balances things out. If the numbers do something good, then the machine when activated makes sure to cause something appropriately bad to balance things out. However, the events caused by the machine aren't in effect on the island itself.



So, for example, Locke losing his ability to walk (perhaps due to Jack's future wife regaining hers) might have been caused by the activation of the Numbers Machine. But now he's on the island, he can walk again.



Hurley's bad luck? Caused by the Numbers Machine, but now he's on the island he's experiencing bad luck considerably less frequently - and any bad luck you could say he has isn't directly centered around him, but everyone on the island.



Maybe there's more, I don't know. But this is my one big crazy obsessive theory, and I'm throwing it out there.

Johnj: I'm afraid I'm about to blow the entire series out of the water. When Walt is in the airport with his dad, he asks for "batteries" for his gameboy sp. Clearly, a gameboy sp only has a battery, and its a lithium one at that.

You lose lost, you lose.

:(

Alex Holland: We've just finished watching Series 1 on terrestrial telly. We're really not sure we can be arsed with series 2. I love the character development, but all the pseudo-mystical bullshit is getting me down; this is particularly annoying, as Locke was one of my favourite characters before he dissappeared up his own third-eye.

So; should I watch series 2, or will it just piss me off even more?

I also spotted the Gameboy slip-up, and it planted the seeds of skepticism in my mind. I then looked up the dates of the invention of dynamite and the dates of the abolition of slavery, and that doesn't sync either. The discoverer of Nitro Glycerine didn't blow himself up either. Ahh! The whole thing ruined by one simple research cock-up that the actor playing Walt probably could have pointed out anyway.

Craig: I don't get the Gameboy comment...

Jason L: They're just harping on a boo-boo one of the writers made. The Gameboy in question is an SP, and one of the major upgrades from GBA to GBA SP was the change to an internal lithium-ion battery. You don't buy packaged batteries for an SP, you recharge it, so the kid asking for batteries looks silly to those in the know.



Could go either way on the second series, I'd say; there is, for example, an out-and-out magical/supernatural monster now, but people do seem to be playing Prophets and Seers a bit less than they were. I'm not really following the show until it's on DVD, so I may just have missed a series of lectures on karma as it relates to potato chips, shrug.



20060208: Bet you're regretting that crack about time-traveling radios now, eh Tom? :)

Jason L: Oh yes, also... I thought there was a link to this beguiling theory somewhere in this topic, but apparently not. Some or most is completely off the deep end - in an inversion of Heinlein's Razor I always prefer to believe "something went wrong" or "someone's crazy" over elements like Omniscient Telepathic Cyberscientist Hiveminds - but the magnetic field and satellite orbital stuff ties in...interestingly.

Tom Francis: It was in my side-bar links a long time ago, I believe. I've now joined the bloated ranks of those who feel their interest in Lost's mysteries has been overmilked to the point at which the squeezing is no longer a pleasurable sensation. They have so many mysteries to draw on and so many new ones to introduce that the elongation of uneventful or isolated subplots, mixed with uninspired re-hash flashbacks from characters about whom we already know more than we care to, is just draining. I'll keep following it in case they do something bold, but it hasn't excited me in a long time now.

Jason L: 070214 - Well, that was a wonderfully frightening braintwist.

Finally, On Lost, by Tom Francis: [...] there was a time when Lost was so exciting I’d blog about it here. When a series loses its way, as pretty much all of them have to in the merciless [...]