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First, please excuse the shameless self-promotion, but I invite you to check out the following:

New today, I'm revisiting an idea I've played with before, this time on Pop Thought, a site I really enjoy: "Beam Me Up, King Arthur?!?! Or How the Five Incarnations of Star Trek Reflect Arthurian Legend."

And, from the sublime to the banal... It's not quite as new, but it's back on my mind after discussions at PhreakNIC 8. From this summer's Revolution Science Fiction: "Sci-Fi and Fantasy Hunks" (The Definitive Countdown List, 1964-2004).



Second, something that I had no hand in whatsoever, but highly recommend: Slashdot's October 20th interview with author Neal Stephenson. When asked who would win in a fight, William Gibson (the father of cyberpunk) or himself (the reigning king of cyberpunk), Stephenson responded with what may be the best interview answer ever. Ever. This interview is also noteworthy for his discussion of "Dante writers," "Beowulf writers," and the bifurcation of literature.



My quotes for the day revisit the Arthurian/Star Trek connection I suggest in the Pop Thought article. First, in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, Arthur describes the Round Table as "... the fairest fellowship of noble knights that ever held Christian king together." In this comment he implies that he is being held together by his knights, that it is their strength that propels the court, and that he is simply the center that receives and directs the knights' actions.

Similarly, in the Star Trek novel The Wounded Sky, Diane Duane writes of a Captain Kirk who is overwhelmed by the talents manifested by his crew. He decides that he, like Malory's Arthur, is being held together by those he commands. "Maybe I don't need to add anything, though," he says. "My art is to be at the center..."

I can only imagine that the grief Malory describes as Arthur contemplates losing his Round Table to the Grail Quest anticipates what Kirk's reaction would have been if he'd had to watch his crew scattered to the winds: "I have loved them as well as my life, wherefore it shall grieve me right sore, the departition of this fellowship; for I have had an old custom to have them in my fellowship."

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
helveticat
Oct. 29th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC)
I love this!

Gibson and I dueled among blazing stacks of books for a while. Slowly I gained the upper hand, for, on defense, his Praying Mantis style was no match for my Flying Cloud technique. But I lost him behind a cloud of smoke.

*dies*

Thanks for the hilarious link. I now want to marry Neal. :-)

eldritchhobbit
Oct. 29th, 2004 01:40 pm (UTC)
Isn't he the best? I couldn't stop laughing. And how about this:

As a stalemate developed we began to resort more and more to the use of pure energy, modulated by Red Lotus incantations of the third Sung group, which eventually to the collapse of the building's roof and the loss of eight hundred lives. But as they were only peasants, we did not care.

Does it get any better?!?

Thanks for sharing in the fun with me! :-)


vaklam
Oct. 29th, 2004 03:32 pm (UTC)
Very cool stuff. Thanks for the links.

I had read the Stephenson interview and I really like it. It's a lot like his books: Very long, full of digressions, interesting and funny.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 29th, 2004 06:09 pm (UTC)
Hi there! You may have been the one who told me about the Stephenson interview, actually, now that I think about it: I know I heard about it this past weekend at PhreakNIC while chatting over by Melissa's art table! :) So thanks!
randomalia
Oct. 30th, 2004 04:59 pm (UTC)
Gosh, aren't you prolific! Very interesting articles!

Similarly, in the Star Trek novel The Wounded Sky, Diane Duane writes of a Captain Kirk who is overwhelmed by the talents manifested by his crew. He decides that he, like Malory's Arthur, is being held together by those he commands. "Maybe I don't need to add anything, though," he says. "My art is to be at the center..."

I find that to be a very interesting idea in regards to the star trek captains. There seems to be a nice duality in the way they lead their crew, but it is the crew that (in some ways) lead the captain, by creating the structure. I'm not sure if I explained that clearly :p Anyway, of all the captains, it seems least true for Janeway, for me. I think in some ways she is removed from that centre, and for her that idea of 'the ship as Guinevere' is really very strong - or more generally the ship as character (my knowledge of Arthurian legend is sadly lacking). All the captains have strong bonds to their ships/station, but Voyager seems to be a character in its own right, and it is in Voyager that Janeway places her 'centre'.

And the list of Hunks? Could not agree more with number 1 :D If only George Lucas had given scriptwriting duties to another.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 31st, 2004 05:19 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! The Arthurian piece is mostly a revision/updating of an older scholarly article I published some time ago, so I'm not quite as prolific as it looks. :) But I appreciate your kind words nonetheless!

You bring up a really interesting point about Janeway, and the more I think on it, the more I agree with you. As the series progressed she seemed more and more distanced from the crew emotionally, rather isolated (by her own choice), and I think that reflects what you said about her drawing to Voyager -- and/or maybe the idea of Voyager? and the idea of Starfleet and "the system" it represented? I don't want to put words in your mouth here -- instead of the crew for her "center."

For example, her non-fraternization policy, which I suppose broke down eventually in the Paris/Torres case, but never broke down for Janeway herself, seems rather ludicrous on a ship that faced a potential half-century trip back to Federation space. Yet she appeared to draw strength from the regulations, as others might draw strength from personal friendships. That's not to say she didn't have friendships, but I'm not sure she had the same kind of connections we see with Kirk and Spock or McCoy, or Picard and Guinan, or Sisko and Dax, or Archer and Trip. But with Voyager itself... very interesting point!

And the list of Hunks? Could not agree more with number 1 :D If only George Lucas had given scriptwriting duties to another.

LOL! :) I know I want to have my cake and eat it too, criticizing Lucas so strongly for not providing more quality Qui-Gon time when in fact there would be no Qui-Gon without Lucas in the first place. But still, when I think of all the minutes we lost with silly Jar-Jar moments or redundant, elaborate special effects... *sigh* Ah well, that's what novels and fan fiction are for, right? Thanks for checking out the list and for your wonderful feedback.
randomalia
Nov. 1st, 2004 05:49 pm (UTC)
As the series progressed she seemed more and more distanced from the crew emotionally, rather isolated (by her own choice), and I think that reflects what you said about her drawing to Voyager -- and/or maybe the idea of Voyager? and the idea of Starfleet and "the system" it represented? I don't want to put words in your mouth here -- instead of the crew for her "center."

Yes! Voyager as a representation of starfleet? Voyager as home, even. I'm thinking of one episode in particular - Year of Hell, perhaps - where Janeway tells Tuvok that she can't leave Voyager alone, that it was more than a ship. In that same episode the parallels between Voyager and Janeway are fairly strong: when part of the ship catches fire, janeway is left with the burn scars; when the janeway dies, it is when the ship is destroyed. There's also the episode where the ship gets a biological infection, again distancing it from being merely a bucket of bolts.

:)
eldritchhobbit
Nov. 2nd, 2004 07:13 am (UTC)
Great examples! You're quite right. It's almost a physical connection the two have -- or the physical mirrors the emotional. Great stuff. Thank you!
fungus_files
Nov. 2nd, 2004 09:03 pm (UTC)
cannot resist the sci-fi fantasy hunks listing...! in fact, can't resist any listing. it's a sickness.

hey, I am not as geeky as I'd like to think cos I didn't know some of the guys in the list...! glad to see that Apollo (who was always my fave too) made it to the list. "wounded white knight"...sigh... and I fancied Giles too - it's the accent I tells ya.

I had a couple of others to add (rather silly ones; by character name):

* Arnold Rimmer from _Red Dwarf_ - he has the letter "H" permanently attached to his forehead, he's prissy, uptight, fancies himself something chronic, and cries like a baby. what's not to love? :)

* Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) in _Charlie and the Chocolate Factory_ - purple velvet suit, singing, wild and woolly sarcasm. loved him.
eldritchhobbit
Nov. 3rd, 2004 04:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for letting me tempt you and your list-lovin' nature! LOL.

hey, I am not as geeky as I'd like to think cos I didn't know some of the guys in the list...!

LOL! Well, they're all spread out over five decades, for starters. If there are any unknowns you're interested in seeing, let me know and I'll be glad to send you pictures or links to pictures. I'd hate to think you didn't get the maximum hunkage out of the list experience. ;)

Love your pics. The letter "H" really does it for Arnold Rimmer, I must say, and what's not to love about a man who has a CHOCOLATE factory, after all? I mean, what's sexier than chocolate? Except more chocolate, of course. *wink* Thanks!
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