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"handfuls of dust and splinters of bone"

You may remember that The Prisoner is perhaps my favorite television series of all time (I have a list of some of my favorite quotes from the series here). Now Powys Media is publishing a new line of six novels set during the run of The Prisoner series. The first book, The Prisoner's Dilemma by Jonathan Blum and Rupert Booth, is available for pre-order. It's good to see such evidence of continued interest in the series more than thirty-five years after its original run.

(And for those of you who share my appreciation for actor John Castle, I would point out that he guest starred in The Prisoner episode "The General." You can see screencaps here.)

And now for my quote of the day. I have George Orwell on my mind, as I am teaching 1984 at present. This haunting passage reminds me of themes revisited in The Prisoner:

You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while, you will be caught, and then you will die. Those are the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part it in as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation to generation.

- George Orwell, 1984


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC)
I keep hearing rumours that they're doing a Hollywood version of The Prisoner. I'm not sure that I'm too excited, knowing Hollywood, they'll remove everything subtle and ironic and it'll just be another spy type film. However, I can hope... *g*
Jan. 29th, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean -- it's with half fear and half excitement that I greet that kind of news. I suppose a deciding factor in the overall quality and tone would be whether or not Patrick McGoohan, the original mind behind the series, got to have any say in the script, casting, direction, etc., if only from the sidelines. The message of the series certainly seems as relevant today as it did in the late sixties, if someone would be willing to recapture it. ::fingers crossed:
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Jan. 29th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I think Orwell should make one's heart weigh a thousand pounds. I think of Carolyn Forche's line of poetry that says "There is nothing one man will not do to another," and then I think Orwell reflects how subtly and terribly this can be true, especially with a powerful state behind some men, giving them more power to do against others. If Orwell's vision was grim, the 20th century's history was even grimmer in many ways. But the up side is that dystopia is a call to action rather than despair. It least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night, whether Big Brother is watching or not! I certainly agree with you that authors like Eco hit in a very different way.
Jan. 29th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
How bleak! I've been meaning ang meaning to read 1984, especially with the whole 'Big Brother' and reality TV craze.
I love Animal Farm :)It gets the flaws of Communism so perfectly. It's so simple that I can read it with my wee brother and explain Russian history to him (LOL! We are a nerdy family)
Jan. 29th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
I agree 100% about Animal Farm. What a work of genius! And it's very useful now for discussing communism with those too young to remember or appreciate the Cold War. It's also just a great perspective on human nature, I think: the "some are more equal than others" perspective seems to crop up all over the place! Three cheers for nerdy families! :)
Jan. 29th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
Yes! As onegoat said, that is quite bleak! Oddly it really improved my mood! LOL! It reminded me of where my head has been for the last few days, and how far from what I really believe to be true it actually is! Good timing (((EH)))!
Jan. 29th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
((Estellye))! I'm so glad it worked for you. :) I have a high tolerance for bleakness myself -- I think it's the years with Native American history that have done that -- but sometimes a dystopian vision, a loud voice of warning, puts everything back into perspective. The Prisoner was a fairly bleak show, in fact, now that I think of it. Anyway, I'm glad my timing was good! I'm sending positive thoughts your way. :)
Jan. 29th, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
perhaps it's a symptom of my well-tended inner-cynic but the quote didn't bother me as much as confirm what I think about some trends in politics and culture, and the ongoing numbing effect of materially acquisitive societies/nations. sorry. won't turn this into a ranty-rant. love reading yr posts. always give me food for thought.

and a laugh - you and your John Castle fetish. it's beautiful. :)
Jan. 30th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)
as much as confirm what I think about some trends in politics and culture

Ah, so you have an inner cynic too, I see. Ours should have coffee together sometime! (Flat white, you know, not latte.)

you and your John Castle fetish. it's beautiful. :)

LOL! And it's twenty years old, believe it or not. But least I'm consistent, I guess! :) Thanks for your patience with it. And as always, it's fantastic to hear from you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )