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"Whisper my name to the stars"

A few genre notes:

The Guardian recently ran an interesting article by author Margaret Atwood: see "Aliens Have Taken the Place of Angels": Why We Need Science Fiction.

And speaking of science fiction, I recommend the short film EPIC 2014. I plan to show it to my first-year students as an introductory example of recent SF in which no spaceship launches, alien attacks, or explosion... well, explodes. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!) The film's explicit homage to 1984, for good or ill, is particularly noteworthy.

HogwartsProfessor.com has been updated to include new content regarding Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

My quote of the day requires some background information. Think Lost in Space, the original series (1965-1968). (For a nostalgia-inducing picture gallery, see here. For more information on Lost in Space, see here.) Three decades after Lost on Space left the air, actor Bill Mumy (the original Will Robinson) wrote a dark and tragic song about what happened to those aboard the Jupiter 2 years after the events depicted in the series. The song, entitled "The Ballad of William Robinson," not only explains the premise of the show, but also possesses the same serious, somber tone of the first episodes of the series, before it became truly campy. I grew up on Lost in Space reruns and really love the song (and wish it had launched a thousand fanfics). Lately it's been on my mind, so I offer it as a quote for the day.

Show me mercy in this universe, or show me God's true face.
Whisper my name to the stars for I am lost in space.

from Bill Mumy, "The Ballad of William Robinson"

"The Ballad of William Robinson" by Bill Mumy

My name is William Robinson: I'm 42 years old.
I've seen the hot side of the sun. I've seen blue icy cold.
I've shot the one-eyed giant down with laser in my hand,
But I'll never see my home again on walk on Earth's green land.

In 1997 we set out on the Jupiter 2,
Bound for Alpha Centauri, my family and small crew.
We ran into a meteor storm - the wrong time, the wrong place.
It's been six months and thirty years that we've been lost in space.

My father died five years ago. There was no better man than he.
My mother's never been the same, and now it's up to me.
Our pilot is a handsome man, my sisters both could tell.
And Dr. Smith will get us killed and that may be just as well.

I've worked the mines of many worlds for fuel to power our ship.
I have a robot for a friend and helper on our trip.
I'm sending out this message now from this ungodly place
In hopes someone will rescue us from being lost in space.

My name is William Robinson and I'll never take a wife.
No children will I father. I have no normal life.
Show me mercy in this universe, or show me God's true face.
Whisper my name to the stars for I am lost in space.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
Wow, that EPIC movie was fascinating. May I repost the link for others to check out?
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you found it interesting, too! Please do repost - thanks for your kind reply! :)
Jul. 11th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
Jul. 11th, 2005 09:28 pm (UTC)
You bet! :)
Jul. 11th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
But I'll never see my home again on walk on Earth's green land. oh! *sniff*

am definitely going to check out EPIC when i get the chance. :D *saves link*
Jul. 11th, 2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
oh! *sniff*

Isn't it a sad little piece? :-/ In that morose kind of way that I love, of course. ;-)

I hope you like EPIC. It's about 8 minutes long, I think, and quite interesting.
Jul. 11th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC)
Holds up a lighter

IIRC, you've seen him play it live. That's heartwrenching.
Jul. 12th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
Yes indeed! At Shoreleave in MD one year. It was amazing. Alas, I didn't get to hear "Fish Heads," though. ;)

Thanks for sharing my "lighter" moment. The song is really touching.
Jul. 12th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC)
Seems to be a 'filk' day - I almost emailed you earlier. By chance I took out a Dr. Demento CD and lo and behold, what was on it?... Deteriorata! Also, 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins' as sung (badly) by Leonard Nemoy. :::gah::: Heard that one?

Bill Mumy rocks. Although I'll admit, I completely missed out on the Lost in Space thing. I wasn't allowed TV as a child and when I started getting into stuff later, it wasn't really on anywhere. Guess who I zeroed in on when I did watch some of it? Not hard to figure out - In more recent years, I thought Gary Oldman was brilliant casting. ;-)
Jul. 12th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
Okay, I am officially in love with your icon. I want to send it fan letters and join its fan club. You've just stepped over from brilliance into true genius with that one. It's taking a lot of self discipline to stop looking at it and keep typing. :)

Ah, "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"! Yikes! What a song. I have heard that one. I am SO impressed that you have "Deteriorata": I have the words, but not the song, except in an old VHS version of a songvid (Pros, in fact). It is just too funny.

I do agree that Oldman was brilliant casting, though he made a very different type of Dr. Smith. (I certainly didn't object to the difference!) My main problem with the casting was with William Hurt, who is great in some roles, but not quite right for that one. I suppose you could "read" the ballad as commenting on the movieverse version, if you like. (I liked how so many of the original cast members made cameos in the movie version, especially Mark Goddard, who is almost freakishly young looking and dashing for his age, even now.) I really appreciate how the ballad darkens the vision of the whole storyline.

Jul. 12th, 2005 02:43 am (UTC)
Are you a Babylon 5 fan? It has aliens-as-angels AND Bill Mumy! (He plays Lennier.) It owes a lot to Lord of the Rings, and it's probably the best sci-fi series ever, even with the rough spots towards the end (caused by uncertainty as to whether the series would in fact have a fifth season at all).
Jul. 12th, 2005 11:04 am (UTC)
I love Babylon 5! And Lennier is one of my favorite characters (along with G'Kar and Delenn). It was such an excellent series. Thanks for bringing it up - especially during my Bill Mumy mood! ;)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )