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Halloween Countdown, Day 2

The PotterWatch 2011 scholarly conference was fantastic! Cheers to everyone involved. It was especially great to see gods_lil_rocker again and meet amedia in person at last.

Don't miss book blogger Book Chick City's annual All Hallow's Eve event, which runs for the entire month of October and celebrates all things that go bump in the night! Check it out here (or on Livejournal, bookchickcity).

What's the most Halloween-friendly television show currently on the air? For my money, it's Fringe.

Here's the trailer for the new fourth season of Fringe:

View the famous/infamous "Friday Night Re-animation" trailer for Fringe.

Text of the Day: For a limited time (that is, until Thursday, 6 October), my essay "In Search of Fringe's Literary Ancestors" (from Fringe Science: Parallel Universes, White Tulips, and Mad Scientists, 2011) is available online in its entirety from Smart Pop Books. Whether or not you like/know Fringe, I invite you to check it out, as it covers Shelley, Poe, Lovecraft, and other Halloween-friendly topics. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

So, if you'll kindly excuse my self-indulgence, let's delve into the spooky ancestors of a spooky series...

In this segment, Abrams explains that the original vision for the series entailed revisiting “the Frankenstein idea, but told as legitimately as possible.” Telling the story “legitimately” included updating a central character by turning the aristocratic Genevan medical student Victor Frankenstein into the eccentric U.S. scientist Dr. Walter Bishop. Like Victor, Walter shuns the scientific consensus of the day, following his own genius into unorthodox, even illegal experimentation.

It’s easy to see parallels between the two characters.... To reach their desired goals, both use unethical methods. Victor plunders fresh graves to find human body parts for his laboratory and refuses to provide even the most basic of necessities to the life he creates. Walter escalates experiments with nootropic drugs on innocent children, leaving them with after-effects that continue into adulthood, and wholly ignores warnings that acting on his untested theories could, as his assistant Carla Warren tells him, “rupture the fundamental constants of nature” (“Peter,” 2-16). Furthermore, each genius single-handedly makes decisions that determine the fate of many. Victor’s neglected creation slays his friends and family members. Walter’s recklessness costs the life of his assistant, drives his wife to suicide, and plunges an alternate world into chaos.

Perhaps most importantly, both Victor and Walter are haunted by their past scientific endeavors, pursued by the evidence of their own mistakes. Everywhere Victor looks, he finds the creature. Everywhere Walter looks, he finds evidence of an upcoming violent collision between our Universe and the other one Over There, a cataclysm that he set in motion when he opened the door between worlds and took the alternate Peter as his own son. Neither Victor nor Walter can escape the consequences of science pursued with intellectual arrogance, personal selfishness, and moral unaccountability. It’s all too appropriate that Peter asks Olivia in that first episode: “You’re telling me what? My father was Dr. Frankenstein?”

Read the complete essay.

Tomorrow, back to classic texts!

Bonus quote:
Dr. Walter Bishop: When the Victoria, the last surviving ship, returned to its harbor of departure after the first circumnavigation of the earth, only 18 of the original 237 men were on board.
Small Child: What happened to them?
Dr. Walter Bishop: They all died, young lady. Horrible and most likely painful deaths. You see, when you open new doors, there is a price to pay. Now imagine... tonight, you look under your bed, and, lo and behold, you find a monster! And you're immediately eaten. Now, if you hadn't looked for the monster, you wouldn't have found it and you'd still be happy in your bed, instead of being slowly digested in the stomach sack of the creature. But, with any luck, your sister or your brothers might have heard your screams, and your endeavor will serve as a valuable lesson to them.
- from "What Lies Below," Fringe


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I hugely enjoyed Potterwatch and a big highlight was getting to meet you in person! (Another one was hearing your paper.)

I was still too excited to go to sleep when I got back to my room last night, so I sat down and wrote up a detailed report of the conference while it was still fresh in my mind. Looking back over it this morning, I realize it was more frank than diplomatic in a couple of places! But I think it still conveys what a positive experience it was.

That excerpt from your essay on Fringe is tantalizing. Definitely gonna d/load! And I remember that "bonus quote" at the end of your post, because even though I don't watch it regularly, TODS called me in and said, "You've got to hear this!" and replayed that exact conversation for me. :-D
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC)
I loved your conference report! I was so impressed with what they'd accomplished, as a student organization, and in their very first year! Like you, I had a fantastic time. Your terrific presentation most definitely was one of the great highlights of the day.

Thanks a million for checking out the essay! I was very pleased that they put it up for a "sneak peek" this week. I hope you enjoy it. I got a great laugh over the fact TODS played that clip from Fringe for you. Great minds, eh? It was such a terrific scene.

I hope our paths cross in RL again very soon!
Oct. 2nd, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Saved the first two eps of the new season and watched them yesterday, finally. We are off to a good start but obviously the best is yet to come!

Glad the conference and your speech were a success.

Edited at 2011-10-02 03:43 pm (UTC)
Oct. 2nd, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm getting ready to watch the second ep this afternoon. I can't wait to see where they go this season. The first ep had me quite intrigued.

Thank you so much! It was really a terrific experience, and I was so tickled by the turnout/support of the audience for my talk. The other panels/presentations were fascinating, so I got a terrific day-full of HP goodness!

Edited at 2011-10-02 07:06 pm (UTC)
Travis Prinzi
Oct. 14th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
You know, I bailed on Fringe after season one. I've been told I should go back and try again. This convinced me to do it.
Oct. 16th, 2011 01:42 am (UTC)
Oh, this is great to hear! I hope you will give it another chance. It's matured into a truly stunning show, to my way of thinking.

I can't wait to see you soon. I have my costume for the day all ready! ;) Should be lots of fun.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )