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."