Tag: science fiction

Good Bye, Sarah Jane Smith 20110423

Most of you that read my posts know that I am an avid fan of Doctor Who.  I am not ashamed of that at all, and like the new ones very much, but they are not anything like the classic ones that ran from 1963 to around 1980 or so.  Those ones had the classic Doctors, Hartnell, Throughtan, Pertwee, and especially Baker.

They all had companions.  I liked lots of them, Jamie, Granddaughter (Susan, and they still have not explained that companion, his first, from 1963!).  But the most wonderful companion was Sarah Jane Smith, an investigative journalist.  She way played by the extremely attractive Elisabeth Sladen, who just departed from us this week.  Not only was she a companion for over three and one half years, she, unique of all others, returned many times to reprise the same character.  She was 65 years old, and had been married to the same man since 1968.

Popular Culture 20100428: One of the Good Guys, George Takei

You have to love George Takei.  Not only is he an excellent actor, he has what one might call “personality”.  He also has an Arkansas link to me, and this sort of exposes the foul underbelly of racial prejudice.

He was born in 1937 of American and Japanese ancestry, putting him well into the Social Security crowd now.  I really like the new adverts that he does for the TeeVee manufacturer.  He is looking more youthful now than he has for several years.

Pony Party: Science Fiction Cats

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Pony Party is an Open Thread.  Please do not rec the party: but please contribute your own favorite sf stuff in the comments.

20,000 Years of Memory. 20091202

I have not told you very much about myself, actually.  But I will tell you what it has like to have been a woman for untold centuries.  It sucks.  Not because that I do not like my sexuality, in fact I really am comfortable with it (I would not be a man for anything), but how we as an important part of society have been treated.

With the gift, I have been able not only to be an historian, but actually wrote down much of it (we Neanderthals DID have the written word) and remember it.  Part of the gift is complete memory.  By the way, NEVER wish for that.  There are thousands of things in my memory that I would prefer to extinguish.  Give thanks for putting bad things out of your mind.  If you ever get the gift, not only will those memories come back, but the ones of those in my lineage, or of the half a dozen of my kind.

Twenty Thousand Years of Memory 20091127

I mentioned the memory thing.  That is the strangest, other than living for so long, thing.  Those of us who have been given the gift hold memories, or at least fragments of them, from our predecessors.

I have not been specific about how this gift is transferred, but suffice it to say that it is nothing like a “bite on the neck” that does it.  I requires hours of extremely intimate contact, some, but not all of it, sexual.

Twenty Thousand Years of Memory 20091125

You do not know what it was like.  What you now know of as central Europe was cold as cold could be.  My people lived there.  We were Neanderthals.  Most moderns think that we were stupid.  We were not.

Nor did we look “odd” to you.  The skeletons that you moderns found were from our elders, and after three or four hundreds of years, of course they look primitive.  I assure you that they were not.  They were our elders that passed on the genetic trait of longevity that I have.

As long as its beautiful, its fine

Casting the Beauty Platform Diaires

NB. Most link collections like these look back. This one looks ahead to diaries posted following this one.

Utsukushikereba sore de ii Ishikawa Chiaki

As long as its beautiful, its fine

(Lady Elwin’s Translation)

~the countless flowers enveloped in light

gaze at tomorrow with eyes free of doubt~

everyone wishes for me to be pure, but

waiting in the sky that’s about to be worn out

picking flowers to make them their own

they’re all just sinful people

I stopped making promises with the future

because even if I try to run far away from pain

look, the chill wind is shaking my hair

where should I search for the answer?

even if I take a break from this selfish destiny

I feel as if somewhere I was saved

as if one day even this past that can’t be remade

can be put away in a small box

the countless flowers enveloped in light

gaze at tomorrow with eyes free of doubt

the white bell that quietly overlooks us

as long as it’s beautiful, it’s fine

is this the dream’s continuation?

is this a dream I won’t awaken from?

I murmured countless times

I stopped making promises with the future

because even if I try to run far away from pain

look, the chill wind is shaking my hair

where should I search for the answer?

… but of course, with translations, YMMV … this is the translation done by the fans of the anime that used this as an opening song:

Connie Willis and why she’s fabulous

When you despair, as I do, frequently, of what will become of you…

When you are out of work and have no money to pay the rent…

When your boss is a tyrant and you don’t know how you can last another day…

When the politics finally has you beaten down because the idiots outnumber you…

There is an answer.  Albeit a temporary answer…an answer nonetheless…

And her name is Connie Willis.

Connie is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met…and I consider it an incredible privilege that I was able to meet her at all…at a few cocktail parties, years ago.  She probably doesn’t remember me, but that’s all right.

She is a brilliant writer.  That’s all that matters.

More below the fold.

Profiles in Literature: Karel Capek

Greetings, literature-loving Dharmists! (do we have a group name yet?)  This is a crosspost of my dailykos series, profiling famous and not-so-famous names in literary history.  Last week we spent time in West Africa with the former president of Senegal, who also happened to be a cultural theorist and excellent poet.  Our subject this week was also involved with politics, although on a much more modest scale: he was friend and informal adviser to Czechoslovakia’s first elected president, Tomáš Masaryk

Since the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina two years ago this week, one of this author’s novels has become uncomfortable to read, because he had once imagined in agonizing detail the destruction of the Gulf Coast due to humanity’s meddling with nature.  Join me below for an extended discussion with a true visionary, and one of the foremost liberal humanists of the 20th century.