The racers are on their marks at the starting line. Captain Picard has Data call up the course schematics onscreen. It's a winding, zigzagging course around the star that will take the racers about three days to traverse, a quick pace for a solar sail vessel. But, as Captain Picard says, “These are the best”. When Commander Riker asks him if he'd rather be “out there”, Jean-Luc replies that he already is. The Enterprise crew wishes all the competitors good luck in turn, but when they get to the Cynosure team, Deanna observes that they're without their sail technician. Will comments that the Kihin navigator must not have found him “to her taste”, to which Deanna replies “On the contrary...She found him very tasty indeed”. Meanwhile the Thubanir captain is still alive, though Deanna quips that it's still early yet.
After the pre-race formalities, the Alkamin captain informs the Enterprise crew that they've seen something unusual on the keel of the Scherdat crew's yacht. Captain Picard asks the Scherdat if they've modified their ship in any way, but the Scherdat captain responds in the negative. Worf scans the ship and finds something ...
2 months ago
Phil was nice enough to cite me in the most recent of his (wonderful) 'Proverbs of Hell' series. I just thought I'd be cheeky and repost a little reheated morsel of the stuff of mine that he referred to... because I think it's quite interesting.
In Hannibal Rising, the boy Hannibal emerges from privilege, from the Renaissance, from the Sforzas (a right bunch of bastards). But he also emerges from the aftermath of Barbarossa. His childhood tutor is a Jew who escaped the holocaust. He is adopted by a woman from Hiroshima. His early years are haunted by mention of the Nuremburg trials. He is born of the 20th century's ultimate horrors.
Cannibalism is part of WWII-Gothic. Most particularly Barbarossa-Gothic. Thanks the Siege of Leningrad, and to Andrei Chikatilo's (possibly bogus) childhood reminiscences, it is linked to the aftermath of the German invasion of the Soviet Union (see also Child 44). It is particularly appealing to the capitalist culture industries to depict the people of the Soviet Union preying upon each other "like monsters of the deep", for reasons which should be tediously obvious. Famine ...
FROMAGE: Cheese. Relating this directly to the episode contents is tricky - it’s most likely a reference to Franklyn’s declaration last episode that he and Hannibal are “cheese-folk,” although it’s certainly possible Fuller imagined this episode to be somehow cheesier than previous ones. I mean, it does involve opening people up and playing them like cellos.
The soft-focus montage of stringmaking plays out over an unusually harmonious bit of music, making this particular process of dismembering people and repurposing their bodies an oddly pleasant, idyllic thing. It is worth contrasting with Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in which his (non-murderous) printmaking process is detailed as the workings of “a printing press in hell,” whereas here infernal content is presented in more sacred terms.
ALANA BLOOM: Why are you assuming I don’t date?
WILL GRAHAM: Do you?
ALANA BLOOM: No. Feels like something for somebody else. I’m sure I’ll become that somebody some day but right now I think too much.
WILL GRAHAM: Are you going to try to think less or wait until it happens naturally?
ALANA BLOOM: I haven’t thought about it.
For the episode where the Will/Alanna sexual tension is finally grappled with ...
2 months, 1 week ago
A strange sort of episode from the perspective of what you might think of as the Eruditorum Press aesthetic. On the one hand, an episode in which the Doctor literally brings down capitalism; on the other, the most “gun” story since Resurrection of the Daleks. At the end of the day, my personal taste has always run a bit more “gun” than my ideological taste, so I’m pretty on-board with this, although I’m sure the paragraph that starts “but equally” will end up being interesting.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Mathieson writing this. For one thing, he’s proven himself to be quite good at writing gun. Never in quite so pure and frockless a way as here, but his Series 8 scripts’ reputation rests in part on the fact that they appealed to a particular type of traditionalist fan, and this is hitting many of the same notes. For another thing, he’s very good at developing fairly complex concepts. There’s an awful lot going on in this script, but Mathieson has an extremely deft touch in figuring out how much to develop and explain things. With both the voice controls and the fact that Bill’s suit doesn’t work like ...
2 months, 1 week ago
Helloesville, my little chickadees, have a 32nd Shabcast. Why not?
I'm joined by the ubiquitous Daniel Harper to talk about freedom of speech, its limits, its abuses, what it means to different people, etc.
This episode comes in at a comparatively brief 2hrs 20mins.
2 months, 1 week ago
Oh, yeah, I should probably announce this here instead of just uploading the file, huh? Anyway, our podcast on Knock Knock, unexpectedly featuring Seth Aaron Hershman instead of Kevin Burns, is now available for your listening pleasure. Or displeasure. Get it here.
2 months, 1 week ago
A sense of vastness and cosmic wonder. One almost expects a haunting synthesizer remix of “Space...The Final Frontier” to play over this resplendent scene of the Great Interstellar Dark. But instead, it's a caption box reciting John Masefield's “Sea-Fever”. Slightly stilted and hokey, but perhaps evocative in its own way.
A comforting sight, as the starship Enterprise slowly materializes for us out of the night, just as we remember. And alongside it another ship, resembling a giant dragonfly with weblike lattice wing-sails on either side.
On the Enterprise bridge, Captain Picard exposits to us that the crew has been assigned to serve as referee and security for the eighth leg of the Centauris' Cup solar sailing yacht race around GC 2006. Will and Deanna tell us about how solar sail craft were once the workhorses of the cargo merchant trade, but are only used as pleasure craft now. Deanna remarks on the romance of it all, but Data doesn't understand why anyone would want to willingly pilot a “fragile and technologically primitive” ship. Captain Picard explains the appeal lies in the subtle way solar sail ships handle, the prospect of friendly competition with other enthusiasts in ...
2 months, 2 weeks ago
SORBET: A frozen dessert made of sweetened, flavored water. In this case, it seems meant to suggest a palate cleanser, resetting the meal after the extremes of “Entrée.”
WILL GRAHAM: I use the term Sounders because it refers to a small group of pigs. That’s how he sees his victims. Not as people, not as prey. Pigs.
The particulars of what it means to see people as pigs is enormously vexed, and I can’t not gesture at my “Capitalist Pig” series of essays, the first two of which are focused specifically on this. Broadly, though, pigs are second only to monkeys as animals that symbolically reflect our own humanity back on us. They are also intimately connected with food - their two basic utilities to a culture are either as garbage disposal or as an exceedingly efficient food source. Much like the pig itself, every part of this dense nexus of meaning is used in the construction of the underlying metaphor here.
WILL GRAHAM: True to his established pattern, the Chesapeake Ripper has remained consistently theatrical.
“Theatrical” is an interesting description here, given that Hannibal’s medium is the fixed artistic tableau, as opposed to the visceral immediacy of live interaction ...