Viewing posts tagged davros

Tricky Dicky, Part 5: By Dissembling

This should be read as, in some ways, a continuation of the previous instalment.

I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time.

Richard III, I, I

Used as the epigraph to Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of 'Remembrance of the Daleks'


In Richard III, as I started to talk about last time (in Part 4), Richard draws upon his ‘deformity’ for an identity. As noted in a previous instalment, Richard is a narcissist (hardly an original observation) and a vital part of his narcissism is expressed in his concentration upon what he sees - or spins to us, the audience - as his own physical monstrosity. He concentrates on his physical ‘defects’, talking them up, poetically riffing on them and exaggerating them (if he were as monstrous as he says he is nobody would be able to look at him let alone accept him as colleague or husband) until ...

Insider Trading

Remember Lance Parkin's Big Finish audio 'Davros'?  It's quite good, isn't it... if far too long.  But he does some interesting stuff with Davros' backstory, subverting your expectations a bit.  (It's got really good music too.)

Interesting stuff in it.  The Doctor is depicted as wanting to stop the fall of the corporations.  And, actually, I can see his point. At the moment, anyway.  And as long as we're talking about a sudden, instant fall.   

Simply remove capitalism at the touch of a button today and human civilisation as it stands would fall, and the human race might die out... for much the same reason that the animals in a battery farm would all die if you murdered all the farm workers and the crime went undiscovered for weeks. As bad as it is, it is currently how things work. The system doesn't function efficiently, or for human benefit, but it does basically function, and it relies upon keeping a sufficient number of people alive, and a sufficient level of social wellbeing going, simply because it lives off its human livestock. So it keeps the ...


"All the resting ones I have used were people of status, ambition," says Davros.

The quintessential 80s heroes.  They had themselves brought to his business, Tranquil Repose, when they wanted to pay to cheat the ultimate human frailty.  Death was a weakness they felt they had a right to buy off.  They paid to rest until they could be awoken and cured.  They would then resume their positions of power.  Money would conquer death.  Just as Timon and Marx knew, as the ultra-commodity in a system of total commodification, money has a fantastic and phantasmic power.  It can dissolve even the most drastic boundaries and oppositions.  It can even make the dead into the living.

Davros' clients had the same dream as all ruling classes.  Their ancient forebears had themselves buried in their finery, surrounded by their treasure, expecting to take it with them.  If they couldn't take it with them, they weren't going.  That was the logic behind the pyramids...  and those monuments to dead pharoahs helped bolster the power of the living ones.  They were a unified statement of divine and material power ...

Private Ownership of the Means of Inhumation


Sex, Death and Rock 'n' Roll - Part 2

(Part 1 can be found here.)

Some disjointed observations about 'Revelation of the Daleks'; fragments of a larger and uncompleted essay that's been in the draft drawer for ages... just so that I can say I've served up more this month than an off-the-cuff whinge about how much I hated P.E. lessons.

Hang the D.J.

He skulks in his private studio. He almost prefigures RTD’s quasi-fan characters. He’s a geek, a dweeby enthusiast. He sits alone, watches TV, greets a visitor very shyly and comes alive when given a chance to enthuse about his pet obsession: the old style D.J.s and music of America. When he learns that Peri is really American, he reacts like… well, like a Who fan meeting Nicola Bryant. You get the feeling that he might ask for her autograph. He’s almost a parody of the nerdacious loner. He has little or no direct contact with any of the other characters. Apart from Peri, he’s only ever seen with Jobel – and they don’t speak to each other. One gets the sense of someone asocial and ...

An Epic Whinge

A review of 'The Stolen Earth' / 'Journey's End'.  This is from the old site; heavily edited and partly rewritten.  Not much politics in this.  It's mostly about what I see as shortcomings in dramatic values.  

So, it’s the end of the season again and it’s time for the Earth to be invaded again, by semi-mechanical aliens again, some of them flying down from the sky to shoot the people who are conveniently milling about in the streets like targets. Again.

Meanwhile, the obligatory soldiers are dying as they fight their obligatory pointless last stand while General Dempsey (or is it Makepeace? I never could remember which was which) gets to say things like “Ladies and Gentlemen… we are at war!” (how original) and hand Martha the obligatory Ominous Bit of Unexplained Technology, which this week has a name that sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel.

But all that stuff is happening in the background, ceding the foreground to the Meeting of the Spin-Offs.

The fact that we are watching the linkage of bits of a franchise (rather than, say, characters meeting each other) is underlined by the fact that they meet on ...

Genesis, Genes, Histories, Holocausts and Hiroshimas

And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

- William Shakespeare, Richard III

Science-fiction is the reiteration of myth and legend in the age of science and technology, i.e. the capitalist age, which is also the age of industrialised imperialism and fascism, of assembly line genocide and nuclear warheads dropped on civilian population centres. No wonder then that sci-fi often retells the history of the 20th century in terms of apocalypse and revelation; that’s to say in terms of Christianity, the dominant mythological schema of Western culture. ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ fuses various Christian myths (most especially, the myth of the creator who creates in his own image, endows his creation with free will and is then turned upon by them… but also the fiery last judgement) with a stream-of-consciousness semiotic representation of Nazis, holocausts and Hiroshimas.

We are shown a world in which the Daleks become possible. A world reduced to two decaying cities fighting each other to extinction for no reason that either seems to understand (which reiterates the myth of Greece and Troy). The Kaleds and the ...

Sex, Death & Rock 'n' Roll

The Curious Orange, before he got the Lee & Herring gig.

In the mid-1980s, Doctor Who (perhaps influenced by a cultural context in which a strict matriarchal figure was punishing the British people for their own submerged desires) developed a habit of delving into surprisingly murky and morbid corners... and no story has corners quite as murky and morbid as 'Revelation of the Daleks'. The undercurrents in this strange tale include unrequited love, lust, suicide, alcoholism, putrefaction, mutilation, cannibalism and even – obliquely – necrophilia. This is a story that has a perverse, sexless, destructive, sado-masochistic anti-romance at its core, relegating all the stuff about galactic conquest to the sidelines.

Naturally, displaying obtuseness that is almost customary, most commentators have missed this and worried volubly about the least of the story’s delectable sins: the onscreen violence, which is only startling when judged against the largely implicit jeopardy of the Davison era and hardly compares to the extremes of, say, ‘The Brain of Morbius’. But ‘Revelation’ looked tame even then, even by the standards of material made for kids. Have you seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? It’s torture porn for finger-painters.


The literary novel that ...

From Our Skaro Correspondent

(This was originally written in the aftermath of the election. I read Private Eye, you see.)

In the recent elections held by the surviving Kaled Elite (scientific and military), neither Davros nor Gharman recieved a full majority.

Gharman felt that his performance in recent debates within the Kaled bunker had increased his surport, yet this failed to translate into the “complete landslide against any further development of the Daleks” that he had been expecting. “It seems that, in these trying times… what with the Kaled Dome being destroyed and the rest of our race being exterminated and everything… people decided to stick with what they know” he said yesterday.

“We have a hung Elite,” said Davros’ trusted deputy, Security Commander Nyder, “which is precisely what we ought to do to all members of the Elite who betray Davros: hang them. Slowly. With piano wire.”

However, after several rounds of negotiations, a deal has been struck between the Davros and Gharman factions.

“We’ve had to make a few concessions,” said Gharman. “Firstly, Davros will remain as leader. And we’ll carry on trying to kill all the Thals. And that weird bloke with the scarf whose been hanging around here ...

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