Viewing posts tagged genesis

Out of Eden

From the October 2011 issue of Panic Moon.  As ever, lightly edited and titivated... 'cos I just can't help tinkering.


When Doctor Who talks about evolution, it doesn’t usually bother getting the facts right.  'Evolution of the Daleks', for instance, seems to think species change when genes mutate morally because of lightning bolts.  Such ideas go right back to 'The Daleks', in which the two races on Skaro have changed totally in mere “hundreds of years” of mutation, with the warrior Thals becoming natural pacifists in the process.  (Incidentally, it’s ironic that this supposedly anti-Nazi parable speaks of blonde, blue-eyed, athletic specimens as “refined” and “perfect”.)

Real evolution does involve mutations, but they’re not sudden and drastic as depicted in, to pick another example, 'The Mutants'.  Instead we’re talking about tiny replication errors in genetic code which are preserved or rejected by natural selection, leading to big changes over very long periods.  This creates staggering variety on our planet alone.  However, most aliens in the Doctor Who universe look like British actors, which (accidentally) implies that the humanoid shape is a universal pinnacle or goal of evolution.  ...

Prometheus Underground

Warning: Triggers and Spoilers.  And waffle.


Sex & Monsters

In Prometheus, the Engineers are ancient Titans who created humanity... and, it is implied, seeded the galaxy with their DNA. There is something very noticeable about them: they are all men. Meanwhile, there is a definite vaginal look to a great many of the alien bio-weapons they created and which then subsumed them. However, I don't think its really possible to read the battle between Engineers and their bio-weapons as a battle of the sexes. The weapon creatures are also phallic and penetrative, as in previous iterations of the Alien universe. All the same, it's true that presenting the creators of life (in their own image) as exclusively dudes does imply that generative power resides in the male alone. It is enough for one Engineer to dissolve his DNA into the waters of a planet to kickstart the process that will lead to animal life (if that's how the opening scene is meant to be read). The Engineers are male but apparently sexless, capable of asexual reproduction. The deadly runaway bio-weapons, which seem hermaphroditic, look like the intrusion of sex into a male but sexless world. Sex is ...

Gonzo Marx

Ruminations on alienation, commodity fetishism, myth, etc.  Don't mind me.


Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Human beings have always made stuff.  Broadly, that's what humans are: the apes that make stuff.  Even before Darwin, Benjamin Franklin called man "the tool-making animal", a description apparently vindicated by our discoveries about early humanity, which seem to show the rise of the 'big brain' driven by the needs of the hand.

The flint tools and decorative beads of the hunter-gatherers.  The pyramids and ziggurats of the great slave empires.  The water wheels and ploughs of medieval Europe.

But the rise of capitalism brought the factory system.  The division of labour.  Specialisation without expertise.  Organisation of time.  The creation of new kinds of cities that worked as battery farms for thousands of corralled workers.  Mass production.  Heavy industry.  Conveyor belts.  Fordism.  Mechanisation.  Computer-run facilities. 

The ape that makes things started to make things faster than ever before, in greater numbers than ever before. And the things started to confront the thingmaker as alien, autonomous, controlling, dominating.  When you have to watch a clock ...

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