Viewing posts tagged ribos operation


"Look, all I do is take a little from people who have too much and then I spread it around a bit.  I help to keep the economy in balance."

"But if that piece of jethryk is so valuable, why don't you just sell it?  Then you'd have plenty to give to those who need it."

"Oh, I don't think its worth that much."

But why doesn't he think it's "worth that much"?  His whole plan is predicated upon the idea that the Graff will want to buy Ribos because it possesses a rich seam of, in the Graff's words, "the rarest and most valuable mineral in the galaxy"!

There's only one explanation.  Differing conceptions of value.

The Graff wants the jethryk because he can sell it and buy ships, soldiers, weapons, etc (ie for its exchange value).  The Doctor and Romana want the jethryk because it's also the first segment of the Key to Time (ie it has an intrinsic use value).  Garron wants it because its a means to an end.  He could sell it and live off the proceeds... but then he ...

Missing Codec

Old Who was not fundamentally about characters or characterisation.

At its best, it used characterisation as a way of expressing its actual concerns, which were narrative or semiotic or conceptual or thematic or mythic or political or satirical... or any combination thereof.

We know everything we need to know about who Kalik, Orum and Pletrac are, how they think, etc. for the pastiche/satire/parable/joke to work.

It simply isn't interested in how Kalik feels about his mother.

It certainly isn't interested in how the Doctor feels. Or hardly ever. Even when the Doctor goes home for the first time, we don't see him soulfully staring at his childhood haunts or standing in the rain over the grave of his deserted Mum. Instead, he gets caught up in a satirical political thriller that turns into a surreal duel and then an apocalyptic techno-melodrama.

Of course, there's plenty of characterisation in 'The Deadly Assassin'. Even minor characters have ways of thinking and speaking. Hildred is a brutal bungler. Borusa is principled in some ways, cynical in others, and has a sneaking admiration for his wayward ex-pupil, etc.

Worldbuilding, in the service of conceptual or historical or ...

Binro Was Right

This is a rejigged new version of something originally posted at the old site.  I've snipped a few irrelevancies and amplified some conclusions.  Oh, and it's dedicated to Iain Cuthbertson and Timothy Bateson, both of whom died last year.

'The Ribos Operation' seems, at first glance, to present the cosmic conflict between Good and Evil, spiralling downwards from a meeting with a quasi-God in a surreal conceptual landscape, downwards into a story about the vast conquest plans of an interplanetary warlord, further downwards into a heist caper about two semi-comic con-men, and then further downwards into a short meeting between and old man and a young man in a little flea-ridden hovel... yet it's in the hovel that we find the real message of the story.  But is Binro right?

Well, he's right about the stars being suns circled by inhabited worlds (just like his somewhat-more mystical and flamboyant progenitor Giordano Bruno, who was burnt at the stake by the Church for, effectively, founding science-fiction... fair enough, some would say). But, in the wider sense, isn't the story's most moving and thematically vital scene compromised by what goes on around it ...

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