Viewing posts tagged Tivolians

Guest Post: Happy Slaves

Following Jack's exploration of the Tivolians yesterday I came upon Daniel Harper of the Oi! Spaceman podcast's take on some of the same issues. Daniel graciously agreed to let us repost it as a guest post, and it's my pleasure to bring it to you.

Wednesday I posted the Oi! Spaceman podcast episode dealing with our reaction to Under the Lake/Before the Flood, which was a fascinating recording for us because it really was a case of finding some of the meaning of the story as we discussed it. It might make for a slightly disorganized listen, but it was enlightening for myself and I think for my wife and co-host.

The primary way my own views on the story evolved was in the discussion of Prentiss, the Tivolian undertaker, a member of a race of happy slaves imagined as a mincing sexual submissive. I originally took the portrayal at face value, primarily there to provide exposition and provide some levity (ha ha look at the ridiculousness of masochism!), but Shana correctly pointed out that putting this character within the context of a story in which magic runes implant subconscious commands that influence the way you ...

Concerning Tivolians

What a waste of Paul KayeHappy Slaves

All those Doctor Who fans who were disappointed by the way the Ood were depicted in ‘Planet of the Ood’, and who wanted them to be a race of happy slaves, will be happy now that Toby Whithouse has provided them with the Tivolians.


I’m not sure how many people that actually was, but I had conversations at the time of ‘Planet of the Ood’ with people who thought it would’ve been ‘interesting’ if the titular planet had been the planet of people who voluntarily wore slave hats. It seems that some people would’ve found this edgy or different or difficult or challenging or something.


The concept of the happy slave has been treated in SF. Rather extensively actually. The robot is basically created to be just that. The word even comes from ‘robota’, the Czech word for the drudgery of serfs. Perhaps the problem is that the happy slave so often rebels for the sake of drama, and ruins the fantasy. Asimov’s robots, for instance. The Dumbs and Vocs of Kaldor City. Even Marvin grumbles to the point of infuriating his owners into insanity (Douglas Adams did also give us the cow who ...

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