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The Adventure of the Irritated Narrator

It was in the spring of 18-- when I returned to Baker Street after a lengthy sojurn in the wilds of Dorsetshire.  It had been some months since I had last called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes and so I found myself quite anxious to renew that acquaintance which had, over the years, led to my involvement in various grotesque and singular events, many of which I have subsequently recounted for the interest of readers. 

I was let in by Mrs Hudson and climbed the 19 steps up to the rooms which I had once shared with Holmes before my marriage, the old wound from the jezail bullet troubling me but a little. 

I found Holmes slumped in an armchair, smoking a long clay pipe and seemingly locked in a brown study.  He barely responded to my halloas, giving only the faintest twitch of one of his eyebrows to acknowledge my arrival.

Well used to my strange friend's extremes of mood and temper, and the sullenness which was wont to affect him during fallow periods when he happened to have no case to stimulate his restless desire for intellectual work, I did not take offence ...

A Present

I created this meme the other day... be used in online debate when someone evades a sincere demand for answers.

Just don't say I never give you anything.

Tygers & Horses

"The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction" said William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and on lots of European walls in the 60s, and under the cover of an Eighth Doctor Adventure by Kate Orman.

I disagree.  I think you need the horses of instruction just as much as you need the tygers of wrath.  The thing about the tygers is that they chase you.  The thing about the horses is that you have to chase them.  If you've got a horse ahead of you and a tyger behind... well, that's not comfortable, but it's the better way round.  It gives you both a strong impetus and a goal.

Of course, horses can be wild and tygers can be calm.

I'll stop there.  All analogies can be pushed to breaking point.  Even the ones invented by geniuses.

Sport, sport, masculine sport, prepares a young man for society...

The Olympics really depresses me. 

Not just the horrendous waste of money and the revolting jingoism and the all-pervading ideological reinforcement... but it represents a boat I missed. 

Sport.  Games.  I hate them.  But I strongly suspect that I hate them because school trained me to, through social punishment. 

In school, sport is a dark ritual soaked in hierarchy and humiliation and hatred and contempt.  Win or you're rubbish.  Understand and like and care about the right things or you're 'gay' (horror of horrors).  Be thin and athletic or know that you are subhuman. 

All school is like that.  A huge pyramidal structure of power in which the establishment trains its next generation to be drones or managers or lumpen failures salutary for the rest of us.  Meanwhile, the kids compete for popularity and cool and acceptance.  Learn, children, straight away, that life is a race and the losers are scum.  It's all built on the shaming and degradation of anyone different or overweight or awkward or sad or bookish or unattractive or poor or clueless or weak. 

That was the context ...

Reimagined Moments #2

"Why don't you just call me Doctor?"

"Zat ist not a name.  I vant your full name."

"Oh very well.  Dr. John Smith."

"Goot.  Now ve are gettink somevhere."

"I realise our presence behind you lines must seem rather strange.  And suspicious?"


"No?  Oh, I was rather expecting you to accuse us of being spies.  Everyone else does."

"I know you're not spies.  Ze vun sink you definitely can't be is spies.  After all, if ze British had sent spies to infiltrate our lines, zey vouldn't send two officers in British Army uniforms in a British Red Cross ambulance vith sree people in civilian clothes, all speaking English.  Zey'd send people in German uniforms in a German vehicle, all speaking German vizout an accent and all claiming to be German.  Zat's how spyink vurks, you see."

"It could be a double bluff?"

"No, zat is just stupid."

"Well, if you'll just put down your gun, I'll prove that I'm from the future by dismantling it."


Reimagined Moments #1

"Hurr hurr... You think this is the real Quaid?"

Well it might be, thought the guard.  Then again it might not.  It might be Quaid using his hologram thingy... or it might actually be Quaid pretending to be a hologram in order to trick us.  I have no way of knowing, really... unless I wait to see if it flickers in that way that really makes the hologram projector next-to useless as a weapon.  But that would take time.  Time in which I might get shot if it turns out not to be a hologram.    So I think I'll shoot it anyway.  Just in case. After all, better safe than sorry.

Luckily for the guard, this train of thought only took him a split second.  What with him having been highly trained and everything.

Camp Onion

It's coming up to Panic Moon time again. 

The July issue of the estimable print fanzine is now available for pre-order, here.

This time, Yours Truly has provided a piece on 'Frontios', in which I explain why I like it despite reading it as a reactionary parable, and a short sketch of a Marxist interpretation of 'Spearhead from Space', in which I attempt to tenuously connect the concepts of alienation and commodity fetishism to a story about killer shop-window dummies lead by an alien octopus.

This is what is known as 'a waste of a mediocre education'. 

But we have some laughs, don't we?


Oh well.

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 ...

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