Viewing posts tagged vampires

19

LIN'n'DA has allowed 'Mr Kennedy' into their little circle of friends.  His determination to find the Doctor is the opposite of their desire to socialise & laugh while sharing their ideas & obsessions & histories.  Even if much of what we know about LIN'n'DA is just Elton's garbled wish-fulfillment, it's still a nice story.  Until Kennedy arrives.  It's never the same again.  Hierarchy is introduced, along with work schedules & targets & orders & timetables & a drive for objective 'results'.

"Though we had to admit," recalls Elton, "he was right. His methods were much more rigorous. It felt like we were getting closer & closer to the Doctor."

As if that had ever been the point.

"Umm, Mr Kennedy?" says Elton cautiously, raising his hand as though he's a kid at school trying to attract the attention of his teacher... & actually, LI'n'DA's headquarters now looks like a school room.  The friends are sat at desks, toilng away individually & silently at private work.  Mr Kennedy is every inch the teacher.  He sits at the head of the room, behind ...

43

In an opulent throne room, the Doctor and Romana are being entertained by Zargo and Camilla, two of the Three Who Rule.  Plates are loaded with meat.  Glasses are filled with dark red wine.  The Lords are draped in fine fabrics and smeared in make-up to mask their strangely pallid faces.

"Well, you certainly do very well for yourselves here," observes the Doctor.

"We struggle to retain some remnants of civilisation," says Zargo, who evidently considers himself civilised.

"Well, you do better than the peasants," remarks the Doctor.  He and Romana have recently been in a peasant hovel, where the half-starved, over-worked, rag-clad people reacted in terror at their aristocratic confidence.

"The peasants are simple folk," observes Camilla drily, "Richer fare would only distress them."

"Quite right," says the Doctor.  (His pronunciation makes it sound more like 'Quite trite.')  "Probably give them indigestion," he continues, "There's nothing worse than a peasant with indigestion. Makes them quite rebellious. I hear you've been having trouble that way."

"There are always a few ungrateful ones who do not appreciate all that we do for them," agrees Camilla, without a trace of irony.

"And what do ...

Maximum Utility

The literature of terror is born precisely out of the terror of a split society and out of the desire to heal it. 
- Franco Moretti


People often compare the Borg, the cyborg gestalt from the Star Trek franchise, to Doctor Who's Cybermen.  Both races were conceived as humanoids physically augmented with technology, hence a certain superficial visual resemblance, particularly between the Borg and the earliest Cybermen, from 1966's 'The Tenth Planet'... which has just been released on DVD, if you want some way for this post to be halfway relevant to anything.

Borg
Cyberman
But the Cybermen were written by various different writers, under different conditions, with different levels of interest and different levels of knowledge of past depictions, over the course of nearly five decades.  The Borg, by contrast, were written by a small number of tightly associated people, under the aegis of a carefully controlled franchise, over the course of just under 15 years.  The two 'races' differ markedly in the circumstances of their production and in cultural profile.  As noted, the Borg's various appearances weren't separated by the same kinds of time-lags, and weren't a product of ...

Cottage Industry vs. the Spectacular Tentacular Draculas

According to Miles and Wood, Barry Letts' eco views were very much influnced (as were many people's) by a text called Blueprint for Survival, co-written by Edward Goldsmith (now deceased) and published in the magazine he founded, The Ecologist, in 1972.  It was supported by many scientists and was subsequently released in book form to became a best-seller.  Miles and Wood identify it as the real-world model for Sir Charles Grover's Last Chance for Man in 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs'.  There is indeed something of Goldsmith's politics (small-c conservative; anti-industrial society) in the fictional Grover, who is simultaneously an eco-radical and an establishment elitist who wishes to turn the clock back (literally) to a kind of enlightened feudalism.  George Monbiot has described Goldsmith's politics as "a curious mixture of radical and reactionary", saying that he "has advocated the enforced separation of Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda and Protestants and Catholics in Ulster, on the grounds that they constitute 'distinct ethnic groups' and are thus culturally incapable of co-habitation".  According to Monbiot, Goldsmith

assumes that culture is a rigid, immutable thing: that different communities can live only within the boxes nature has ...

Strange Matters


There is something very gothic about Doctor Who, in the hauntological sense.  I mean that the show keeps on doing monsters that represent, in various ways, 'the return of the repressed', monsters that represent buried anxieties, or anxieties that we have attempted to bury.  But the monsters tend to be steadfastly material in quite straightforward ways... and to embody material, social, historical nightmares (fascism is a big one that immediately suggests itself).

It's important to stress that this isn't a contradiction, as such.  Indeed, in many ways, it's 'business as usual' for the gothic.  You can't get more hauntological than vampires, but they tend to be interpreted as representing deeply materialist concerns, from veneral disease to monopoly capitalism (and, these days, teen romance... which is about as materialist as anything gets).  However, while they may represent material, social, historical anxieties, vampires are not straightforwardly material.  They are, like most classic gothic/hauntological monsters, profoundly spectral - or at least ab-physical.  They dissolve in sunlight, cast no reflection, can appear and disappear at will, can physically transform into bats or wolves, can reverse physical time by becoming young again after feasting, can defy gravity by crawling down ...

Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

Authors

Feeds

RSS / Atom