Eruditorum Press

Sneakily taking the hinges off the doors of perception

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

4 Comments

  1. Adam Riggio
    February 16, 2014 @ 5:48 am

    This story is also one of those really, tired, obvious tie-ins of a sci-fi franchise to the coming activation of the Large Hadron Collider. Coming out in 2007, this would have fallen in the year when public — I don't want to say hysteria, because it was only believed by uneducated conspiracy theorists — discourse included the fanciful notion that the LHC was going to create a black hole that would swallow and destroy Earth.

    As well as expressing in yet another new form the 21st century cultural anxiety in the West about the inevitable undignified extinction of humanity at our own hands, it was part of a trend of terrible sci-fi products referencing the LHC's experiments. There was an abysmal Torchwood radio play in the same era about otherworldly happenings at the LHC that took all of John Barrowman's camp channeling powers to make even listenable.

    So this would make Year Four #5 a sad example of Star Trek falling far from its reputation as an innovator in sci-fi narratives and following a rather pathetic popular fad.

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  2. Josh Marsfelder
    February 16, 2014 @ 6:43 am

    Gracias for the historical context, Adam: I did briefly wonder if this was meant as some commentary on the Large Hadron Collider, but I was unsure about the timeline of popular opinion on that thing and wound up more interested in talking about Star Trek fandom's connection to physics. This does add another layer to how utterly trite this story is.

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  3. Daru
    February 16, 2014 @ 10:22 am

    Yeah Adam I was going to mention the, as you say, uneducated ideas flying around at the time and especially how forgettable the Torchwood play was. What galled was how much build up there was for the play, and how much for that it fed into detracting from the real experiments going on. Anyways, seems like a story so pointless it wants to swallow itself.

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  4. Froborr
    October 11, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

    Ah, 2007. I remember at the time I had an idea for a novel that was going to be a giant upraised middle finger to H.P. Lovecraft. A key point would involve using the LHC to create a micro-black hole, causing one character to exclaim rather incredulously, "You mean it actually can make a black hole!?"

    To which another character would reply, "No, don't be stupid, that's conspiracy-theorist garbage," then pull a lever and say "NOW it can make a black hole."

    I eventually decided that the whole novel was a terrible idea.

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