In the car park in front of the Handy Pavilion, Laura listened patiently to Buck Dusty's long expository story of magic, and the eternal peril approaching all dimensions. She listened in silence as he explained the origins of the Grey Barn and how the fate of all dimensions is intertwined, all along the vast wheel of fate.

"You buy that?" Laura said to Bruce, once Buck had finished.

"Yeah, yeah, secret war, fate of civilisation," Bruce said. "Think I read this story I was a kid. Reckon it had the Silver Surfer in it. Hey, you're a super hero. Do you know the Silver Surfer? What's he like?" ...continue reading "Do It Yourself — Chapter 58 Tall Tales Part 2"

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We start with some very 1970sy models playing Adam and Eve. We don’t see them much below the neck, so the nudity is only implied. Still, I felt very uncomfortable watching this on my laptop on a train. Even the music has a 70s softcore sort of vibe. It's all a bit silly, and it really detracts from Nimoy's retelling of the story of the Fall. Anyway, blah blah blah, we're going looking for where the Garden really was.

From this episode I learned that the Assyrian Empire was once ruled by a pantomime genie.

How are we going to find it? Well, we're looking for the four rivers that ran through Eden. Two of them are the Tigris and the Euphrates, and we all know where they are. But there are another two mentioned – Pishon and Gihon. Presumably find these rivers, find the garden? I guess that's what we're getting at.

So we go to Egypt, to see the Nile, sometimes associated with the Gihon. It's quite a long way from Mesopotamia and the Tigris and Euphrates. Anyway, travelogue of Egypt now. So many quaint ethnic folkways, etc. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E24 The Garden of Eden"

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Seamus the gnome awoke under the full moon, finding himself alive and well. He felt himself up and down for cracks or chips. He felt nothing at first, but realised that the arm with which he was feeling was sore and stiff and he realised that it had been glued back on.

"Feckin' terrific," he said. "Sure and it's a hardware store here. Ye'd think there would be better glue."

"Oh, that's bloody gratitude."

Seamus looked up to see Wellsey lounging against a shelving unit full of trellises, and munching on a sandwich.

"We had a man down and a destroyed AA gun that was looking like it was going to set fire to the Pavilion," Wellsey said. "I figured you wouldn't bleed out while I found some superglue and a clamp." ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 57 — Gnome Time to Lose"

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A figure in cold weather gear staggers through a blizzard. Nimoy's stentorian voice cuts across the soft whoosh of the wind to tell us that 1977 marked coldest winter North America felt in a century. We see frost-bound cars stranded on the highway. Nimoy explains that nine people froze to death during this particular storm. An eyewitness tells of being stuck on the road during the blizzard and concludes that if she had to face another cold snap like that, she'd have to move.

But the blizzard only came to a rolling stop and was ticketed and fined by local authorities.

"Move where?" Nimoy asks. He claims that experts are predicting an Ice Age.

So… yeah. Some serious minded experts in the 1970s were predicting just that. Climate Change denialists still bring this up ad nauseum because – well, mostly because they're clueless jackasses, I guess. Anyway, point is, the ice age didn't eventuate, and thirty years later global temperatures are headed up, not down. ...continue reading "In Search Of… 2.23 The Coming Ice Age"

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Cold open on… ants. A bunch of ants. Leonard Nimoy talks about ants over footage of ants killing larger insects. It could be the introduction to any nature film on ants, except that the creepy electronic music is minor-keying it. A particularly deadly form of ant threatens to take over the USA, we're told.

The original Anthill Mob

This is probably going to be one of those mostly factual, slightly sensationalised episodes. They're not so bad, in small doses. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E22 Deadly Ants"

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Night was falling as Laura Cho arrived for night duty at the Handy Pavilion. A sad paper sign on the main door assured customers that the Pavilion was still open in spite of the damage. So sad was it, it almost brought a tear to Laura's eye. It had been a terrible day, Valentine's Day. The Pavilion had been dealt its greatest blow, and without the DIY Barn even making a move.

Laura had been away on the day of that the mushroom men had gone wild. She'd been visiting Karl Wintergreen and poor dear Carlos in the hospital. She'd hoped that Carlos would have noticed her decision to visit on Valentine's day, but he was still… not cold, perhaps. But distant. Very distant.

She'd had to come clean to him about her secret identity as the superhero Voyager. What had happened to Carlos made no sense otherwise, and it was not fair to leave him in ignorance. The simple fact was, he'd tried to save her by shoving her out of harm's way, and succeeded only in breaking a total of eight bones against her invulnerable body. She'd had to explain this to him. Of course she had. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 56 — Tall Tales Part 1"

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We open – to my surprise – on a few seconds of footage from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Wouldn't have thought this series would have the budget. Leonard Nimoy says that according to the movie, Cassidy died in South America. (Cut to an old-timey car on a desert highway.) But if so, who was the 'mysterious stranger' who turned up in in Wyoming fifteen years later?

Cue sound of gunshot. Population number drops to 143.

Huh? Who? Don't know, do you? Huh?

So anyway, there's the thesis of the show. Did Butch Cassidy die when history supposes him to have died, or did he live on like Anastasia, Dillinger, Earhart, Hitler, Morrison, Elvis and Tupac? Is anyone, in fact, dead? Is 'death' just a big con? Maybe the people who 'die' really just go off to live on a big farm upstate with a nice family and lots of room to run around? ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E21 Butch Cassidy"

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Last time we had a sort of general look at Metropolis, as it relates to early  Frankenstein cinema. It's a big subject, and honestly I'm not going to cover all of it even with a supplementary essay, but I did want a closer look at two things. Firstly, religious symbolism and secondly the role of women in Fritz Lang's Metropolis and James Whale's Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

Can I get an amen?

The novel Frankenstein is fascinating in that it is full of conscious religious imagery, but contains little sign of God's actual presence. The Monster is compared frequently to both Adam and Satan. Both are creations that rebel against their creator, with the difference being that neither of them is a match for God. The Monster is a match for Frankenstein. This is why the various attempts to make Frankenstein into a Christian parable tend to be perfunctory. A story in which a being, angry at its creator is able to stand eye to eye with that creator is simply unprecedented in the Bible. Imagine if Job could just get tired of arguing with God and kick him in the shins. Completely different story.

This, ultimately, is the point of not only Frankenstein, but a huge chunk of the whole science fiction genre: how do we deal with the themes and ideas invoked by religion without invoking God? ...continue reading "Metropolis – 1927 (Part 2)"

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Wellsey leant against one of the pillars that held up the lofty roof of the Handy Pavilion and sighed deeply. It really was just one of those days. Marlon, leaning on the other side of the pillar, sighed even more deeply. From his jeans pocket he took a hip flask, took a swallow, and handed the bottle to Wellsey. Wellsey shook his head. Marlon shrugged, and slipped the flask away.

"You and Joyce got Valentine's Day plans?" Marlon said.

Something came hurtling over the nearest shelving unit. Part of a toilet? Something porcelain anyway. Both men ducked as hit a nearby shelf, smashing a pile of paint cans, sending blue acrylic dripping to the floor.

"Nothing fancy," Wellsey said There's a Valentine's special at our local restaurant. Free bottle of champagne. And we don't get out as much as we used to. How about you?" ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 55 — Principles of Retail Management"

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WhoooOOOooo!

Open on a moustachioed 1970s-y, who's playing with a film camera. He's investigator Francis Hitchins, and Nimoy tells us he may have recorded the last remnants of a seventeenth century ghost. A wailing noise rises and creepy electronic music plays.

Oh, yeah. This is going to be good. I can feel it. Haunted castles. Leonard Nimoy telling ghost stories! I don't believe in ghosts now. I'd be willing to bet good money that when this episode has finished twenty minutes from now, I still won't believe. But you know what? These next twenty minutes are going to be awesome. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E20 Haunted Castles"

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