If Wishes Were Horses…

wishes horses ds9

“Station residents suddenly find their imaginations are manifested in physical form; a spatial rift threatens to destroy the Bajoran system.”

I’m really quite ashamed that this post has taken me, what, 4 months to publish?! I don’t know why, but every time I looked at it, I felt stumped, and I procrastinated (along with the million other tasks I needed to do and put off until the last moment).

This is a really crazy and random episode where some undetermined and unnamed aliens conduct an experiment on the station’s crew and residents by allowing their imagination to run riot and we learn something about each character’s wishes, hopes and fears. Sisko conjures up one of his baseball heroes, Quark imagines beautiful girls that desire him, Julian creates an alternate Jadzia who is submissive and fawns all over him, (the real Jadzia is less than impressed) Jadzia herself worries that there might be a spatial rift causing the bizarre manifestations, and that worry turns into an anomaly that really does appear to threaten the station. The Chief calls a Rumplestiltskin into being who threatens to take his daughter away. Odo can’t imagine anything, but somebody thought of it snowing on the promenade, and lo – it snows. It’s just one of those random individual episodes that is never followed up, but put in there presumably for the purpose of character development.

Real Life
Yes, this is where the problem is, I think – how to apply this whole weird episode to real life, what to make of the metaphors. My brain has just been drawing a complete blank. Perhaps due to the fact that the characters conjured up by the DS9 crew don’t make any sense to me – they’re not the things or people I think I would call into being from my imagination. (Although I did like the snow on the Promenade).

The ability to determine reality from fantasy is, I suppose, crucial to living a mentally stable life – fantasy certainly has its place, but we can’t let it take over because physical reality will suffer.

Without going into embarassing details, most of my fantasies are not the kind of things I would even want to stray into the realm of reality. But there is a spectrum that runs between fantasy, dreams, wishes and plans that we would like to bring to fruition in the real world.

What happens if we spend all our time and energy thinking and fantasising about the kind of things that really ought to stay at the fantasy end of the spectrum – does all that ’emotional energy’ (think ‘Cheeseman’s law’)* actually have any power to bring about manifestations of our desires, as proponents of the ‘Law of Attraction’/ ‘The Secret’ would argue? I don’t think I have seen any evidence of it in my life. But perhaps I’m not looking hard enough? Do good things happen because we ‘love’ them into being, bad things because we fear them?

Answers on a postcard please.

Station Plans

I’m actually about to move offices on the station in the next week or two, so expect my time will be occupied by packing and sorting and organising for a bit. But I haven’t forgotten this blog and do have plans to come back and do some more posting very soon. Watch this space, as they say.


* Cheeseman’s, for those unfamiliar with it, is the postulation put forward by the temporal scientist of the same name, that emotional energy has the power to alter events in time that would otherwise seem to be fixed and unchangeable. (From one of my absolute all-time favourite films, starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Marisa Tomei – ‘Happy Accidents’. If you haven’t seen it already, go out and find it on DVD or Netflix or something. Romance, time travel, comedy, what more could you ask?)

John Carter or Under the Moons of Mars

john carter

Netflix has been suggesting we watch John Carter for a while now, so we finally gave in and checked it out as I have seen it has been mentioned a lot since Star Wars 7 and it’s easy to see why.

Disney films are so variable, you never really know what to expect with them. Apparently, the film – released on the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the main character, did rather badly at the box office, but considering the amount spent making it, it would have had to sell an unprecedented amount just to have made even. Well it isn’t awful at all in fact – there were lots of things I liked about it, and probably the thing that put us off watching it earlier more than anything was the lame name, and the fact that the leads seemed to be relatively unknown.

John Carter, a Victorian era American soldier from Virginia is transported to the planet Mars, (which the natives call Barsoom) which is populated by two races of people – the green Martians (Tharks) and the red Martians (Therns), the latter of a similar appearance to humans, but since John Carter is from earth, he finds he has supernatural ability to jump great distances on Mars.

"JOHN CARTER"..Sarkoja (Polly Walker)..©2011 Disney. JOHN CARTER™ ERB, Inc.

The Tharks were very nicely conceived – tall green humanoid aliens with 4 arms and tusks.

The Princess of the red martians, Dejah Thoris, wears a costume conspicuously reminiscent of Slave Leia (although the Disney version is far more modest than her comic book counterparts), and although she is a princess, like Leia, she is to be married off to the leader of the enemy to broker peace and so, unwilling, she escapes to the Thark encampment disguised as a soldier.


The gladiatorial scene also definitely echoes the second (?) Star Wars prequel.

john carter colosseum

Although the John Carter film was made in 2012, and the look of the film is clearly influenced by Star Wars in its various manifestations, let’s not forget that the book pre-dated the Star Wars saga by more than 50 years. In fact it has been suggested that the John Carter series was at least partly the inspiration for Star Wars in the first place.

Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention, or maybe it was all the interruptions with my son complaining all the way through about CGI, but I found it very hard to follow.

[It seems more fantasy than science fiction firstly due to John Carter’s ‘Conan the Barbarian’ look, and the fact that it is set on a fictionalised version of Mars (you have to suspend a lot of disbelief since we know it’s not M-class and there’s no atmosphere, none of which is explained!) The science fiction elements include an artifact which teleports Carter to Mars by unspecified means, and the Therns use flying ‘Helium’ ship technology.]

The film didn’t make me truly love it, but it was ok. I might like to watch it again to see if I can make more sense of it second time round, and I do hope that they do eventually go ahead and complete the trilogy it was originally intended to be.

What the film did do for me though is to make me want to read the book, which has the far superior title of “Under the Moons of Mars” (I’m sure it would have done much better at the box office with that title).

I really liked the fact that Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author, is one of the characters in the film as well, and in fact at the end of the film John Carter tells him, amongst other things, to “write a book”. Good advice!


The Island


The Island is a false utopian/ dystopian science fiction film from 2005 starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannsen who discover through a series of events and the main character, Lincoln Two Echo’s innate and insatiable curiosity that they are living not in a compound safe from the contamination of the outside world but rather they are ‘products’ – clones of rich and/ or desperately ill people on the outside who want or need organ donors (fresh ‘skin’ is mentioned as well as livers and kidneys) or surrogate mothers of babies for infertile (or unwilling) couples.

Of course none of the donors/ surrogates are willing participants, but are being deceived by means of a lottery whereby ‘winners’ are supposed to be transported to ‘The Island’, the last paradise where there is no contamination, and they are fed false memories and ideas designed to stop them questioning any of their environment or any of the lies. Lincoln’s ‘curiosity’ was supposed to have been genetically engineered out of them, but the ‘Echo’ generation seems to have developed it spontaneously anyway.

The whole business is operating in contravention of the Eugenics Laws of 2015, which I thought was neat as we were watching at the end of 2015. If the people on the outside had any idea of what was going on, they would have no part in it, and their multi-billion dollar enterprise would be ruined.

I won’t give away what happens in case you haven’t seen it.

It wasn’t particularly well received, nor critically acclaimed – it did better here in the UK and internationally than in the US, and it’s supposed to be quite derivative of other films (there are echoes of The Matrix amongst others). But I enjoyed it (again) it’s quite a gentle film – not too much horrific violence, only suggestions of it, and although there’s a sex scene it’s not graphic at all, so it’s reasonably ok as a family film, at least for sci-fi families with older children! (It has a 12 certificate.)

I was surprised to discover that it’s a Michael Bay film (yes, the man responsible for such atrocities as Transformers), and yes there is a lot of action and a few mild explosions, but it seemed really rather restrained for him.

4 out of 5 stars I think, I’d knock a star off for mild cheesiness and unlikely survival after a Michael Bay explosion!


Star Wars: The Force Awakens


I do like Star Wars, love it actually. We one visited a Commune in Devon, teetering on the edge of joining them, but one of the things that put us off was not so much that they had no TV, but that some of the residents had lived there since the mid 70s and had never seen Star Wars! It was a lot like Cassandra’s Paradise again.

Anyhow, back to the new film. I had no expectations, Disney / J J Abrams didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. I expected it might be rubbish, and I kind of cultivated that expectation to avoid disappointment.

But actually, it wasn’t rubbish, it was pretty good. The characters were good. I really liked Rey and Finn. The scenes were good. I’d really like to watch again just to get another view of… Well, no spoilers.

But let me just say, on the subject of no spoilers, that there is *no way* that Han and Leia could have produced the character supposed to be their son…

…And two of my kids went home CRYING. Thanks a bunch, J J.

But, as every good Trekkie knows, George Lucas is the devil.

The Village

This evening’s entertainment was M. Night Shyamalan’s film ‘The Village’. The setting and themes in this film really couldn’t be any further away from science fiction in most respects, but it is high up on my list of all-time favourite films.

Why would this geeky girl, so addicted to twitter, facebook, and all things hi-tech enjoy the idea of the pioneer homestead life? It’s a paradox, I know, but there it is. I was raised on a twin diet of Star Trek and the Waltons.

But it’s not just me. Star Trek, in all its forms is replete with references to simpler times: real cooking, horse riding, paper books, classical civilisation and literature to name but a few.

There are also repeated instances of pioneering colonies setting out for distance planets – Terra Nova in Star Trek Enterprise, and the fledgling colony on Melona IV in TNG which the Crystalline Entity destroyed, for example.

It is as though, when we look either backwards or forwards we see glimpses of the utopia we’re looking for, a place and time with less crime, less misery, less complication. It’s just that nasty modern bit in between that’s not quite right.

Of course, the Village in Covington Woods is not all as it seems, but do they find their place of innocence in the end? I love the idea of intentional community where everybody lives in harmony. But there is usually a cost.


Skipping forward to DS9’s season 2 episode, Paradise, Cassandra who has engineered the community, brings her authoritarian leadership with her, not even mentioning that it is a community based on a lie. Paradise is a sham.

But is it necessarily always the case? We hope not. We hope that there is a Utopia out there for us somewhere, some when. We keep looking and trying, planning and scheming, digging and dreaming.


Archive: My Open Diary Categories

The following were my categories/ interests on the original blog on Open Diary. The posts themselves are lost, but it will give you a flavour of what you might expect from my writing.

Chick Flicks
Classical Music
Crunchy Mamas
Dark Skies
Folk Music
Grey’s Anatomy
Heavy Metal
Hebrew Roots of Christianity
Hitchiker’s Guide to the…
Large Families
Martian Chronicles
Messianic Believers
Open Diary Addicts
Quantum Leap
Red Dwarf
Social Networking
Space 1999
Star Trek
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Wars
Stargate SG-1
Terry Pratchett

I’m adding the few that I think I am likely to use again this time round, which are primarily the science-fiction-related categories. I have also added the category of Doctor Who, because although I loved Classic Who as a child, I had not discovered New Who when I wrote the original blog in 2006. In fact, I didn’t watch any of the new seasons until last year, but now I have discovered it, I am a big fan (as you can see from my ‘current emanation’ avatar, Amelia Pond.