The Storyteller

storyteller

Summary

Chief O’Brien, along with Dr. Bashir, visits a community on Bajor that is plagued by a dangerous weather phenomenon which can only be dealt with by the village Storyteller. The Storyteller, the Sirah, dies and nominates O’Brien in his place, provoking the apprentice  Sirah, who should have been nominated, to murderous jealousy. The day is saved when O’Brien, who has no wish to become the village Storyteller, fails to tame the beast and has to call on the apprentice who only really needed the confidence to believe he could do it.

Meanwhile on the station, two Bajoran tribes – the Paqu and the Navot come to Sisko for mediation of their territorial dispute. The leader of the Paqu is a pretty young thing who has inherited her position and feels she must prove herself. She violently objects to Quark calling her a ‘little lady’ and throws her drink over him (kind of confirming that she is an immature girl). Sisko tries to impress on her that this land dispute is not worth going to war over, but it is really Jake and Nog’s efforts to charm and befriend her that win her over.

littlelady

Comments

Ah! These early episodes are just so random. They obviously hadn’t decided what Bajor or the Bajoran people would be like at this point, so they’re trying things out to see what fits and they have made these country bumpkin Bajorans ignorant and superstitious. This episode doesn’t really fit in with the overall thrust of the DS9 mythology, and when we do occasionally re-visit Bajor, the people seem to be quite different – always spiritual but not unscientific, and when they have later disputes they seem more mature and thoughtful (although they do seem to indulge in petty squabbles and they’re quite feisty and argumentative. I have always thought of Bajorans as being based on New Yorkers).

The great thing about this episode is the beginning of the huge, series-long, arc of O’Brien and Dr Bashir’s relationship. At this point, they are not even friends, at all. O’Brien just can’t stand Julian who seems pompous and sickeningly full-of-himself, and completely oblivious to what other people think or feel. I would venture to say that Bashir’s character development over the entire series is the most interesting of any of them. He’s obviously not a particularly likeable character at this stage, and it’s hard to imagine that he could be the genius doctor he’s supposed to be when he’s so socially challenged.

obrienjulian

Application

Um, well. I’m the Storyteller, obviously, and nobody can dispute that I am the rightful Sirah (well you can, but I may not approve your comments! lol!). I think I’m also the ‘little lady’, trying desperately to prove that I’m not,  always going to ‘war’ over things that don’t matter, and taking offence where none is meant. I haven’t done that so much lately though so hopefully I really have grown out of it. I think I can sometimes be Bashir as well, not noticing other people’s feelings (I may be a wee bit self-obsessed on occasion as well…)

The true hero of this story in my opinion is Jake, who finds humour in a ridiculous situation, brings laughter and lightness to the table and that wins the day. In real life, that would be my Sisko. It used to infuriate me because – being the furious redhead Kira character that I am – I really wanted a fight, but he would never give me one. When he’s nervous or threatened or reprimanded, he laughs. And now, instead of smacking him one, I have learned to laugh with him. 😀

Warehouse 13

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I thought I would post a quick note about Warehouse 13 as I just finished watching the series, and it was lots of fun and full of ‘endless wonder’.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, I’ll try not to give away any spoilers, but it’s a bit like a comic mash-up of X-Files and Indiana Jones. Like Grimm, it covers lots of X-File style mysteries and explains them in a lighthearted, irreverent way with mild peril and adventure along the way of course.

Warehouse 13 is a secret government installation (think Area 51, but this is South Dakota) where dangerous supernatural artifacts are safely stored out of harm’s way. Operatives are drawn from other agencies to find and retrieve these objects or, as Artie calls it: ‘snag, tag and bag’ them and bring them back to the Warehouse for safekeeping.

The artifacts themselves range from a native American invisibility cloak to Alice in Wonderland’s mirror, to H G Wells’ time machine to the wings of Daedalus – basically, any famous myth or story that you know probably has an artifact at the core of the story, and they are all in the warehouse (except where lost or stolen, or carelessly left in museums!).

The mythology of Warehouse 13 develops over the seasons,and we learn that the Warehouses go back to the time of Alexander the Great and the Warehouse has moved countries 12 times to the site of the foremost civilisation in every era, including Warehouse 12 in Victorian London.

In addition to the artifacts, the Warehouse has its own has its own technology. During its tenure in London, lots of wondrous technology was conceived by agents of the Warehouse, including the Tesla gun, a weapon which stuns without causing serious harm, the Farnsworth communicator – a very steampunk video phone, and a steampunk keyboard of unspecified origin. All lots of fun.

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The other thing that is lots of fun about Warehouse 13 is the cast. I hadn’t known any of the main cast other than Artie who was a Star Trek Next Generation character (Saul Rubinek who plays Kivas Fajo – a collector of rare objects who kidnaps Data to add to his collection) but there are many other semi-regular characters that I knew very, very well including, from Star Trek: Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway), Jeri Ryan, (Seven of Nine), Brent Spiner (Data), Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Faran Tahir (the original captain in the 2009 Star Trek film), as well as the lovely Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman).

I will say, without spoilers, that I *loved* the character of H G Wells who became a regular member of the cast after she is revived from a steampunk form of hibernation called bronzing.

The interaction between the various characters is lots of fun, and there are constant references to Star Trek and other science fiction, so it’s really a total geek-out to watch, and the team grows season upon season until there are two main teams in addition to the base crew as well as all the regularly re-appearing cast members.

I don’t know why the show was cancelled, some of the stories towards the end were a bit weak and the final season seemed to end abruptly after just five episodes, and it seems a shame as it was really good while it lasted. The final episode was alright, but it featured each agent’s ‘defining moment’ which were adventures we had never seen before, which I thought was a bit rubbish and sad. But it’s definitely worth watching for a bit of light entertainment and I’m glad we found it. Enjoy it if you see it!

LLAP.

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.

dejah

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!

LLAP.

The Island

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!

Enjoy!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

starwars7

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.

Booting Up…

Woah, that’s weird. Skype just popped up and I have no idea how to use it. I’m really quite out of practice and behind the times with technological developments.

I’ve been a little bit… isolated for the last 5 years. I might as well have been in outer space. And while I was offline, my DS9-based blog ‘The Bajoran Exile’ on Open Diary was deleted along with the whole platform. Sad days.

But thankfully I found a remnant of it on the marvel that is the Wayback Machine (internet archive), and so hope to revive it somewhat and perhaps improve upon it.

The original blog was written always in character, as Kira Nerys as I once identified with her very strongly. That season of my life has passed and so I probably won’t be writing with the same voice so much anymore. But hopefully you will recognise my voice as a Trek lover.

I’m not sure I would say that Star Trek is my first love, but I was certainly a ‘Cradle Trekkie’. So much so that I believed quite firmly that my father played Spock in the original series. (There was a resemblance)

I was quite tickled when my own children told me recently that they had believed when they were young that I played Captain Janeway in Voyager. I can’t claim much of a resemblance, other than reddish hair.

Star Trek and science fiction / fantasy more broadly remain my escapism of choice, and I confess that I tend to see the world through the lens of Star Trek to a large extent. I think I might have gone a little bit mad without it.

So, if you are anywhere on the spectrum of being a Trekkie/ Trekker – from mildly amused to seriously fanatic, I would love to connect with you.

LLAP.

lcarsani