Tag Archives: fantasy

If Wishes Were Horses…

wishes horses ds9

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

Comments
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.

~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

* 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?)

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Book Review: Dragonflight

dragonflight

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey is the first novel written in the series relating to the planet of Pern, written in 1968, but I did not realise that it is quite far along in the Pern chronology.

I chose to read it firstly because it was at the top of my fiction pile, secondly because I read a book by Anne McCaffrey years ago, Black Horses for the King, which I enjoyed, and finally because I am still in the mood for a little bit of fantasy-flavoured escapism.

It was quite different from Pawn of Prophecy which I read last – the writing is far more complex, the language somewhat archaic in places which adds weight to its medieval feel, and the topics more adult-oriented, and the world of Pern was somehow much more solid and easier to envisage, and of course, dragons (top feature – who could resist?).

Warning – contains Spoilers from this point on!

The time travel element was a complete surprise, dragons apparently having the ability to fly ‘between’ times as well as places, although ‘between’ is never quite explained. There is no ‘magic’ in the stories of Pern, so presumably it is either a feature of the planet, or of the breeding of the dragons.

Pern is a planet once colonised by the people of Earth, but hundreds and perhaps thousands of years later they appear to have lost their technology and descended into a medieval-style feudal system with dragons and their riders at the pinnacle of society, although even that tradition has been abandoned until it is realised, almost too late, that the oncoming Red Star threatens the planet with ‘Threads’ – living spore-like creatures of a thread-like appearance that rain down and which can devour and devastate the planet’s vegetation and burn and kill humans and animals alike – in short, their deadliest foe.

I was fascinated by the sexual politics in the book. At the beginning, the tyrant Fax has brutalised his women, his lady Gemma dyin€g in childbirth while he laughs at her predicament, apparently a blessed relief. The heroine – Lessa – is portrayed as a rebellious, foolish girl (although she has tremendous mental power) who must be tamed to submit to her master, F’lar, who shakes her like a child when she disobeys him.

‘Impressed’ (telepathically connected) as they are to their dragons, Lessa’s first sexual encounter – with F’lar – is a violent one, telepathically wrought, via his dragon’s mating with hers. She did not expect or consent to it, had never been informed as to the nature of their joining, and the author admits that, apart from the dragons, it was essentially a rape. That mating affects a marriage which, again, she does not consent to but must simply live with until she does eventually fall in love with him. Sex is barely mentioned though, leaving it up to the imagination to make up the rest (the raciest scene, towards the end of the book, is a single sentence:

“The cloth fell from her body to the floor as she responded to his kiss as ardently as if dragon-roused.”

…and that’s it, which frustration has apparently prompted fans to write erotic fan-fiction love scenes for the characters to fill in the blanks.

As Weyrwoman, connected to the land’s only remaining Dragon Queen, Lessa is the foremost woman in all of Pern, but has no political power, and must suffer the indignity of being ordered around and denied the autonomy of flying her dragon, something over which F’lar does eventually relent, inadvertently enabling her to attempt an audacious time flight into the distant past.

The only other women characters in most of the book are presented as repellent and disgusting in some way – Jora the former Weyrwoman was incompetent, lazy and fat, Kylara is incorrigibly promiscuous and egocentric, Fax’s other women ugly and smelly. I have to wonder whether Anne McCaffrey disliked women in general.

There is a turnaround though, as F’lar eventually has to concede – when Lessa brings forward a whole fighting wing of Queen Dragons and their riders who are ready to join in the battle against the Threads – that Weyrwomen in general and Lessa in particular cannot be tamed or controlled or curtailed by him or any man.

I did enjoy it, although I found it a little bit hard to follow and difficult to get into at first. I know that Anne McCaffrey was criticised over the dragon mating scenes – apparently such rape scenes occur across several of her books – which is obviously a little disturbing, but overall it was a good mixture of science fiction and fantasy and I will probably add some more stories of Pern to my wishlist.

Pawn of Prophecy

pawnofprophecy

The ME/cfs Book club challenged us to read a book we already read, so I just read this again after 20-ish years, and it’s still good! I love David Eddings’ style and the way he weaves all the strands together. But I’m surprised I didn’t go on to read the rest of the series, as it feels as though it ends with a lot of story yet to be told. So I’ll be hunting down the next one and the rest of the Belgariad series, and maybe all of the David Eddings collection.

Garion is the central character in this first book of the series, with no real idea of who or what he is, and his journey from quiet, inconsequential farm boy to consorting with kings and nobles is really a journey of coming-of-age.

The idea of being a ‘pawn of prophecy’, having a plan and purpose that you know nothing of, and having everything happen around you, with the powers that be moving him around the ‘board’ of life, but at the same time not wanting to believe that such things are true or possible, makes Garion easy to identify with, so I’m interested to know what will become of him (although there are plenty of clues, I won’t give it away – the reader knows really, but Garion still hasn’t quite figured it out).

I’m also hoping that, in the next book, Pol will soften a bit and let in some romance with the trusty Durnik who obviously dotes on her. I hope that’s not too spoily. 🙂

Nice, gentle escapism with a wholly believable otherworld of gods, sorcery and deception, although I did find it hard to keep all the characters, gods and nations straight in my mind – who was who and which nation they came from (especially when they started introducing new names!), who was married to whom etc. But David Eddings’ skillful writing had me so immersed, that I felt I was in the places and journeying alongside the characters. One of those books that I’m really sad to finish!

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

Moon Child

harvest-fullmoon-stonehenge

Just a quick post to tell you a little bit about my new NaNoWriMo project this year.

I am writing what is evolving to be a mixture of murder mystery, adventure and tragic love story, all set at the end of the neolithic age, and covers the height and breadth of Britain, and of course it does feature some of the most prominent neolithic sites such as Stonehenge.

“The high king of Albion is murdered, and his daughter must solve the mystery, apprehend the murderer and sacrifice her greatest love to take on the mantle of her father to lead her people into a new era.”

I am taking rather a lot of liberties, and now that I know what it is, it might even qualify as ‘speculative’ fiction, since I am speculating that the people of the late neolithic age allowed almost equal status to women as to men, that these people were basically Celtic, though from an earlier wave of Celtic immigration than the Celts we know, and that they remembered their ancestors right back to Noah and the Ark. So I am using the traditional names and ideas from Geoffrey of Monmouth and others of the early inhabitants being known as the Samotheans, after their founder Samothea, and the island being known as Albion after the ‘giant’ who invaded the island but who was later defeated.

It is obviously not a ‘Christian’ novel, as it pre-dates the Christian era considerably, and it has quite a different feel to the novel that I wrote in 2012, which was very religious in content by the end of it, but that really was a cathartic process for me and included autobiographical elements – the loss of babies, moving to a new land, the depths of disappointment and despair and finding hope and new meaning and purpose in God. (That last part, to be honest, was rather speculative itself.) I did not like that book when Nanowrimo was finished, and I have not yet gone back to edit or complete it; actually I suspect it may need a complete re-drafting, and I have never showed anybody what I wrote. It was just a little bit too deeply personal and painful.

This time, hopefully, I am writing a book I would enjoy reading. It has the similar themes of tragedy and triumph, but this time I hope to enjoy the adventure a bit more.

I am downplaying the pagan elements, so it may not appeal to everyone – there is no human sacrifice, nor do the people worship the celestial bodies. These are a people who know that the sun and moon are created bodies, that there is a creator, but they know nothing of him. I also speculate that these early people did, contrary to accepted notions, have a written language, but that they used leather to write on and therefore we have no record.

So anyway, I am having a bit of fun with pre-history, basically.

I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that I won’t have time to post regular updates on how I’m doing, though I may post again at the midpoint, and I will be posting word updates to twitter.

Here is a little excerpt, to give you a taster. After the murderer has committed the main murder, he then goes on to kill both the witnesses:

“Almost instinctively, he had reached for his dagger and had slain the second man before he had even consciously known that he had the dagger in his hand. But now Zaidar had lain Franek down, covering his eyes one final time, and stood to face the foe. The two men stood still for a moment, opposing each other in the moonlight, and the stranger knew at that moment that he had a choice – if he allowed this man to run and raise the alarm at the settlement, he would have no hope, no chance, no future. He knew that he only had one choice: kill the man and escape.”

Let me know what you think! Are you Nano-ing? What is your genre?