Tagged: time travel Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Mrs Chakotay 12:19 pm on February 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Netflix, , time travel,   

    Review: Russian Doll 

    One of my favourite things outside of regular sci-fi, is almost sci-fi, with aspects of unexplained time travel or time loops. The film Groundhog Day has literally had at least 100 viewings in my home. In fact it’s one of a few movies that gets fished out every time anybody is ill – comfort viewing for the whole family.

    So on Groundhog Day this Saturday, Netflix took the opportunity of advertising its new sci-fi-esque mini series (8 episodes of around 20-25 minutes each) Russian Doll and of course I couldn’t resist.

    There was no coincidence that it chose Groundhog Day, since Russian Doll has a basic plot in common with Grounday Day: the main character is reliving the same day over and over, except rather than the re-set point being 6:00 am every morning, regardless, the loop starts when she dies, which may be in ten minutes or in two days. And she dies, and dies, and dies over and over again, sometimes hilariously.

    The mechanism is never quite explained, although “clues abound”. She is stuck at her 36th birthday party, and I won’t give you any more spoilers, because it is so good, please watch it but be aware that it’s not PG friendly, there is lots of sex and swearing, oh and drugs.

    I love that the main character, Nadia, is played by Natasha Lyonne who is also the writer, director and producer why has she never come to my attention before?). I’ve seen Russian Doll hailed as “The Bandersnatch we deserved”, and yes. Nadia as a game programmer, and at one point she declares, “I’m in the game, I’m Kirk Douglas” referring to the 1997 thriller. The idea of Bandersnatch was good, but it was lacking something; it isn’t thrilling or unpredictable in the same way Russian Doll is.

    I did personally like the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror, but it isn’t a patch on Russian Doll. Watch it, watch it again!

    Have you seen it? Tell me what you thought!

  • Mrs Chakotay 1:30 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , sexual politics, time travel   

    Book Review: 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.

    • lillbjorne 1:36 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on The Bajoran Exile and commented:

      I usually post my book reviews over on Life for Beginners, but since this is solidly science fiction, I thought I would share it here too.


Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
%d bloggers like this: