Monday, August 25, 2008


I have managed to get my way through the first two seasons and a short way into the third this weekend. I imagine I'll be able to finish the series in a few more days. In short, I am enjoying the series. I'll refrain from giving any in depths thoughts on the show as I am sure no one cares.

Quite possibly the biggest surprise of the show was all of the religion. I had no idea the show was so speculative and ingrained with religious content. I wonder what the Christian community thinks of the "evil" Cylon machines representing the monotheistic side of religion? Of course, there is no open admission that the Cylons are worshiping a Christian god, but it is obvious that that is what they are trying to mimic. They have, after all, quoted the first commandment enough.

If we pretend for a moment that they are worshiping a Christian god, I find it interesting that they misinterpret the religious messages in the same way that people do, but with a bent in the direction of machine thinking. Essentially, the Cylons misinterpret religious ideals as though those ideals are absolutes, and then they seek out loopholes to get around the evil they are doing. A machine version of the rationalizations that humans make with their own religious beliefs. It's an interesting presentation.

I am sure I am not alone in that I would like to see someone shoot Starbuck in the head. She is the most annoying character on the show, and no matter how much the writer's try to make her character sympathetic, I can't seem to get past the fact that she is nothing but a whiny coward. Sure she may seem heroic in her deeds, but they are all in an effort to kill herself because she was abused as a child. She's too much of a wimp to kill herself, and based on my next comment you can't claim that she ought not to on the grounds that suicide is a sin, because it isn't. Anyway, she ought to just kill herself and get it over with rather than continue to hurt the people she claims to care about. Again, she's just a useless coward in that she can't seek help or seek an end; she's pathetic.

Of course, many of the human characters have lost the traditional rightous path, President Roslin comes to mind, but this is in some ways forgivable when coming from the humans because they are a "heathen" culture with their polytheistic beliefs in the ancient Roman/Greek gods. Or so we are supposed to think. They don't think so. I do like the fact that the writer's don't hold the humans to the standard Christian model. If they did, I would be grumbling about it now.

Like the references to the Earth born animals, e.g. the Lion's head nebula. How do they know what a lion is? Of course, if this is the best I can complain about, they are obviously doing a reasonable job with the consistency of the show. As a member of any audience you have to accept that the story is in some ways a translation of an event made suitable for your own culture. I'm sure the show wouldn't have lasted long had they invented their own language, made the actors speak their lines in it, and then subtitled everything. Only an idiot would make a film using a made up or dead language. Right Peter? Right Mel?

Hmm... Those might be bad examples.

Anyway, no need to go on about this here. For those that have seen the show, I'd be happy to discuss my thoughts in depth at a later time.

As for this being a weekend of R&R, I think it worked out well. I can't say as I have been given any new ideas for my own story, but it has given me plenty to think about in terms of the character development. When we first started this project, Moose and I didn't agree on how religion should be presented, so I have mostly left it out. In fact, I have only just started adding religious elements into the second novel.

In reality, this isn't a religious story so it won't play a major part at any point, however, it is a story about a special group of people and their roles in a galactic event. The whole point of the presentation is about character development, so after watching BSG, I am feeling much more confident about adding religious elements to my characters.

I'll probably spend the better part of today finishing up the BSG series. That may bleed into tomorrow a bit, but I am not concerned about that. I am a bit concerned with how I'll continue writing. Watching this show has made me itchy to start my rewrites. The main point of this first draft was to make a set of skeleton characters who filled in the gaps to the high points of the main story. I am now dying to fully flesh and clothe these characters. And in all good stories, the world itself is an important character. I want to fill in more about the Federation as well.

We'll see how it goes. I do need to rewrite the first volume in the next 5-6 weeks. So, I'll probably spend 2-3 more weeks working on the second novel in hopes of finishing it, and then I'll go all the way back to the beginning. If I don't finish the second novel in that time, I may have to set it aside for a short time. We'll find out soon enough. I'll probably start writing again tomorrow.


deniz said...

About using a completely forgotten language... A Turkish director has shot a semi documentary film on the Hittites. The characters have not spoken one word of Turkish.
The language that the Hittites (actually the Hatti, as it was on the people who settled where the Hittite had settled, and have adopted their culture, beliefs and everything) used exists only in tablets. It has been deciphered but noone knows how it is spoken actually. It is one of the languages that the Christianism empowered Greek has rubbed out from the surface of the world. The film was quite interesting. If you ever come across, I recommend you to watch it.
As for BSG... Their using Earth originated terms is not inconsistent with the story. They believe they have come from the Earth. So it is normal that they are still using the terminology that has been used there. If you are referring to the fact that they are using that terminology in English... well, if you had been brought up in a non-English spoken country, you would be able to observe how annoying it is that American film industry, and American literature simply assumes that everybody knows English, everybody should know English, and there cannot be no other language in some cases... and how stupid Americans look when all those people from different countries, galaxies, time intervals learn English so quickly, while they cannot. And it is also annoying to see US references in "ALL" of the historical movies. Characters simply live like average US citizens, but with different clothing. I can understand why it is done. TO make the movie percievable by ordinary citizens. But then they destroy other cultures by doing that, and, to tell you the truth, I find it insulting (eg: the Spartans... I forgot the full name.)
Yet, when I reconsider the BSG under the light of my above observations, I find it quite respectful to history.
I believe history should not be rewritten.
And whatever you write, there will be references to where and how you live. That is you. You cannot avoid it.. To create a whole new world is though. Good luck with that. I can never be that patient. Writing novels is not for me. I talk about one person at a time.

deniz said...

a correction. Not "destroy other cultures"; I think my English is insufficient for this; it should be; change the integrity of a cultural entity.

Doc Brown said...


If you ever recall the title of that documentary, by all means share it here. I'd probably be able to procure myself a copy. I can be resourceful in acquiring my entertainments.

With the BSG mythos so current in my mind, unless I dozed off for an episode, I think you are mistaken about the Humans coming from Earth. Either that, or I have not gotten to the part of the series which tells us this is so. I only just started the fourth and final season.

Based on what I have seen, Human civilization started on Kobol (or Cobol, I don't know how they spell it). From here, the 12 colonies (named after the famous astrology signs) began with earth being the 13th colony that everyone is looking for. Early in the series they imply this was about 2000 years ago, but they eventually change it to a more fixed 4000 years ago.

Of course, they keep reiterating that "All of this has been done before" so it is possible that these humans did indeed come from Earth, but we also have no reason to assume it. Basically, my comments about the lion reference would either mean that the writers are ridiculously talented and intended this to be a clue that everyone came from Earth, or they just used something people in their audience would know and accept. I suspect the latter, because I just don't believe TV writers are that clever, but I could very well be wrong. If they are that clever, I doubt they would not waste their time with such complexities because their audience is simply not that clever.

As for US entertainment depleting the integrity of other cultures in their productions, it is unquestionably true. Sadly, being on the inside looking out, I admit to missing it most of the time, but that is probably due to my being so jaded with it all. To someone on the outside looking in, like yourself, I'm sure it only reaffirms the depth of American ethnocentrism. I have no defense for it.

Doc Brown said...

Oh yeah, as for creating new worlds. I find it takes time, but I do not find it difficult. There is much to consider.

But they grow like plants in that they take root, spread out, and mature with the proper care. If you are truly impatient with them, or do not care for them, they wither and die.

I try to treat my characters the same way. We'll see in the next few months if I can be an effective creator of Men, Women, and the universe they live in.