In Medias Media

It’s been less a week of endings and more a week of, well, not beginnings, either. Maybe early-middles? That’s sometimes the way it is, I suppose.

We’re three episodes into the new SyFy series Dark Matter. It’s kind of Firefly meets Memento. It’s premise is that six people wake up on a spaceship with no memories of who they are, but they have a certain muscle memory or intuition that means they still have all the skills they had before their memories were wiped. It doesn’t take them long to discover that most of their skills involve ultraviolence and/or illegal activities, and it soon comes out that all of them are wanted criminals for some pretty heinous shit (without giving anything specific away, one has apparently assassinated a major political figure in the recent past, sparking a massive civil war, and that might not be the worst dirt any of them have). For the moment it is *slightly* formulaic, with the kind of clear, if twist-strewn arc you might expect from Star Trek: The Next Generation or Babylon 5. That isn’t bad per se, but it’s pretty clear that the events of these early episodes are simply a backdrop against which the overall plot of the series is being introduced.

I mentioned Humans a couple weeks back, and it occurs to me that one of the story lines that is so obviously riffing off of Blade Runner has some other familiar material in its DNA. You have androids who gain self-awareness and attempt to escape their masters, and you have people who hunt down those escaped androids, wipe their memories (apparently not very well, since we’ve seen no android who has been successfully wiped, yet), and then resell them at a deep discount. Hm, where have I seen that before…








Oh yeah. Them! Jawas with British accents and without the heavy, flammable robes.

Assassin’s Quest continues. I feel that Robin Hobb is really worth studying as an author, because she has some interesting techniques. I could tease about all the “heads pounding with pain” and other silly quirks that involve redundant descriptions, but she does quite impressive things with plotting. Sometimes her characters must wish things went their way as often as they do for the heroes in Game of Thrones. The two golden rules appear to be “no good deed goes unpunished” and “no bad or poorly-thought-out deed goes unpunished, either.” An obvious bit of irrelevant “random encounter world-building” turns into a way to illustrate just how much trouble the protagonist is in and also gives a peek into his character. The world-building isn’t exactly blowing my mind, but she’s leading me by the nose with every plot twist and character exploration. My feeling has always been that if I feel like I can’t put a book down and I’m not sure why (intellectually), it’s probably worth enough of my attention to figure out how it’s doing that.

My parents are in town this weekend – ostensibly for the grandparents show at William’s daycare, although that is much more an excuse than an actual reason. Beth is playing a show as Windycon in Chicago this weekend, but it looks like a whole gaggle of grandparents will be at this thing. This means I have to get up at a kind of early hour tomorrow, so I’m going to sign off for now.

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One Response to In Medias Media

  1. Beth says:

    I bet you anything you change your mind about Robin Hobb’s worldbuilding by the time you finish the Liveship Chronicles. The way she deconstructs the concept of dragons in fantasy is completely unique.

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