Friday, February 22, 2019

The Mirror: The Orville

Image result for the orvilleI love Star Trek. I've spent the last number of months (can't remember how many-maybe more than a year) working my way through nine seasons of Voyager and then seven seasons of Deep Space Nine. Now I'm waiting for season two of Discovery which Netflix has been promising for two months. What's a sci fi fan to do in the interim? Find another show to watch.

I accidentally discovered The Orville while watching season five of Vikings on SBS ondemand. I also decided to overlook the terrible film version of Lost in Space and give the rebooted series a go. The Orville is rocks and diamonds for me so far. I'm up to episode seven of season two. There are some very good episodes which deal with universal issues in that special "utopian Roddenberry" manner, but the humour is generally crude. The influence of Star Trek mythology is very obvious, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. Nevertheless, it has its moments like episode six of season two which I watched last night.

Image result for dr finn and IsaacDr Claire Finn (human) develops romantic feelings for Isaac (artificial intelligence life form) so she decides to ask him on a date. To Isaac this presents an opportunity for more research into human behaviour. For Claire, it's an also an experiment albeit one on a much more emotional level. Isaac doesn't know what's epxected of him so he seeks counsel from a male crew mate whom he perceives as being 'good with women'. They go on a date, then a second date which results in a love making session. Issac understands that his research is finished now so he ends the relationship. This hurts Claire and makes all Isaac's crew mates angry with him. Captain Mercer suggests that, in fact, the experiment isn't finished yet because he hasn't experienced the 'make up". So Isaac says sorry in an artificially intelligent romantic way, Claire accepts his apology and the relationship resumes.

His winning words: "My internal programs function more efficiently with you."

It's a really funny and clever episode exploring relationships, which are essentially all about emotion, through a highly unlikely "romance" between a human and an emotionless non-biological life form. Men are lampooned as useless with the emotional side of relationships, while women are at the other extreme; overly sentimental and illogical. Of course, these are grossly exaggerated stereotypes, but there are certain truths within, with which we can all identify.

Love is often said to be the key ingredient in a good relationship, but this is way too simplistic and superficial. Love itself is extremely complex. What constitutes genuine love may be fairly universally acknowledged, but it is not so widely practiced. Issac would probably call love 'a series of inefficient internal programs which adversely affect other programs.'

How would you define love? Can you do it with just three words. I challenge you.

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Dog's Eye: clutching at straws

I find myself of late, for a couple of months now actually, without anything much to say. Time has not been the issue. Desire has. In terms of my writing, I have felt uninspired.

Thankfully, I am not troubled by this. Every now and then, I think about opening my WIP file, chasing up all the beta readers who let me down, pushing my published works, beginning something new, banging out a short story, or disseminating some pithy piece of commentary here on Square Pegs. However, these are mere blips on the radar of my life these days.

True, my new job has forced a routine change, but so has more discipline re gym visits, and also the necessity of watching as much cricket as I can.

Waffle. Waffle. One of dad's favourite words. Miss you Dad! Speaking of favourite are three* that have struck me recently. Polar Vortex, Extra** and Banana Freckle. First, an extreme weather event, then a brand of chewing gum which appropriately sponsors cricket umpires, and lastly a fruit disease which has only just been eradicated in the Northern Territory after a five year battle.

And with that overly long previous sentence and this one beginning ungrammatically with "and", I sign off until next time the capricious wind of muse blows.

*five words in fact
** Extra is a brand of chewing gum made by Wrigley, but in cricket is refers to runs awarded to the batting team when the batsman has not hit the ball. For example, wides, no balls and byes.