Onward, Intrepid Fool!
I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that nothing describes humanity better than the stories we tell. This fueled my interest and passion for studying English Language and Literature for five years and now it compels me to continue to expand upon what I learned as a student. The reasons I chose to focus the latter half of my scholastic efforts on analyzing science-fiction literature can actually be reduced to three categories:
- I have had a lifelong passion for speculative fiction. Simple enough.
- Science-fiction is made of about 95% rubbish, but the 5% that is good is some of the best literature that has ever been produced.
- Science-fiction is woefully underrepresented in literature studies classes and, consequently, lacks a kind of academic legitimacy that I feel is unjust. My aim is to change this (and I was introduced to the expansive and rich literary value of fantasy and science-fiction by Eric S. Rabkin).
With this post I am embarking on a project that will most likely take a few years to complete. The first couple of posts will probably be discussions of Battlestar Galactica, and a review of Mass Effect 3 (which will hopefully lay the groundwork for later discussion). I have also created a searchable category called “Battlestar Galactica” which can be used to access any of the posts that I write. I have also created and post, and will update it as needed, with links to all of the episodic articles, which itself is linked to the “Sci-Fi Analysis” page located at the top of the blog.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to post my first piece. I’ll try to cover every episode with a mini-analysis of that episode and more in-depth analysis as the series progresses, taking many things into consideration. One of the things I most look forward to is a discussion on how the music not only evolves as the series progresses, but how it eventually comes to inform the viewers of the evolution of the characters and circumstances.
I’m also planning on working with several books and a few other television series as well, which will probably be updated along with the Battlestar Galactica posts. I’m not sure if there will be any regularity. I assume that there will be some coordination with Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Voyager because of a major theme that I want to explore that is present in both and, indeed, inform each other.
The first book I’ll write about will be Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics. I won’t do the entire book all at once, but I’ll break it down into chapters and then probably write something of the work as a whole.
As for the Mass Effect series, I am excited to talk about something that the first reaper, Sovereign, said to Commander Shepard on the planet Virmire: “Your civilization is based on the technology of the mass relays. Our technology. By using it, your society develops along the paths we desire. We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it,” and Legion’s description of the nature of the reapers after the suicide mission in Mass Effect 2.
I’d like write a post about the nature of the conflict between Shepard and the Reapers (see a connection with the names, alone?). Shepard represents organic life, which is, to be frank, aberrant, chaotic, unpredictable, and subject to change. Sovereign, and the reapers in general, represent a static, predictable, and controlled form of life. That is actually a weakness because it means that it can never change or evolve (which makes my favorite conclusion to Mass Effect 3 so damn good–I don’t want to give away the ending). There are a lot of ideas at play in this series, and I would like to fully explore them. Of particular interest is the nature of the forced harvesting of organic lifeforms to create the reapers (and thus destroy future iterations of organic life) versus the synthesis of organic and synthetic to create the polar opposite and herald life. There are clear parallels with Mass Effect and Battlestar Galactica when it comes to destruction versus synthesis and repeating cycles of destruction, but this can be saved for another time.
For right now, I’d just like to say that I hope you enjoy the pieces that I write on these subjects.