Praying TARDIS

Tardis-wallpaper-tardis-6289817-800-600It’s hard to believe it’s been two months since my last post.  In that time, I’ve gone through one of those slumps that affects most writers and artists, with the result being my not writing.   A really good reason for this not writing has been this weird lack of focus on any one thing that I could, well, focus on.  And since the only consistency here has been inconsistency, I’ve decided to do a minor reboot of my blog again, honing it to that one other cultural phenom that also has no focus, namely the incomparable Doctor Who.

Now, by saying Doctor Who  has no focus I run the risk of pissing off approximately 619,253,517 Doctor Who fans, and alienating my 3 followers.  But really and truly, the show does cover so much territory — from black-and-white episodes about Aztecs to post-post-modern allegories about the meaning of mercy — that I feel I’m on pretty safe ground by saying a show that is about everything is a good foundation to continue my blog, which is about nothing at all.

Sometimes we work hard to achieve nothing.

So, really, other than to tell you that I am back, and stuck in neutral on Season 4 of the new DW, waiting for the season premiere of Mad Men, and waiting for my wife to catch up with me on Downton Abbey, and fending off the scourge of pollen that besets the wicked and righteous alike here in the Deep South, I am hoping, nah, praying that ye olde TARDIS can be the salvation of my rather disjointed blogging.

If not, then my next step will be to base it off Baba Yaga’s Dancing Hut; and if I go down that road I might as well just move back into my mother’s basement, which would be quite the challenge since 1) she’s no longer with us and, 2) doesn’t have a basement.

I’ll continue to sprinkle my blog with writing advice (don’t use exclamation points, at all, ever), but I’m going to quit pimping my fiction because I don’t want to be a salesman, regardless of the publishing climate these days.  I want to be a writer, and this is my platform, which is based on a copyrighted TV show older than I am, and a brain that is slowly withering on the vine.

As soon as I think of something sublime and ridiculous to say, though, I’ll sign off for now.

Seizures later,

Keith

P.S. The blog is now the blue of a British police box, in case you’re curious, which I doubt you are.

Doctor Who What When?

“Question is: What do you make of me?” ~ The Doctor

20130116-171135.jpg

I love Christmas Eve, so when the DVD of the BBC’s Doctor Who Christmas Special “The Next Doctor” (s04e14) arrived in the mail I was eager to dive right in. I was not disappointed. Since there are scads of reviews of Doctor Who episodes all over the Internet, what I wanted to do instead was give you an impression of one small slice of this episode.

After our Doctor (David Tennant) arrives via TARDIS on Christmas Eve, 1851, the history geek in me was thoroughly content to sit back and enjoy.

As Act One unfolds we’re given one of those treats time travel fiction does so well: Evoking that sense of wonder that much of science fiction has lost since those heady days of Astounding and Amazing Stories. In the opening scenes of “The Next Doctor” our Doctor meets a future incarnation of himself, a version of himself suffering from amnesia.

And that notion is one of the most compelling aspects of time travel: Meeting a past or future version of yourself (without the amnesia part; that’d sorta suck). In that first act, “Amnesia Doctor” is investigating the house where the character Jackson Lake was murdered by the show’s infamous villains and “Amnesia Doctor” gets into a rather lengthy conversation about the crime with our Doctor. After revealing more about the situation than he probably should, “Amnesia Doctor” pauses with confusion, and then says he trusts our Doctor completely and implicitly, telling him things he wouldn’t tell any ordinary stranger.

I actually paused the DVD at this point, finding that whole concept fascinating. I began to wonder whether I would trust myself with vital, personal secrets. If I went back in time — to 1983 or 1993 or 2003 — could I trust the man I was then with the knowledge that I have now? Or if I were to travel into the future with the help of an old English police box could I face my older, wiser self and explain why I’m doing “this” but not “that,” why I bought instead of saved, why I chose “Thing 1” over “Thing 2”?

This is what makes science fiction and fantasy — those twins of speculation separated at birth — such a compelling genre of literature. Allegories abound, sometimes banal, sometimes sublime, but always thought-provoking.

And we need to think and reflect and ponder and wonder, or at least I do. Time can be a merciless monster as well as a beneficent angel. But my genre — when it’s at its best — focuses on the latter. It chooses optimism over bitterness, hope instead of despair, and a reminder that tomorrow can be a better day if we’ll just make the choice to let it.

So, in conclusion, I’ll offer another brief quote from the show, and then go off searching for my own time machine. Where is the damn thing? I swear that beast has legs.

Jackson Lake — “That offer of Christmas dinner is no longer a request. It’s a demand.”
The Doctor — “In honor if those we’ve lost.”

As always,
Peace, from Keith

Commentary copyright (c) 2013, Alan Keith Parker. Quotes and images are copyright (c) 2012, BBC, and used here under fair use laws.

My Grand Gaffe

Yesterday, in the delirium of flu-induced fever, I made a mistake in a wireless transmittal. My Grand Gaffe, as it shall now be known, began with idle speculation about a growing fascination with the clockwork world we once knew and loved, with its airship lighthouses, telephonic fog, time levers, Maison tournante aérienne, and steam-powered bidets.

In the midst of my vaporous fugue-state, I said that Mary Russell lived in my revered 19th century. As Master Wells has informed me, a not-yet-famous American canine would have said to this, “Ruh roh!”

There you have it: The first mistake ever made in the aether known as The Twitter.

Mary Russell herself called me out on it, very politely I might add, in order to set the record straight: she was born in 1900 and first met Mister Sherlock Holmes in 1915, well after the Victorian era had concluded.

I then tried again, to no avail, to entice readers the world over to speculate whether we are pining for the clockwork engines of that bygone age.

20121228-165300.jpg

But my wireless dispatches, sent far and wide, from the Arctic chill of the Romanov Winter Palace, to the sultry climate of distant Siam, have gone but unanswered.

So then, all that this gentleman and scholar can do is simply wait … wait as apologies cover our shrinking globe, and wonder, not for the first time, whether a safari to distant Venus aboard Mister Verne’s projectile (via an space gun, of course) should be in order.

Should my apologies to the astute theologian (and deadly knife-thrower) fall on deaf ears I fear I shall have to take solace on one of these other worlds of our solar system; if not the aforementioned Venus, then perhaps I may find work along the canals of Mars, trading in those hideous eggs, or secluding myself in obtuse Innsmouth on our own globe, a place where no man knows his fate.

Please, Mary Russell, if you see this, forgive my arrogance in the aether.

I am, sincerely, your faithful servant.

Mister K. Parker

Copyright 2012 © Alan Keith Parker.  All Rights Reserved.