Apparently this is one of the lesser books by Phil K Dick, probably because it’s semi-autobiographical…which means he can’t go into space or insert too much of the weird shit he usually does because we know reality isn’t really like that…or a reality without drugs anyway.
Reality = no ubik, no Palmer Eldritch, no androids
What he can do, though, is give the characters more believability and grounding than in something like ‘Ubik’. Not that Ubik didn’t have good characters…it did, but Joe Chip had a normal life for about five pages, until the plot kicked in and then his character was formed around that…’Radio Free’ has characters who live a normal life for the entire length of the plot, only sometimes being forced into extreme situations e.g. Nicholas gets arrested and shot in the head. [Spoiler]
Dick puts himself in the story
The secondary or main character of this [depending on reader POV] is a writer called Philip K Dick. He doesn’t try to hide that it’s himself…there’s nothing that’s slightly off, no detail that doesn’t fit…this is Philip K Dick and the only thing I think he’s made up is his best friend, Nicholas. Read more…
The alien drooled, gnashed its teeth, gnashed its second set of teeth, hissed, raised its arms and said [in its own language] ‘Mum-raaaa!’
Burke reeled backwards, petrified…well, his face went back a few inches, but his body stayed pretty much the same.
This is it, he thought.
I don’t want it to be it, he counter-thought quickly. I’m too slick to die. I’m too smart, too good at manipulating things, too…
The alien lunged, ignoring Burke’s personal narrative.
A noise from the ceiling. Some shitty workmanship. A piece of metal beam, military grey, fell onto the alien’s head and killed it instantly.
Burke touched the alien’s head with his foot.
Burke stepped over the corpse and ran out another door.
Minutes later he was on the spaceship.
Bishop didn’t seem to notice as he walked on, so he kept quiet and waited in the communal area, making defences he could use to explain himself to the others. Read more…
Plot: Two Organians possess Malcolm and Mayweather, instantly imbuing the latter with double the personality of the regular Mayweather. The reason: the Enterprise is orbiting a planet with a silicon virus that could kill everyone on board and they’re gonna be observers and observe the shit going down [and possibly have an effect]. Meanwhile, Trip and Hoshi contract the virus and start sweating a little. Archer sticks them in quarantine and tells Phlox to make a cure. Phlox argues that it’s the evolutionary will of the universe for Trip and Hoshi to die from this virus and what right do they have to interfere. Actually, he doesn’t, because this isn’t ‘Dear Doctor’ and there’s no time for hypocrisy.
Subplot: The subplot is non-existent. There’s some fleshing out of Hoshi’s background, but it’s not that interesting. In fact, it’s basically bullshit. She’s a linguistic genius because she can see patterns easily. Apparently, pronunciation, accents and remembering vocab comes in the same package.
What’s so good about it?
It ain’t perfect, but at least it’s got nothing to do with the temporal war or Vulcans or Archer’s dog.
I should probably say more…I haven’t written anything about Enterprise since I started this site, people might start to think I don’t like it.
Actually, I don’t mind it. To me, it’s better in a lot of ways than Voyager, but suffers from the complete opposite problem to that series: the concept is tedious. Read more…
Nick Nolte the wildman drunk woke up after a long night of reading, drinking and smoking and [with light storming in] realised he was no longer Nick Nolte.
As he brushed his teeth in the bathroom he further realised he hadn’t been Nick Nolte for a long time.
He showered, put his contacts in and tried to figure out some kind of time scale.
That cop film…the Eddie Murphy thing…was that it?
He walked into his second living room, in the beach pad bought by Nick Nolte the mad scientist in that green monster film, and thought about what he should do next.
A few seconds later he went sideways and thought about why he’d come to think of this in the first place.
There were all those books he’d been reading. The ones Walter said would give him trouble.
But, shit…just fiction and philosophy, he thought.
Cela and the Life of Pascal Dirty. Camus and the third man. Celine and the long journey through the night. Malaparte and…what was it…Virus? Disease? Sartre and the nausea. Takahashi and the Sayonara Gangsters. Hesse and those two guys…Nazi and Goldman. Read more…
Plot: A klingon language exchange that we’ve never seen before is accused and convicted of causing a warp core breach [or something similar]. Starfleet sends one of the Golden Girls to see if there are any more saboteurs on board. Ten minutes in, she decides that there’s a huge conspiracy on the Enterprise that could engulf the whole Federation. Picard disagrees. Worf gets an erection.
Subplot: It’s mostly plot, but I suppose the idea that Worf is the one who’s most enthusiastic about the witch-hunt acts as some kind of counter-balance to the prudence and tea-based diplomacy of Picard.
What’s so good about it?
By Season Four, TNG was pretty much in full swing. There were no truly awful episodes any more…at least I can’t think of any off the top of my head…but at the same time, there hadn’t been any really great ones since ‘First Contact’…
Actually, I’ve just checked the episode list for Season Four and ‘First Contact’ was episode 15…The Drumhead was episode 21…not a huge gap between them. But when you look at the episodes sandwiched between them [Galaxy's Child, Night Terrors, Qpid], you realise that The Drumhead was probably needed to steady the ship again.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration…I’ve heard some people like ‘Qpid’…but even the fiercest fan of that ep would probably agree that it doesn’t have much depth to it…or much of a budget [welcome back, medieval California, we've missed you. Foam castle, take a seat. Sorry, shitty costumes, didn't see you there.] Read more…
Jackie Chan was born in 1954 in Kowloon, Hong Kong. His family did not have much money, so Jackie spent most of his childhood with his arms inside his t-shirt, begging for coins. As soon as he could make a sentence, he was given a script to say to passers-by:
To women: ‘Mummy…’
To men: ‘I don’t want anything, I’m fine.’
To scientists: ‘Whatever you need, I’ll do it.’
When he was eight years old, his father sent him to a [cheap] kung-fu school so he could learn how to beat people up in a pretty way. It wasn’t well-known, but the school was funded by a gang from Tai Po. The master ['Brother Power'] taught the kids how to stand on one leg and fend off large groups with only a stick…then used the same stick to beat students who gave him shit. Jackie had such a good time at the kung-fu school that he remained there for the next seventeen years.
Jackie never had time for University. In fact, Brother Power told him it was pointless to go there as tuition fees were so high and all the poor students were tagged and put in the stupid corner, and besides, he didn’t need education, not when he could earn a living from kicking people in tournaments.
Despite this lack of education, Jackie developed a keen interest in science and socialism, even going so far as to write down forty pages of his own theory, detailing the ways in which science and socialism could mix for the betterment of mankind.
While writing the forty-first page, Jackie was interrupted by Brother Power. The master saw the title and asked his least favourite student what socialism had to do with anything, especially them.
‘Well,’ said Jackie, ‘to me it’s the way the world should be…’
‘Bullshit,’ said Brother Power. Read more…
Episodes featured: The Void, A Matter of Honour, various Voyager eps
Never has a series of Trek wasted so many great ideas as often as Voyager did.
Even the concept of the show itself was wasted.
Concept: Starship gets sucked 70,000 light years across the galaxy and has to find a way back home through unexplored and mostly unfriendly space.
It’s been said a thousand times already that the first two seasons were shit, but even then there was a lot of potential.
The Maquis, for instance.
Or the idea that Federation principles would have to be bent in order to get the crew back home.
Both wasted in the first season.
The Maquis were integrated almost instantly, with zero problems, and Janeway made it clear very early on that she would not deviate in any way from the Prime Directive [until the Borg showed up].
I suppose this was admirable and one of the things I generally like about Trek, but it makes for pretty boring characters if all of them are noble at all times on all days on all occasions. And at times, it was just comical…especially the early episode of the first season where they go four days back in time and Janeway refuses to warn the natives that their planet is about to be destroyed because it would interfere with their cultural development. To be fair, she changes her mind twenty-five minutes in, but it’s still bullshit character work. Read more…