Teletubby Teleology

tinky winky pastoralLeading Teletubbies theorist Adam Roberts, in his 2011 essay “Time for Teletubbies: Radical Utopian Fiction”, has some interesting things to say about Teletubbyland. After establishing some evident-yet-unspoken basics, such as the fact that the Teletubbies are cyborgs and the show is science fiction, Roberts moves on to his main thesis: that the Teletubbies are essentially a perfected version of the Eloi, those childlike posthumans in HG Wells’s The Time Machine. Where the Eloi have lost their intelligence and capacity for negative affect, the Teletubbies are even more advanced in their degeneracy, having also lost their sexuality, eliminating that final, fraught complication of adult emotional life.

I think this is right. I also think there is more going on here than meets the eye.
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To the Flying Machine (Oxford Is Taken)

jeff wayne's the war of the worlds - playstation - oxford is takenThe first two-level “arc”, for want of a better word, comes as a significant change of pace for The War of the Worlds. Where level five had us defending Oxford and eventually destroying the Martian base in the field to the south-east, level six reverses the situation: we start with a human base in that same field, and must work to destroy a new alien base built among the ruins of Oxford itself. The level also offers some significant new insights into Martian technology and architecture.
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We Shall Not Be Tethered (A Short Album About Love)

On 20th October, 1996, The Divine Comedy performed with the Brunel Ensemble at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. The previous day, during rehearsals for the gig, they recorded an entire album. The result, A Short Album About Love, consists of seven tracks. It’s also something akin to a compilation album, as Neil Hannon had originally written most of these songs for previous albums. The majority were considered for inclusion on the 1996 album Casanova, but didn’t make the final cut, with several having been too straightforwardly romantic to fit the sex-comedy tone on which Casanova ultimately settled. Short Album was released on 10th February, 1997 – just in time for Valentine’s Day.
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Night of the Cephalanthrope

cephalanthtropy“Fanfiction is valid,” he says. “It’s just another form of storytelling. Just because it doesn’t fit into the bullshit bourgeois framework of copyright law doesn’t mean it’s worthless.” The evening air is cool and damp, and the woods are growing dark; soon the only light left will be the glower of an occluded moon.

“That sounds like an excuse,” she says. “A good writer should be able to come up with their own ideas. Fanfic is fine if you’re a teenager or whatever – I used to read it a fair bit when I was younger – but it’s just a stepping-stone. Training-wheels. For when you’re starting out.” Keeping pace across the uneven earth is difficult; she condemns her stubby legs in silence.
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The Road Will Turn to Gold (Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire)

What is the greatest film ever made? Most of the class stare silently into the middle distance. Some students text; others scrawl malformed nothings on their desks. Still, a few hands are raised. Citizen Kane (1941), recites an obedient scholar of online Greatest Films lists. Solaris (1972), ventures an elevated connoisseur of the cinematic arts. Pulp Fiction (1994), dares some rebellious enfant terrible – the only film he has seen that was older than himself. You are all wrong, laughs the wise old professor. The correct answer is Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire.

But it is not easy to explain why Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire is the greatest film ever made. It takes some doing.
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Marked as Blue (Defend Oxford Against Invasion)

lv5-01The objective of the fifth level, “Defend Oxford Against Invasion”, is straightforward enough: the city is under attack, and we’re to fight off the Martians until a human base can be constructed. The game’s midpoint is in sight: we know the drill. That said, there are still some interesting firsts here. We’re immediately struck by the visuals: this is the first level to be set during night, which it manages well, giving us a nice velvety purple-blue sky lit by a faintly pixellated moon. (For the invaders, with their tiny and invisible Phobos and Deimos, this must take some getting used to: one wonders if they marvel at our own vast and silvery satellite – if their sad longing for Earth was due, in some small part, to the draw of Selene.) The opening flyover cinematic takes us through a Martian base, across bridge and field and river, and on to Oxford’s first line of defence.
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The Case of Alan Moore v Twin Peaks

alan moore twin peaks 1Considering Alan Moore’s aversion to the popular culture of the 21st century, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an interview in which he shares his thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return. Imagine my alarm, then, upon finding that the omnibearded demiurge’s response includes the words “I kind of wish I hadn’t bothered”! The greatest living writer of the English language expressing mild dislike for the greatest television series ever made? This must be how people who love both of their parents feel when they fight. No, this simply cannot go unexamined – cannot go uncontested. In an act of self-annihilation to rival Icarus himself, I am going to have a go at Alan Moore.

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