Saturday #1

… when I went running again, but this time only for 40 min or so because my back started hurting. Hopefully pilates will help with this.

I went to some of the academic panels, and by goodness they were great.

Robert Savage’s “Paleoanthropology of the Future” (which can mean at least two different things, as far as I can read) was awesome – about 2001, and how scifi looks at the development of Human. He made a link between the hero-journey (which I remember from doing classics) and the development of man: needing some sort of external shove, for instance, to get started, and how at the end the hero/man is the same but different. He posited that Moonwatcher, Floyd, and Bowman are all fundamentally the same character, but (I think) different aspects (I could be murdering his whole premise here, of course). Women, in this story and in the story of Man’s Development (in the classic model), are removed – and I hadn’t really noticed that: the three women in the story are a little girls and two stewardesses: they are there to provide comfort and that’s it. The bit I really liked was the idea of how 2001‘s narrative arc follows the arc suggested by paleoanthropology. The latter requires evolution or similar, which doesn’t really fit in with narrative requirements, so Clarke has the extraterrestrial influence, which fits in with the idea of “the donor” from the hero-journey arc. A couple of other interesting points: the development of Dave into the star-child // conception, when the pod goes into the sun (so the hero is the father of the child, and so is still recognisable). Also, that HAL // the leopard in the opening segment as an external motivating influence. And of course, the other possibly conclusion to the story is that HAL goes through the monolith, and comes out as… IBM? :)  There’s also the parallel between HAL being shut down and Dave in the hotel room, at the end, regressing. So Dave and HAL are very similar, even (and this is my take) aspects of the same idea.

(Dr) Stephen Dedman’s talk on Captain America was quite fascinating, too – I know nothing about the superhero, so it was interesting to hear about his development and mutations over time. Especially as he was born out of a Congress request for publishers to put out stuff that was in line with the government’s policy on war! The (ab)use of comics would make a fascinating book, I think. The change from all-American hero fighting the dirty Hun, to whether he should be shown fighting the Vietnamese at all, to finally fighting Americans in thrall to an evil American general is quite some development.

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