Saturday, May 02, 2009

Nobody's Brain is Safe

I went from just liking Dollhouse to completely loving it last night. It still has flaws, but last night's episode so perfectly exploited the fact that there's no character on the show you can 100% trust and almost no characters you can 100% hate. Like a line of very precariously set dominos. And there was another incredibly well choreographed fight scene on top of that between the two characters the show has done the most to shore up our sympathies for; Boyd* and Agent Ballard. I've always been a sucker for sketchy morality and this show has it in spades, and now it's getting plenty cohesive. I'm thinking I have to credit Jane Espenson with that.

With breakfast this afternoon, I read the new Sirenia Digest, a Lovecraft themed issue and one of my favourites so far. I particularly liked "THE PERIL OF LIBERATED OBJECTS, OR THE VOYEUR'S SEDUCTION" which drew from Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. And not just because The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is one of my favourite Lovecraft tales--Caitlin's new story is an example of one of the things she does best; taking modern terrors of the more explicitly sexual and exploring them with the distant biological and ethereal vernacular of Lovecraft. Employing Lovecraftian terror of the strange and barely conceivable with the intimacy of stark sexuality. A reader of Caitlin's stories might have some glimpse of the immediate terror Lovecraft or Bram Stoker might have inspired in the more innocent readers of their day. The story also draws on the unicorn myth and lays bare the rape fantasy implicit in it--coupling it with the Lovecraftian bits seems appropriate as it's dealing with a reality everyone senses but fears to acknowledge.

"AT THE GATE OF DEEPER SLUMBER" was also quite good, and for many of the same reasons. It's less of a linear tale and seems a meditation on the oppression caused by a person's own fear. The issue also included "The Coast Guard", a poem by Sonya Taaffe. I'm not sure, but I think I've read it before. Maybe it's just that it strongly reminds me of a scene in Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly.

I'm short on time yet again to-day. I've got to try to get to bed earlier . . . Again, there'll probably be another post in the dead of night. I have a lot to say about yesterday.

*One of the show's flaws; a black man named "Boyd"? Why not call him "Digger" or "Jungle Benny" while you're at it?

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