Category Archives: fandom

Because It’s There

I’ve always liked Vathara, who is one of the better exponents of the theory that any sufficiently interesting universe can be crossed over with any other. I don’t like all her stuff, but I couldn’t go to sleep last night until I finished “Shadows in Starlight”.

Even if you don’t normally like fanfic, this one you might enjoy. It is a work in which we learn what Rurouni Kenshin would be like if the people and situations had been born into the Star Wars universe, circa A New Hope. However, she also manages to retcon the chronologically-earlier first trilogy,  such that I don’t hate and despise all its works and pomps at the moment. (Though I still say Alec Guinness was thrice the Obi-Wan that anyone else could possibly be.) Anyway, tons of fun. If we have to have Those Other Movies, I’ll explain ‘em to myself like this.

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“Inventor Rutili” Update

You know how you tend to have a certain picture in your head of how history was, and then you find out some little bit of information that brings you up short, like you’ve just tried to walk through a glass door?

In the Pope’s Easter Vigil homily this year, he said, “Gregory of Tours recounts a practice that in some places was preserved for a long time, of lighting the new fire for the celebration of the Easter Vigil directly from the sun, using a crystal.”

ACK!

I assumed that the “petram” “silicis” in the hymn was flint. So did everybody else, apparently. But the poetic images transition much more smoothly from sun to rock, if Prudentius were referring to using rock crystal to focus sunlight the same way a magnifying glass does. Heck, the whole Easter Vigil imagery is stronger, for that matter.

We just don’t want to think of the classical world as knowing so many of the same scientific facts we do, much less of the early Church as employing science and technology in the service of religion. But many of the Fathers loved natural philosophy as much or more than regular philosophy. Also, it’s much easier for a Christian to love the wonderful things God’s creation can do, than if one were a Stoic thinking of the world as a plate that can break or a Gnostic hating all matter. So heck, if the early Christians had had a “frickin’ laserbeam” available to turn the sunlight into something that could start the Easter fire, they’d probably have used it.

(*rub hands together evilly* And you know, I have seen some calculations that lasers were possible in the classical world, given a good enough gemstone… that is, a good enough crystal…. Heh! No, I don’t really believe the early Christians had lasers. But in an alternate Greco-Roman universe, it’d be a pretty obvious liturgical development; and it would be really cool if the Vatican did something like that now. Not practical for every parish, though. And I think the frickin’ Roman laserbeams wouldn’t really have been technically possible without some real improvements in all kinds of materials. So take this all as total fiction; but it was pretty cool in a fictional way in that one James Rollins novel, and I think it might have showed up in a few more sf historical novels.)

UPDATE: Thanks, Cassandra, for the correction! At certain hours of the morning, I apparently can’t remember what Latin goes where, and… um… I was kinda in a hurry to post before work, so I didn’t do a fact check. *bloggy blush*

So silex, silicis = pebble, stone, rock, flint, boulder, stone. Not sounding very much like “rock crystal”, is it? I suppose Prudentius could have been writing about it in a way which would possibly include both flint and rock crystal, but… I don’t know that I’m buying it.

Sigh. Another beautiful crystalline boat of theory sinks slowly into the West, under the weight of a boulder of fact. Taking with it my frickin’ laserbeam.

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Hornblower Audio Drama? Hornblower Fan Discussion Podcast?!?

Well, some people certainly are busy! And since I know that certain readers of this very blog are very fond of Horatio Hornblower, I have to link to it. Enjoy!

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OMG!

Rob Thomas is going to remake Cupid?!

Yes, it died too soon. And now it’s being reincarnated as a new pilot for faithless-but-repentant ABC, with new cast and new scripts but the same concept.

I assume that this time he’s going to lean harder on the “this guy is crazy” side, as it disconcerted him last time that all the fans were totally convinced that “this guy is a Greek god exiled to Earth”. Unless he’s decided to let go and let god. :)

But I don’t care. I’m sorry that our old friends won’t be there, but it’s such a theatrical concept that a recast won’t be too much of a strain. Besides, most people never saw the thing at all, let alone the most brilliant television episode ever to feature linguistics as a plot point. (Snif.)

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I Wish to Register a Protest.

Janet Kagan died on February 29, 2008. Of COPD, of all things, which explains why she hasn’t been writing much for the last ten years. But there were no global funeral parades, no memorial tailkinker jalapeno eating contests. In fact, I wasn’t even informed. What is the deal, people!?!

(All right, the date’s got style. But as for the rest, I disapprove.)

Still, I bet the angels are having a lot of fun, with her around.

If you don’t know who Janet Kagan is… well, she was the author of one very good Star Trek novel, Uhura’s Song. She was also the author of a good but hard to find sf novel, Hellspark, and the wonderful Mirabile series of stories about genetic engineering that’s a bit too creative. She also wrote a few more stories, which I mostly haven’t read. She won a Hugo for one of them — I did read that one, but it’s not a favorite.

If you go to her webpage, she has a couple of free stories still up.  You might want to go soon.

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Hopping Vampire Sighting!

The newest Power Ranger show (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)  just started a couple weeks back. This particular American sentai show has a rather interesting theme: Chinese chopsocky flicks!

Yes, these Power Rangers were student monks at a mysterious mystic temple. (Religion unspecified.) They’ve got some kind of animal spirit/kung fu martial arts style thing going, and the requisite demon unwisely released by traitorous jerk, etc.  This is crossed over with the requisite Power Ranger secret base and cover job — which in this case is a pizza joint run by their hippie, techie, foodie sifu. (I must confess that I’m fond of him. He reminds me of Yellow Springs when it was still fun.)

But there is also a group of enemy fighters with a poisonous animal theme, and called… THE FIVE FINGERS OF VENOM! They are pretty much a direct tribute to Five Deadly Venoms.

The forces of evil also feature faceless goons which are not the usual “putty men” or robotic troopers. These guys are HOPPING ZOMBIES/HOPPING VAMPIRES! (Alas, the American dialogue deliberately obscures this. But the Japanese footage is pretty darned difficult to misinterpret.)

I still think this whole unexplained monk thing is rather odd, especially as it’s been featured in at least a couple of American shows now. But the other chopsocky features are cool. Not bad for a Power Rangers show.

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Misunderstood Martyrdom

Apparently I miss the really funny anti-Catholic propaganda. :) But apparently, the tour guides take a lot of Protestant missionary visitors to a certain monastery church in Ecuador, so that everybody can go home to tell their friends that they’ve seen a statue of a crucified Mary. But what they’re seeing is a statue of a crucified St. Liberata, aka St. Uncumber, aka….

Which is logical, because her legend says she was crucified. By her dad the king, not the Roman government. There is also similar iconography associated with the legend of St. Wilgefortis, except that she used to be portrayed bearded. (She’s the one who allegedly miraculously grew a beard, which counts as one of the funniest saint legends ever.)

However, it’s possible that the whole thing ultimately derived from the early Christian martyr St. Julia of Corsica. She was a slave who was crucified — by being tied to the cross, which was common and cheaper than nails — and is portrayed accordingly. Her feast day was May 22.

“Shocking” photos and links about an extremely obscure saint below!

You can buy a whole scholarly art history book showing all the permutations. (No, this is not the perfect birthday gift for Jack Chick!) The image on the cover of the book is a bearded one.
“St. Wilgefortis” is also a song by Rebecca Clamp, with two music videos available on YouTube. Good fun, and some very pretty animation!

at Matt & Andrej Koymaski Home biographies

at Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Tacony in Philadelphia, PA

St. Wilgefortis holy card. This one’s interesting, because it has traditional crucifix iconography, a European mountain country background, and the Holy Spirit in the “illumination” pose you usually only see in pictures of the Annunciation, Christ’s baptism, and illustrations of Pope St. Gregory the Great writing down Gregorian chant. :) To my eye, though, the iconography is pretty clearly that of “virgin saint, but not the Blessed Virgin”. You’ll note that the outfit and colors are way different. No beard, though. Sigh.

St. Wilgefortis over at the Lion and the Cardinal. A snarky remark at the end about the portrayal of Christ on real crucifixes.

Even more statues at Curious Expeditions.An old German one at Wikimedia. This one’s interesting for the way it portrays the woman as very small and the cross as very massive.

And of course, we should mention that Castle Waiting is not only a good comic which comes highly recommended by myself and Joy, but also includes a lot of mentions of St. Wilgefortis. :)

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