To your rearranged bodies go
I’m re-reading To Your Scattered Bodies Go and, of course, pondering the arrangements.
The premise is that all humans who ever died (for some convenient definitions of ‘human’ and ‘ever’) are simultaneously resurrected (for purposes unknown to them) on an artificial planet whose surface is one long and twisty river valley. In each neighborhood along the river there’s initially a majority of people from one region (spatial and temporal), but also a large minority of random others. Why?
How would I arrange them? Perhaps by date of birth. Arranging by date of death would be more likely to bring enemies together.
Alternately, having fallen in love with topological coordinates, I’d use a kinship graph: each person is directly linked to parents and children. I’d be interested to see the overall shape of this graph, as embedded in Rn. If enough generations are involved, the longest axis of this embedding is close to the birthdate axis: your parents might have no common ancestors within a thousand years, but they can’t have been born a thousand years apart. But what are the other axes like?
(I propose to define the natural dimension of a graph as the minimum in which the given graph is a subset of the Delaunay graph of the vertices.)
Turning away from mathematical nerdery now — One minor character says he’s especially pleased to regain the leg he lost in a road accident at age 50. That’s consistent with the apparent policy of restoring adults to age ~25 (and children to their age at death). But what is the Revivers’ policy on birth defects, genetic and otherwise? If you grow up with a damaged brain, can your mind be installed in a normal brain? If you live to adulthood without legs and are then revived in an adult body with legs, how easily can you learn to use them? How many legs do Brittany and Abigail Hensel get?
what didn’t happen in Juneau didn’t stay in Juneau
In “It Happened in Juneau”, near the end of the third season of Northern Exposure (one of very few TV series of which I’ve seen every episode twice), Maggie flies Joel to Juneau for a conference; they both get lonely, and drunkenly seduce each other. But Maggie falls asleep and cannot be roused, so Joel puts her to bed alone.
In the morning they return to Cicely. Maggie believes that they did copulate, and partly regrets it. Some time goes by before Joel succeeds in telling Maggie what really happened. She is insulted: “Why didn’t you? I had consented!”
Maggie later invites Joel to her house to try again. She asks him to say his desire for her is so strong that he’ll let nothing get in its way. She then finds (or reveals) that that expression of desire, rather than the execution, was what she really wanted from Joel, and dismisses him.
This affair bugs me on two points. First: I can accept that Maggie is insulted by Joel’s inaction, but wouldn’t the insult be outweighed by relief? (Well, the people of Cicely are quirky, and Maggie more so than some.)
Second: what Maggie asks of Joel in the end, taken literally, includes a commitment to rape her. Am I sick for noticing that? On reflection, I guess it’s in character – and suitable for prime time – that Joel is too startled (and perhaps deflated!) by the dismissal to respond with more than a bewildered verbal protest; but I’m still disappointed that the script didn’t explore that point at all.
Fred Astaire was 42 years old when his character was drafted in You’ll Never Get Rich, released some months before Pearl Harbor. What?!
I return to Cascadia after a 39-day visit with Dad in the high desert. He forgives me for not fully sharing his admiration for dry scenery.
We watched a slew of movies together: Wreck-It Ralph; Midnight in Paris; Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog; The King’s Speech; Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner; Hot Fuzz; Tucker & Dale vs Evil; The Good, the Bad, the Weird; 3 Idiots; Brave; Absurdistan; Going by the Book; An Unexpected Journey; The Thirteenth Floor. (He didn’t “get” Dr Horrible and I didn’t “get” Atanarjuat, but in general we approved of each other’s choices.)
We also watched about a dozen NFL games, including the first round of playoffs (the “wild card” games). I had seen few if any games since Jerry Rice’s day, and was surprised at how the defense dominated most of these; in particular, I saw very few successful long passes.
Much as I enjoy Dad’s company, I am glad to get back to familiar routines, green grass, and cats who know what my lap is for.
still watching movies
Le Dîner des Cons (The Dinner Game) is delightful.
The Lion King is better than I expected, though I don’t quite get how the rightful king prevents drought. Only one of the songs is abominable.
The Matrix (again). At 111 minutes there is a scene that could not have been made much later than 1999: a helicopter crashes into an office tower, causing a fireball.
losses in translation
Whenever I watch a recent French movie, I miss just enough wordplay to wish it had French subtitles.
Kurosawa’s Scandal has his two favorite actors, Mifune and Shimura. When the latter appeared, I thought “ah, it’s Shimura — or is it?” His speech and mannerisms were curiously unlike those of his other characters.