My blog had minimal interest when I started 16 months ago – maybe a dozen visits a day, and most of those by my loving partner. And then I blogged about Hurricane Sandy and interest spiked, up to 80-100 hits a day. I tried to keep interest up with my thoughts on gun control and my Top 5 Lists. Interest slid back to 10-20 hits, and I reminded myself that the purpose of the blog was to focus on my writing process. And so I stuck to that.Interestingly enough, people have been visiting more over the past few months – with hits exceeding the days of Sandy, not that this means anything, especially when I admit that most searches are the same: Kesha naked, Nadine Velasquez and Jane Fonda Barbarella.
Barbarella offers everything in Science Fiction film-making, all that is bad, and equally so, the good. Widely known but little seen, the 1968 film directed by Roger Vadim, is notorious for Jane Fonda’s sexpot character in various stages of undress. There is more to this film than vague eroticism; the costumes and sets – including Barbarella’s shag-lined spaceship – are awkward and clever at the same time, yes, campy, wildly so. The lines of dialogue are equally outrageous; the characters are vapid and the plot pointless and confusing. At one point, Professor Ping (played by Marcel Marceau) tells Barbarella that the angel Pygar no longer has the will to fly and so cannot get her out of the labyrinth of evil in which she is trapped. Barbarella solves that by making love to him; and off they go. It’s as simple as that. The film begins on a fantastical note, mocking the violence of man: “Why would anyone want to invent a weapon?” Barbarella is genuinely confused; after all, anything is possible in science fiction. The answer is overtly stated throughout the film – all you need is love – and resolved in the same way. Pygar rescues not only Barbarella from certain death but also Tyrant, the evil queen. His explanation, much like the logic of Chihiro in Miyazaki’s anime film Spirited Away, is that, “An angel has no memory.” Barbarella herself is enigmatic. She repays everyone who saves her life with sex. The President prefers to share matters of state when she is naked. The Mad Doctor tries to destroy her with a sex machine – only to be foiled by Barbarella’s remarkable sexual threshold. She dresses like a space whore, but she isn’t. Why, you may ask, does she not do battle with clever tricks and big guns? As trite and misogynistic as it might sound, she is above it all. She is an innocent who wants to help mankind. Rumor has it that a remake is in the works with a budget of $80 million and Rose McGowan to star. I am dubious about a 21st Century Barbarella. I envision a multitude of bikinis and an excess of CGI. Fonda’s half-begotten Barbarella, in all of her wide-eyed stupor, is sure to be lost.
my bad side is done. And I’ve started something new. It’s to be the first in a trilogy on leaving this planet. I have always been enamored of science fiction, and yet, have been, for the most part, disappointed by the story elements. There’s a good idea to start – a journey to the centre of the earth, to the sun, a dystopia, a mirror world, robots becoming human – but it drifts into fill-in-the-blank characters, story arcs and trite resolutions. Is this because the cosmos are beyond our conception? Or is it because science fiction writing tends towards the spectacle? One thing is certain: I’m out of my element. I’ve started my research with the Hubble Space Book and The Definitive Guide To The Universe, reading Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene and consulting my brother, who can translate anything of the universe, all of the neutrinos and dark energy for someone like me. One thing I know: Deirdre (from my bad side) will be the voice.
The destination is as of yet unknown…and it’s time to figure out what’s beyond.