Monday, October 28, 2013

Bookworming: A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin, ***
This one is hard for me to review for several reasons. First, I had it thoroughly spoiled by the TV series of the same name. Second, it is so blatantly the first of a series that nothing much gets resolved, which is usually a huge no-no for me. Finally, the characters run a dark gamut from deeply flawed to outright despicable, and I am not much for the bad-people-doing-bad-things style of story. And yet, the writing is excellent, the pacing works well, and the world is well developed and interesting. It is heavy reading, and I can see why some love it and some revile it.

As with the TV series, my lasting impression is that not much actually happened, but somehow it was fairly compelling.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "The Fall of Night" by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Do not start getting delusions of grandeur. You will not survive them."
  • "We will, at last, know peace in our time."
  • "The way things are going, I figured it might be nice to have a reminder that the impossible, is possible."
  • "As with everything else, it's the thought that counts."
  • "We came to this place because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. By the end of 2259, we knew that it had failed. But in so doing it became something greater. As the war expanded, it became our last, best hope for victory, because sometimes peace is another word for surrender. And because secrets have a way of getting out."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Comes the Inquisitor" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Are you willing to sacrifice all that you are to keep all that you have?"
  • "If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, the work becomes impure, corrupted, and ultimately self-destructive."
  • "Nothing changes. Corruption. Immorality. Chaos."
  • "Yes, the Vorlons have been to Earth. The Vorlons have been everywhere. The Vorlons are."
  • "We are already, as you so quaintly put it, going straight to Hell. You can not escape what's coming." "Maybe not, but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start, huh."
  • "Who are you?" [Really, just go watch the whole initial interrogation scene. It would be rude of me to quote the entire thing.]
  • "I'm sorry." "Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead. How do you apologize to them?" "I can't." "Then I can not forgive."
  • "We all have a destiny." "Do we? How magnanimous of you." [Yeah, watch this whole scene too.]
  • "Your only destiny is to be the nail that gets hammered down. Bang, bang, bang."
  • "This is my cause: life! One life or a billion, it's all the same!"
Since I have already broken my editorial silence, I must say one can argue that if you are going to pick a single episode upon which the series turns, this one is a prime candidate. The latter part of the first season transitions from world-building and character development into the forward momentum of the building story arc. The latter part of the second season destroys the status quo and begins to get into what the tale is ultimately all about. There is perhaps no other episode in the series more dependent on what comes before it, or more indicative of what comes after it.

It's also wall-to-wall excellent, with way too much detail for mere extracted quotes to do it justice.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "The Long, Twilight Struggle" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "The Emperor?" "He is out among his people, basking in their almost sincere adulation."
  • "There's always hope. At least that's what I tell myself when I awaken in the middle of the night and the only sound I can hear is the beating of my own desperate heart."
  • "They have been outlawed by every civilized planet." "These are uncivilized times." "We have treaties!" "Ink on a page."
  • "No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power governments and tyrants and armies can not stand."

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Divided Loyalties" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "I'll have you know, I've been nothing but compassionate and understanding. I mean, all you had to do was admit that you were wrong and I was right and everything would have been fine."
  • "It's the way the universe works: wait just a little while and the wheel turns."

Meanwhile, Over on Facebook

OK, so, facebook ads. Normally, they don't even register, but I'm tired and my eyes wandered. Clearly they have a skewed view of what I am interested in because there's an ad there for the Kardashian Kollection. (No, it wasn't spelled with a K, but who cares?) The Netflix one is reasonable, and the Gieco one is inescapable. And then there was this piece of choice spam-bait: "Three questions get any girl."

First: yes I'm single, thanks for rubbing my face in it. Jerks. Second: clearly ad = marketing = prevarication, manipulation, and lies. I mean, really, there could never be three questions that, in combination, would universally attract any woman. Unfortunately, work-mode brain started with the premise and ran with pondering just what those questions could be...

The only one I've come up with so far is, "Would you like to explore an opportunity to have more shoes."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Knives" written by Lawrence G. Ditillio
  • "Why make history if you fail to learn by it?"
  • "You know Vir, you have what the Earthers call a negative personality." "No I don't."
  • "It ended as all love does: badly."
  • "Do you always worry when things are going well?" "I don't have time to worry about them when the're not."
  • "Disgrace is preferable to death!" "There was a time when I would agree with you. That time is past."
  • "Insanity is part of the times! You must learn to embrace the madness, let it fire you."
  • "Ah, no thanks, I prefer to be only slightly insane." "Don't we all."

From Babylon 5 "Confessions and Lamentations" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "I didn't know that similarity was required for the exercise of compassion."
  • "If I don't see you again here, I will see you in a little while in the place where no shadows fall."
  • "That does seem to be the rule, doesn't it. Analyze the problem, choose whichever strategy makes the least sense, and then do it."
  • "Faith manages."
  • "Sometimes the test is not to find the answer, it's to see how you react when you realize there is no answer."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "And Now for a Word" by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Why does any advanced civilization seek to destroy a less advanced one: because the land is strategically valuable, because there are resources that can be cultivated and exploited, but most of all simply because they can."
  • "'We want only peace.' Both sides say the same thing, but as we've just seen, the reality is anything but peaceful."
  • "We're everywhere, for your convenience."
  • The Psi Corps is your friend. Trust the Corps.
  • "And when you stumble a lot, you start looking at your feet."
  • "We're not just holding jobs and having dinner, we're in the process of building the future."

From Babylon 5 "In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Why do you ask me questions when you already know the answers?"
  • "I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this."
  • "Come Captain, the greatest nightmare of our time is waiting for you."
  • "Recognized, by whom?" "Everyone."
  • "How many lives is a secret worth?"
  • "If you go to Za'Ha'Dum, you will die."

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "There All the Honor Lies" written by Peter David
  • "I mean, we're not some deep space franchise, this station is about something!"
  • "Never fear answers. Only fear running out of questions."
  • "What's inside there?" "One moment of perfect beauty."
  • "Back home I'm swallowed in silence, and here I'm swallowed up by secrets. I'm caught between fire and flood, and if there's a way out I sure don't see it."
  • "Another lesson?" "Yeah." "What this time?" "Beauty, in the dark." "Huh, must be working, you're beginning to talk just like a Vorlon."
  • "I see, so you feel like you're being symbolically cast... in a bad light."
  • "I never thought there could be anything worse than being all alone in the night." "But there is: being all alone in a crowd."
  • "You can't have larger ideals if the smaller ones get compromised. It's like building a house without a foundation."
  • "Your first hangover, enjoy it. I remember my first hangover... well, actually, that's not true. If I remember it, it wouldn't be a real hangover."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Acts of Sacrifice" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Everyone in this room knows too well that the first casualty of war is always the truth."
  • "When everything else had been taken from us, the hatred kept us alive." "And now it may destroy you."
  • "Why is everyone here walking around like they are afraid of me." "Because maybe we are."
  • "...I've learned the hard way that governments deal in matters of convenience, not conscience. If they fall behind it is up to the rest of us to make up the difference. If we don't, who will?"
  • "It is good to have friends, is it not Mr. Garibaldi? Even if only for a little while."

From Babylon 5 "Hunter, Prey" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Michael, you ever consider climbing out of the barracks sometime and looking around at the world? Huh?" "Yeah, I will, when people stop shooting at me."
  • "I was thinking maybe we should spend some time together soon.  Build some bridges. Work toward a greater understanding of one another." "Why?"
  • "Maybe someone should have labeled the future: some assembly required."

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "All Alone in the Night" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "The first obligation of a prisoner is to escape."
  • "Very soon now, I will be going into darkness and fire. I do not know if I am fated to walk out again."
  • "You have always been here."
  • "You have an uncommon failing for someone in your position, Captain: you're a patriot."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "GROPOS" written by Lawrence G. Ditillio
  • "There's only one truth about war: people die."
  • "A man who won't stand up for his own principles is not really a man at all."
  • "Every soldier lives with death, son, but I suppose sometimes we forget that our loved ones must live with it too."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "A Race Through Dark Places" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "It was starting out to be such a nice, quiet little day."
  • "What do you want with me?" "We want you to understand."
  • "I'm not saying what I'm saying. I'm not saying what I'm thinking. As a matter of fact, I'm not thinking what I'm thinking."
  • "Captain, either you snore, or last night we had a hell of a breach in the hull."
  • "You are having far too much fun at my expense."

From Babylon 5 "The Coming of Shadows" written by J. Michael  Straczynski
  • "We've taken the liberty of writing your speech for you."
  • "If you love, love without reservation. If you fight, fight without fear."
  • "The past tempts us, the present confuses us, the future frightens us, and our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast, terrible in-between."
  • "Hello old friend, it's been a while."
  • "Stay close to the Vorlon, and watch out for shadows. They move when you're not looking at them."
  • "How will this end." "In fire."
  • "He said that we are both damned." "Well, it's a small enough price to pay for immortality."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Soul Mates" written by Peter David
  • "You know him?" "Only in the most unpleasant sense: I was married to him."
  • "Why do you always try to draw me into your little verbal fencing matches?" "Because I don't have a real sword handy."
  • "Breeding will tell." "A bitch like you would know about breeding."
  • "We all die, Doctor, sooner or later."
  • "You know the problem with mysteries is that in order to get rid of the headaches I have to figure them out."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "The Long Dark" written by Scott Frost
  • "I find that life is, in general, much easier if I forget most of the things that happen to me."
  • "You were standing in the middle of the plaza yelling that the day of judgement was coming." "Did it?" "Not that I know of, but I may have missed a staff meeting."
  • "The future isn't what it used to be."
  • "You got a plan?" "Try not to get killed." "Brilliant."

From Babylon 5 "Spider in the Web" written by Lawrence G. Ditillio
  • "Ah, it's good to be the Captain."
  • "These are volatile times, Captain. Practicality is more important than principles if lives are to be saved."
  • "My pop always said that laughter is better than pills for what ails ya."
  • "I trust in individuals, not organizations."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "A Distant Star" written by D. C. Fontana
  • "It's going to cost me for you to say nothing to somebody? How much for you to say nothing to everybody?" "Oh no, you couldn't afford it."
  • "Understanding is not required, only obedience."
  • "Figures. All my life I've fought against imperialism, now suddenly I am the expanding Russian frontier." "But with very nice borders."
  • "If the primates that we came from had known that someday politicians would come out of the gene pool, they'd'a stayed up in the trees and written evolution off as a bad idea."
  • "God be between you and harm, in all the empty places where you must walk."
  • "The universe puts us in places we can learn. They are never easy places, but they are right. Wherever we are is the right place at the right time. The pain that sometimes comes is part of the process of constantly being born."
  • "The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station, and the nebula outside. They burn inside the stars themselves. We are star stuff. We are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both found out, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective."
  • "She and the universe seem to have a special relationship." "Don't we all?"

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "The Geometry of Shadows" written by J. Michael Straczynski"
  • "I believe there are currents in the universe, eddies and tides that pull us one way or the other. Some we have to fight, and some we have to embrace. Unfortunately the currents we have to fight look exactly like the ones we have to embrace."
  • "The universe doesn't give you any points for doing things that are easy."
  • "There is an old saying, do not try the patience of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
  • "Perhaps it is magic. The magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology. Every day you here create greater miracles than the burning bush." "Maybe, but God was there first, and He didn't need solar batteries and a fusion reactor to do it."
  • "We are dreamers, shapers, singers, and makers."
  • "There is a storm coming, a black and terrible storm."
  • "It doesn't make any sense to go around killing each other over a piece of cloth." "You do same, yes, for flag, for honor." "That's different." "Is it?"
  • "I could warn you, of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place, so I do the only thing I can. I go."
  • "...I see a great hand reaching out of the stars."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Babylon Quotes Project

From Babylon 5 "Revelations" written by J. Michael Straczynski
  • "Why don't you eliminate the entire Narn home world while you're at it?" "One thing at a time, Ambassador. One thing at a time."
  • "I have looked into the darkness, Na'Toth. You can not do that and ever be quite the same again."
  • "We have learned to cope with change, to triumph in the face of adversity. We will overcome this as well. We have no other choice."