7 thoughts on “Zocalo: Spoiler-free Discussion of “Ship of Tears””

  1. JMS goes to body horror for the second time this season (the first being Exogenesis, obviously), and this time it’s a lot more effective.

    Machine takeover of fragile, fleshy humans is a classic SF horror thing for a good reason: it’s genuinely disturbing and speaks to our concerns about technology.

    The thing that makes it different here is that it’s about telepaths in particular, combining the two SF tropes. I wonder if that can be seen in retrospect as engaging specific ’90s interests in telecommunications technology? It may be hard for people too young to remember a world without it how *magical* the Internet seemed in the ’90s when it first became widely accessible and how radically it seemed to be changing our world.

    If I’m remembering correctly, there’s emphasis on the machine speaking to Bester’s girlfriend in her head – reversing the thing that’s usually creepy about telepaths. Psychic powers in SF are often something that make organic humans “special” and give them back power that can’t be duplicated by machines. Here the machine gets to take that away and enslave the human to itself.

  2. The podcast set off a few thoughts:

    Delenn & G’Kar: Gods yes! Brilliant. I’m going to re-watch that and come back to it.
    Bester’s chair: Well, almost behaving himself. 🙂
    Killing Bester: Sheridan probably would have kept his promise to Ivanova.
    Cosmic coincidence: Damn fine SF twist.
    Bester’s Sex Slave: Well said, Chip. I do wonder if Carolyn does share Creepy Al’s affections for her?
    Fridging: Ewww!

  3. ISN = CBC

    The consoles lighting up faces is definitely a Vejar thing. I’m not as cool as Stephen, recognizing signature camera moves, but every time I see a console display on someone’s face, I know I’m watching a Vejar episode. Anybody know what’s up with him lately? IMDb and Wikipedia have info on him up to 2005. There’s no death date listed, so I assume he hasn’t gone toes-up. Retired? Teaching? Preserved by Vorlons until such time as he is needed?

    1. Apparently he’s been a first assistant director on the series Kingdom as recently as a couple of years ago. Obviously something happened in between that we’ve missed – it’s hard to imagine him backing down to 1st AD with that body of work behind him, unless it’s less fuss, fewer office politics, or something or that nature. He needs to be tracked down and interviewed! If only so that Steven can talk to him!

      1. I would *love* to hear this! I previously never paid ANY attention to direction, and Stephen’s continual comments (both first and second hand) about this stuff is fascinating! Come on hosts, I believe in your organisational and networking power! 😉

  4. Well, Steven should not forget something, when he argues, that Babylon 5 should update their credits like GoT does it:

    That were the 90s! In that time it was already a big deal, when credits changed all along and Babylon 5 made a big fuss out of the fact, that they had different opening credits for every season with different styles, music, texts etc.

    DS9 changed their credits only one time in 7 years, TNG the same and Voyager never changed it at all. We must remember, it was not the time when you just blended in the characters with After Effects into scenery, but when you still had to work with overlayers, video masks, a time, when you didn’t just rendered a CGI sequence into a .mov and implemented it into the timeline, but when they had to film the sequence with a camera to get it into the right format.

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