notes from fishing porn and elsewhere

* Last summer my friend Christer pressed on me “a book of fishing porn”: by Gunnar Westrin, which contains some “wonderful”: photographs, though I can’t find any on his web site. I learnt from it some interesting things about grayling; also that Lapps drink their coffee with salt rather than sugar, and that birch leaves, freshly picked, scored with a knife, and sprinkled into the water, improve the taste of fresh, boiled fish.

* The FWB and I have been watching our way through _Firefly,_ which is an interesting disappointment. Essentially, it’s a Western in space: the rackety spaceship’s crew touch down on planets where everyone travels by stagecoach, farms, and settles arguments with Cold .45s. It is this last touch which destroys the credibility for me. There are places on earth at the moment where bandit societies are touched by tech so high it might as well come from outer space — think of the Horn of Africa — but even where the women still carry water on their heads, and the horse is the main means of transport, there is one technolgy that is always up to date, and that’s the weapons. The Wild West with Kalashnikovs wouldn’t be half so romantic, but, once the kalashnikov has been invented, that is what you get.
Which leads to the interesting conclusion that the characterisation suffers from being two-dimensional. That’s one too many. If you are going to sweep disbelief off its feet, the characters must be reduced to only one dimension — one simple character trait powerful enough to pull the whole ramshackle story after it. This happens a couple of times; a character will play Honour or Greed or Irresistable Woman. But whenever there is an attempt to bring out the kind of subtleties that you find in Buffy (and that’s not a very high bar) the business slows down enough for the wires to be to plainly visible.

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2 Responses to notes from fishing porn and elsewhere

  1. nick says:

    The fireflywiki is as usual quite voluminous on Weapons. The one thing I will say in my ignorance about guns in the series is that the alliance seems to have laser pistols and rifles all over the place so it could just be The Man keeping people down.

  2. acb says:

    I should have known there would be a Firefly wiki. It turns out to be a wonderful piece of ingenuity; of course, nothing addresses the real question, which is why people are so very carefree about firing off guns and even hand grenades inside a spaceship. On one level, the fact that _Serenity_ appears to be about as airtight as a farmer’s pickup truck is rather amusing. But it does from time to worry me, along with details like the fact that when the engine stops in space _the spaceship stops too,_ and the almost infinite convenience of an artificial gravity field that keeps working even when everything else, even the life-support, has broken down.

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