adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile.

Yes, the Borg’s favorite greeting. We all know it from Star Trek. But is that where it began?

Forty-some years earlier, Edgar Rice Burroughs used the phrase (more than once — he must have liked it) in his novel ‘Llana of Gathol.’ Did he coin it?

I don’t know. Quite possibly other authors used it earlier but one thing is likely: the writers of Star Trek knew the work of ERB and borrowed it from him.

I’m drawing near the end of my read-through of the entire Burroughs Barsoom series, ‘Llana’ being the last complete novel of the set. The later books are entertaining enough but the best stuff is in the earlier novels, especially the first one, ‘A Princess of Mars.’ They do become formulaic and lack some of the wonder of the planet that is John Carter’s Mars.

Actually, ‘Llana of Gathol’ manages to recapture a bit of the magic, and avoids becoming another sci-fi adventure potboiler. And, as with most of the series, there is certain amount of slightly tongue-in-cheek social commentary.

I first read through these books as a teen. I suppose I had gone through most of them twice by the time I graduated high school, having started in on Burroughs at age twelve. They were my gateway to science fiction and fantasy in general. Alas, my paperback collection fell victim to the ‘Storm of the Century’ in ‘93 (along with my much more valuable comics collection).

But I did have to replenish the books eventually. Resistance was, indeed, futile. Maybe I should start in on the Tarzan novels next...or Pellucidar...or the ‘land that time forgot’...well, I’ll go for something when I see a deal like my current Barsoom set pop up again.

* * *

Speaking of the Storm of the Century, it looks like we have a 21st Century version going on. Some of the sites I normally visit of a morning are down. The scenario of Sandy is not a great deal different from that of 1993, extra-cold front hitting extra-warm tropical hair. Fortunately – for me, that is – it isn’t in the Gulf this time.

Is climate change responsible? No doubt. Expect more folks. When you rile up Mother Nature, resistance is futile.

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