Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Word Of The Day: Rishathra



The act of interspecies sex. Wikipedia has it:

In Larry Niven's Ringworld novels, rishathra is "sexual practice outside one's own species but within the intelligent hominoids." It is not generally considered a taboo and is often used by the myriad hominids of the Ringworld as a way of sealing agreements, such as trade contracts and peace treaties. Humans, though not native to the Ringworld, share a common descent with the hominids of the Ringworld and may participate freely in rishathra.

Although the term was first introduced in the direct sequel to Ringworld, main character Louis Wu wasn't exactly a stranger to the dirty deed by the time it was named. Another famous practitioner is Captain Kirk. Getting past the unfamiliar scents and pheromones involved, rishathra may be preferable to prude, human-on-human sex because you're not likely to catch a sexually transmitted disease, even if your alien lover has one, and the risk of impregnation is practically zero. Hey, who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?

Read the entire Wikipedia entry here.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_in_science_fiction

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Discarded

I recently saw an episode of Masters of Science Fiction. I never heard of it until a YouTube friend pointed out that one of the episodes was based on Harlan Ellison's short story, The Discarded. I don't know if you know this or not, but Ellison is a fucking genius. You probably did know that, though.

Having said that, I hear the show usually sucks. I wouldn't know. I've only seen one episode and I liked it.

The episode I saw was narrated by Stephen Hawking (yes, the famous professor) and directed by Jonathan Frakes, who was in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although I'm sure he didn't play a Vulcan, I think he served in some capacity similar to Spock's. Whoever he is, he's a hell of a director. I didn't have much faith in a TV show like this (after all, it aired on ABC and I don't like TV very much), but its production value was just as good as any Hollywood movie. It starred John Hurt, whose character has two heads, and Brian Dennehy, who has a gigantic, muscular left arm. 

You know what? The acting is top notch. I'm not kidding. A lot of boring people might snicker seeing these actors surrounded by whacky special effects and makeup, but Hurt and Dennehy take their jobs very seriously and I really respect that. A lot of actors would have written this off as nothing more than a paycheck in a silly genre. 

The Discarded refers to a group of mutants who have been quarantined from Earth on a giant spacecraft. Life sucks for them. Some get so stir crazy, they kill themselves and the crew has to dispose of the bodies. One day, a ship from Earth makes an unscheduled rendezvous with the discarded's spacecraft. A man boards their ship and tells them that after they were discarded, the virus that caused the mutations in the first place evolved and came back with a vengeance. Their only hope for a second cure lies in the enzymes manufactured by those who were originally infected - the discarded.

And that's all I can tell you. You have to watch this forty minute show. It kind of makes me wish I had a second head. And a giant arm. I don't know so much about the whole living-on-a-spaceship thing, though.