Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Roots of the tale?

I finally got round to watching Bruce Wagner's follow-up to the excellent "Wild Palms"1 last night...

"White Dwarf" is a science fantasy, with dark swordsmen, alien prison-wardens, a shape-changing empathic disease, the punishment of eternity, and a wall that divides a world. Oh, and lots and lots of flying helmets and goggles.

A thousand years from now, on a horse and buggy colony world, a young doctor arrives to intern at a frontier medical station. He's after stories for his future private practice, but he's in for a surprise. In a twist straight out of early Jack Vance, the planet is split into light and dark sides, at civil war with each other. There are signs of peace, but factions on both sides want the wars to continue. There's a fly in their ointment: the planet itself is sentient (possibly as the result of a pre-human terraforming), and would rather everyone just got along. It's a resolution that needs an innocent abroad

It's clear that this was intended to be the pilot for a TV series - and to a certain extent it's a pity that it never happened. But may be it did happen, in a way, as there are elements in the background that map closely to Joss Whedon's excellent "Firefly" - the highly formal human civilisation (with its hidden decadence), the use of low technology where most appropriate, and the power of words and language.

This isn't action drama. But it's good drama - and it's good SF too.

Well worth watching.

</sup>And why no "Wild Palms" DVD outside of Australia yet? Is the idea of a world where Philip K. Dick invented scientology so uncommercial?
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