Charles Wallace on Camazotz

Trekabout Episode 25: Very Interested in Boning

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We’re presented with a tough set of episodes this week. “A Private Little War” is overstuffed with plot and weird ideas about gender and sexuality, while “Return to Tomorrow” is understuffed with plot and weird ideas about gender and sexuality. There’s a space yeti though, so that counts for something. Also! Shatner is really starting to Shatner it up.

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Trekabout Episode 24: All Pretentious About It

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We’re pleased to be joined by Zack Handlen, who writes weekly Trek reviews for The Onion’s AV Club. He’s nice enough to answer some questions about his writing, and then sticks around to discuss “A Piece of the Action” and “The Immunity Syndrome” with us. Plus! Richard wants a zoot suit.

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Trekabout Episode 23: The Hamsters of Triceratops

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It’s kind of weird how TOS episodes fit into nice pairs sometimes, isn’t it? Both “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “The Gamesters of Triskelion” don’t have a whole lot of plot. It only works in the episode about cute little furry creatures–and no, we’re not talking about Chekov. Also! Richard has done entirely too much research into the life of the guy who played Harry Mudd.

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Trekabout Episode 22: Robert Blech

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“Obsession” is kind of like “The Doomsday Machine” only with Kirk being crazy but of course he can’t actually be crazy, because he’s Captain Kirk. “Wolf in the Fold” is kind of like Robert Bloch’s nightmares (we assume) only with Scotty being crazy but of course he can’t actually be crazy, because he’s Scotty. It’s the best Robert Bloch episode we’ve seen, though, which says nothing complimentary about Robert Bloch. Also! Ensign Garrovick is dreamy.

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Trekabout Episode 21: The Deli Years

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Our pairing of episodes this week bring us full circle on the cycle of life. In “Friday’s Child”, a woman gives birth to a premature baby, and in “The Deadly Years”, a woman dies of premature old age. Also! The Klingons and the Romulans come back.

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Trekabout Episode 20: Nora Ephron

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Mothers and children feature prominently in both of our episodes this week. In “Metamorphosis” it’s a needy energy being who holds Zephram Cochrane captive until Kirk and company land and turn their relationship into some sort of Oedipal horrorshow. In “Journey to Babel” we have Spock trying really hard not to emote all over his mother. Plus! Richard really wants a live teddy bear.

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On Oh, No by Cameron Kunzelman

I’ve been reading Cameron Kunzelman’s blog This Cage Is Worms for a few months. I don’t remember how I came across it–probably he left a comment on another blog I read–and it has become a part of my daily dips into the vast pool that is videogame criticism. Kunzelman also makes games–there’s one called Funeral, a masterful deconstruction of the opening stages of Dragon Warrior, which, if the game’s Kickstarter page can be believed, he spent $306 to make–but I am deeply disappointed at his frankly irresponsible and offensive latest work, Oh, No.

I don’t know how much Oh, No cost to make (that information is not available, and as of the time of this writing, the theoretical email I sent to Kunzelman to get this information was theoretically not returned) but I can tell you that the cost to my soul was incalculable.

The game is quite simple–a little dude runs from the gigantic all-consuming head of Michel Foucault, which the player must try to outpace by pressing the Z, X, or C keys as instructed, all while a jaunty chiptune plays–and it’s deeply, deeply, offensive.

Foucault died of AIDS. Oh, No is a clear statement that we, both personally and as a society, need to run from people infected with HIV lest we also become infected. It brings back the darkest days of the plague when hospitals turned dying AIDS patients away and funeral homes refused to take in their bodies. The use of the keys Z, X, and C, being as they are on the lower left of the keyboard, implies agreement with the idea espoused by such luminaries as Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms that AIDS is a disease of the lower classes and of progressives. The giant head of Foucault, with its mouth moving in a mockery of speech, seems to be hungering for the little dude, who body is black and whose head is teal (the gayest color), reminding the player of nothing but a tiny cock that Foucault, being a gay man, must hunger for at all times to the detriment of own health and, indeed, his own personhood.

I’m sure that Kunzelman will say that all of this is unintentional. He, better even than Foucault, must realize that that is irrelevant. We have all seen that dark heart of hatred to which the human spirit can sink. Its name? Oh, No, by Cameron Kunzelman.

Trekabout Episode 19: A Gigantic Waste of Money

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Both “Catspaw” and “I, Mudd” feature a variety of professional actors hamming it up, but only in “Catspaw” does the ham actually smell a bit off, probably because of the giant cat. No, seriously: a giant cat. Meanwhile, in “I, Mudd”, the cast of The Original Series engages in improv theater, which results in one of the most fun episodes of the show. Plus! Richard is really interested in learning about Trek slash.

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Dialogue Tree Episode 12: Struggling to Make It

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I talk with game developer Jonas Kyratzes about the reactions surrounding Steam’s Greenlight and what it says about both indie games and videogames in general.

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This week’s music:

All The Stuff We DoCars Can Be Blue
“Hey Hippie” (mp3)
from “All The Stuff We Do”
(Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records)

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Trekabout Episode 18: A Lot of JJ Abrams This Week

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Welcome to this week’s Trekabout, where we give you a master course in Christian theology. In the beginning (“The Apple”), God was there with some guys and gals, and then Satan (Kirk) came and gave them the knowledge of good and evil (sex). Skip ahead a while (“The Doomsday Machine”) and God (Starfleet) sends his Son (Commodore Decker) to atone for the sins of the world. Plus! Shut up, Chekov.

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