Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Journey into Space - The Red Planet | and the Inevitable Paradox of Man's Relationship with Science, Space & Time

Here is a confession.  I have come to realise that I am, amongst other things, a lover of science-fiction (& fact, come to think of it).  Geek is much too ugly a word.  I am fascinated by all that is science, space and time, and the inevitable paradox of Man's relationship with it.  Be it existential, theoretical or theological (don't get me started!).

I was raised on a steady diet of Star Trek until Steven Spielberg gave us Close Encounters of the Third Kind (I love how there are classifications of encounters).  Now I am only allowed a rationed amount of sci-fi films; groans and walk-outs would otherwise prevail every night around the family tele-viewer, I mean TV.  The new Star Trek, Contact, Frequency, Wall-E, Deja Vu, even the fabulous Galaxy Quest can only be dusted off once every 6 months or so if I'm lucky.

I am also a devotee of BBC iPlayer and Radio 4 extra.  It gives me access to the best of radio when I am cooking photographs on my beloved Mac.  News Quiz, The Masterson Inheritance, The Goon Show, Cabin Pressure, Bleak Expectations, Cabin Pressure... the list is nearly endless.  Did I mention Cabin Pressure?

Ah, but now my sci-fi appetite if fulfilled by the discovery of Charles Chilton's Journey into Space series.  More specifically, The Red Planet.  Wonderful, beguiling, fascinating.  It was first broadcast in 1954.  So many of its ideas have made their way into more modern space/time classics, especially 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010 The Year we Make Contact.

I know the spacey sound effects are cheesey, but I love the noise of the rockets firing; it's just like Thunderbirds (which my father actually filmed) and strangely comforting.  I have just started to settle down to "World in Peril" when Jet Morgan, Doc, Lemmy and the annoying Mitch manage to return from Mars to the Moon.

Does anyone else think that Doc (Guy Kingsley Poynter) sounds like James Mason?

Oh, and Charles Chilton also produced many of The Goon Shows.  Spooky.

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